Ficus neriifolia, also called f. with oleander leaves, it is a shrub or small evergreen tree, native to central-southern Asia; in nature the adult specimens remain close to 2 m in height. The stem is thick and erect, well branched, with brownish-gray bark; in adult specimens it tends to detach itself showing lighter areas. Plants grown in very humid areas produce showy aerial roots, from the stem and also from the branches. The leaves are light green, 4-9 cm long, lanceolate, glossy, often facing downwards; the freshly blunt leaves are pinkish-green. Sometimes even potted specimens produce small greenish-white flowers, followed by roundish little fruits. This species of ficus is very suitable for cultivation as a bonsai.
The oleander leaf ficus can develop in a balanced way in any condition of brightness, from the complete shadow to full sun; it is advisable to keep the plant in a bright, slightly shaded place during the summer months. Choose well-ventilated locations, but away from windows or doors, so that the plant does not suffer abrupt temperature changes, which could cause the loss of foliage, soon replaced by new leaves. They fear the cold, they must be grown at a minimum temperature of 15-18 ° C.
Water regularly, but without exceeding, letting the soil dry well between one watering and another; in summer water more often, especially in very hot periods; in winter water sporadically, without forgetting to vaporize the leaves with distilled water, to increase the environmental humidity, and to avoid that the air is excessively dried by domestic heating. From March to October, provide universal fertilizer every 15-20 days, mixed with the water used for watering, in half the dosage recommended on the package.
For oleander leaf ficus, use a soft, loose, very rich soil, mixed with pumice or perlite, to increase drainage; to obtain a well-developed plant it is good to repot ficus neriifolia every two years, in autumn; the root system of these plants is very resistant, it is also possible to prune it with the utmost freedom, since it develops very quickly, without damage to the plant.
The multiplication of Ficus neriifolia occurs by cuttings in the summer, using the semi-woody portions of the apices of the branches, which must be immersed in the rooting hormone and then buried in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, which must be kept moist until rooting has occurred; the new plants are therefore placed in a single container. Use clean and well sharpened work tools to make the cut necessary to make the cutting to avoid fraying of the fabric.
Ficus with oleander leaves - Ficus neriifolia: Pests and diseases
As for pests and diseases that could damage Ficus neriifolia, beware of cochineal and aphids, which often lurk on the underside of the leaves.