Another ficus elastica leaf question..............

elkay_gwApril 25, 2011

I'm not sure you can see what I'm talking about in this pic, but I was wondering why these two leaves developed the two concave spots. I am not familiar with elasticas - I've only had benjaminas, so I don't know if this happens frequently or what. I've only had the plant 2 mos and the 2 leaves in question are not the newest leaves. Also, this happened overnight. Does it have anything to do with watering?

Just for descriptive purposes, the plant is about 24" tall and the two leaves are about 6-7" long and 4-4.5" wide.

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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

I think what you are looking at is just some stress from the move from a commercial greenhouse to your home. It could be very small reaction to under-watering, but I'm pretty sure what you're looking at is just foliage that grew in one place acclimating to another place.

Chances are those leaves will be fine, and any new growth that this guy puts out will be unaffected.

For one thing, Ficus elastica variagata is a lot harder to please than the standard burgundy cultivar, but in general they are very easy plants to grow. Since yours is variegated though, make sure it gets plenty of light!

Don't freak out, continue to treat the plant in the same way you currently are. If this is all that you can see after you've owned it for a few months, chances are the plant is doing fine.

Great job with the picture, by the way. I'd love to write an article on your ficus elastica for my blog if you'll send in the picture. Check out the link.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 6:17PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Elkay - I'm remembering your name as Linda?

I can't see the lower leaf, but it looks like the pucker occurs at an area of the leaf where there is a slight aberration in the variegation. If that holds true for the bottom leaf, it's not unreasonable to think that because there are two different genotypes growing in the same leaf that they might grow at different rates and produce a puckering effect.

The other possibilities are a deficiency of one of several nutrients known to cause puckering and contorted leaves. These deficiencies can be caused by an actual physical deficiency, impaired root function and the plant's inability to absorb enough of the deficient element to ensure normal cell formation, or so much of another element in the soil that it impairs uptake of the deficient element (an antagonistic deficiency). The other very distinct possibility is that it is simply an inherited genetic trait, which sort of returns full circle to the first possibility I mentioned.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 10:02AM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)


You are a mad scientist. I friggin' love it. Chances are, what you said is correct.

However, I've purchased a few F. elastica from large greenhouses and seen this before myself. In all cases the new growth from after I brought them home was unaffected.

Are we saying the same thing in different words? I hope so because honestly, I don't think I'd be comfortable disagreeing with you, sir. : P

-3rd yr


Here's a picture of on of my Ficus elasticas. It's old, but I'm working on a follow up now so you'll be able to see the progress the plant has made in the last couple of years.

Here is a link that might be useful: One of my rubber trees

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:02PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Usually in new plants (straight from the nursery/greenhouse) the effect is most pronounced on the plants and/or leaves over-exposed to very high light. The puckering effect is the plant's way of reducing the amount of surface exposed to direct light & is quite common in Ficus. The leaves on the plant Elkay shows doesn't have that look, though, which usually includes wavy leaf margins, entire (the whole margin) on affected leaves. I'm guessing that's probably what you were seeing in your new plants, but who knows.

This isn't directed at you or anyone in particular, but I never mind being disagreed with. It can be sort of interesting if 2 people disagree & both make their best case(s). Much can be learned from the discussion, and I'm all about sharing information/helping and learning, too. It's only when people follow me around intentionally & disagree only for the sake of disagreement, purposefully working toward creating heat where there could be light, that I lose some degree of patience. Fortunately, the recent spate of that sort of behavior has been partially curtailed. If you have an argument that makes sense & treat me fairly, you can't offend me.

Elkay - In my travels I revisited the thread that made me think your name was Linda, but unless it's a huge coincidence, I realize it's not - sorry. ;o)


Here is a link that might be useful: More about Ficus in containers here, if you're interested.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:14PM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Well put, thanks Al.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 3:31PM
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Thank you Al and Thirdyearbonsai for the info. I'm hoping it's just the move from the greenhouse to my house that caused the puckering. The two leaves that he's produced since I got him have no puckering - it's so weird that it happened overnight!

And Al, I don't think I've ever posted my name - so how would you know. It's Lisa, by the way.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 8:52PM
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