How to Grow Ficus elastica - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Trees Category   /   2023

Ficus elastica, also known as the rubber tree, is a species of fig native to northeast India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The rubber tree is a large evergreen tree that can grow up to 50 feet tall. The leaves are glossy green and have a leathery texture. The rubber tree produces a milky white sap that is used to make rubber.

How to Grow Ficus elastica - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Ficus elastica plant? The ficus elastica is a very easy plant to take care of, which makes it a great choice for beginner gardeners. It is a fast-growing plant that can reach up to 30 feet in height, so it is also a good choice for those looking to add some quick greenery to their home.

Plant Size

How big can it be? So, the average size of an indoor Ficus elastica is about 3 meters. The tallest ficus elastica specimens can reach up to 10 meters in indoor conditions.

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? Sometimes, the growth rate is high, from 60 cm to 1 m per year. The plant produces a milky sap which is a latex. The sap is used commercially for making rubber. The sap is also poisonous and can cause skin irritation.

Ficus elastica Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Tree
Family Moraceae
Origin Malaysia, India, the Himalayas, Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, Sumatra, Java

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? Although the Ficus elastica is a perennial plant, it only lives an average of 10 to 15 years.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? The reason why variegated forms are more thermophilic is unknown, but it might be due to the fact that they have less chlorophyll and thus need more sunlight to perform photosynthesis.


What about the humidity? Common rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is a popular indoor houseplant because it is easy to grow. It does best in bright, indirect sunlight, but can tolerate low light. The rubber plant likes to be kept on the dry side, so allow the top couple inches of soil to dry out between watering. Water rubber plants deeply, but infrequently. These plants are drought tolerant and can go long periods without water. However, they will drop their leaves if they are too dry. If the leaves start to droop, water the plant thoroughly and mist the leaves with water.

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? Unless you have a very large and bright window, you will probably need to supplement the light with a grow light. Ficus elastica can adapt to partial shade, but the growth will slow down.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Ficus elastica? Because Ficus elastica is a tropical plant, it requires soil that is fertile, weakly acidic or neutral, and has good drainage. The best option for soil is a mix of 1 part turf ground, 1 part leaf earth, and 1/2 part sand, with a little charcoal added. Another option is 1 part turf ground, 1 part peat, 1 part leaf earth, and 1 part sand.

Watering Time

How much I must water Ficus elastica? The Ficus Elastica does not require too much water, and actually prefers to be on the drier side. Watering once a week should suffice, however, during the hotter months, you may need to water a little more frequently. Be careful not to overwater as this could lead to root rot.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. The Ficus elastica is a beautiful plant that can grow up to 30 feet tall. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia. The Ficus elastica is a member of the Moraceae family and is also known as the rubber tree, Indian rubber tree, or simply, the rubber plant. The Ficus elastica is a popular houseplant and has been cultivated since the early 19th century. The Ficus elastica is a hardy plant and can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. It prefers a humid climate and does not tolerate direct sunlight. The Ficus elastica should be fertilized every two weeks from spring to autumn. A liquid fertilizer that is alternating organic and mineral should be used.


How to reproduce Ficus elastica? So, the apical cuttings of 8 cm long with at least one leaf are rooted in a mixture of peat and perlite or earth with sand, at a temperature of 77 ° F. Before planting, it is necessary to wash off the lactating milky juice or remove it after hardening. The leaf should be folded into a tube and tied. The stalk is stuck into the substrate to a depth of 1 cm and is tied to a peg that is inserted into the tube of the leaf. Then the stalk is watered and sprinkled. Shade from the bright sun. Rooting occurs within 1-1,5 months.Ficus takes root in the same way and in water (the leaf should also be rolled up). You can multiply by one sheet. It should also be rolled into a tube by inserting it into the substrate using a peg, but the leaf petiole should be split and placed in a cleft stone so that it does not grow together. Roots are formed after about 20 days. Aged plants with stretched shoots can be multiplied by layers. Below the leaf on the stem should be a shallow incision with a knife, where to insert a pebble and sprinkle with hormonal powder. Wrap the incision with wet moss and wind it around the rope. Top with polyethylene. When the moss roots appear, the shoot will need to be cut below the winding and plant the new plant in a separate pot. Cut on the bottom of the plant should be treated with petroleum jelly, it can also give lateral shoots.


Why Ficus elastica won't bloom? The rooms only adult large plants bloom. In greenhouses, as well as all the rubber plants, forms Seacon – small spherical inflorescences, resembling a berry.

Transfer or Repotting

How much I must water Ficus elastica? The best time for plant transfer is February to early March, when young plants are planted annually, which increases the diameter of the pot by 4-5 cm. If you have an adult plant, you can replace the upper 3 cm of soil. If you want to limit the growth of the ficus, do not transplant it into a large pot, and regularly cut the plant.

Caring The Ficus elastica

How to care the plant? If you want your Ficus elastica to be large and decorative, in spring you should cut off its shoots for the formation of the crown. Also, young plants must be tied to the support. To make it more decorative, when growing young plants, it is better to plant several cuttings in the pot. In young plants, for better branching, the apical soil should be removed at a height of 40 cm to 1 m. Next, the side shoots should be shortened as they grow. The plant does not like drafts. Ficus should be periodically rotated relative to the light source. In summer, the plant is preferable to keep on the balcony or in the garden.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Ficus elastica plant? If the plant is affected by a mealybug, as well as a scab, a spider mite, the leaves fall most often because of overmoistening. Falling of the lower leaves in old plants is a natural process. If the leaves wither, curl and fall, they appear brown spots at too low a temperature, the leaves wither and sag in case of insufficient watering. The leaves are pale, the plant grows poorly, new leaves are small from the non-nutrient nutrients. If the plant is stretched, the leaves are small with a lack of light.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Ficus elastica poisonous? Unless you have a latex allergy, you’re probably fine handling and being around ficus elastica plants. However, if you have a latex allergy, you may experience negative reactions to ficus elastica plants. These reactions can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, they can be life-threatening. If you have a latex allergy, it’s important to avoid ficus elastica plants and to seek medical help if you come into contact with one.