Alfred

Rubber fig or Ficus elastica 'Robusta'

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Rubber fig «Alfred» - comeback of a charming classic 

Oh yes, the rubber fig is totally in again. After its hype in the eighties, it disappeared from rooms and offices and only recently reappeared. The main reasons: with its large, shiny, evergreen leaves, the rubber fig is not only an absolute eye-catcher. It is also robust and easy to care for. In addition, it improves air quality. Today it is experiencing a revival and is making its way back into our homes. It belongs to the genus Ficus (figs) and is considered a classic among houseplants. Thanks to numerous varieties, it also harmonizes with any interior design style.

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Rubber fig «Alfred» - clever survival artist 

In tropical rainforests, light and nutrients are in hot demand. That is why there are many climbing plants. One of them is the rubber fig. But it is also a strangler fig. For animals this is a land of milk and honey. They eat its fruits and carry the seeds in their stomachs to other trees. Via the animal excrements the seeds end up on a branch. And if there is enough sunshine, the seed can grow into a small fig plant. Thus begins the life of the strangler fig as an epiphyte. It still gets nutrients and water from its environment. But then long aerial roots form. As soon as these reach the ground and penetrate it, the strangler fig gets additional water and nutrients. Now it grows bigger and bigger, with fatal consequences for the support tree. The thick shoots of the strangler fig envelop the host tree while also growing upward and strangle it. This is actually quite clever. Because in this way the strangler fig has found a way to get a good place for itself without having to form a strong trunk itself.

Rubber fig «Alfred» is vain - give him a little leaf care 
 

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If the plant is placed near the kitchen, a greasy film of dirt can form. The best way to remove this is with tepid water. Just be careful not to damage the leaves.

 

By the way: often you can find online the hint that the leaves of the rubber fig shine nicely if you rub them with milk, oil or beer. Please don't do this. Such treatments can cause damage to the plant.

Rubber fig «Alfred» - a sympathetic resistance fighter 
 

Our rubber fig owes the variety name «Robusta» to its remarkable resistance to both diseases and maintenance errors. However, rubber fig Robusta is very loyal to its location and does not like to be moved around at all.

 

Conclusion: think carefully about where you place rubber fig «Alfred» and then leave it there if possible. «Alfred» will do well in a light, semi-shady spot with little or no direct sunlight. Ficus elastica is an ideal plant for bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms and offices. It does not need any special humidity and feels comfortable in a normal room climate. However, draughts should be avoided.

Since the leaves of the rubber tree are very large, dust is deposited on them. This stands out visibly against the dark green background and looks unattractive. In addition, it reduces the light absorption. This has a negative effect on the growth and vitality of the plant.

 

Conclusion: the leaves should be cleaned regularly. Simply wipe them carefully with a soft cloth.

 

Rubber fig «Alfred» - with incomparable sybolism
 

Feel like wishing someone well? Then you're right with rubber fig «Alfred». In Feng Shui it stands for abundance, happiness and wealth. But since it belongs to the genus of fig plants, it is also said to have an inspiring, calming aura.

 

In the tropics, fig trees are even considered sacred. Not only because Buddha attained his spiritual enlightenment under a fig tree. In India, too, many people worship it daily in one of their morning rituals. In the Old Testament, it also represents peace and prosperity. And in ancient Greece and Rome, the plant stood for fertility.

 

Accordingly, the rubber fig symbolizes abundance, happiness, wealth, inspiration, calming, enlightenment, peace and fertility. The choice is yours.  

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