My garage floor was covered by a significant pile of sturdy leaves yesterday:
What's going on here?
Well, one of the plants that I've been overwintering indoors every winter for the past five years or so -- or maybe I should say it's a houseplant that I've been bringing outside every summer? -- is a rubber fig (Ficus elastica).
Although these plants like most Ficus can get quite tall, mine instead has decided that it's more important to send out lots of side branches, probably because of too little light. It therefore got quite wide, making it difficult to place anywhere indoors.
So it's been in my garage, waiting for me to do something. Since I need the garage space back now, it was time to do some pruning. Above you can see some of the fresh pruning wounds. I didn't think to take a "before photo", but this last branch gives you an idea of what I was dealing with:
Ah, much better!
Each of the stems had several of its lower leaves removed -- that's where the leaf pile from the first photo came from -- and they were all placed into a bucket of water:
In a few months most or all of these will have rooted, ready for planting. I will probably plant a couple in the ground to see what they can do in a single growing season. The foliage is quite wonderful, don't you think? (Even when piled on the floor...)
The parent plant will probably remain in the garage for a while longer where it stays semi-dormant. Once we're closer to spring I'll put it somewhere warmer and brighter and will fertilize it. That will get loads more branches emerging just in time to be put outdoors again where they can grow "the right way" with enough light.
Ficus is such a tough and fun genus!
(I'm glad to have a bit more garage space back...)