Rubber Tree Plant (Ficus Elastica, Ficus Robusta)

2 min read

The rubber plant is most typically found in southern parts of Asia, where it can grow as tall as 60 metres. It gets its name from the white latex coursing through its veins, which was once used to make rubber. Way back in 1400BC, the Mesoamerican people would mix latex from the rubber plant with juice from a Morning glory plant to make bouncy balls, which they used in a game called ollamaliztil. In English the game is known as pok-a-tok. Sadly, the rules are lost to history.

The rubber plant is not often used for its latex these days. It’s much more popular as a houseplant, loved for its thick, rubbery leaves. Those big leaves like a lot of light. Direct sun can be too harsh, but lots of indirect light will make this ex-sports star very happy. It will also appreciate a feed with liquid fertiliser once per month in spring and summer.

Light:
Rubber Plants can live in medium, indirect sunlight to dappled sun. Prolonged exposure to bright direct sunlight may burn and scorch their leaves.

Water:
Your Rubber Plant enjoys weekly waterings. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, especially during the winter when you may only need to water your plant fortnightly.

Humidity:
Rubber Plants enjoys a humid environment, but can withstand average humidity levels. We encourage misting or clustering your plants to help raise humidity.

Temperature:
Your Rubber Plant will thrive in temperature between 16-24ºC, but will not suffer unless temperatures drop below 10-12ºC.
 
Fertiliser:
Feed with general houseplant fertiliser monthly during the growing season (spring to summer).

Toxicity:
Rubber Plants are toxic to both people and animals - keep away from small children and pets.

Additional Care Information:
The large leaves of the Rubber Plant easily accumulate dust over time. Wipe them clean regularly with a damp cloth.

Troubleshooting:
  • Falling leaves: indicate your Rubber Plant has suffered from low humidity levels. Try misting it more frequently to remedy that, or placing it on a pebble tray partly filled with water (ensure the soil is not touching the water).
  • Browning, drooping leaves: indicates your plant has been overwatered. Ensure you let your plant’s soil completely dry out between waterings, and allow proper drainage.