Mid Atlantic Gardening forum: What is this houseplant?

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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Dec 13, 2015 1:02 PM CST
And yes I know I probably should go to Plant ID, or Houseplants, but thought I would ask here first.

This was, I suspect, purchased as a bonsai because it was in a very tight decorative pot. We couldn't get it out! so I smashed the pot, and repotted it with more soil. (Maybe that was wrong for a bonsai but it seemed necessary.)

It has a very bulbous base and the leaves grow at the ends of stems in a pattern of five. These are bad pictues but maybe someone will recognize it anyway. (Or I'll take better ones later.)

Ignore the little jade plant start. Notice the base is bigger than it appears at first because part is covered with soil.
Thumb of 2015-12-13/kylaluaz/7ec71e

foliage:
Thumb of 2015-12-13/kylaluaz/96a4d6

Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Dec 13, 2015 2:49 PM CST

Moderator

That is a cool-looking plant, Kyla! Where did you get it?
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Dec 13, 2015 3:37 PM CST
It was my cousin's and was languishing in the backyard. I rescued it along with an aloe vera. Both needed to be repotted. (I think! At least, the aloe did.)
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Dec 13, 2015 4:44 PM CST

Moderator

well if you had to break the pot to get the plant out, then it sounds to me like it needed to be repotted! Big Grin
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
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ssgardener
Dec 13, 2015 5:47 PM CST
Hmmm some sort of ficus?
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Dec 13, 2015 6:02 PM CST
Robin that was my thinking.

SS, ficus occurred to me too, but I couldn't find anything googling that looks right.Plus the leaves growing in fives is not the same pattern as ficus, which sends out alternate leaves if I remember right. But the leaf shape definitely looks like ficus.

Thing is I know I have seen pictures of these before, just can't figure out how to find them.
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
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ssgardener
Dec 13, 2015 7:21 PM CST
Yes, ficus leaves are alternate, but I can't tell from your picture that your plant is in fives. It's certainly not whorled or opposite.

Ficus has grey bark and shiny green leaves that are simple alternate, and it seems simple alternate is what you have there... maybe? Hilarious! I can't tell!

Btw, ficus can look like this: http://www.bonsaiempire.com/images/stories/species/ficus.jpg

Which is still supposedly simple alternate, but looks whirled.

Oh, I just found out that ficus can have simple, alternate, *and* spiral leaves, like this Ficus tsjahela:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Ficus_Ts...
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
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Eric4home
Dec 13, 2015 7:33 PM CST
I think you may have a light deprived rubber plant (Ficus elastica). The sprout definitely looks right. It may just be coincidence that each branch has 5 leaves. The leaves appear to have individual stems. Are there petiole scars extending down each branch, like it has lost leaves?
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Dec 13, 2015 7:50 PM CST
Nope, the sprout is seeded from a neighboring jade (rubber) plant. Promise. Not related.

And no, no petiole scars -- well I'm pretty sure. I will check tomorrow. And the leaves are definitely not alternate but may be a similar pattern to that second picture ssgardener linked to (hard to tell, though.)
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Dec 14, 2015 6:37 AM CST

Moderator

Maybe post another photo?
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
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kylaluaz
Dec 14, 2015 6:46 AM CST
I will!

And ssgardener is right, the leaves are not all in fives....
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Dec 14, 2015 7:26 AM CST
Better pictures, I hope.

Thumb of 2015-12-14/kylaluaz/343462



Thumb of 2015-12-14/kylaluaz/59d6e0

Thumb of 2015-12-14/kylaluaz/45d705

And, thanks everyone!
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
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ssgardener
Dec 14, 2015 7:48 AM CST
Well, that certainly looks ficus-y to me, but that's just my amateur opinion. Big Grin

Now I'm *very* curious to see what the experts say!
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Eric4home
Dec 14, 2015 9:59 AM CST
The jade seedling threw me. *Blush* The new pics help a good bit. My second suggestion would be Schefflera arboricola. Schefflera is a very common houseplant used in mixed planters and such at all sizes and stages of growth. I still think it looks a little light deprived, resulting in a spindly growth.
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Dec 14, 2015 10:17 AM CST
Ric, yes, that seedling makes it tricky in a photo. And I am sure it is deprived of all kinds of things! It's been in a too small pot for years, and while I don't know if it is light deprived (knowing where it has been) I think it's a bit puny and has lacked nourishment.

It was inside in a sunny window, winters, then outside on a shaded table in summers, for however long it's been here.

I looked at those Schefflera images and honestly don't think that's it either. None of those had that pronounced rounded, bulbous base, notthat I could see.

Hmm!
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Dec 14, 2015 8:02 PM CST
We were right that it is a ficus. I took it over to Plant ID and Janet offered the name GINSENG FICUS (Ficus Retusa).

Looking at the photos in her link, I think this is it.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Dec 15, 2015 5:30 AM CST

Moderator

glad you got an ID, Kyla!
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
Image
kylaluaz
Dec 15, 2015 8:07 AM CST
Me too! And Ric, I think you were right about it being light deprived though I resisted the thought. Smiling Hope it flourishes now. I am going to take it out of the East window for a time, and put some tiny Christmas ornaments on it, for the season, but it will still get light where I'll put it and will return to the sunnier window soon as I de-decorate it again.
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
Eric4home
Dec 15, 2015 8:33 AM CST
I agree GINSENG FICUS
Ric of MAF @ DG
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Dec 16, 2015 6:52 AM CST
Ugh, I should have known!

Ginseng ficus is a common beginner's bonsai plant because they can handle indoor conditions. They're sold at Ikea, HD, and other mass markets.

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