How To Grow & Care For Ficus Elastica

Ficus Elastica

Ficus Elastica, more commonly known as the Rubber Plant or Rubber Tree, is a captivating and resilient houseplant that brings a touch of the tropics to indoor spaces. With its dark green, glossy leaves and impressive height, it adds a natural elegance to homes and offices alike. Its sap was once used in the production of rubber, which is how it got its name, though synthetic means have replaced this use today.

Native to Southeast Asia, the Rubber Plant thrives in tropical climates, growing tall and wide in its natural habitat. Indoors, it’s much more manageable, often growing between 6 to 10 feet tall. Apart from its aesthetic appeal, Ficus Elastica is renowned for its air-purifying abilities, making it a beneficial addition to any indoor environment.

With the proper care and attention, the Rubber Plant can be an ideal plant for both seasoned gardeners and beginners. Its striking appearance and ease of care have made it one of the most popular houseplants around the globe.

Common NamesRubber Plant, Rubber Tree, Indian Rubber Tree
Botanical NameFicus Elastica
Plant TypeEvergreen Tree
Mature SizeUp to 100 feet (outdoors), 6-10 feet (indoors)
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light
Soil TypeWell-draining, fertile soil
Hardiness Zones10-12
Native AreaSoutheast Asia

Ficus Elastica Care

Ficus Elastica care is relatively straightforward, as the plant is known for its hardiness and adaptability. The key to healthy growth lies in its placement and watering routine. Positioning the plant in bright, indirect sunlight and watering when the top inch of soil is dry tends to work best. Be careful to avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

While adaptable, the Rubber Plant appreciates a stable environment without sudden changes in temperature or humidity. Regularly dusting the leaves to unblock pores and occasional misting to increase humidity can also benefit the plant, enhancing its luster and promoting growth. Overall, proper care will result in a beautiful, thriving Rubber Plant that can become a focal point in any room.

Light Requirement for Ficus Elastica

Ficus Elastica thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. While it can tolerate lower light conditions, placing it near an east or west-facing window with filtered light will encourage optimal growth.

Soil Requirements for Ficus Elastica

A well-draining soil mix that includes peat, pine bark, and coarse sand is ideal for Ficus Elastica. The soil should retain some moisture but allow excess water to drain to avoid waterlogging.

Water Requirements for Ficus Elastica

Watering when the top inch of soil feels dry is best for Ficus Elastica. Overwatering or letting the soil dry out completely can stress the plant, so maintaining consistent moisture is key.

Temperature and Humidity

Ficus Elastica prefers temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and appreciates higher humidity levels. Keeping it away from drafts and sudden temperature changes ensures stable growth.


Feeding with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during the growing season provides necessary nutrients. Avoid fertilizing in the winter, as this is the plant’s rest period.

Pruning Ficus Elastica

Pruning Ficus Elastica helps maintain its shape and size. Trimming back long or leggy branches during the growing season promotes bushier growth.

Propagating Ficus Elastica

Stem cuttings are a common method for propagating Ficus Elastica. Using a rooting hormone and placing the cutting in a warm, humid environment will enhance success.

How To Grow Ficus Elastica From Seed

Growing Ficus Elastica from seed is a rare and slow method. The seeds should be sown in well-draining soil, kept warm, and moist to encourage germination.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Spider Mites

These pests can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil.


A horticultural oil spray can control scale infestations.

Leaf Spot

Fungal infections can be prevented by avoiding overhead watering and ensuring good air circulation.

Common Problems With Ficus Elastica

Dropping Leaves

Sudden changes in environment or overwatering can cause leaves to drop.

Yellowing Leaves

Underwatering or poor drainage may lead to yellowing leaves.

Leggy Growth

Inadequate light can cause the plant to become long and spindly.

Pro Tips

  1. Maintain consistent moisture without overwatering.
  2. Position in bright, indirect sunlight for optimal growth.
  3. Regularly clean leaves to maintain luster and health.
  4. Avoid placing the plant near drafts or heating vents.
  5. Utilize proper soil mix for drainage and nutrient support.