This is the first post of a little series I am beginning on houseplants. I bought my first true houseplant last January and fell into a deep, deep obsession over the first half of 2018. I’ve calmed down a bit and have sold off many of the plants that I purchased. If you want to see my path of destruction (to my wallet and much more), check out my @plantlifebai account on Instagram.
Now that I’ve found myself on the other end of my obsession, the plants still standing have stood the test of time and I can whole-heartedly call them my “favorites”.
My first and considerably my MOST favorite plant is this guy: Ficus Tineke. This is a variegated version of a Rubber plant and thus, sometimes is called a Variegated Rubber plant. The variegation in the leaves of this plant is soooooo pretty to me– it looks like a watercolor.
I first fell in love with Ficus Tinekes on Instagram and it took a few weeks for me to hunt down a little 4″ one from my local nursery. I babied that little plant until one day when I got a call from that same nursey informing me they had 6″ Tinekes with multiple stems and beautiful variegation. The issue with most Tinekes that I had come across was that the variegation was mostly dark green without much of the pretty white in the leaves that I loved. Skeptical, I went over to my nursey and COULDN’T BELIEVE MY EYES! So many perfect ones with the most variegation I had ever seen! I took a few and plopped them down on the ground to compare to one another and finally landed on a winner.
The plant came home with me and I repotted it into a slightly bigger nursey pot and added in the cute 4″ one that I had been growing in the few months prior. I now had a massive, insanely photogenic Variegated Rubber plant.
The Ficus family is a hardy bunch– with the exception of the well-known Ficus Lyrata– and don’t need tons of direct light. They are okay with indirect light in a South or West facing window– possibly even East. Ficus Tineke need a bit more than your run-of-the-mill Ficus simply because they are variegated, which means they have less chlorophyll in their leaves to absorb sunlight. That being said, this plant has been in a planter behind my desk and has done just fine. Each day after work I will place it on my kitchen table next to a Western window for a handful of hours to give it some brighter sun before putting it back into its planter.
As for humidity and watering, I like to mist my Tineke every other day or as often as I remember. You can’t really harm the plant with too much humidity, however, you CAN water the soil too much. I learned this the hard way when my 4″ plant got fungus gnats from my overwatering even though I only watered about once every week or week and a half. Thankfully I caught the gnat problem when they were still larvae and swapped out the wet soil for new (dry) soil which suffocated those buggers. My current watering plan is once every two weeks and I will wait even longer between waterings as the weather cools down and the plant enters dormacy.
Are you guys interested in my houseplant series? Let me know below 🙂