Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
It is important to start with a young rubber plant, instead of a seedling, in order for the rubber plant to reach its maximum potential.
Also, the rubber plant was noted to be the most efficient carbon dioxide to oxygen converter in the 1989 NASA Study. The large leaves of these plants break down chemicals into harmless compounds.
It requires little care as long as it is provided with the right mix of elements to thrive indoors.
Rubber plants require different watering depending on the season, because they prefer a perfect balance. Plants like moist soils – but don’t like sitting in water – when they are growing. So you’ll have to water them during growing seasons such as spring and summer. You should water sparingly during the winter, especially at dormant seasons. Excessive watering can cause the leaves to yellow and fall off.
Throughout the day, you will need to spritz the leaves with water and wipe them with a damp cloth. When the leaves constantly collect dust, they will not able absorb light as efficiently for photosynthesis.
This kind of plant prefers bright spaces, especially when it is from a tropical country. The experts recommend placing them in a room as close to a window as possible, because they love the light, but would be stressed if they were in a hot room.
In its natural habitat, rubber plants thrive in shady tropical areas. They prefer spaces that are within 65 degree to 80 degrees fahrenheit. It is important to try and maintain a particular temperature within your space. Constantly changing ambient temperature would stress out your rubber plant.
Rubber plants need a mix of equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow. The fertilizer should only be used in active growing seasons. The fertilizers should be administered in moderate doses, approximately three to four weeks at a time.
Additional Care Tips
- In addition to the care tips we have discussed for each plant individually, here are some general tips you may want to consider when investing in plants for your home.
- The most common cause of plant death is excessive watering. Always touch the soil and see whether it really needs watering. Most plants would prefer a moist soil, not a wet one.
- It is important to provide your plants with water, light, and food in order for them to survive. If you are going on vacation, it is best to leave your plants with someone who is capable of caring for them in your absence.
- Variegated leaf plants such as the spider plant need more light compared to those that are purely green. It is best to keep them near the window for best light absorption.
- It is not a requirement to prune your plants to promote a lusher growth. Same goes for flowering plants where removing dead flowers would promote a new bud and eventually encourage your plants to continue blooming.
- An investment in a grow light can prove quite beneficial if your space is dark. These devices can provide the specific light spectrum your plant needs. Green and yellow are entirely reabsorbed by plants, whereas the red spectrum promotes flowering, whereas the blue spectrum promotes lush foliage.
- Plants should be kept away from pets and small children if you have them at home. The stress your plants experience from constant touching, tugging, and possibly urination, as well as the possibility of poisoning, can cause them to die sooner than they would otherwise.
- There is a big difference between gardening soil and potting mix. You should use potting mix instead for your indoor garden. Growing plants in gardening soil often results in a combination of poisonous organic and inorganic material due to the fact that the plants are growing indoors.
- You should rotate your plants occasionally. Plants tend to lean towards the light, and if not rotated they will appear lopsided. Rotating them allows an equal distribution of light.
- Plants should always be watered with water at room temperature. Hot and cold water will cause damage to the roots.
- Several plants are sensitive to salts and the use of tap water would not be ideal because of the chemicals in the tap water and salts that may obstruct the flow of water.
Why Do My Plants Die?
The idea of your plants dying when you give them all the love and attention would be pretty frustrating if you’re a newbie gardener. The fact is that you need to supply your plants with the right amount of the foods they need to thrive. Our plants’ basic needs are related to the factors which are vital to photosynthesis, like light, water, soil, and carbon dioxide.
You need to understand why your plants are deteriorating in order to figure out what you are doing wrong. Here’s a list of possible reasons your plants may be dying:
Excessive Watering or Under Watering
The first thing you should always do before buying a plant is to learn how to care for it. An example is the cactus, which may be over watered by people unaware of its watering requirements. We know that plants that soak in water will likely die from root rot or fungus.
Plants that are not watered will also suffer. Although drought tolerant plants do exist, this does not mean they can be deprived of water. Photosynthesis requires the presence of light, water, and macronutrients in the soil for the plant to complete its process.
Poor Soil and Drainage
When it comes to watering your plants, choosing the right type of soil is also important. A moist, but not too moist, soil would be ideal. “Soil that is able to hold moisture, but not completely soggy, would be ideal.”
You should also use the appropriate soil for your plant to avoid any fungal or bacterial problems. A frequent mistake new gardeners make is using gardening soil rather than potting soil. This can result in a number of problems, especially in the case of an indoor garden.
Make sure your plants are in a container with drainage holes underneath that will allow excess water to drain. Since the heat from the pot can help evaporate excess water from your soil, traditional clay pots would be ideal.
Insufficient or Excessive Sunlight
Light, in general, is the most important factor in photosynthesis. Without it, plants cannot make their food. However, excessive light is a different story when it comes to sunlight due to the fact that it involves heat, a condition which plants cannot handle. Excessive heat would dehydrate your houseplants and burn its leaves. It is always advisable to allow your houseplant to receive sufficient indirect sunlight for at least 4 to 8 hours.
Investing in grow lights would help your plants grow and produce beautiful leaves and flowers if your home does not have enough bright space to accommodate your plants.
Pest or Diseases
Diseases from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites often stem from neglect. If you do not take good care of your plants, the next thing you know is that your plants become sick and possibly contagious to other plants.
To avoid contamination, it is best to separate the plant that has been infected from the one that is not infected and treat it separately. In the event the plant becomes infected with a viral disease, the only option would be to throw it away. Otherwise, there is a wide range of medication and remedies available.
Too Much Fertilizers
Plant fertilizers act as nutrients that appear to be lacking in the soil for the plant. If too much fertilizer is used, the salt molecules from the fertilizers will destroy the roots which will kill the plants.
In addition to the points mentioned, there could be many other factors that contributed to your plant’s death. There are times when your plant’s lifespan has already passed and it is actually time to let it go. However, because we are not aware of the plant’s requirements, we would not be able to realize this. Therefore, buying plants from a reputable source is extremely important.
Can Houseplants Live Forever?
Theoretically speaking, plants can live for a lifetime under the right conditions and provided they are well taken care of. Despite being accustomed to extreme climates, some plants thrive in indoor environments but thrive in harsh circumstances.
Other things don’t require much care or attention to endure as long as they should. In fact, records show that the oldest living plant has lived at least 240 years and has been in its pot since 1775 in the conservatory at London Kew Gardens. Plants have been passed on as family heirlooms for generations.
In order to make sure that your plants grow well within your space, you need to choose the right plant for your lifestyle and research their primary needs.
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