The Resplendent Rubber Plant: all you need to know about the Ficus Elastica
Ficus Elastica, otherwise known as the Rubber Plant, is a plant species in the fig genus and is native to South Asia. Ficus Elastica is part of the same family as Ficus Lyrata and Ficus Benjamina. They are more commonly known as the Fiddle-Leaf Fig and Weeping Fig, which we also feature in our Big House Plant Range. The Rubber Plant or Rubber Tree acquired its nickname due to the thick white sap it excretes. This sap is used to supply 30% of the world’s annual production of rubber.
The Rubber Plant is popular in the world of social media due to its wonderful glossy aesthetic. It has truly earned its popularity and we are so excited to take a closer look at this green beauty.
One important point to note before reading any further is that if you have a latex allergy, then this is not a plant for you!
Looking after the Rubber Plant
This particular species is easy to care for and can even get by on low levels of light. Common mistakes made by owners are over-watering or moving the plant around too much. Moving it to a spot with drastically less sunlight can also be harmful. We recommend finding a comfortable spot in your living space, kitchen or bedroom where the plant will be exposed to a healthy amount of sunlight and where it won’t be moved around too much. By doing this, you will make your Rubber Plant happy and allow its green leaves to shine to their fullest extent. Also, make sure to not place the plant in constant direct sunlight and remember to water it sparingly. Further advice can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
The Perfect Look
For a specimen as bold and striking as the Rubber Plant, it would really look good wherever you place it. The brightly-coloured leaves look beautiful in sunlight yet also manage to catch the eye in slightly shadier areas. A quick look at the #rubberplant Instagram shows that owners of the Rubber plant are happy to place it in a variety of locations, ranging from their home offices to their kitchens. The shiny leaves would also be a pleasant addition to your hallway or front room. We can just imagine how guests would be so impressed after being welcomed by this gorgeous green plant.
The outdoor Rubber Tree has been known to grow to just over 100 feet tall in the wild. That’s 30 metres – the same length as three double-decker buses! You’ll be relieved to hear that our Rubber plant is around 90cm to 1 metre in height. It also won’t get too much taller if you keep it in the pot. So you don’t have to worry about it outgrowing your home!
The Rubber Tree produces a milky-white latex sap once it has reached an age of about six years old. This latex is used worldwide for manufacturing a huge number of rubber-related products.
The Aztecs ingeniously used the sap to make shoes for themselves. They did this by repeatedly dipping their feet into the latex, then peeling off a mould and smoking it so it became solid. The leaves of the tree were also used by early Aztecs to waterproof their clothing as the rubbery qualities were excellent for repelling water.
It’s great to know that our Ficus Elastica isn’t just there to look pretty. It also has a rich history of being highly useful and valuable. This reinforces our love for plants even more!