Florida Ruscus is an evergreen tropical plant of the Asparagaceae family. The shrub is native to Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia. It is a widely grown plant for commercial and decorative purposes. Its multipurpose usage is because of its dark green, semi-glossy, and thornless leaves erected on an upright, linear, and branchless stem.
The stem of the plants is a perfect material for floral arrangements and its fruits add significant beauty to the Christmas tree. This durable and easily manageable plant would be a great addition to your houseplant collection. Let us learn more about Florida Ruscus.
Common Names of Florida Ruscus
It is commonly known as:
- Butcher’s broom
- Israeli/Holland Ruscus
Classification of Florida Ruscus
- Genus: Ruscus
- Family: Asparagaceae
- Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Peculiar features of Ruscus genus
It is a genus of six flowering species that is native to the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, and Macaronesia. All plants belonging to this genus are evergreen perennial shrubs.
Origination and Distribution
The Florida Ruscus was firstly originated in Northwest Africa and since then it is found in Florida, the Middle East, and Israel. The perennial shrub is now grown lavishly in these areas for commercial purposes
Features of the Florida Ruscus Plant
Leaves and stem
The plant possesses oval-shaped, semi-glossy, and dark green color leaves. The foliage cuttings of this tropical plant are very popular worldwide.
These leaves are modifications of stem known as cladodes. The shapes of these cladodes may vary from elliptic to ovate and 3 inches in length and1 to ½ inches in width. The stem of these plants is straight, upright, and branchless and reaches the height of 3 feet.
These perennial shrubs are dioecious or unisexual (male and females plants are separate). The flowers are generally produced in the summer season and they start emerging from the entrance of the cladodes and are found either on their upper or lower surfaces. The white star-shaped flowers possess either violet or purple centers.
This evergreen shrub also produces inedible fruit during the summer to the early autumn season. The fruit is bright red, ½ inch long, and 5-10 millimeters in diameter. The fruit is only generated in the case you have either dioecious or monoecious species.
This tropical plant belongs to an evergreen community. The brightness and freshness of leaves are preserved throughout the year. Moreover, it does not shed leaves during the autumn season and only sheds leave when they are too old.
The growth rate of Florida Ruscus is very slow and depends upon the growing conditions. If adequate growth conditions are provided to the plant, then it starts growing at a moderate rate and generates more stems.
The Florida Ruscus do not possess friendly nature as it is toxic for both pets and humans. It can cause severe stomach cramps in case ingested by any pet. Therefore, a careful attitude should be adopted while handling this plant and keep this plant away from pets and children.
Though Florida Ruscus is grown abundantly for commercial purposes, however, it can be grown as a houseplant as well because it has minimal care requirements.
The tropical shrub goes into the dormant stage during winters and inhibits its growth. This is the reason that no fertilization is required in this season. It is recommended that as this period starts, you should reduce the watering frequency of the plant.
The presence of well-drained soil enables the plant to even continue its growth in case of low water availability. Therefore, it is drought tolerant and can survive even if water is not available adequately.
Florida Ruscus care
A quick guide to caring for Florida Ruscus:
Water: Once a week in winters, and thrice a week in summers
Soil: Neutral soil having pH 7.2
Sunlight; Partial shade or low light conditions
Fertilizer: Diluted houseplant fertilizer once in two months
Temperature: Ideal temperature range is 21°C to 30°C
Humidity: Ideal levels are 40-50%
This perennial shrub is equally adaptable to both wet and dry conditions. Being a drought-resistant plant, it does not require a large amount of water. You have to water your plant once a week in winters and thrice a week in summers.
In case, you are growing its stem within a terrarium placed on a side table, then the vase must be filled with water in a way that leaves are not submerged in water. As the leaves will rot in that case. The water of the vase must be changed regularly to avoid any bacterial contamination.
Florida Ruscus Soil Requirements
This beautiful plant is comfortable with all types of soil i.e., acidic, alkaline, and neutral. However, the best soil for this tropical plant is neutral soil having a pH of 7.2.
The best growing medium for this plant is a blend of peat and sand mix. The reason behind this is that sand mix possesses a decreasing capacity of retaining the moisture which is not suitable for the growth of this plant.
This evergreen plant is fond of partial shade or full shade conditions. However, these plants do not like direct sunlight. The fondness of shady areas enables you to grow these plants in any corner of your houses like a drawing-room, bedroom, or basement.
In case, you want to place this plant within an outdoor environment then you must cover its leaves and protect them from bright direct sunlight.
The plant expresses its full beauty at room temperature from 21°C to 30°C. This room temperature is preserved during the spring and autumn season. Nevertheless, the temperature may deviate from this range during winters and middle summers.
This is the time when you have to change the place of your pot to the area where the temperature is warm that is suitable for optimum growth.
Interestingly at the same time, this evergreen plant is heat and frost resistant, however, its health and growth rate are influenced due to these temperature conditions. Therefore, to ensure the best growth of the plant, you must maintain room temperature.
Florida Ruscus is an adaptable plant as it can grow in varying growing conditions. This is the reason that it can survive in high, medium, or low humidity levels. However, the humidity level of 40-50% is ideal for enjoying the splendid beauty of this plant.
Its leaves become the fullest, freshest, and greenest at this humidity level. In case, the humidity level is 10-30% within your home, then you can regulate it through a humidifier. Moreover, the humidity level for the plant can be increased by either placing it within a pebble tray or grouping it with other house plants.
It is not a food lover as it must be fertilized once every two months. And it does not require any fertilizer during the autumn and winters seasons.
A houseplant fertilizer having a balanced amount of micro and macronutrients is the best option for feeding this plant. Another important thing to remember is to dilute the fertilizer before giving it to your plant. It is recommended to take two tablespoons of fertilizer, mix it in one gallon of water, and then feed your plant.
The plant does not require any pruning for improving its appearance as it looks attractive and decent with its fuller leaves. But you still have to do one thing, that’s to remove the dead and old leaves. As it would help to preserve the energies of plants that might be dedicated to the already dead leaves.
Repotting is required when the plant increases two times in its height. It is recommended to do repotting every year during the time of active growth.
You should take a new pot that is 1-2 inches bigger than the previous one, refill it with the fresh potting mixture, and place your Florida Ruscus in it. Adding the new soil mixture is very important during repotting as it will provide the plant with fresh nutrients that are essential for its growth.
Florida Ruscus Propagation
The decorative use of its stems, flowers, and fruits makes its propagation worth some thought. Knowing the fundamental ways to propagate this plant will enable you to have your collection of this beautiful plant.
The propagation of this plant is done through the division method and the best time for propagation is during repotting. The simple steps to propagate your plant are as follows:
- Take out the plant from the pot
- Remove all excess soil
- Eradicate all damaged rhizomes
- Untangle the roots with fingers
- Divide 1/3rd of the plant having a healthy rhizome attached to the roots
- Place these two parts in different pots and add fresh potting mix to them
- Water the plant and place it in low-light conditions
This plant is prone to scales and aphids. The probability of pest infection increases in case of the presence of increased moisture on the surface of leaves. Therefore, avoid over misting and overwatering. Also, in case of a pest attack, rubbing the leaves with neem oil or antibacterial soap can reduce the damage to leaves.
Common Problems and Solutions
The most common diseases that your plant can contract are bacterial blight and fungal leaf spots.
The presence of reddish-brown and water-soaked spots on the leaves of your plant indicates that your plant is suffering from bacterial blight.
Fungal leaf spot:
The fluid-filled, irregular necrotic spots highlight that the plant has been infected by fungus.
In case of any disease, the best way to address is to keep the plant dry and avoid misting and overwatering. As both bacteria and fungus only attack the plant when there is increasing moisture on the leave’s surface. Moreover, cutting the damaged leaves can also avoid damaging the other parts of the plant.
If you want a plant that can grow easily within the indoor environment with minimal care and effort, then Florida Ruscus must be at the top of your list. It is a beautiful plant that can grow within a wide range of growing conditions and adorn the indoor environment spectacularly.