Types of rubber plants

Plants are the Strangest People

11 It’s one of my five favorite books, in fact. This is at least partly because I read it at when a young and impressionable college student, but I re-read it recently and it holds up a lot better than some of my other favorites, so I’m left to conclude that it’s just a good book.
12 (At least sometimes. With some plants in my collection, yes, I settle for not killing them.)
13 There are other reasons one might see leaf drop (see WATERING) or stretched stems (see GROOMING), but if you’re seeing both at once and the plant isn’t in a bright spot, inadequate light is likely your problem.
14 How does that work, you may be wondering. Well, one of the gases released from decaying potting soil is ethylene, which happens to be a plant hormone responsible for, among other things, fruit-ripening and leaf-dropping. Ficus elastica is more sensitive to ethylene than a lot of other houseplants, so being too close to a plant with soggy soil may cause the Ficus to drop leaves even when the Ficus’s own soil is fine. (Ethylene is also a minor component of natural gas, so being too close to a gas-powered appliance may also lead to leaf drop.)
15 If you’re getting the impression that pretty much everything causes rubber trees to drop their leaves: um, you’re not wrong.
16 According to my source, all Ficus species have cystoliths, but when I examined my own plants, I couldn’t find any on F. lyrata, F. microcarpa, or F. pumila.
17 Interpretation: Ms. Smith is apparently a sorceress of some kind who dislikes Trey Anastasio and co., and has utilized cystoliths in the casting of a spell which gives her at least six wishes. One of the wishes is that the members of Phish be told an untrue story (number five in a series of stories) involving a dish, a story so incomprehensible or outrageous that it will destroy not only their brains but also their spinal columns. The moral, obviously, is to keep Trish Smith away from the Ficuses and/or improvisational musicians.
And yes, I know this isn’t as good as Nana Anna’s anise ‘n’ Ananas nanus cookies, but it’s at least longer and harder to say.
18 Seriously, some of the plants we sold at the garden center had rootballs that were like 90% roots and 10% soil. They needed water all the time, but as long as they got that, they were fine.
19 I’m erring on the side of caution. It’s not clear to me that people with latex allergies (who are, I’m assuming, allergic to natural rubber from Hevea brasiliensis) would automatically also be allergic to the sap of Ficus elastica, and as I said above, there are a lot of websites who think that Hevea brasiliensis and Ficus elastica are the same plant, so it’s hard to put too much stock in some of the warnings. However, Ficus species do tend to be more allergenic than plants from other genera (F. benjamina is a problem for me personally, though it’s not so bad that it keeps me from growing them.), and if you’ve had a severe reaction to natural rubber before, you may as well not chance it. It’s not like you don’t have other options for indoor plants.

Rubber Tree Plant

The Rubber Tree is a winning indoor plant. Not only does it look great in your living room or kitchen, but it’s hardy and easy care. What more could you want from a plant? If you are just starting out with indoor plants, this is a great beginner’s plant and one to boost your confidence.

Different Varieties of Ficus Elastica

Its scientific name is Ficus Elastica, and it’s a member of the fig family. There are three common varieties available as house plants – the pink variegated, the cream variegated and the black. They all have large, shiny, leathery leaves and grow up from a central stem.

Pink Variegated

Known as the Ficus Elastica ‘Tricolor’ has pink ad cream coloured patches on a green background.

Cream Variegated

Known as the Ficus Elastica ‘Schrijvereana’ has squarish patches of cream and pale green.

Black Rubber Tree

Ficus Elastica ‘Black Prince’ has leaves that are an impressive green black as their normal colour. Adding to its dramatic appearance are the bright red protective sheathes that new leaves emerge from.

How to water a Rubber Tree

The Rubber Tree is seriously an easy care plant. To know when it needs watering, simply dig your finger down about an inch into the soil, if it is dry an inch down then your plant needs watering.

For a plant in approximately a 26cm pot, give the plant a good soaking with a litre of water. Let all of the excess water drain out – Don’t let the plant sit in excess water. Your plant will need less water is winter than in the summer months.

Best Position for your Rubber Tree Plant

Rubber Plants love a well lit space in your home, but do try and avoid direct light; the rubber tree will be happy in a bright position.

Rubber Trees love to have their leaves cleaned, plus the leaves look great when they are free of dust and glossy. To clean the leaves, use a soft cloth damp with luke warm water. Remember to use one hand to support the leaf from underneath when you are cleaning so as to avoid any strain on the leaf stalk.

Thanks very much to Ruth from Fowlers Flowers , Clifton Hill, for sharing her practical tips on keeping you Rubber Tree Plants looking healthy.

If you’re loving indoor plants and are looking for tips on caring for other gorgeous indoor plants, check out our other plant care guides

Or discover more pots and baskets perfect for indoor plants like the Rubber Tree Plant.

Thanks so much to the lovely folk at Frankie & Coco in Hampton, Established for Design in Malvern East and Zachloe Lifestyle in South Melbourne for so kindly loaning us some of their beautiful planters for use in this shoot.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you are ready to start building your wishlist of products, then be sure and check out our Pots for indoor plants range.

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Ficus elastica

Growing natively in the sub-tropical parts of the world the ficus elastica thrives in temperate environments with rainfall. The do not like the cold nor do they like very humid tropical environments. If caring for a rubber tree domestically, you should avoid over-watering.

It is good to place the Ficus Elastica tree in the nice bright light. The direct sunshine should be avoided.

They like good water often so water the rubber tree once in a day, but avoid over watering by making sure the soil is dry before watering again. You must also make sure that the tree pot has the holes to drain the excess water into a plate that can be used later when needed.

A fig tree pot should be a well-draining pot. The mixture of the soil must include 1 part peat, 1 part pine bark along with a part of coarse sand.

It is important to re-pot the tree per year. The soil must be renewed once in a year for the healthy growth of the tree. As this is a relatively fast growing tree, it will use up the soils nutrients quite quickly, so it’s essential to renew each year.

It is advised to feed your fig tree twice per year with the diluted liquid fertilizer. The spring and summer two best seasons to feed your fig trees.

You can propagate the fig tree by cutting few inches of fresh growth just below the new growth bud of the tree. Allow the sap of the tree to dry for one hour.
Tip: You can use the heating pad to warm the soil of the tree to simulate natural conditions. The ideal temperature should be around 70°F (21°C) – 75°F (24°C).

The Ficus elastica grows perfect with the normal humidity. You can also spray the water on the leaves in the summer season.

The fig tree can be pruned once it reaches the desired height. The ideal time to prune is just before spring. It is fine to trim it in any other season as well if it is an indoor potted plant.

  • Lacewing grub
  • teensy ichneumons
  • australian lady bugs
  • predator mites

Once there are no more scales or spiders they will vanish by themselves.

Recognising and Prevention

A pest infestation can especially be caused by a dry room temperature (you should sorry your tree from time to time) or water-logging. Flower soil will often import fungus gnats that can be exterminated by their natural enemies (biological remedies).

If the infestation is limited, you can also use nee oil, or a mixture of dish detergent, liquid paraffin and water. You have to act once the first signs of a yellow staining, dry leaves or fine webs of the red spider mite appear, so that it won’t spread.

First aid measures are:

  • shower the plant off
  • put it into a plastic sack for a week
  • spray it with lime-free water daily


Once the Ficus Elastica starts cultivate aerial roots and the substrate pushes up you should look for a new pot. It feels the happiest in a clay pot.

You should keep the following things in mind:

  • cut off dry or rotten roots
  • use a pot or bucket that’s 5 to 10 centimetres bigger than the one before
  • put a drainage made of pebbles, pellets or shards above the water outlet
  • fill with new substrate with soil and perlite
  • put the rubber bush onto this and seal both sides air tight wit soil by pressing on well enough
  • leave a space of roughly 5 centimetres at the edge of the pot
  • immediately water the plant and remove excess water from the saucer


The classic rubber tree comes not only on its conventional form, but also in more creative ways, thanks to innovative breeders. There are sorts with wider leaves (Decora) and green and white spotted leaves (Doescheri). There are even ones with creme- or rose-coloured leaf marks (Tricolor).

Quite a noble kind ist the Ficus Elastica „Black Prince“ with its really big, round and dark-green leaves. The most-known new breedings are the following ones.

Ficus Elastica ‘Robusta’

  • with oval leaves and a great resistance to diseases, as well as bad care
  • this tree shouldn’t be moved from its location

Ficus Elastica ‘Variegata’

  • with multi-coloured leaves in a creme-white and bright yellow
  • it’s a bit smaller than its fellow species

Ficus Elastica ‘Tineke’

  • with distinct leaf marks in dark-green and white
  • this looks especially good in a bright place
  • growth-restricted

Ficus Elastica ‘Melany’

  • growth-restricted as well, with dark-green to slightly red leaves
  • compact plant that doesn’t like direct sunlight

Ficus Elastica ‘Belize’

  • one of the colourful kinds with a tight growth height

Ficus Elastica ‘Australis’

  • growth-restricted with very green and shiny leaves

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Rubber Plant

Ficus elastica: Rubber Plant

This is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a tree-type indoor plant that will grow quite high. Its beautiful, shiny leaves will lend a lush, tropical look to your home or office, either on its own or as backdrop to other, lower growing pot plants.

Lifestyle Home Garden stocks the following varieties of Ficus elastica with three very different striking foliage variations:

Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’ (Tineke Rubber Plant): a striking variegated green and white foliage with a blush of pink/burgundy

Ficus elastica robusta: a variegated cream and green foliage

Ficus elastica ‘Abidjan’: a dark variety with beautiful burgundy coloured leaves

Ficus elastica are commonly referred to as:

Rubber plant or Rubber tree

Size of the Rubber Plant:

In its natural environment, the Rubber plant will grow up to 20m high, but containerised in an indoor situation it will reach a maximum height of 3m.

Water requirements for Your Rubber Plant:

The rubber plant needs to be kept moist, but must not sit in water. Water when the top layer of soil becomes slightly dry, roughly once a week in summer and fortnightly in winter.

It will also benefit from a regular misting to keep the air around it moist, especially in summer or if the room is heated in winter.

Click |HERE| to learn more about watering your plants.

Ideal Light Conditions for Your Rubber Plant:

Ficus elastica prefers a position in bright light with no direct sunlight on its leaves. Place it near a sunless window or at least 2m away from a sunny window.

Temperature Requirements for Your Rubber Plant:

Average room temperatures of 15 – 24°C are perfect. The rubber plant does not enjoy temperatures lower than 12°C and should never be exposed to drafts.

Feeding Requirements for Your Rubber Plant:

Feed with a liquid fertilizer every fortnight during spring and summer.

General Care for Your Rubber Plant:

Ficus elastica is one of the easiest figs to take care of. Most important is not to overwater it and not to move it around too much once you have found the perfect place for it. A sudden drop in temperature or light conditions or exposure to a draft will affect its condition.

Plant in a well-draining, good quality potting soil. It’s a relatively fast grower and will need to be re-potted every year while it’s young and about every three years once it has matured. Repot in a pot one or two size bigger than the one it is in to allow for space for root growth. Once it becomes too big and impractical to repot, simply top up the potting soil when necessary. Click |HERE| for some guidelines to repotting your indoor plant.

Cut off dead leaves and twigs regularly. Once your rubber tree has reached the height you prefer, you can cut the top off. It’s best to do this in spring or summer. Wear gloves when you prune it and avoid getting the white sap it releases into your eyes or onto your skin.

Clean leaves regularly with lukewarm water and a soft cloth to remove dust and show off its beautiful shiny leaves.

We also understand that shopping for indoor plants can be daunting when you are not sure exactly how or what to do, so we have put together a Shopping for Indoor Plants Guide to help you Discover Your Wild with indoor plants.

Click |HERE| for your downloadable version of our Shopping for Indoor Plants Guide

Red Sheath On Ficus: Does Rubber Plant Flower

If you’ve grown a rubber tree plant (Ficus elastica), especially the burgundy type, and noticed what appears to be a beautiful flower unfurling, you might begin to wonder if rubber plant blooms or if this is your imagination. Find out in this article.

Does Rubber Plant Flower?

Yes, rubber plant is capable of producing flowers and, subsequently, small fruits. It is a species of fig, after all, related to the figs that are grown commercially to produce the filling in your Newtons. But popular houseplant species such as rubber trees and their cousins, the weeping figs (Ficus benjamina), rarely bloom or yield fruits.

Actual rubber plant blooms are small, greenish and insignificant; they also are unlikely to occur on a rubber plant growing indoors in a container or even one growing outdoors in warm temperate to semi-tropical conditions.

What is the Red Sheath on Ficus?

As colorful as any flower, the red sheath on ficus may be an eye-catching addition to gardens indoors or out, but it is not a blossom or even the beginning of rubber plant blooms. Truth be told, a flowering rubber tree plant would be less likely to attract attention than one in the process of putting forth new growth that emerges from a burgundy to bright red sheath on ficus.

The red sheath on ficus develops when a plant is actively growing and putting forth new leaves, most typically in spring and summer on healthy plants. Not all varieties of rubber plant wrap their developing foliage in red, but widely available cultivars such as ‘Rubra’ and ‘Burgundy’ produce their new growth from a bright to deep red sheath and also have reddish leaf veins and stems. After a new leaf emerges, the sheath typically turns brown and shrivels up.

Whatever the predominant color(s) of your rubber plant’s foliage—cultivars with white, pink, cream, and gold variegation are available, too—keep it looking its best by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Give it a spot where it receives bright, indirect light.
  • Wipe the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth to remove dust from the broad smooth surfaces.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season but avoid overwatering that will cause the leaves to drop. During the fall and winter, allow the upper inch of growing medium to dry out between waterings.

Rubber plants require good drainage but are otherwise easy-to-grow, attractive foliage plants. You may not have a flowering rubber tree plant, but you can enjoy rubber tree’s colorful foliage for years with just a modest amount of care.

Wax Plant

Botanical Name: Hoya carnosa

Long, slender vines of the Wax Plant are covered with thick, green leathery leaves. The leaves are sometimes flecked with silvery or creamy white.

To show off its thickly-leafed vines, and to give them a denser appearance, loop them around a wire hoop or small trellis and tie loosely with florists wire.

Given enough light, Wax Plant will produce parachute clusters of star-shaped, white to pink flowers with five-point centers. Those flowers are so intricately detailed, uniformly shaped and shiny, they’re sometimes called Porcelain Flower. You can expect Hoyas to bloom in the spring, summer or fall, depending on the variety.

You’ll find lots of H. carnosa cultivars for sale. ‘Krinkle’ has wrinkly leaves…’Variegata’ features leaves edged in creamy white… and ‘Krimson Queen’. Other species of Hoya are available, but they don’t produce the number and size of flowers as the carnosa species. H. bella is a small-leafed species. H. australis has smaller flowers that smell like honeysuckle.

Sticky flowers? Hoya flowers are sweetly scented and may form drops of sticky nectar. This is normal.

Late Bloomer

Give this plant time to adjust when you bring it home. You may not see many blooms on it until it is 2 or 3 years old, so don’t give up on it.

Dropped flower buds are often caused by soil that is too dry or too wet. Also, do not move the plant when buds are forming because changes in light may cause them to drop. Raising the humidity can help.

Repot in early spring every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its pot. Wax Plant blooms best when almost pot-bound, so move it to a slightly larger pot (about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the old one). Never repot a plant when it’s in bloom because it may drop its flower buds.

Hoya carnosa is a fast-grower. You can prune back long vines if you want to keep it compact. The best time to prune is early spring, before Hoyas start their most vigorous time of growth. Don’t prune off the leafless stem — or spur — where flowers have been produced because flowers will form on the same spurs year after year. Wax Plant belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae — the milkweed family. When cut, the stems may exude (just a little) milky, white sap.

Watch for pests. Peaty potting mixes that are kept wet sometimes attract fungus gnats. You may find these fly-like critters crawling on the soil. Mealybugs may move in, too. Easy to detect, they are small, white and fuzzy.

Spider mites are less common, but can cause more damage. Fine webbing between stems are a sure sign of this destructive pest. Cut off badly affected stems. If it’s warm enough, take your plant outdoors (keep it shaded outside) and wash it off with tepid water to dislodge these mites. Otherwise, place it in the shower. Treat it with insecticide specially made for spider mites.

Misting your plant regularly may prevent an invasion of spider mites that like dry air. And your Wax Plant will love the humidity.

Winter care. Hoyas do not go dormant in the winter, but growth slows down with lower light levels. One of the few problems with Hoya plant care is overwatering. Allow soil to dry out a bit between waterings in winter and stop fertilizing until spring. Maintain humidity, which can drop drastically in winter. Also keep your plant away from heat/AC vents. Blasts of hot air, especially, will dry out foliage and may cause flower buds to drop.

This is a long-lived plant and easy to grow with little attention.

Growing Wax Plant Indoors

Origin: India and East Asia

Height: Trailing stems can grow to 10 ft (3 m)

Light: Bright indirect light year-round. Some direct sun is fine, but shade plants from harsh summer sun, which can scorch foliage. Hoyas will live in low light, but will not bloom. Artificial grow lights work beautifully. Put your Wax plant about 8 inches (20 cm) beneath the light and keep the lights on for about 14 hours a day. It’s also important to give them darkness at night. Plants need a rest, too. Once your plant has formed flower buds, don’t move it around. Changes in light levels can cause flower buds to shrivel up or fall off before they open.

Water: Water thoroughly spring through fall, allowing potting mix to dry out a bit between waterings. Flowering Hoya plants are thirsty, but don’t like to sit in soggy soil. Be sure to use a pot with drainage holes and empty the drainage tray. Use room-temperature water for your tropical plants. Cold water can shock them. In winter, water sparingly giving the plant just enough to keep the soil from drying out completely.

Humidity: Prefers 50% relative humidity. Use a room humidifier for best results. Or you can set the pot on a humidity tray. Misting the foliage with a fine spray of room-temperature water helps, but avoid getting the flowers wet.

Temperature: Keep it warm year-round (65-75°F/18-24°C), with a minimum temperature of 60°F/16°C.

Soil: 2 parts sphagnum peat moss-based potting mix with 1 part perlite added for better drainage.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with high-potassium liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Take 3 in (7 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring. Cuttings should include at least 1 pair of leaves. They will root easily in moist potting mix.

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Colour your home green with indoor plants

House plants have seen a huge spike in popularity in recent years, particularly among city dwellers looking to reconnect with nature. But plants don’t just add character and tranquility to a home – they can also help to purify the air around you and can even improve your mood and wellbeing. Here’s why, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to welcome plants into your home.

Most indoor plants are low-maintenance

We all know how busy life can get, and when you buy your first house plants, inevitably some might not last. Luckily, there are certain plants that require very little maintenance, so you won’t have to worry about sticking to a strict watering schedule.

These plants include succulents, such as aloe plants, which rely on dry soil and need very little water (they do, however, need plenty of sun). Another low-maintenance plant is the cactus. This stores moisture for long periods of time after being watered, which essentially makes it self-sufficient. If you want to avoid watering altogether, you could try artificial plants – they require zero maintenance and often look just as great.

They can improve air quality

Plants don’t just improve the aesthetics of your home. Studies have shown that indoor plants can help to create cleaner air by absorbing gases and removing any harmful substances. Big, leafy plants are the best at purifying the air, but you can achieve a similar effect with lots of small plants.

House plants brighten up your home

It doesn’t matter where you place them, plants can lift the mood of any room in a matter of seconds. Whether it’s a cactus for your kitchen, a hoya for your hallway or indoor hanging plants for your bedroom, house plants are a great way to incorporate colour and vitality into your home.

As well as brightening up your space, caring for your plants can help to boost your mood, leaving you feeling as calm and collected as your surroundings. Planning your own green retreat? Explore our range of house plants and welcome nature into your home.

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