Ficus elastica
Common Name: Indian rubberplant 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Moraceae
Native Range: Southeastern Asia
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 50.00 to 100.00 feet
Spread: 50.00 to 100.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12. Grow as a houseplant in St. Louis. Easily grown in a soil-based potting mix. Site indoors in bright indirect light or part shade with protection from afternoon sun. Water regularly during the growing season. Avoid overwatering. Reduce watering from fall to late winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ficus elastica, commonly called India rubber plant, India rubber tree or India rubber fig, is native from the Himalayas to Malaysia, Sumatra and Java. It is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or tree that may grow to 50-100’ tall in its native habitat. It is widely grown in the tropics as an ornamental tree. Mature trees develop banyan-like aerial roots that form trunks. In colder climates, this is an extremely popular houseplant that typically grows to 2-10’ tall. It is noted for its thick, leathery, glossy, dark green leaves (to 12” long and 5” wide) and pink to purplish stipules. Milky sap from these trees was used to make an inferior rubber in the early 1900s. Small oblong axillary fruits (1/2” diameter) in pairs are rarely seen on plants outside of its tropical native habitat.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for Ficus carica the edible fig.

Specific epithet refers to the milky sap that can be used to produce rubber.

Popular variations include ‘Decora’ (larger leaves with ivory midrib) and ‘Variegata’ (narrow leaves with yellow/green margins).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for scale, aphids, mealybugs, thrips and spider mites. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Houseplant in St. Louis area.