Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)

May 1, 2019

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes: Elastigirl, Plastic Man, Mister Fantastic, the incredible Rubber Plant. All awesome in their own way, but let’s face it, the true hero is the Rubber Plant (Ficus elascitca).

Two Ficus Elastica Variegated forms with their new leaves that have a pinky hue. Planted into our Raw Earth Plant Pots in Siltstone Grey.

With its thick glossy leaves, ranging in colour from burgundy red to almost black, the Rubber Plant is a hero amongst houseplants for its air cleaning powers. Rubber plants are able to absorb contaminates, carbon dioxide, as well as bacteria and mould spores to clean the air in your home. By combining carbon dioxide with hydrogen broken down from water taken up by the roots, Rubber Plants convert carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. How awesome is that? Forget about the Bat-signal, give us the Rubber Plant-signal.

Rubber Plants are perfect for the less-experienced gardener with their ability to handle periods of neglect. However, here are a few tips to bring you up to expert level and ensure that your Rubber Plant lives its best life.

Deep green foliage of the Ficus Elastica. Image from The Girl with a Shovel.

Light:

Bright, indirect light that isn’t too hot.

Watering:

During the warmer months, we suggest watering once a week. Routinely wiping the leaves with a damp cloth, or giving them a misting with a spray bottle, is also a good idea. The leaves will turn yellow and brown if you are overwatering your plant, so keep an eye out for this.

During the cooler months of the year, watering can be cut back to about once or twice a month. If the leaves begin to droop but not fall off, you may need to up the amount of water you are giving your plant. Do this gradually until the leaves perk back up.

Soil & Fertiliser:

A good quality, well-draining organic soil is recommended.

We recommend a balanced liquid fertiliser. Use this in spring and then again in late summer, but don’t overdo it. Too much fertiliser can cause plant burn.

Each leaf is a special, completely unique variegation on the Ficus Elastica Variegated form. Image from Greenery NYC.

Pests & Disease:

Like most houseplants, the Rubber Plant is susceptible to scale, spider mites and mealy bugs.

Cleaning:

Touched on a little bit above, but your plant will love you for giving it a regular clean. If indoors, the leaves of your plant will tend to gather dust, so cleaning with some luke-warm water is a good idea.

Did you know?

In the 1959 (single)/1961 (album) song ‘High Hopes’, Frank Sinatra sang about the Rubber Tree Plant and an ant’s hope to be able to move it.

A beautiful example of the Ficus Elastica Variegated with crisp white leaves. Image by jrlefrancois.

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