Evergreen tree native to Australia and New Zealand, the ficus australe or ficus rubiginosa can reach a height of 8-10 meters in nature, but in a container it remains within 2-3 meters, with quite slow growth. It has an erect stem, thick and robust, with gray bark; in the part passes generally development numerous aerial roots; the crown is broad, rounded, and the young branches are covered with a light down, as well as the apical buds. The leaves are oval, rigid and leathery, opaque green on the upper side, reddish-brown and slightly pubescent on the underside. Throughout the year it produces flowers and fruits, in the shape of small figs attached to the bark of branches through a short petiole, they are light green in color, becoming yellow when ripe. This species of ficus is much appreciated as a houseplant, being more rustic than many other species of ficus.
It needs rather bright positions, even with a few hours of direct sunlight during the coolest hours of the day. Avoid, however, exposing it to direct sunlight in the most torrid summers or for too many hours a day. The f.rubiginosa does not tolerate temperatures below zero, so it is cultivated exclusively as a houseplant, although in regions with very mild winters it may find place in an exotic garden. It is an ideal species to beautify the interior of the house and able to bring a bit of greenery and joy to the home.
Water the f regularly australis, having the foresight to let the soil well dry between one watering and another to avoid water stagnation and the development of root rot. Every 15-20 days, provide fertilizer for green plants, dissolved in the water used to help the plant grow at its best.
Ficus rubiginosa or austral loves loose, deep, rich and very well drained soils; It is advisable to use a good balanced soil mixed with a little pumice stone. Given the tree-like growth habit, it is advisable to place the plant in a large vessel to avoid that an excessively light container favors the fall of the plant, even if only with a slight gust of wind.
Generally the small fruits are made fertile by a particular species of wasp, the seeds thus produced produce quite quickly some small plants if buried.
Ficus australis - Ficus rubiginosa: Pests and diseases
Before analyzing what are the possible diseases that affect the plant it is important to emphasize that ficus are resistant plants and despite the attacks of possible parasites, they usually manage to recover strength and develop at their best.
The f. rubiginosa or autrale, particularly fears root rot and cochineal. As for any rots, pay attention to the quantities of water given to the plant; to eliminate the problem of scale insects, use a specific pesticide product available at the best garden centers or nurseries. To prevent the problem in any case, it is advisable to follow the cultivation rules of f. australe listed above and dedicate appropriate care and attention to the plant to avoid problems of this type.