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Ficus, A Perfect Christmas Gift

Posted by Tammy Sons on

By Tammy Sons

Ficus, A Perfect Christmas Gift

In these troubled economic times, there appears to be a new shining light
appearing on the horizon, the family unit and their closer interactions with
friends and distant relatives. There appears to be a pioneer Christmas
spirit emerging where it is the thought and personal contribution towards
gift making and giving. In light of this wonderful trend, I would like to
point out some wonderful and thoughtful gifts for Christmas that will still
leave some change in your pocket and be appreciated by those receiving the
gift.

Ficus is the key word, they will survive in almost any environment even
those created by a 'brown' thumb.. There are many species of Ficus which
are tolerant to what most plants would consider rather unfavorable
conditions. This makes them good houseplants, as they can do well in average
household humidity and moderate light. In addition, a warm temperature and
all-purpose, evenly moist potting soil are all they need to be happy. These
plants come to us from areas of Asia, Africa, Australia, Central America,
and the Mediterranean region. There is a great diversity of growth and
foliage patterns, from erect, tree-like forms to trailing varieties, from
tiny leaves to very large ones. Propagate the large varieties by air
layering and the small ones by division.

The Creeping Fig, F. pumila, is a vine that attaches itself to a surface by
"hold-fast" roots, like ivy does. The freely branching stems are covered
with small, 1-inch dark green, heart-shaped leaves.

Ficus radicans is another trailer or climber. It has oblong, pointed leaves
that are 21/ inches long by 1 inch wide. Keep the plant moist but be careful
not to over water it.
The Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina, is seen in many offices, lobbies, and
malls as well as in homes. This dense tree form has branches with a drooping
habit. The leaves are oval and leathery,

about 4 inches long and 11/ inches wide, pale green and not persisting long
on the branches. The plant needs a good light and decent humidity to stay
really good looking. Keep the soil moist at all times, but not soggy. The
plant seldom gets over 10 feet high in cultivation.

The Mistletoe Fig, F. diversifolia, grows as a woody shrub. It has small,
heart-shaped leaves. This one is excellent for turning into a bonsai
specimen. Also, great for the office party.

The Rubber Plant, F. elastica, is an old fashioned houseplant. It grows in a
tree form with large, oblong, glossy dark green leaves. Although it is
considered a tough plant, drafts and sudden changes in temperature can cause
leaf drop. Water it sparingly at all times, but a humid at- a atmosphere is
appreciated. In its native habitat it can reach 50 feet high, but don't
worry, in the home it hardly ever gets above 10 feet.

The Fiddle-leaf Fig, F. lyrata, is a tree type that is very tolerant of home
conditions. It has very large, dark green, leathery leaves that are shaped
like a violin or fiddle. Sudden temperature changes and drafts may cause
leaf drop.

The Chinese Banyon, - . F. retusa, is a tree form covered with dense
foliage. The leaves are small and leathery, similar to F. benjainina, but
the branches are straighter and have fewer leaves.

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