Plant Spotlight: Ficus Elastica

Ficus Elasticarubber plant or rubber tree

Ficus Elastica is a hardy and lower maintenance Ficus whose glossy, dramatic foliage has made it a staple in interior gardening. Native to the rainforests of India and Southern Asia, in their natural habitats Rubber Trees can grow to be upwards of 200 feet tall!


Ficus Elastica grow best in bright indirect light. Avoid placing your plant anywhere where it will receive direct light as that can burn the leaves. Alternatively, too little light will slow growth and cause leaf color to fade. We like to place Rubber Trees within a few feet of a south facing window or right in an east facing window for optimal growth and health.

For watering, allow the soil to dry halfway down the pot in between waterings. Water enough that the excess flows out of the drainage holes of your pot while not letting your rubber tree sit in the water giving it wet feet and potentially causing root rot. Avoid getting the leaves wet when watering as this can cause staining. 

Providing proper and consistent soil moisture is important in caring for a Rubber Tree. Alternating between bone dry and wet soil from ill-timed waterings can create stress.


Yellowing leaves: Yellow leaves are typically a sign that your Ficus has a watering/moisture problem and overwatering is the fastest way to kill your plant. Some yellowing is natural and if your plant is putting out new growth while losing lower yellowing leaves there is no cause for concern. Always assess soil moisture before coming to a conclusion. Changes in location, light, and temperature may also cause your plant stress resulting in leaf drop so don't be alarmed if your plant loses a few leaves when you first bring it home. As with most tropical plants placing your plant in ideal lighting conditions and maintaining consistent watering will help you to avoid common problems. A weakened or stressed Rubber Tree is more susceptible to insect infestations. Routinely cleaning the tops and undersides of the leaves of your plant with a damp microfiber cloth will help to identify pests early while also aiding in photosynthesis. 


Mildly toxic to humans and pets. Ingestion can cause mouth irritation and upset stomach. When the plant is damaged it excretes a milky white substance which can be an irritant so it's important to wash your hands after coming into contact with it. 

The Fern Way:

We think the glossy leaves of Ficus Elastica make them a showstopper in living spaces and we are partial to complimenting their gorgeous foliage by placing them in planters in warm peachy tones. We love using smaller tabletop sizes as the centerpiece of a table (1) and larger sizes in floor planters to anchor seating areas (2). 

(1) - 6"Ficus Elastica Tineke in the Franklin planter in terracotta and 4" Ficus Elastica Robusta in the Sutton Planter in peach.
(2) 10" Ficus Elastica Burgundy in the small Wythe planter in peach