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 brown-greyish bark; in adult specimens it tends to detach, 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, shiny, often turned downwards; the newly sprouted leaves are pinkish-green. Sometimes even the potted specimens produce small greenish-white flowers, followed by roundish fruit. This ficus species is very suitable for growing as a bonsai.
Oleander-leaved ficus can develop in a balanced way in any light condition, from complete shade 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 sudden changes in temperature, which could cause the loss of foliage, soon replaced by new leaves. They fear the cold and must be grown at a minimum temperature of 15-18 ° C.
Water regularly, but without exceeding, allowing the soil to dry well between one watering and the next; 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 ambient humidity, and prevent the air from being excessively dried by domestic heating. From March to October, provide universal fertilizer every 15-20 days, mixed with the irrigation water, in half the dose recommended on the package.
For oleander-leaved ficus, use a soft, loose, very rich soil, mixed with pumice stone or perlite, to increase drainage; to get a well developed plant it is good to repot the ficus neriifolia every two years, in autumn; the root system of these plants is very resistant, it is also possible to prune it with maximum freedom, as it develops very quickly, without damage to the plant.
The multiplication of Ficus neriifolia occurs by cutting in summer, using semi-woody portions of the apexes of the branches, which are immersed in the rooting hormone and then buried in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, which must be kept humid until rooting has taken place; the new plants are then placed in a single container. Use clean and well-sharpened tools to make the cut necessary to make the cutting to avoid fraying of the fabric.
Oleander-leaved ficus - Ficus neriifolia: Pests and diseases
As for pests and diseases that could damage Ficus neriifolia, pay attention to the scale insects and aphids, which often nest on the underside of the leaves.