How to Maintain a Rubber Plant at Home

How to Maintain a Rubber Plant at Home

Fast Facts About Rubber Plant

Botanical Name: Ficus elastica
Also known as: Rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush, Indian rubber tree
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Ficaeae
Genus: Ficus
Country of origin:  Asian countries, such as Nepal, Indonesia, India, and China.
Benefit: The rubber plant is included in NASA’s list of natural air-purifying indoor plants.
Toxicity: Poisonous to children, cats, and dogs
USDA Hardiness Zone: 10 and 11

Ficus elastica, otherwise called the rubber tree, is a cousin to one of the most popular houseplant nowadays, Fiddle-leaf fig, or Ficus lyrata. Its oval-shaped, glossy, and dark green foliage creates drama and a pretty pop of color against any background.

In the tropical forests of India and Southeast Asia, a rubber tree can go up to a towering 50 to 100 feet in height. This is why any version of this tree grown indoors can be fairly called a miniature even if it reaches its maximum 6 feet.

    Rubber Plant Varieties

    There are many plant varieties of Ficus elastica or the native rubber tree from India. The ones that are available today are probably hybrids designed to adapt better as an indoor plant.  These include:

    • Ficus robusta
    • Ficus Decora
    • Ficus Burgundy
    • Ficus Abidjan
    • Ficus macrocarpa
    • Ficus carica
    • Ficus benghalensis
    • Benjamina ficus (fig tree)

    There are also other various variegated types as well as dwarf varieties.

    How to Care for a Rubber Plant Indoor 

    • Place your rubber tree in a south-facing, light-flooded window. It just loves loads of bright indirect light every day. In low-light conditions, this indoor plant will become leggy in search of sunlight.
    • Feed with a weak, balanced plant fertilizer in liquid form during growing season.
    • Stick to a regular watering schedule. Your rubber tree can die on you when it’s parched dry.
    • Keep the soil moist by watering more frequently during growing season. During the dormant season, experts suggest once or twice a month watering is OK.
    • Overwatering versus underwatering. Watch out for dry, limp leaves, which may be a signal for thirst. On the contrary yellowing and browning leaves can be a visual indication of overwatering.
    • Mist with water and wipe with a soft, cotton cloth occasionally. This not only helps improve humidity but removes dust and dirt on the leaf surface, which may be blocking light and hindering photosynthesis.