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The 15 Ficus elastica cultivars listed below are popular indoor floor plants. They thrive in moderate sunlight with occasionally dry soil and warm temperatures.
The rubber plant is a large tree in the fig genus, able to grow 196 feet (60 m) tall in its natural habitat. Rubber plants have oblong-shaped, thick, glossy leaves that may be a foot long. Some varieties are variegated with white, green, and red blends and are much smaller.
All About Rubber Plants
Rubber plants originate from South East Asia – China, Nepal, Malaysia, and India. They can reach a height of 196 feet (60 meters) in the wild and were a wildly popular houseplant forty years ago.
The introduction of numerous new and alluring cultivars is now seeing a resurgence.
Ficus elastica is a member of the fig genus and belongs to the banyan group, hence the name ficus. They share a genus with Fiddle Leaf Figs (Ficus lyrata), another popular indoor plant.
The genus belongs to the Moraceae (Mulberry) plant family, which includes more than 1100 species of tropical flowering plants.
There are numerous variations of rubber trees, including ones with reddish foliage, miniature versions, and plants with variegated leaves. Various kinds of rubber tree plants are listed below:
Rubber was initially produced using the milky latex present in the sap of Ficus elastic.
Today, the Hevea brasiliensis, often known as the Pará rubber tree, is the primary source of latex used in rubber production.
Planting Your New Rubber Plant
Before attempting to develop your rubber tree, you should become familiar with the equipment and procedures for caring for this plant.
We’ll cover this and more in the sections below to help you grow a gorgeous rubber tree plant home.
What to Do Before Planting
Before you bring your rubber tree plant home, you need to follow these steps:
- Purchase a suitable container and saucer before you plant your rubber tree. You can repot the plant in a more prominent planter or use a decorative pot to surround the plant’s original container.
- Make sure your rubber tree is potted with the appropriate soil and tools. These specifics will be covered later in the guide.
- Choose a location in your house where your plant can flourish and grow tall.
- When searching for the ideal plant, choose a younger rubber tree. Compared to more mature plants, rubber tree plants are more tolerant of the indoor growth environment.
How to Plant Your Rubber Tree
- For novice plant keepers, rubber plants make an excellent low-maintenance indoor tree. To keep your rubber tree happy, you’ll still need to keep up with a few conditions. When planting your new rubber tree, bear in mind the following conditions.
- When repotting your rubber tree, pick a roughly one-third bigger pot than the root ball.
- Terracotta is a good material option since it can assist remove extra moisture. Ensure that this pot includes a drainage hole to drain any excess water.
- When you bring your rubber tree plant home, you can leave it in its original pot unless you detect that its roots are starting to crowd. Eventually, it might favor a bigger clay or terracotta pot.
The Best Soil Mix for Rubber Plants
Your rubber tree will grow best in a well-draining potting mix because it does not like to sit in wet soil. Your plant will continue to develop happily, and the extra water will be correctly drained from the soil if it contains peat, sand, or perlite.
Caring for Rubber Plants
The Rubber Tree (or Rubber Plant) can grow up to 10 feet tall with the correct environment and upkeep. You’ll want to give this one plenty of room to develop.
Recognizing that Rubber Trees are not the simplest to cultivate, I still believe they’re worth the care they require. Rubber trees prefer an area with medium to bright light, and direct sunshine or dim lighting must be avoided.
They prefer regular, consistent watering but do not enjoy submerging their roots in water or prolonged periods of dryness. The rule of thumb is to water only when the top inch of the soil is dry. When watering, allow the plant to drain.
In zones 10 and 11, where temperatures range from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, rubber plants grow nicely in outdoor containers. Bring the plant indoors when it gets below forty degrees outside.
Put your container away from direct sunlight if it is an indoor plant. A spacious, well-draining container that is half an inch bigger than the root ball should be chosen.
These plants require a potting mix that drains properly.
Never overwater your rubber plant to protect it from root rot and other ailments. It’s time to water if the soil is dry to the touch at one inch deep. While being careful not to wet the leaves, water the plant at the base of the stem.
Pruning helps you control your plant’s size; therefore, it’s ideal to do it in the early summer and start when it is young.
Choose the branch that you want to remove. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, one-third down, with clean, sharp shears.
Pests and diseases
Rubber plants rarely succumb to pests or illnesses because they are disease resistant. In indoor plants, root rot is rather prevalent.
Avoiding overwatering, using the proper potting soil, and putting in a container with good drainage will prevent this.
The Rubber plant isn’t too picky about humidity, so it should be content being kept at the typical humidity levels found in houses.
The Rubber plant thrives in a wide range of temperatures, from 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate high and low temperatures rather well.
Still, temperatures above 85° F will cause the foliage to lose its lush appearance, and leaves may start to seem neglected and shrunken.
Although temperatures below 45° F would be dangerous, low temperatures can be tolerated.
Away from direct sunshine, bright circumstances are ideal for the rubber plant. It shouldn’t be kept in dimly lit spaces because it won’t be able to grow normally and will also have other issues.
Low light conditions are not an option if your rubber plant has variegated leaves.
These plants need bright light to keep their marks; otherwise, their colors will deteriorate and appear much less attractive and healthy.
You only need fertilizer when your rubber tree is actively developing. During the spring and summer, apply a water-soluble plant fertilizer once a month. Half-strength fertilizer for indoor plants is effective.
Rubber Plant Propagation
Remove a stem from the plant with sharp, sterile pruning shears to propagate your rubber tree.
Make a clean incision onto a healthy stem with multiple leaves.
This stem should be cut, allowed to dry, and then covered with rooting hormone.
For more straightforward planting, you should remove any leaves at the base of your cutting.
The cutting should now be planted in damp soil to produce a new miniature rubber tree. While it strives to establish itself in its new habitat and keep the environment warm and the soil moist.
Rubber Plant Toxicity
Sap from the rubber plant is poisonous to both humans and animals. The caoutchouc-containing milky fluid produced by the stem and leaves irritates the skin, eyes, mouth, and digestive system.
Common Rubber Plant Problems
You’ll probably need to use the process of elimination to figure out what makes your leaves turn yellow around the edges because this can happen for various causes.
If you believe overwatering may cause your plants’ yellowing leaves, let the soil completely dry between waterings.
Yellowing leaves can also be caused by a lack of nutrients, which can occur due to poor soil or insufficient fertilizer use. If your rubber plant has to be replanted, doing so and using new, nutrient-rich soil may help.
Yellowed foliage may also be caused by improper fertilizer use. Apply diluted fertilizer more frequently rather than a higher dose occasionally.
Your leaves will stay in optimum condition if you use a fertilizer with high nitrogen content.
It’s typical for some leaves to fall, especially the lower ones. However, there may be an issue if your plant loses many leaves.
The most common reason why rubber plants lose their leaves is overwatering. Repot the plant in fresh soil and reduce the water it gets.
A rapid drop in temperature or a lack of light may cause your leaf to drop if overwatering is not the issue. Try to keep your plant away from chilly drafts and ensure it receives an adequate amount of indirect, bright light.
Keeping your Rubber Plant Clean
Dust is the most frequent issue with indoor plants that have big leaves. Dust on your plant’s foliage might block light, so it won’t benefit from the bright environment you’ve provided.
The solution is to lightly wipe the leaves with a moist towel every few months.
15 Popular Rubber Plants
I have listed 15 popular Ficus elastica varieties below, limited to the F. elastica genus, avoiding the inclusion of other Ficus genera, such as the Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig) or the Ficus deltoidea (delta fig), both of which also have large leaves.
The table below lists the 15 rubber plant variants reviewed
|Ficus elastica’ Black Prince’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Decora’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Doescheri’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Foliis Aureo-marginata’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Melany’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Tricolor’|
|Ficus elastica “Ruby”|
|Ficus elastica “Sophia”|
|Ficus elastica ‘Chroma Abidjan’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Belize’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Shrivereana’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Sylvie’|
|Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’|
Ficus Elastica’ Black Prince’
The Black Prince Rubber Tree (also known as the Burgendy)is an evergreen tree that grows up to 30 feet tall in its native environment and is incredibly simple to care for. However, you can simply control its height when cultivated indoors.
This plant is alluring because of its big, leathery, dark reddish-black leaves. These plants require loamy soil that drains well and a sunny spot that offers indirect sunlight.
Ficus Elastica ‘Chroma Abidjan’
The leaves of the Abidjan Rubber Plant are shiny, oval, dark purple-red, and leathery. This plant usually thrives when kept in a pot, requiring wet, well-drained soil and direct, bright sunshine.
Ficus Elastica ‘Decora’
Numerous Ficus elastica varieties, including the popular F. elastica decora. They are successfully grown indoors, offering shiny leather-type leaves which grow to a foot long,
Ficus Elastica’ Doescheri’
Evergreen, small Rubber Plant “Doescheri” trees grow in a good environment. It has broad, elliptic, leathery leaves with irregular creamy-white edges that are dark green with grey blotches. The underside of the leaves, midribs, and stalks is pink.
Ficus Elastica ‘Foliis Aureo-Marginata’
You are indeed fortunate if you come upon this unusual plant. The leaves have a gold edge and a deep green color. A robust, colorful evergreen with red-pink and white variegation is the Ficus Marginata. Although the variegation needs more light than the ‘Burgundy’ type, care is comparable to that of other rubber plants.
Ficus Elastica ‘Melany’
The classic indoor plant, the rubber plant, has been around for a long time and is still in style today. They are simple to maintain and create a striking sculpture in the proper setting.
The lush foliage of Melany is a rich, glossy green with a seductive tinge of maroon. More air-filtering leaves are produced due to the dense, compact growth habit.
Ficus Elastica ‘Robusta’
Robusta Rubber produces dark green, glossy leaves. It’s primarily grown as a houseplant and will thrive if you provide a space where it gets bright indirect light and you keep the soil moderately moist.
Ficus Elastica ‘Tineke’
Tineke is a medium-sized rubber plant with broad, burgundy-hued leaves that are flushed in various patterns of green and cream, most evident when the leaves are young.
Ficus Elastica ‘Tricolor’
The Tricolor offers an excellent option for a specimen display pot plant, which offers green, cream, and even rose-colored variegated foliage.
Ficus Elastica ‘Ruby’
The rubber plant, or Ficus elastica, is a well-liked houseplant. The indoor varieties are substantially shorter than those grown outside, which can reach heights of over 30 meters.
This is a beautiful option for a specimen pot plant with lovely leaves.
Ficus Elastica ‘Sophia’
Ficus Sofia has an irresistible sheen. Its exquisitely smooth and reflective leaves have the most seductive emerald green hue when they first appear. The color will become a deep forest green as the plant and leaves grow older.
Ficus Elastica ‘Belize’
For the rubber tree “Belize,” a semi-shaded area with porous and humus-rich soil is ideal. Ficus elastica ‘Belize’ grows upright and branched, attaining heights of up to 6 feet (1.8 m) under ideal conditions.
Ficus Elastica ‘Shrivereana’
The Shrivereana is an attractive option for a specimen pot plant. The foliage is pale green with darker green specks and is best maintained in indirect, bright light.
Ficus Elastica ‘Sylvie’
The Sylvie cultivar has variegated leaves with dark green patterns and creamy yellow borders. It is the ideal plant for novice and expert home gardeners as it flourishes in various environments.
Ficus Elastica ‘Variegata’
The broad-ovate, green leaves of the variegated rubber plant or variegata rubber tree have crimson midribs and sharp, creamy yellow edges. This low-maintenance plant is perfect for mixed plant groups, vacant room corners, and well-lit entryways.
With its tree-like appearance and magnificent foliage, this plant creates a beautiful indoor specimen in a pot.
Rubber plants require some skill to grow. Most notable is their need for warmth, ample indirect light, and soil that drains well while retaining moisture. I’m sure you will find one or more among the 15 plants shared to add to your collection.
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