Rubber Tree, Fiddle Leaf Fig
India, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Malaysia & others.
Care level: These species are quite an easy plant to care for and can grow well on low light. The worst a grower can do (which are common mistakes) is over-water, move the plant around too much or to a spot with less light or with colder temperatures.
Growth: Once the plant begins to mature and grow in height it’s common to train and support the trunk and branches by staking or tying them back to keep them growing upright.
- Rubber plant or tree, rubber bush (common). Ficus elastica (botanical/scientific).
- Origin: India, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Malaysia & others.
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree (common). Ficus lyrata (botanical/scientific).
- Origin: West Africa
Max Growth (approx): Height 10ft (3m).
Poisonous for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs.
Temperature: Ave. room temps of 60 – 75°F. Avoid lower than 55°F, sudden drops and cold drafts.
Light: A nice brightly lit spot is ideal, without direct sunlight.
Watering: Water once the soil becomes slightly dry to the touch and make sure the pot has sufficient drainage holes to allow excess water to seep through. We water about once/week.
Soil: A well-draining and well-aerated potting soil is needed.
Re-Potting: From May – June re-pot once the roots have become pot bound or every year when the plants are very young, and then once every 3 years after the plant has matured.
Fertilizer: Feed during spring and summer every 2-4 weeks.
Humidity: To improve humidity mist the leaves when it gets very warm in the summer.
Propagation: These can be quite tricky to propagate by stem tip cuttings, but you can succeed. Take a cutting (few inches long) and allow the sap to dry for 1 hour. Before potting the cutting in soil use rooting hormone and then provide the bottom of the pot some heat (usually using a heat pad).
Pruning: Once the rubber plant has grown to the height you want it to grow up to, you can cut the top off. You may also want to prune back any unwanted branches to give the plant a fuller shape. It’s best to prune in spring or summer but any other time will be fine.
Loss of leaves: Most common cause is over-watering, which will need attention asap (renew top soil or re-pot –pot up–). Other conditions can also cause leaves to drop including, low temperatures, not enough light or cold drafts. Moving your plant from a bright location to dim can also cause leaf drop. It’s normal for some of the bottom leaves to turn yellow and drop, but do check if conditions are OK.
Leaf edges yellowing: This is really a process of elimination. The problem could be poor soil, under-feeding, or too much water. You’ll need to check each one of the care instructions above and eliminate what your doing well and try to find the cause.
Pests: Mealy bug, scale and mites are common pests that like to cause this ficus tree problems.