Rubber Plant – Ficus elastica

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Rubber Plant – Ficus elastica

Common Name: Rubber Plant

Botanical Name: Ficus elastica, FY-kus e-LAS-ti-ca

Decorative Life: Years.


Harvest Instructions:

Cultivars that reportedly exhibit good postharvest characteristics include ‘Cabernet CLP’ and ‘Melany’.

Family Roots:
  • Member of the Moraceae (mulberry family).
  • Native from India to Malaya.
  • Common relatives include mulberry, fig, osage-orange and hops.
  • Leaves thick, glossy, leathery, up to 12 inches long and 6 inches wide. They can be green, reddish-green to variegated (green, white and/or creamy yellow).
  • Stems woody.
Storage Specifics:

Chill sensitive, store at 55-60F. ‘Robusta’ can be stored about 5 degrees colder (50-60F). In fact, this cultivar can even tolerate 36-46F for up to 4 days and still be salable.

  • The specific epithet name elastica means elastic, in reference to the milky, latex sap used to make rubber.
  • Ficus: ancient Latin name for fig.
  • A white latex material appears when stems and/or leaves are broken. Try to avoid such breakage as the latex can make a mess on floors, furniture and the like.
  • Will generally grow well in light levels bright enough to read a newspaper in comfort but higher light levels are preferred. If light levels are to low, the common problem of twig dieback often develops.
  • If grown in Florida, plants should have been produced under 50-60% shade. Grown under lower light levels, plants are better adapted for the commonly encountered lower light levels when placed indoors.
Recent Research Findings:

Poole and Conover (1993) stored ‘Robusta’ at 36-46F from 1-4 days and subsequently noted small yellow striations on leaves within a few days but the plants were still salable.