February - F is for Ficuses, Foliage, Food and (unfortunately) Fungus gnats


  1. Ficus : a genus of about 900 species of trees, shrubs and vines commonly known as figs. Most are native to the tropical areas of East Asia. Of course most indoor plant enthusiasts will be familiar with the Rubber Tree. This is a popular specimen indoors as it is so easy to care for and requires very little maintenance. There are several varieties each with their own fabulous look but all are equally as forgiving for the most forgetful plant carer. Most common is the Ficus Elastica Robusta – with its gorgeous, waxy, shiny leaves that makes a great statement. Ficus Elastica Melany is a smaller version of the standard ficus with a slight bronze tinge as well as multiple stems growing leaves rather than a single trunk. Then there is the Ficus Elastica Burgundy (also called the Black Prince) which has very dark green leaves with a tint of deep red. The Tineke – a lovely light version of the ficus - has wonderful variegated leaves of light green and cream (sometimes almost yellow). Following on is the Ficus Tricolour which includes pink in the foliage – especially in new leaves which can appear almost red. Which brings us to the Ficus Elastica Ruby which is probably the most colourful of all the ficuses.
    Also in the ficus family are the Fiddle-leaf Fig – a very popular and attractive indoor plant – and the Ficus Benjamina or Weeping Fig which is a little more tricky but, grown as a topiary, is the most tree-like looking indoor tree J
    Check our website to see which options we have in stock – these are a great, hardy indoor plant option.
  2. Foliage: indoor plants, like everything else, gather dust. It’s important to keep plant foliage dust free so that optimum photosynthesis and growth can take place. Wiping leaves with a clean, damp cloth is one way to go. Give your plants some extra love with Neem Oil which will give those leaves some extra shine (and some protection from unwanted insects).
    Neem Oil from The Plant Runner available on our website.Go the whole hog with one of our Leaf Care kits from We The Wild – gorgeous gloves included!
  3. Food: although plants make their food through photosynthesis, fertilizer gives them that extra boost for new, strong growth. Watering is all very well but potting soil gets depleted of nutrients as time goes on and fertilizing your plants is a great way to replace those nutrients. Most importantly plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which all fertilizers will contain. Then there are micronutrients like iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and chlorine (17 in total). Newly potted or repotted plants will not require fertilizer – a good potting soil will have what they require. If it is time to feed your plants do it during the growing season only.
    We have great plant food from The Plant Runner available on our website.
  4. Fungus Gnats: these pesky creatures are tiny! Who would guess that they can wreak havoc on your plant babies if given the chance. The main thing with fungus gnats is not to overwater your plants (let’s face it, most of us are prone to doing that). Female gnats lay their eggs in rich, moist, organic matter so if you allow the top 2-4cms of soil to dry out before watering your plants again, this will 1. generally deter the critters from laying their eggs and 2. kill off any larvae already present in the soil. Yellow sticky traps are also a deterrent – gnats are attracted to yellow and when they fly in they get stuck to the trap and die. Neem oil has great anti-gnat qualities! Spray the soil with a diluted mix of neem oil to get rid of the larvae and deter adults from buzzing around. Indoor mulch like small pebbles or crushed gravel can prevent adult females from making it through to the soil to lay eggs.
    Neem Oil from The Plant Runner available on our website!