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3 Air Purifying Plants

Every home, office, or public space is going to have toxins in the air. The problem is figuring out how to remove these toxins in a cost-effective way. If you’re looking to create a healthier space the best way to naturally remove harmful pollutants is through the use of air purifying plants. NASA conducted a Clean Air study and found that these three plants are proven to be indoor air cleaners, making the place you live and work healthier.

English Ivy
The English Ivy’s thick foliage is excellent at removing formaldehyde from the air. WebMD describes this plant as a “fix for allergies” because it is proven to remove 60% of airborne mold from a room in just six hours. The English Ivy is also becoming very popular among pet-lovers because it reduces airborne fecal matter particles.

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Care Instructions For Rubber Plant

Ask The Expert: i was given a rubber plant at my fathers furneral and i do not have good luck with plants.i live in the country and have a high ph in my water as well as other minerals,should i get water from town or distilled water.and it was a large plant when i got it and its roots look weird to me i mean i can see them up at the top above the dirt ,is this normal?and i am not sure i get what is meant by root ball when replanting.anyway i really want to keep this plant but if it would be better off in town i could give it to my mother.please help lorrie
Ficus Elastica
Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:Well water is usually fine for houseplants. That is unless your water ph is over 7 or your mineral content is way out of line. If you can drink your well water, you should be ok to use it.

The rootball is the mass of soil and roots attached to the base of the plant. Most plants want their roots to be covered, yet they don’t like soil pile up against their trunks. However, it sounds like your plant needs more soil to cover the roots. You need about a 1/4″ of soil covering the roots. You can do this by simply adding a little soil to your container or you can completely re-pot the plant. Do not pile soil up against the trunk.

Since you are new to Rubber Plants (Ficus elastica), you might want to follow these Rubber Plant Care tips:

  1. Keep the plant moist but not soggy. Rubber plants love a humid environment, so mist the air area around them every few days. Be sure to use luke warm water when misting.
  2. Give them light.  Rubber plants like a lot of light just not all-day direct light.
  3. Be sure to feed them. A general purpose water soluble fertilizer will work.

For more in-depth information go to our Rubber Plant Care Instruction page.

One more tip: Don’t be surprised if it drops some leaves. Anytime you move Rubber plants from one location to another, they go through transplant shock. If you follow the rubber plant care tips, the plant will bounce back in couple of weeks.

What This Variegated Plant?

Ask the Expert: What type of plant is this and what is its name? I want to know how to care for this plant, but do not know what it is. Darren

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: I believe what you have is a Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’. The Genus Ficus has over 800 different species. Ficus in the elastica species are commonly known as India rubber fig, India rubber tree or rubber plant.

The Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ is often confused with the Ficus benjaminia. They can be distinguish from one another by the thickness of the leaves. The elastica has thicker more upright leaves. Most types of ficus including this one can produce a sap that will cause mild stomach upset if ingested. The sap can also cause skin irritation. Despite these issue Ficus are one of the most commonly known Ficus benjamina ‘Variegata.

Rubber Plants (Ficus elastica) requires a very moist but well-drained environment, a good balance of light and shade, and a varying fertilizer regimen over the course of its life.

You may want to read more detailed care instructions for Ficus Elastica. The care instructions will be below the picture on our rubber plant basket page.

5 Ways Rubber Plants Help You Bounce To A Happy Life

So they don’t really bounce. Rubber plants are still pretty awesome. Even people who aren’t familiar with houseplants know what a ficus is. Well, rubber plants are among the most popular in the ficus genus. Rubber plants (Ficus elastica) are seen in households and offices all over the country. There’s more than one reason for it. Here are several reasons why the rubber plant is so popular with every type of person (*hint* they make great gifts too!):

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

For the person who has too much love to give, rubber plants require some loving. They need moderate attention because they require a moist but well drained environment, a balance of light and shade, and a steady fertilizer regimen over its life.

For the person who has a black thumb, rubber plants are good practice. They’re pretty resilient, even if they do require a little more attention than most houseplants. Ficus elastica can stand up to a moderate black thumb. If someone needs a houseplant to practice plant care on, try the Ficus elastica. It’s a beautiful houseplant and easy to love!

For the person who has a green thumb, it’s enough of a break to be easy but isn’t so “stand back and watch” that it’s boring. Rubber plant care is great for the houseplant lover who has been nurturing houseplants for years. Challenging but not draining, entertaining but not overwhelming.

For the cubicle dweller with a grudge, rubber plants slow the desire to permanently call it a day. Some days at the desk are just not worth enduring, or so it seems when the cubicle is lifeless. Rubber plants are convenient for the office and bring enough natural cheer to the room to inspire more productivity, creativity, and a positive demeanor.

For the sleepless new mom, rubber plants pose no fear of harming the baby. Rubber plants also last a while when properly cared for. This is something that takes only 3 minutes a few times per week. Easy to do when baby is sleeping! Plus, rubber plant baskets pose no threat when babies crawl into them. Use them for climbing support? Maybe.

These aren’t the only reasons why people love rubber plants but they sure are a great place to start!

Croton (Codiaeum) Versus Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) for Southeast Window.

Ask the Expert: Croton vs. Rubber plant?

I want to purchase either a croton or varigated rubber plant for my southeast window to be placed about4-5 feet away. Which would do better for that location and which would be easier for me to care for?

How Close To A Window Can You Place A Rubber Plant

Ask the Expert: How close to a southeast window can I put a rubber I want to purchase a rubber plant and plan to put in my living room near my southeast window. I know it needs bright light but how many feet away from my window can I safely put this plant so it doesn’t burn? There is sheer curtains in this window but it still receives bright filtered light. Susi Stein

Ficus and Philodendron: Favorite Houseplants for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up this month (June 19), and if you’re stumped for a gift, why not send Dad a tropical houseplant to let him know how much you appreciate him? Your local florist has a selection of favorite houseplants from which to choose, including ficus plants and philodendrons – two sturdy specimens with a proven track record of flourishing indoors. Each one of these popular groups of houseplants occurs in several different, easy-care varieties, so you’ll be able to select the one that best suits your father’s personality and matches the growing conditions he’ll be able to provide.

Image of Benjamin Fig (Ficus benjamina) - June 2005 FSN Newsletter
Image of Benjamin Fig
Ficus benjamina

The word ‘ficus’ means ‘fig’ in Latin, and in addition to the tree that bears the tasty fruit of Fig Newton® fame, the ficus group contains some of our most universally popular houseplants, including the well-known Ficus benjamina, or Benjamin Fig. Ficus benjamina is the familiar ficus tree of shopping malls and hotel lobbies, noted for its handsome, silvery-gray bark and glossy green leaves. In warm climates, ficus trees are regularly planted as part of the outdoor landscape, where their versatility allows them either to be grown as shade trees or pruned into hedges. In colder regions, Ficus benjamina is often chosen for interiorscapes because it has the size and appearance of a familiar outdoor tree, bringing a welcome sense of the outside in. Given enough room and adequate light, they can grow to be two stories or more tall. Because of their tropical origins, ficus trees cannot tolerate temperatures below freezing, and they’ll often drop their leaves if the thermometer dips below 50° F.

Another member of the ficus family is the enduring rubber tree (Ficus elastica), a plant that has been grown indoors for generations. With its bold, leathery, dark green leaves and coarsely textured stem, the rubber tree presents a distinctly masculine appearance. The cultivar ‘Decora’ has even darker leaves with a reddish cast to them. Similar in habit to the rubber tree, but less commonly seen, is the fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata), which has glossy, broadly pear-shaped leaves up to 18″ long with deeply impressed veins, giving it a very sculptural appearance. Like the rubber tree, the fiddle-leaf fig reaches a height of 40 feet or more in its natural environment of tropical Africa. But don’t worry; it’s easy to keep within bounds in your living room just by pruning it back.

Image of Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) - June 2005 FSN Newsletter
Image of Rubber Plant
Ficus elastica

All of the arborescent (tree-like) members of the ficus family respond well to the same care. Allow them to become slightly dry between thorough waterings. Never permit the soil to get so dry that the leaves wilt, which indicates that the fine root hairs that absorb moisture and nutrients are dying. Conversely, never let the soil become soggy and waterlogged, a condition that will drown the root hairs and quickly cause leaves to drop. Provide bright light; preferably near a sunny window, but most ficus trees will adapt to lower light situations. Ficus plants are heavy feeders, so fertilize monthly, spring and summer, with a balanced houseplant food. The large-leaved members of the ficus clan will accumulate dust, thereby blocking light from reaching the leaf surfaces, so be sure to wipe them regularly with a damp cloth or sponge. Ficus trees are somewhat notorious for dropping their leaves when they’re moved. Don’t worry too much if this happens; the plant is acclimating to its new environment and will grow new leaves once it’s adjusted.

You may be surprised to know that there is a small, vining, ivy-like member of the ficus family: the creeping fig (Ficus pumila). The creeping fig is a popular outdoor groundcover in tropical regions, where it will enthusiastically climb walls and tree trunks by means of its strongly adhesive aerial roots. This ficus has diminutive (1″ or less) leaves on slender, thread-like stems. It thrives in a moist, warm, and humid environment.

Philodendrons are a diverse group of plants, encompassing many forms from small, trailing vines to giant trees. The word ‘philodendron’ itself means ‘tree-loving’, referring to the vines’ tendency to grow up the trunks of trees in their native tropical jungles. Because philodendrons are well adapted to the shady conditions of the rain forest floor, they are excellent candidates for surviving in the low-light interiors of many homes and offices.

Image of Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) - June 2005 FSN Newsletter
Image of Tree Philodendron
Philodendron selloum

One of the more sculptural philodendron varieties in cultivation is the tree philodendron (Philodendron selloum), which produces broad, shield-shaped leaves that are deeply incised along the wavy margins, creating long finger-like lobes. The cuts become deeper and wavier, and thus more dramatic, as the plant matures and the leaves become larger. Though it grows somewhat slowly, this philodendron has the potential to reach large proportions, gradually forming a thick and interestingly patterned ‘trunk’ as it naturally drops older leaves in favor of new ones. It also produces long, ropey aerial roots, which may be tucked back into the pot in order to help nourish the plant.

Hybridizers have, for years, been developing new philodendron cultivars with unusually colored foliage. These are bold-leaved plants with a masculine personality. For example, ‘Black Cardinal’ is a low-growing, shrubby philodendron with spade-shaped leaves that are so dark, they appear to be almost black. ‘Prince of Orange’ sports bright, bronze-toned leaves on vivid orange stems. Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ produces new leaves with a bright chartreuse color that ages to a subtle gray-green. The new foliage on ‘Imperial Red’ unrolls in a deep burgundy-red color, becoming dark green with a burgundy tint as it matures. All of these philodendrons are known as “self-heading” varieties, meaning that they grow slowly and stay low and compact, neither vining (and needing a bark support) nor developing a trunk like Philodendron selloum.

While most philodendrons are happy enough in low-light situations, the more colorful ones require brighter locations. All philodendrons should be kept evenly moist at all times, and fertilized regularly. The climbing types should be grown on a support, like a tree bark totem pole. Otherwise, the newly-produced leaves will become smaller and smaller. See our earlier newsletter for more philodendron care instructions.

You can see more pictures of these and other types of houseplants by visiting Flower Shop Network’s Gallery of Tropical Plants. Watch for future newsletters describing other kinds of tropical plants. And remember that your local professional florist can easily have one of these popular houseplants delivered to your Dad whether he lives nearby or out of town. How appropriate to send something green and growing to the man who did so much to help you grow when you were still green yourself.