No new growth on Ficus Elastica........

elkay_gwJuly 6, 2011

I bought this plant from a greenhouse in Feb of this year and it immediately sent out two new leaves. I resisted putting it in a larger pot as I didn't want to stress it out. It is still in the small pot and has not had any more leaves. It's like it has gone dormant, but it should be growing now, right?

The plant sits in a west facing window in a room that averages low 70's temp and 60% humidity - until recently because I take it outside on a shaded deck now. I gave it some fertilizer at the end of May (24-8-16 probably half strength).

I slipped the plant out of the pot to look at the root ball and while I can see a root or two at the bottom, it doesn't appear to root bound.

Should I leave it in the current pot or move it to the next size up?

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Why do you feel you need to move it up a size? Since the roots don't require it, I'd suggest not. Yours looks real good to me.

Mine's in active growth now (indoors, after I recently changed its mix). Don't know why your isn't in active growth.

Are you watering it thoroughly? That is to say, 'til water runs out the bottom?

I'd wait a bit here & allow time enough for a few other folks to answer. Maybe w/ luck, Al will see this & share his opinion.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 3:21PM
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birdsnblooms much room is between the inner pot and rootball? In other words, 'even though roots aren't growing from drainage holes,' do roots touch inside of its pot?

Your F. elastica is doing great..New leaves are as large as mature so it's getting enough light and properly cared for.

Since you last fertilized in May, it's time for another dose...Toni

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 4:13PM
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Elkay, I too have a little marbled elastica like yours, although smaller than the one you've pictured. In the time my standard F. elastica has put out close to a dozen new leaves, it has only put out 2. And a half. I've been lightly fertilizing since late January, too...

The roots looked nice when I repotted, so I don't know what the deal is, but we are in the same boat. Your plant looks happy though!


    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:14PM
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pirate girl - I guess I'll just leave it in the current pot. The plant just seems too tall (over 21") for that little 4" pot.

I wait until the soil is dry to the touch and then water 'til it runs out the bottom.

hopefulauthor - I didn't really see many roots showing on the sides of the rootball, only one or
two at the bottom. I gave it a little more fertilizer.

GB - Thanks, I guess I'll just wait and see what happens.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 10:43AM
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My experience with this plant is when it doesn't have any room, it will not put out new growth.

It's a beautiful plant, tho.

If it were mine, I'd pot up to at least 6 inch pot but use well draining soil mixture to pot up. Pictures are deceiving but that looks like a huge plant for a 4 inch pot.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 12:53PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Excuse me pls. but that plant does NOT need a larger pot. She mentioned she'd checked the roots already.

Pot size on a plant like this is not by the height of the plant (which can always be cut back), but by the size & condition of the roots.

If Elkay were to pot it larger & then continue to water as she does (when it's dry to the touch), the plant would be made more vulnerable to root rot. But I do commend watering 'til it comes out the bottom, a good practice.

I'd use a stick or pencil to check when to water.

Using my own plant as example, I can touch the mix & find it dry. But using a stick or pencil pushed well down (4" at least) into the mix, still shows moisture (some mix comes up on the stick). When it's dry, the stick comes out clean (rather like testing a cake for doneness for anyone who still bakes).

The danger is that if there's more moisture in the mix than the plant can take up through its roots, the excess moisture interferes w/ the roots' ability to take in air & begins to suffocate the plant, which then can lead to root rot.

I believe it far safer for a Ficus like this to be a bit underpotted than overpotted. Especially such a handsome specimen.

Susan, for more info. & further explanations about this, look around for posts by Al (Tapla) on Ficus & he's also written a bunch at Container Gardening (I believe). Aside from being extremely experienced & knowledgeable about this stuff, (the science of soils, containers, etc.), he's also our resident Ficus maven & one of the sources from whom I learned some of this.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Thanks, I will try the pencil tester. I'm usually pretty good at judging dryness by feeling the weight of the plant. I check it after watering and when it's dry.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 5:07PM
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Well, excuse me! My ficus which is not anywhere near that large is in a 6 inch clay pot and putting growth out like crazy.

This is definitely my last post on this forum. It always seems like PirateGirl is in attack mode most of the time.

Good luck with your ficus.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 9:07PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


I apologize immediately. I tried to EM you privately to do so, there's no link. I disagreed abt the repot & I explained why. I'm sorry you feel that's an attack.

I disagree w/ your always/sometimes attack comment. You'll note there's no friction at Hoya Forum where we've seen each other earlier & less here at Houseplants than at C&S.

Pls. don't leave on my account. I'll make a point to stay away from your posts & comments going forward, but you need not leave on my account, really.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 9:56PM
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