It is a shrub or a small evergreen tree, native to central-southern Asia; in the wild, the adult specimens keep their dimensions close to the 2 m of height. They have thin stems and ramified in a disorderly way, woody or semi-woody, with light brown, smooth bark; the leaves are of a light green colour, slightly grey or yellowish on the lower page, have a roundish, spoon-shaped shape, and a short petiole, are thick and leathery, opaque.
In spring and autumn, it produces small fruits, of 1-2 cm of diameter, similar to small figs, of green colour, which remain on the plant for months, becoming, at the beginning, yellow, then red, before falling down, they contain many small seeds, usually not fertile in the specimens cultivated far away from the place of origin.
The ficus deltoidea is much less diffused as ornamental plant compared to other species of ficus, it has, however, a very decorative and particular look and is easy to cultivate; in the wild, it often develops as epiphytic plant, growing on the trunk of big trees. The sap of the ficus deltoidea is utilized for producing the rubber.
For a healthy and lush growth, place the plants of this variety in semi-shaded positions, with abundant brightness. In summer, place in shady places, far from direct sunlight; choose well ventilated positions, but far from windows or doors, so that the plant does not suffer sudden changes in temperature, which may not benefit the balanced development of the plant. If the plant is placed in a place with little luminosity, the symptom is given by the fall of the leaves.
Intervene promptly to prevent the phenomenon from worsening, marrying the plant in a suitable place.
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Water regularly, but without exceeding, letting the soil dry well between one watering and the other; 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 avoid that the air is excessively dried by domestic heating. From March to October provide nitrogen-rich fertiliser every 15-20 days, mixed with water from watering.
For the planting of the plants belonging to this variety, use a soft, loose, very rich soil, mixed with pumice stone or perlite, to increase the drainage; for getting a well developed plant, it is good to repot the ficus deltoidea every two years, in autumn, in order to allow the roots to have sufficient space.
The multiplication of these plants takes place by cutting, utilizing semi-woody portions of the tips of the branches, which are to be immersed in the rooting hormone and then buried in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, which is to be kept humid until the rooting has taken place; the new plants are then placed in a single container.
Ficus deltoidea: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to the cochineal and aphids, which often lurk on the underside of the leaves. To eliminate the problem, it is advisable to proceed with greater vaporization of the leaves, since water is an element not appreciated by these parasites. It is also possible to directly clean the leaves with soap and water, then rinse carefully. Otherwise, special insecticide products are available on the market that may be useful if the presence of parasites is massive.
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