Is Green Island Ficus, botanically known as Ficus microcarpa, easy to grow and maintain?
The short answer is, absolutely!
Read on to find out how:
This beautiful, reliable, and low maintained shrub should appear in every home owner's favorite list. It belongs to the fig family Moraceae and has rounded shiny green leaves, which adds beauty to your garden.
The good news is that the plant grows slowly so, it will save you time to prune all the time. The Green Island Ficus is also adaptable to various climatic regions.
It can survive in areas with minimal water supply, plus it can withstand salty water. Hence, even people in the coastal regions can grow the plant without any major problems.
Ficus plant can fit in any compound either indoors or outdoors. It’s adaptable to places with low or high lighting but in dry places, plant it under shade to preserve moisture.
However, if you are in colder places, you need some patience with the plant.
Enough said, let’s learn how to grow and care for this beautiful plant.
How to Plant and Care for the Green Island Ficus
The Green Island ficus plant can be grown in any soil and more so with good drainage. Also, this plant has roots that tend to be evasive. Thus it would help if you planted it a bit far from other vegetation.
It also requires a place that will allow leaves to spread freely.
Therefore, plant it far from walls and foundations to avoid overcrowding or may be blocking windows.
Prepare the planting area by removing all debris, dig a hole with a depth and width of a root ball. A deeper hole loosens the soil to ease roots growth. Also, enrich the soil with some compost for more robust growth.
You can remove the plant by tapping the container, loosen the ground, and gently pull your plant or cut your box's sides.
Put the plant in the hole, return the soil up to the plant base, water it, and put some mulch around it, 10 cm from the plant's truck.
Watering and fertilizing instructions
The Green Island Ficus can survive in dry areas, but that doesn't mean you should keep it completely dry. Depending on the rainfall patterns, water new plants after a few days until they are stable.
Ensure to saturate the soil thoroughly to get sturdy plants.
Meanwhile, water plants in containers once every two weeks to allow the soil to dry between watering to avoid waterlogging.
Fertilizers improve the health of plants, more so those planted in containers. For those in the field, fertilizers replace nutrients used by the plants. You can either use slow-release, liquid feed, or granulated fertilizers.
However, follow the fertilizer package instructions. The wrong usage of fertilizer can cause harm to your plant. Water the plant before applying fertilizer to prevent roots burn.
Caution: Avoid fertilizer use on dying or sickly plants.
The Green Island Ficus Pruning and Trimming exercise
Pruning is necessary to remove dead branches and to promote bushy growth. As I stated earlier, the Green Island Ficus is a slow-growing plant.
Therefore, you can trim only once or twice yearly.
However, for people who like it short, they can shear them often. Remove dead branches close to the stem and to control the size, prune the plant above a leaf bud.
There are many pruning tools, but the commonly used are; hand shears and loppers for small plants and pole pruners or tree saw for grown bushes. It's advisable to prune your plants in winter or early springs because they are less active during that period.
Caution: Wear gardening gloves when handling these plants as the leaves' milky sap can cause skin irritation.
Diseases and pest Management
Every plant has pests and diseases that attack them, and the Green Island Ficus is no exception. Also, every plant is unique in ways of dealing with pests and diseases.
Therefore, get ready to learn the pest you might encounter with your plant.
They are tiny, cotton-like insects that appear in clusters. They occur mostly after watering the plant and they attack the branches near the main stem. They also infest leaves causing yellowing, and eventually, leaf drop.
Spray the plant with neem oil directly on the pests.
However, for the best treatment, use chemicals like Orthene, Safer, and Di-Syston that are drenched in the soil, and later taken in by the roots. Soap treatment is another treatment option.
They are tiny black or white bumps like pests lined on the stem.
Just as the mealy bugs, treat your soil with chemicals or spray them with pesticides.
They are brown with many legs and they attack the roots of your plants.
For indoor plants, the only option to destroy them entirely is to drain all the soil and replant the plant with sterilized soil.
Clean or scrub the container before using it again.
This disease comes from a fungus that affects the leaves and branches.
The attacked plant will show signs on the leaf margins, but all leaves turn yellow, then brown, and eventually falls as the disease progresses.
Apply pesticides mostly when the fungus is active during the rainy season in a sequence of every 7-10 days.
Prevention is better than cure, right?
So, keep your plants surrounding free from debris. Dispose off the affected leaves to avoid re-infection.
Every garden should have this beautiful plant with many uses such as making hedges, lining a walkway, foundations planting, ground covers, and etcetera.
If you are looking for a plant with low maintenance, try this one.
Though a slow grower, this plant is worth investing in, and although it has few pests and diseases, they are straightforward to manage and treat.
Do you have any reason not to grow the Green Island Ficus?
I have covered everything you need to know, from planting to general maintenance.
If you are a retiree, enjoy your resting days with such plants around which will not demand much of your time.
Improve the curb appeal of your property by planting the Green Island ficus.
Happy gardening and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.