Ficus shivereana is for rare-plant lovers; if you’re one of them, this is the much-needed guide on growing and caring for this gorgeous plant the right way!
Its roots can be traced to the Ficus Elastica family, originally discovered in Southeast Asia. Under the Ficus elastica family, there exists; Ficus elastica: Burgundy, Tineke, Ruby, Robusta, Decora, and Shivereana.
Despite some people referring to it as Ficus elastica Shivereana it is famously known and referred to by many as Ficus shivereana or variegated rubber plant.
This rare plant can grow tremendously outdoors, but if you are an indoor-plants enthusiast, F.Shivereana will also thrive indoors when potted.
Light is essential for F. Shivereana, but too much exposure and frequent habitat changes can lead to the shedding of leaves.
Worry not; with this growing and care guide, you will gain insights on how to grow and care for this plant like a pro!
Let’s get on with it:
Quick Facts About Ficus Shivereana
Ficus shivereana is a striking plant with oval-shaped leaves and sharp tips. Its beauty is evident from the variegated foliage, with cream, green patterns, and shades of white.
It grows to 2 meters long indoors and 20 meters when grown outdoors. The exquisite oval-shaped leaves grow to 0.8-1.2 inches long and 0.4-0.8 inches in width.
However, the foliage’s size and variegation depend on the amount and quality of light the plant is exposed to.
Shivereana is not only among the rare plants family, but this cultivar is a beauty filled with immense character, ideal for transforming your ambiance. Other plants in this category include; Stephanie Erecta, Pink Princess, Cardinal Philodendron, and Begonia Maculata.
Common Names: Ficus Elastica Shivereana, Ficus Shivereana, Variegated Rubber Plant
Botanical Name: Ficus elastica ‘Shivereana’
USDA Hardiness Zones: 11a to 13a
Maturity Height: 2 meters indoors and 20 meters outdoors
Maturity Spread: 0.4-0.8 inches foliage width and 0.8-1.2 inches long
Native Area: Southeast Asia
Blooming Time: Doesn’t flower
Toxicity: Toxic to both humans and pets
A significant number of ficus plants are toxic. Therefore, Shivereana is toxic due to its poisonous sap, likely to cause dermal or gastrointestinal issues for your pets.
The toxicity should not worry you; with the pet anti-chew bitterness spray, your pets will be discouraged from chewing the leaves of F.Shivereana.
Propagation of Ficus Shivereana
Being a native to the tropical makes it easy to propagate. Propagating this plant can be done through the leaf or stem cuttings.
The propagation of Shivereana can be done in soil and also in water. The following steps will guide you in propagating either in soil or water.
- Please be sure to have protective gear to avoid the toxicity of Shivereana’s sap. Other items include; sharp pruning secateurs/scissors, rooting hormone, pot, pot mix, water, and plastic bags.
- Identify the specific points where you prefer to cut and ensure the cutting points have enough leaf nodes to enhance their success rate.
- Cut your stem at least 6 inches long, defoliated but leave one leaf on it, to reduce competition for nutrients and focus on rooting the stem and eventual growth.
- Dip the cutting into the rooting hormone.
- Plant in a pot with the right potting mix, and moist appropriately.
- Cover the cutting with a plastic bag to reduce the loss of moisture.
- Place the pot in a warm location between 55⁰F- 77⁰F, with the cutting exposed to moderate light to avoid burning the leaf.
- Water the soil moderately to avoid it drying out.
- Within 4-5 weeks, the cuttings will establish roots.
Propagating through water
- Use the pruning secateurs/scissors to prepare your cuttings and a paper towel to wipe out the sap from the cutting.
- Identify the points to cut and cut gently; wipe the sap with a paper towel.
- Allow the cutting to scab before immersing it in water.
- Dip the cutting into a rooting hormone.
- Place the cutting after 2-3 hours into room temperature water.
- It takes roughly 4-5 weeks to see roots from the stem; transplant into a pot afterward.
- Ensure you place the pot with the F.Shivereana plant in a warm location with access to moderate light.
How to Plant Ficus Shivereana
After 4-5 weeks, your F.Shivereana will be ready for planting. It is super easy to plant its seedlings.
Remember, just like most variegated plants, Shivereana can grow up to 2 meters long and more, with its oval leaves growing to 1.2 inches long and 0.8 inches in width.
Therefore, it is imperative to have a pot that will support such growth. A 5-inch pot will be a good place to start, including the following requirements;
- Apart from being 5 inches in diameter, your pot should also be between 6-10 inches in depth. Ensure the pot has the right amount and size of holes for ease of drainage.
- You will also need water and quality potting soil. In addition, get a container to use as storage; it should be bigger than the 5-inch pot used in planting the Shivereana.
Planting Steps for Your Ficus Shivereana
Exposure of Shivereana to direct sunlight will negatively impact its growth and foliage color.
Identify an ideal location that receives moderate indirect sunlight and is protected from the scorching afternoon sun to avoid damage to this rare and beautiful plant.
For effective planting, please follow the following steps:
Step 1: Fill Your Pot With the Right Soil
Fill in your 5-inch pot with quality potting soil with good drainage. Ensure you leave enough space at the top to create ease of planting in the middle of the pot.
Step 2: Choose Quality Plants
The success rate of the propagation process might be different for all plants. It is prudent to choose plants of the best quality, especially those that perform well and are healthy and ready for planting.
Step 3: Plant Ficus shivereana Seedling in the Middle of the Pot
Plant the seedlings in the middle of the pot. Be gentle to avoid any damage to the plant or its roots.
Step 4: Watering the Plant
Depending on the size of the plant, it is vital to keep the watering to a minimum to avoid waterlogging and eventual death of the plant.
If the plant is at least one-foot tall, give it one cup of water and increase eventually based on its growth size.
Ways to Care for Ficus Shivereana
Ficus shivereana thrives under medium light exposure. Direct light negatively impacts the plants’ foliage color and quality.
Identify the optimal location within your space which receives moderate light and place your pot there.
On the downside, a light deficiency will lead to leaf discoloration and eventual drop. So be mindful of the intensity of light your shivereana is exposed to.
You are safe under-watering your Ficus shivereana plant than over-watering it. Constantly check the soil wetness by feeling the top layer of the soil or monitoring it with a moisture meter for accurate analysis.
Water more during summer and reduce watering tremendously during winter.
However, depending on the size of the plant, use one cup of water when the plant is one foot tall and increase as the plant grows in height.
Humidity and Temperature Requirements
A 50% humidity is ideal; it is a tough plant and can survive low humidity levels, but it is good you consider keeping it 50% or more.
The best temperatures for growing Shivereana ranges between 59⁰F-77⁰F, meaning this plant performs well in warm temperatures.
However, being a hardy plant, it can also grow well even with fluctuations in temperature, but anything below 50⁰F will be detrimental to the plant.
While Ficus can grow well without any fertilizer, it can perform exceptionally well with the application of moderate fertilizer.
Liquid fertilizer is the appropriate fertilizer to apply to the plant, but only during the summer or growing season.
Maintenance and Pruning
Ficus shivereana deserves maintenance and pruning like any other plant. It is appropriate to prune during spring or summer because this is the period the plant is growing well under optimal conditions.
Prune moderately because excessively pruning might risk the plant’s growth.
Check on watering levels to avoid root rot and associated growth issues. You can also practice occasional showering to eliminate pests and dirt on the plant.
Keep monitoring sunlight exposure in your plant’s current location and shift to a different location when light increases to hazardous levels.
Plan for repotting your Ficus during the spring or summer season. To properly repot your plant, follow these steps;
- Choose a bigger pot, ideally 10-inch pot will do since it will be an upgrade from the previous pot used. Ensure the pot has efficient drainage holes to enhance soil drainage.
- For repotting, it is good to start with gardening and planter rocks before filling the potting mix. Gardening and planter rocks provide good and optimal drainage.
- Add the potting mix to the pot leaving at least 2 inches of space to make it easy when transplanting.
- Gently remove the plant from the original pot to avoid damage to the roots, and plan it in the middle of the new pot.
- Water the plant moderately and monitor the water levels by checking soil wetness to avoid water logging and eventual root rot.
- Place your plan in a conducive location with access to sufficient indirect sunlight throughout the day.
Pests and Disease Control
Spider mites, aphids, and scales are common pests harmful to Ficus Shivereana; you can use soap water to shower the plant and get rid of these pests.
A usual sign of pest infestation is the leaf curling. When you spot this, check under the leaf for the presence of pests and shower as advised above.
Leaf spots and cold injuries are prevalent diseases. Reduction of misting or watering will help solve the issue of leaf spots. Leaf spots cause yellowing and browning spots on the leaves and fall eventually.
An additional remedy to the leaf spot is carefully pruning the affected leaves after the reduction of misting to allow healthy leaves to grow back.
Exposure to extreme cold results in cold injuries; possible signs are brownish and wrinkled leaves. Maintain the temperature at 50F and above to prevent cold injuries
Additional Issues Associated with Ficus Shivereana
Leaves Discoloration and Dropping
Leaves discoloration can occur because of overwatering and lack of access to sufficient indirect sunlight. Dropping of the leaves can be caused by excess water and cold temperatures.
If you notice the above unusual issues with your Ficus Shivereana, quickly stop watering until the soil dries and resume watering at reasonable intervals to avoid water logging and root rot.
Maintain temperatures of 50⁰ F and above and humidity of 50% to prevent the leaves from falling while contributing to the healthy growth of the plant.
However, if the above remedies don’t work, your plant might be experiencing root rot; consider repotting into a new pot with a fresh potting mix.
Chances are your plant will grow back if its roots are not affected entirely, but if the rot is extensive, it will be hard to save.
Growing Tips Recap
- Strategically position your Ficus plant in a location that receives sufficient indirect sunlight throughout the day.
- Use one cup of water when the plant is one foot tall and increase it as it grows.
- Ficus love warm temperatures and a balanced humidity; temperatures should range from 59⁰ F - 77⁰ F and 50% humidity.
- Repot during spring or summer only when the plant has outgrown the current pot.
- Shower with soapy water in case of pest infestation; consider pruning leaves with leaf spots after showering.
- Consider immediate repotting if the leaf spots persist because this is a possible sign of root rot.
You have the opportunity to grow healthy and tall Ficus Shivereana, to add character to your space. Only if you diligently follow the abovementioned steps, including ways to care for and manage pests and diseases.
It has been great preparing this insightful guide for you, and I hope you will gain a lot from it, and soon you will be thriving in growing and caring for Ficus shivereana plants.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this rare plant, please post them in the comments below. I am looking forward to reading and responding to each one of you.