Rubber Tree Plant Care: Tineke, Ruby, Burgundy

Are your Rubber plant’s leaves curling or losing them as they fall off? Aer they turning yellow or brown? Maybe are they generally looking drooping? This is the article with Rubber plant care tips you’ve been looking for!

A native to Southeast Asia, the Rubber tree is a popular houseplant. It is known for its waxy and oval-shaped leaves. They have a beautiful, deep green color. Its leathery foliage is aesthetically pleasing and practical. It allows you to wipe the leaves more easily using a plain cloth. They are commonly used as floor plants because of their large and striking appearance.

ficus elastica on light background

It can grow as high as 100 feet in their homelands. When cultivated indoors as a houseplant, it can grow up to 10 feet tall. If you want to keep them smaller in size, put them in small pots to limit their growth. Consider putting them close to a shady area like a garage if you plan to grow them outdoors.

Suppose you wish to get started with this gorgeous addition to your home. We encourage you to check out this garden store, and we’ve had some great experiences. It will relieve you of the pain of growing them from seed. They may arrive with leaves that may seem brown. If that’s the case, you have to discard those leaves. They will regain their strength in no time!

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Having them around or near your garage is a perfect way to take the focus away from common eye distractions. Perhaps you have a waste oil heater or engine-driven welder that takes up a lot of space.

They are said to be effective air purifiers by helping to reduce formaldehyde. They are generally harmless, but people with existing houseplant aversion may need to watch out for reactions. Such reactions could include stomach pain and skin irritation.

For cats and dogs, they may cause an upset stomach and other discomforts if they chew on them. They’re somewhat toxic to your furry friends.

Here’s everything you need to know about Rubber tree plant care. We’ll go into more detail for Burgundy, Ficus Elastica, and Tineke rubber trees.rubber tree plant

Varieties & types of

The scientific name is Ficus elastica, part of the banyan group under the ficus genus. It belongs to the fig family known as Moraceae. There are more than 1,100 species that mainly thrive in tropical and subtropical countries.

Ficus elastica is native to many countries in Asia, such as:

  • Malaysia
  • China
  • Nepal
  • India
  • Bhutan
  • and Indonesia

The tropical climate suits it best. It has become naturalized in other regions, including the West Indies and Hawaii.

It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant, though other countries have unique ways of finding a use for it. In some areas in India, people use the roots of fully grown ones as “living bridges.”

These areas are prone to heavy downpours, so these living bridges prevent the flooding from cutting off villages. In the past, people also used the tree’s white latex. It is a chemical compound different from sap. It is used to make rubber. For Feng shui experts and practitioners, they symbolize fortune and good luck.

They come in different varieties that can be distinguished by their variegated leaves & height. The widely known varieties include:

  • Tineke
  • Tricolor
  • Burgundy
  • Decora
  • Robusta
  • Melany
  • Abidjan
  • Doescheri
  • and Dwarf Ficus elastica

In this article, we listed three of the most popular varieties. There’s a guide on how to care for each of them. It includes watering and temperature needs. We’ll also talk about light needs. Speaking of lists, you may want to check out our list of the best plasma cutters for your money.

Tineke Rubber Tree

Ficus Tineke has waxy, variegated oval-shaped leaves. They come in a mixture of green, white, and cream shades. The plant is easy to care for. This easy-to-care-for option is drought-tolerant and grows up to 1 meter.

Its leaves grow within a sheath, which then matures and grows even bigger as the new ones continue their growth. While it is an amazing houseplant, Tineke may trigger skin irritation in some. For pets, it may cause stomach irritation and vomiting.

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Watering

The Tineke variety needs to be watered consistently, especially during its growth phase. Watering should be scaled back during the winter season. To properly water Tineke, let the top part of the soil dry out and water thoroughly from there. As it grows, its need for watering also moderates.

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Lighting

Tineke should be given indirect sunlight regularly for its variegated leaves to thrive. Make sure to rotate it every month to ensure that all sides receive enough sunlight. Too much direct exposure to sunlight could burn Tineke’s leaves in other plants.

Temperature

The Tineke thrives in average room temperatures ranging from 60 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit as a tropical plant. You should avoid levels below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold drafts and heating vents are aæsp a no-go. Sudden temperature changes are bad for the Tineke rubber plant.

Tineke enjoys humid air because of its tropical nature, but it can also tolerate less humid temperature levels. If it feels too hot or too cold for you, it is probably the same for your Tineke. That’s the general rule of thumb.

Ficus Elastica Tineke

Fertilizer

You can use the usual houseplant fertilizer once every month, except during winter. You can also feed it with worm compost or liquid organic fertilizer, which should be diluted to half strength. Fertilizers should be used sparingly after Tineke’s active growth stage.

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Ficus Elastica Ruby (Pink rubber plant)

Ficus Elastica Ruby’s striking appearance is marked by its tri-colored variegated leaf patterns. Also known as the Pink Rubber plant, it features strawberry-colored leaves with splashes of cream-yellow and green.

This lovely color combination allows this low-maintenance hardy to add an extra pop to an otherwise boring space. Ficus Elastica Ruby is native to Malaysia and India.

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Watering

It needs water once every seven to 10 days, or when you notice that the top part of the soil up to 2 inches down is dry. The Ruby rubber plant needs less water during winter than other types. Regularly checking the soil’s moisture level will help you avoid overwatering. It’s the most common mistake committed by growers. Ensure not to splash the leaves, as this can lead to stains.

Lighting

Ruby enjoys lots of bright, indirect sunlight. Consider placing it near a window. You must also rotate Ruby now and then so that all sides get ample light. Exposure to harsh light will burn the leaves, while insufficient light will affect its variegation.

Temperature

It thrives in warm temperatures and is sensitive to cold air drafts. It may also react negatively to abrupt changes in temperature levels. If you plan on keeping it indoors, make sure not to put it right beside an AC or a heating vent.

ficus elastica ruby

Fertilizer

You can feed Ruby with an organic house fertilizer once or twice every spring until fall. Some organic fertilizers have enough nutrients to last up to six months from the first time of feeding.

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Burgundy Rubber Plant

The Burgundy variety measures 8 to 12 inches in height and about 4 inches in width. It can reach up to 40 feet tall if you put it on the ground. It got its name from its burgundy leaves, which in some cases look almost black.

While it is relatively easy to care for, growers often complain about Burgundy leaves turning yellow. It’s a problem caused by overwatering, which also happens to cucumbers. Here are some tips and tricks on how to best grow this variety.

Watering

As a moisture-sensitive variety, Burgundy needs water when up to 70% of the top part of the soil becomes dry. The water should be poured slowly without splashing the leaves. Let it flow through until it reaches the saucer. Watering should be cut back during winter. Overwatered Burgundys will display yellow leaves. You may consider using organic mulch to strengthen the structure of the soil and maintain its moisture.

Lighting

Burgundy prefers bright, filtered light. If indoors, its best position should be close to a window.

Temperature

The ideal temperature is between 65 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if you want to achieve its dark red foliage. As with other varieties, abrupt temperature changes do not bode well for Burgundy. Burgundy will do best in an indoor location if you live in a cold climate.

Fertilizer

A once-a-month diluted liquid fertilizer will support Burgundy’s growth if fed from spring to summer.

How to prune it

They can “overgrow” and take up too much space if not maintained properly. Unless your goal is to grow a medium- to large-sized tree, they need to be pruned now and then. It will also maintain its appealing look in your interior space. Luckily, pruning it is not very complicated. You do not even need a plasma cutter, but a clean and sharp blade or shears will do the trick. You may also consider using gloves.

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Pruning helps strengthen and shape the plants using proper techniques. You can do it any time of the year, but the ideal timing is between late spring and early summer or during its growing season. You may want to consider your preferred shape before starting the pruning process.

Ask yourself whether you want it to be vertical or bushier at the bottom. Start cutting above the nodes, where the leaves are attached to the stem or where smaller stems branch out from larger ones.

Suppose you want to prune a large stem, cut above the area where a tinier stem is branching out. The branches can be cut straight across. You can also make cuttings on top of a leaf scar.

It should not be pruned at the top until it reaches your preferred height if you are aiming for a tree-like form. Pruning at the top will encourage branching out from below instead of growing vertically.

If you want to form a bushy shrub, start by pruning the side stems to encourage branching. It will fill in the midsection. The top and side branches should also be trimmed to achieve your desired diameter.

You can trim on top of a growth node to encourage branching. New stems can likewise be trimmed to make the leaf cover thicker. Branches should be pruned regularly to add volume to the leaves and make them bushier. If you want yours to appear thinner, the stems should be cut back to their trunk.

You may notice some white sap dripping from the stems after pruning. This is normal. All you need to do is wait for the sap to dry out naturally. If you are concerned about the sap getting onto places, you may consider placing a mat around it. It’s especially useful if you’re doing it indoors.

ficus elastica robusta

Propagating

Like other options, Ficus elastica should be propagated between early spring and late fall during its active growth phase. You can still propagate your Ficus elastica outside these seasons. The result may not be satisfying, with it unable to recover as quickly.

Make sure to have the following tools before pruning:

  • a pair of pruning shears
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  • rooting hormone
  • a small pot filled with perlite and gardening soil
  • a zip bag
  • and some paper towels.

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Before starting, make sure that your pruning shears are sharp and clean. Choose a healthy stem and cut it halfway up. It ensures that a leaf is left below the cutting on the main part. Dab the main stem with rooting hormone. Some sap might drip off during the process, so make sure to have your paper towels ready to wipe off the mess.

Then, snip off the leaves at the bottom of the cutting using pruning shears. The ideal length of the cutting is below 6 inches. If the stem is longer than this, you may want to cut it in half. This bottom half should then be discarded, leaving two to four leaves at the top of the main cutting. You can also dip the cutting in rooting hormone, which helps encourage root growth. Afterward, put the cutting in the pot filled with soil. Put that in the zip bag, and seal it.

You do not need to zip it all the way through. Instead, leave some air passage. Make sure that the leaves are not touching the bag too often, as this could slow the process of root growth. You may want to use a toothpick to ensure the distance between the bag and the leaves. The bag should be placed in a nice spot to get partial, indirect sunlight.

Keep in mind that they may take a while to produce new leaves through propagation. Having patience is necessary! Ensure that the soil remains moist and the temperature is warm for better results. You should ideally see significant progress in six months. This includes things such as new leaves and well-developed roots.

Another option is propagating through the water. However, it’s not quite as common. This process has similarities with how you propagate a Monstera. To do this, put the cutting in a container filled with water and allow the roots to grow there.

The bottom part of the cutting should not touch the container, which could hamper root growth. Then, place the container next to a window to enjoy some warmth.

If done properly, this process should produce small, white roots in two to three months. Propagation can also be done through air layering. It creates a naked tree ring when a portion of the cutting’s bark is removed. After about three weeks, the developed roots are expected to show up in this ring.

Variegated ones

Variegation is the appearance of at least two colors on the flowers, stems, or leaves. These may appear as spots or stripes. It borders with a different shade than the rest of the variegated section. This happens not because of adaptation but due to a shortage of chlorophyll in cells, leading to cell mutation. Variegation can be inherited, but it can also occur randomly. That’s a process known as chimeric.

variegated ficus elastica

Variegation is genetic when the color change is consistent and stable. If you propagate a colored plant with green leaves, the new one should have both colored and green leaves.

Meanwhile, chimeral variegation occurs when one has one tissue that can yield chlorophyll and another that cannot. This often results in a type that has a yellow or white color and a solid green zone. Chimeral variegation may appear either through random or asymmetrical patterns.

In some cases, variegation happens due to a viral infection. One of the most common is the Mosaic virus, which results in mosaic-like patterns on the infected parts.

Variegation is also present among certain varieties of Ficus Elastica. One example is Ficus Elastica Ruby, which we introduced in the section above. These prized possessions exhibit red midribs and cream-yellow patches splashed against the shade of green.

Caring for variegated ones is no different from maintaining traditional ones. This variety needs well-lit spots where it can get enough indirect sunlight. It requires watering every week in summer and every two weeks during winter.

If the color appears to be fading, it probably needs more light. Variegated ones can tolerate low-light settings. Too much shade would cause their colored markings to disappear over time.

This variety also enjoys humidity. You may need to mist it daily or have a humidifier to keep it healthy and vibrant. Another remedy for lack of humidity is placing it on a pebble tray half-filled with water. Falling leaves are an indicator of low humidity levels.

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FAQ

Is Ficus Tineke rare?

Yes, this rubber plant with variegated leaves is a rare beauty not spotted too often. The beautiful leaves are pink, white, and green. The veins of the plant leaves are pinkish.

Is Ficus Tineke easy to care for?

Yes, this species is relatively easy to care for. It can survive on low light and water as long as you don’t overwater this beauty. Keep your watering schedule regular and give it some filtered light as soon as it is settled in its spot. This will make sure the plant grows well.

Do rubber plants need direct sunlight?

Rubber plants grow well in filtered light. They are a tough species that can even survive in the lowest light. Ideally, you place them in a window with sheer curtains to screen out the sunlight.

How many hours of sunlight do rubber plants need?

They are similar to most plants in that they need at least six hours of light every day. But remember, this light will be the indirect and filtered kind for rubber plants.

Can rubber plants survive in low light?

Yes, rubber and snake plants are tough survivors who can survive on low light and water.

Where should I place my rubber plant?

Keeping your plant in a southern-facing window with sheer curtains is best. The curtains will screen out the sunniest parts of the light to avoid damage.

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