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Ficus elastica - rubber tree

Posted by sharbear50 10 Port Saint Lucie (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 29, 11 at 12:16

Well I don't have a house or yard anymore so now I am starting Container Gardening in an Apartment. I am in need of some knowledge and expertise from you all. I have a Ficus Elastica about 3 feet tall in an eastern exposure screened porch. The plant is very healthy, sort of a redish tint to the leaves. It is in a plastic pot and the soil looks inadequate. Now with the temps dropping, I am near Orlando, I will bring it inside in the evenings. Should I wait and repot it in the spring?

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RE: Ficus elastica - rubber tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 29, 11 at 14:33

In zone 10, and especially if the plant is very young, you can repot now if you like. You can pot up at any time with little worry about the season, but repotting includes root work and soil removal. With the greater photo-intensity and longer photo-period afforded by your zone, you can get away with a lot more than those of us living at more northerly latitudes. If you do repot now, it's best to make sure you keep the soil temperature above 55* after the repot to speed things along. Though the tropical Ficus will tolerate the stress of lower temps, they don't like it. Cool temperatures affect the plant's ability to carry on normal photosynthesis, and the plant returns to its normal ability only slowly after being reintroduced to more favorable temps.

A good way to think of your houseplants is to imagine they have a thermostat. When the temperature is above 55*, they pretty much run on photosynthate being currently produced. By the time the temperature has dropped to below 55*, most of your houseplants will have switched off sun power in favor of battery power (running on stored energy reserves). The problem with that scenario, is the amount of stored energy is finite, and the plant will continue to decline (use up its reserves) until things warm up. It's best to make it a nonissue and keep your plants warmer than 60* at all times if possible ...... unless you have plants that lend themselves to being forced into a situational/environmental dormancy (not a good idea with F elastica).


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