Ficus elastica 

(fii' cuss ee-lass' ti-ca)

Common name: Rubber Plant, India Rubber Tree/Fig

Family: Moraceae, Mulberry

Height x width: 6-10' x 2-3', or taller

Foliage: oblong to elliptic, alternate and simple, leathery and thick, glossy, dark green for species and variously colored for cultivars, 8-12" long

Flowers: insignificant, minute in axillary hollowed receptacles; produce yellow figs ½" outdoors

Light: bright, very adaptable to low

Temperature: warm to average

Watering: moderate to slightly dry

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: prefers humid, tolerates dry

Soil: average, well-drained

Pests and Problems: leaf spots, crown gall, twig dieback (Phomopsis), scales, mealybugs, spider mites; leaf yellowing if too wet; leaf loss if too dark or drafty or too dry

Growth habit, uses: large foliage plant, often for low light conditions for species

Other interest: one of the original and best known foliageplants; native to Southeast Asia; sticky white sap may irritate skin or stomach if ingested

Other culture: can grow quite tall and lanky indoors requiring support, or air layering to rejuvenate

Propagation: stem or tip cuttings, air layer, seeds

Cultivars:

'Decora'--dark, oval leaves to 15" long, creamy white midribs when mature

'Doescheri'--pink central rib and cream and gray patches on leaves

'Foliis Aureo-marginata'-- golden margins

'Honduras'--creamy or gray-green striping, broad

'Robusta'--large, rounded leaves to 18" long, very good for low light

'Rubra'--reddish leaves when young maturing with red edges

'Schrijvereana'--pale yellow-green patches on leaves

'Tricolor'--green leaves with cream and pink patches

'Variegata'--yellow markings and a yellow margin


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | PSS121 course