Rubber Tree Plant | Ficus Elastica
The Rubber Tree Plant is native to the tropical rain forests of India, Malaysia and South America. As a houseplant, it will grow stiff dark green and burgundy leaves on a strong tall trunk. For a large, bold indoor plant, select a Rubber Tree Plant.
The common name for a Ficus Elastica is the Rubber Tree Plant. In nature the Rubber Tree Plant can grow to a height of 40 to 50 feet and will spread much wider dropping aerial roots that become like multiple trunks. In the home, office or public building, it can be a large attractive houseplant in the corner of a room.
Although the Rubber Tree Plant likes bright light, it will adapt to lower light levels indoors. Give the Ficus Elastica as much light as you can, but not direct sunlight. If the light levels are too low, the plant will grow leggy.
The Ficus Elastica likes temperatures in the warmer range from 70 to 85 degrees F during the day and 65 to 75 degrees F at night.
The Rubber Tree Plant likes stability. Take care to avoid areas with drafts and heat sources.
The Ficus Elastica needs a well drained soil. Add perlite or coarse sand to a regular potting mix.
The Rubber Tree Plant grows well when humidity levels are in the 30 to 50% range. If the humidity is lower, it can be raised by placing pans of water around the plant.
Water the Rubber Tree Plant thoroughly and then let the soil dry out to a depth of 1/2 inch before watering again. The Ficus Elastica should not be allowed to stand in water.
Ficus Elastica should be fertilized every 2 weeks. This will help keep the plant full and healthy.
The Rubber Tree Plant is normally propagated by air layering. Make a cut in the stem about 2 feet from the top and wrap the cut in sphagnum moss. Moisten the moss and wrap it in plastic to keep it moist. Leave the plant in bright light and new roots should form in about 3 months. When new roots have grown, the top should be cut off and transplanted into it’s own pot.
Stem Cuttings may also be rooted in perlite, gravel or a seed starter mix. When roots form the cuttings can be transplanted into their own pots. Ficus Elastica grow best in larger pots.
Decoration and Placement Tips
Rubber Tree Plants will add a dramatic display of dark green or burgundy leaves to your indoor space. Ficus Elastica, when moved, need a period of time to become acclimatized to their new location. Older, larger plants will often drop many leaves as they acclimatize. Smaller Rubber Tree Plants show much less effect.
Ficus Elastica should be kept away from drafts and heat sources. The constant changes by these sources would keep the plants in shock and would result in a serious decline in the health and beauty of the Rubber Tree Plant.