The Rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is one of the most popular houseplants that virtually anyone can grow and maintain. This plant is hearty, robust and forgiving (even for gardeners without a green thumb). There are some basic essentials in caring for this particular house plant.
This household plant is actually a small shrub or tree. It is suitable for an indoor plant or greenhouse growing. Ideally, you should not place the Rubber plant outdoors in your yard for landscaping or decorative purposes. The wild version can grow outdoors and reach heights of 100-feet.
One of the key identifying features of this potted plant is the rather large, rubbery-textured leaves. There is one central stem without branches. The oval leaves sport a primary central vein that is redder in color than the surrounding dark-green foliage.
Leaves of the rubber plant originally appear in a spike at the top of the plant. This is actually the leaf curled inwards with the red vein showing. As the leaf matures, it unfolds to display the dark-green, rubbery texture.
This indoor plant originated in India and has been cultivated over the decades. It does not do well with freezing temperatures or extremely cold temperatures. The ideal temperature for the potted plant is 60 F to 85 F degrees.
Indirect sunlight with less than 6 hours of daily light is the best. Place the indoor plant in a North or South window. It does well in office settings with only fluorescent lighting.
Mix your potting soil with sand, vermiculite or other porous materials to keep the soil drained well. Too much moisture increase pest problems and encourages root rot. Place your thumb into the soil to the first knuckle. If the soil is damp or wet, delay watering. If the potting soil is dry, then water until rubber plant roots are wet. A moderate amount of surrounding humidity will help the potted plant thrive.
The one good thing about this indoor plant is that it gets along easily with its environment. During the colder seasons or dormant period, once every other month, fertilize with a simple, houseplant liquid fertilizer. During the warmer seasons of the year, bump it up to weekly fertilization. If the potting soil is organic or contains leaf mulch, no liquid fertilization is even necessary for the Rubber plant to thrive and do well. It is a hearty house plant that adapts well to the surrounding environment.
Looking for an indoor plant that virtually anyone can grow? The Rubber plant is ideal for home and offices as a popular potted plant. The basic care needs are low light, moist but not wet soil and periodic fertilization to get the Rubber plant to do well.