Return to the House Plants Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Anyone ever hack back their Rubber tree like this?

Posted by thirdyearbonsai Zone 4 VT USA (My Page) on
Tue, May 24, 11 at 18:47

Hey folks,

I've been hacking back my Ficus elastica every year now for the last three years. I'm talking complete defoliation!

It's started to branch, and I was wondering what the experts thought, and if anyone could provide some tips or experience.

Link is for the pictures. Thanks!

-3rd yr

Here is a link that might be useful: Ficus elastica pictures


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Anyone ever hack back their Rubber tree like this?

Cutting it back is fine if you do it at the right time, and from the sounds & looks of it, you've got it right. It's a good way to get it to back bud and start branching, as you've found out. It sure looks a lot nicer then the typical tall sticks with leaves. I don't think you need the experts on this one, I think YOU might be the expert.

Joe


 o
RE: Anyone ever hack back their Rubber tree like this?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, May 24, 11 at 22:47

Are you defoliating to intentionally arrest development and slow the plant down?

Al


 o
RE: Anyone ever hack back their Rubber tree like this?

I've been reading your blog entry and wondered if you only remove the leafs or a bit of the stem too? Where do the new branches come from? In the leaf axles from the leafs you removed?
I currently have a plant that I whacked back a year ago (three stems) and I would like it more bushy.
Nicole


 o
RE: Anyone ever hack back their Rubber tree like this?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, May 25, 11 at 22:01

Nicole - The way to maximize ramification (bushiness) on a branching dicot is to let the branches extend to 4 or 5 leaves, then cut the branches back to 2 leaves, and leave those leaves on the plant to provide food/energy to help push the new growth. Defoliating a plant deprives it of its food source, setting the plant back considerably; and while that is a useful technique for bonsai practitioners to help reduce leaf size and shorten the internodes on mature specimens, it's generally not something you'd do to a large-leafed houseplant.

Simply removing the apical meristem (growing tip) of each branch alters the balance between the growth regulators (cytokinin/auxin) that, through their antagonistic relationship, determine whether the branch will elongate or bifurcate (branch). Removing the main source of auxin (the apices) makes cytokinin prevalent and promotes back-budding, primarily from leaf axils, but also immediately distal to old leaf bundle scars and possibly from other adventitious buds as well. How profusely the plant back-buds depends largely on timing and the state of the plant's energy reserves, so there is good reason to make sure the plant is growing robustly when you reduce severely.

AL


 o
RE: Anyone ever hack back their Rubber tree like this?

Thanks Al for this explanation! Very helpful to me!
Nicole


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the House Plants Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here