After a one month hiatus of writing, I’m back on schedule this month to bring you a very exciting plant of the month! It’s one of my all-time favorite plants and I can’t wait to share all my care tips for it so you can all join in on my obsession with this plant! It’s easy-to-find, affordable, and has the most beautiful foliage that will keep you obsessed forever!
Introducing… The Variegated Rubber Tree
Plant Level: Intermediate
Winner of the most stunning variegation (awarded by us)
Variegated Rubber Tree
The Rubber Tree or Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. From the Moraceae plant family, the rubber tree gets its name from its thick, shiny, rubbery leaves. In nature, it can grow to heights of 30-45 feet and can spread up to 30 feet. Living indoors they usually grow to be about 6-10 feet tall.
The variegated versions of the Rubber Tree come in shades of green, yellow, white, cream, pink, and red! Their striking colors make the perfect statement plant for every home. Now let’s go over all the care tips you need to know to have a thriving variegated rubber tree.
Variegated Rubber Trees need lots of bright, indirect light to thrive. You’ll want to place it close to a window that receives lots of sunlight. Rotate often to help ensure even growth. Make sure to keep the large leaves clean of dust and dirt so it can soak up all those glorious rays! Avoid direct sunlight as it can burn the leaves.
In lower light settings the plant will begin to lose the gorgeous variegation that makes it famous. Increase the light to see more white showing up on the leaves. If you need to supplement the light you can always purchase a grow light bulb. This is an easy way to transform any lamp or light fixture into your plant’s own person sun.
Watering your houseplants at the right time and the right way is one of the most important parts of their care. Check-in on your variegated rubber tree often to see if it needs a drink. Water when the top two inches or so of the soil is dry. These plants are susceptible to root rot so you want to aim for moist but never soggy soil. When you do water make sure to water thoroughly so that water is freely coming out the bottom of the pot.
Many houseplant problems come from incorrect watering so if you’re new to houseplants or need some extra help, we recommend getting the moisture meter that we use. It helps teach you when to water your plants and learn their schedule.
Use a quality well-draining houseplant soil.
The variegated Rubber Tree loves humidity! A common problem with this plant is brown spots on the variegated edges. One of the reasons this happens is because the environment is too dry. Try adding a humidifier to your space! All your humidity loving plants will thank you greatly. You can also try placing some other plant friends close by or misting daily to increase humidity around the plant.
Use a quality houseplant fertilizer with this plant during the growing season, spring through summer. This plant tends to be a slow grower because of the high variegation in the leaves so fertilizing during this time can really help to increase growth. Avoid overfertilizing or fertilizing in cooler months as this can lead to spindly growth.
This plant is toxic to both animals and humans. Make sure to keep out of reach of curious pets and children. The sap of this plant can also cause skin irritation so make sure to wear gloves when pruning/propagating.
As a Ficus, this plant can be a little temperamental when it comes to changes in its environment. Once you find the perfect spot, away from any potential drafts, try to just leave it be.
Our favorite way to display a variegated Rubber Tree is in a white planter. A white planter gives the perfect background to really show off the best part of this plant, the gorgeous variegated leaves!
Looking for more information about how to care for other plants? Check out our favorite plants. Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss out on a new planty tip!