When you think of rubber plants, what comes to mind? Rubber plants are one of the most popular house plants. Common varieties like Fiddle Leaf Fig and Chinese Banyan are usually the first to come to mind, but rubber plants offer a lot of variety!
There are many different kinds of rubber trees and plants.
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Burgundy rubber plant
- Common fig
- Chinese banyan
- Money tree
- Weeping Fig
- Creeping Fig
- Ruby Rubber Tree
- Neon Rubber plant
We researched to bring you the very best information about these unique plants. Let's look at these ten rubber plants and trees and unpack how to identify and care for rubber plants.
How Do You Identify a Rubber Plant?
Rubber plants belong to the ficus family. The most widely known plants from this group are the rubber fig and common fig. Another recognizable rubber plant is robusta coffee plants.
The easiest way to identify rubber plants is their large leaves. They usually have shiny green leaves, but there are some variations.
While rubber plants originally got their name from producing rubber, the Hevea brasiliensis is most commonly used to make modern rubber. However, most rubber plants belonging to the ficus family still produce milky white latex.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Rubber Plant or Tree
Most rubber plants and trees originate from tropic and subtropic regions. So, their care is similar to other tropical plants.
To thrive, most rubber plants need full light. While they can tolerate partial shade temporarily, most varieties do not do well in the shade. If you notice the lower leaves on rubber plants dying, slowly move it to a spot with more light.
Because of their tropical origins, rubber plants also need more humidity than most homes offer. So they need to be misted fairly often. It's a great opportunity to use your adorable Instagram-worthy spay bottle.
One major drawback of rubber plants is that they often attract pests. There are many reasons for this, from the soil to the humidity. Common pests include spider mites and aphids.
Keep an eye on your rubber plants. If you notice they have a pest, act quickly to minimize the damage. While pests usually do not damage mature rubber plants much, they can spread to your other plants.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
The fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is possibly the most popular of the rubber plants. Due to their popularity, they are also some of the cheapest and easiest rubber plants to buy.
Fiddle leaf figs are popular for various reasons, including that they are one of the easiest rubber plants to grow. They are especially easy-going about the amount of light they receive.
While fiddle leaf figs can outgrow your house, they rarely do. If your fiddle leaf fig outgrows your house, pat yourself on the back! It is a sign that you are taking wonderful care of your plant.
Ficus elastica Robusta is a coffee plant and unique addition to the ficus family. When grown indoors, they rarely produce viable coffee cherries but make a good conversation piece.
Most of the modern varieties of rubber trees have been dwarfed and bred for domestication. Robusta is actually noted as being the closest to the original rubber plant.
Robusta is not easy to grow and requires extra attention. It is especially vulnerable to changes in light and humidity. This plant does best with a grow light and being misted multiple times a day.
Burgundy rubber plant
Burgundy rubber plants (Ficus Elastica Burgundy) are easily identified by their color. Despite their name, the leaves range from black to green.
If your burgundy rubber plant is becoming mostly green, it is likely due to a lack of light. The plant will usually grow fine either way. However, if you after the striking burgundy color, try moving the plant to a sunnier spot.
Ficus carica, better known as the common fig, is technically a rubber plant. However, its leaves are very different compared to most rubber plants. If you are looking for a "classic" rubber plant look, this is probably not the plant for you.
This plant can grow up to 12 feet but can be "bonsaied" to work as a house plant. It has similar needs to other rubber plants and can still produce fruit if properly taken care of.
Chinese Banyan (Ficus microcarpa) is grown most often as a bonsai plant. While this tree can grow large in the wild, it still grows well indoors.
The Chinese Banya is excellent if you are looking for a small and bushy houseplant. When grown indoors, they are usually short and have lush foliage. Their leaves are also smaller than many other varieties of rubber plants.
Money doesn't grow on trees, but there are money trees! Pachira aquatica, the money tree, is not actually related to most rubber trees. However, because of their leaves, they are still usually classified as rubber trees.
They are especially popular because they can easily be braided and shaped. They are also believed to bring luck, and there are many fun legends about these hardy plants.
The weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) is often called the ficus tree. At a max height of 6 feet, this evergreen tree's small size makes it a perfect houseplant.
Unlike many other ficuses, the weeping fig is also non-toxic to both pets and humans. They are also a bit more easy-going and prefer indirect light.
They are mostly easy to grow, but do not move them! If a weeping fig is suddenly moved, it may lose leaves or even die. Even moving it a short distance may damage the weeping fig.
Creeping or climbing (Ficus pumila) is more like a vine than many other rubber plants. When they are young, creeping fig is finicky and needs extra attention. However, after it has been established, creeping fig is one of the easiest rubber plants to care for.
Creeping fig is especially easy going when it comes to light and can even grow in partial shade. However, if you notice the lower leaves turning yellow, move it to an area with more indirect light.
Ruby Rubber Tree
Ficus Elastica Ruby, the ruby rubber tree, gets its name from its distinctive ruby color. Unlike the burgundy ficus, the ruby rubber tree tends to have a brighter red color. Its leaves are also verigated.
This plant is particularly difficult about light exposure. If it is given too much light, the leave is prone to scorching. If the plant doesn't get enough light, the leaves may turn green and yellow. Once you find a spot where the ruby rubber plant thrives, do not move it.
Neon Rubber plant
The Neon rubber plant (Ficus Altissima), or lemon-lime rubber plant, is great for adding a bright green pop of color. While its leaves usually do not reach a neon yellow color, they are very bright.
This variety is often confused with other varieties of ficus because of their color range. The leaves may be simply light green, variegated, or even entirely yellow.
If you are looking to buy this plant, make sure you get it from a reputable source. Your local nursery is a perfect location.
Interested in learning more about rubber trees or other indoor plants? Look no further than these informative posts!