Plant Life Balance

Introducing the ever-reliable rubber tree

With their shiny, glossy leaves and their easy-going nature, the rubber tree is a gift from the plant gods to beginner green thumbs everywhere.

If the start of spring has you motivated to give your home a green makeover but you’re not quite sure where to start – boy-oh-boy, do we have just the plant for you!

If you ask Suzy Coassin (Plant Life Balance friend and co-founder of Captain Monstera), the rubber tree, or Ficus elastica, ticks all the boxes when it comes to the perfect fit for a beginner plant parent (or any plant parent, really!):

It’s durable, easy care and always looking rich and amazing with those dark, glossy leaves!”

So what else does it have going for it? Not only is the rubber tree super easy to care for, it’s a speedy grower and it’s large stature and beautiful waxy leaves make it the perfect feature plant for those rooms that just need a little something special to finish them off. We think the rubber tree is so special, it was named one of Plant Life Balance’s top easy-grow indoor trees for 2020.

Available in a variety of colours ranging from burgundy to deep green, to stunning variegated (i.e. multi-coloured) varieties, there’s sure to be a rubber tree that fits your home’s colour scheme. Simply pop it an empty corner, or an awkward gap between furniture – don’t worry, we’ve all got them! – to give the space an instant green lift.

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FICUS ELASTICA ‘BURGUNDY’ fred the ficus 🌱 i’m starting to realize i don’t post enough of my bigger babes 🤭so here is my rubber tree! had to move him outside to get a good picture for y’all! oh how i love him so. he gives me a new leaf about every week (peep those new ones on the right and left branches 🥺) hoping he doesn’t give me spider mites like my tineke did! (those white dots are not mites, they’re the leaf pores that push out excess leaf liquid) ficus elasticas are super great plants! i have all of mine in bright light, this burgundy gets about 5 hours total of direct sunlight. he’s actually in my aroid mix (40% potting soil, 40% perlite, 20% orchid bark). you wanna ensure these babes have well draining soil! i have him in this beautiful concrete planter i found at @pikenurseries . i water maybe once every 3-4 weeks depending on how the soil feels. let these babies DRYYYYYY out, they do not like a wet environment. he’s also in relatively low humidity. just beware- spider mites LOVE ficus elastica. be sure to periodically check those leaves and spray them with water front and back to deter spider mites (who like dry leaves to nest on)! #plants #plantstagram #houseplants #rubbertree #ficuselastica #ficuselasticaburgundy #burgundyrubberplant #rubberplant #plants #green #shoplocal #supportlocalbusiness #plantblog #plantsofinstagram #plantsmakepeoplehappy #plantlover #plantlady #plantlife #urbanjungle #horticulture #botanist #botany #plantshelfie #plantparent #plantmom #jungle #indoorgarden

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Where

The rubber tree is native to parts of south and south-east Asia where it thrives in humid conditions – growing up to staggering heights of 30+ metres, with huge above-ground and/or aerial roots.

Because of this capacity to grow to immense sizes, the recommended way to grow a rubber tree at home is in a pot – whether that’s inside, in a warm spot; or outside in the shade – and not be grown in the ground, where it can invade pipes and break up footpaths and driveways. If you do opt for growing the rubber fig outside in a pot, check regularly for escapee roots through the bottom of the pot – keeping the pots elevated off the ground can help with this.

Care

As with most things in life, the key to caring for a rubber tree is simple: maintain a good balance.

Sun: the rubber tree loves bright, indirect sunlight – next to a window will often be a good spot. Avoid positioning it in direct, hot sun where it’s leaves can get burnt.

Water: the more you can mimic the rubber tree’s native tropical and humid environment, the more it will thrive. While it doesn’t like being drenched, it do like its soil to be moist. Ensure the pot has good drainage so water isn’t getting trapped at the roots.

Keep it clean: the rubber tree’s broad, waxy leaves tend to attract dust – give the leaves a gentle wipe with a damp cloth regularly to keep it clean, sparkly and breathing easy.

 

Anything else I should know?

While the rubber tree is definitely a beautiful addition to your indoor jungle, keep in min that its sap is an irritant. When pruning, be sure to pop on a pair of gardening gloves to protect your skin, and make sure that no part of the plant is ingested by furry friends and small humans.

A final handy tip: rubber trees are enthusiastic growers, so you’ll need to repot it every couple of years as it matures.

Also known as

Rubber fig, India rubber plant.

There’s nothing like having this hardy plant to give your room that oomph it needs for the new season. Get in touch with your nearest Plant Life Balance accredited nursery to see what kind of rubber trees they can help you get your hands on!

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