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Plant-o-Pedia: Rubber Tree


One of the most-asked plant questions we get at The Jungalow is “what are the easiest plants to grow”? We’ve totally been there- getting the hang of keeping plants alive takes time and practice (and, sadly, a few dead plants along the way). Today’s Plant-o-Pedia star, the rubber tree, is a great plant to help build your confidence. It’s hearty, beautiful, and grows large pretty quickly-which is an added confidence boost, right? We also love that it adds the impact of a fiddle leaf fig, but isn’t quite so common, so it feels a little more special. The variety of color variegation the rubber tree comes in is also quite amazing!

newboho_c07-401GET THE GREEN: Variegated rubber tree (Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’)

WATER: Keep moist, but not soggy, in spring and summer; let soil surface dry between waterings in fall and winter.

SUNLIGHT: Bright to medium indirect light.

PLACEMENT: This gets big, so it’s usually best in a big pot on the floor. When young (and small) it works on a speaker or side table (like Emily has hers, above), filling a corner nicely.

EXTRA CREDIT: Regularly wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and keep them glossy.

WORD OF CAUTION: Ingestion by pets may cause moderate gastro-intestinal distress.

IMG_0251Got a plant you want to learn more about? Leave a comment and you may find it in a future Plant-o-Pedia!

Photography of Emily’s plant by Dabito from The New Bohemians. All other photos by Justina Blakeney.
Plant-o-Pedia excerpt from The New Bohemians with thanks to Stephanie Bartron.

Alternative Text Danae Horst

Total Plant Geek. Check out my botanical shop and design firm, Folia Collective.

16 responses to “Plant-o-Pedia: Rubber Tree”

  1. Jen says:

    I’d love to hear about the Chinese money plant!

  2. Jen says:

    Oh and also bird of paradise!!!

  3. KB says:

    My co-worker has the most amazing rubber plant that grew to be almost 4 feet tall. I admired it from afar for years until I couldn’t resist buying one myself. I finally got one five weeks ago and it’s already grown a ton of new leaves. I can’t wait to see how much it continues to grow.

    Oh and I’d also like to know more about the bird of paradise plant. I’m thinking that might be next on my list.

  4. Amy says:

    I have one of these babies, but I don’t know if I should be pruning it. Do you do that with them, or should I just let it grow in one stalk?

    • Danae Horst says:

      Amy- if the branches are getting too heavy, or just growing in crazy directions, you can absolutely prune. They say the best time is late spring, early summer, but since the rubber tree is super resilient, it’ll usually do fine with a little pruning at other times.

  5. How are these plants with cats? Mine cannot resist a little gnawing on greens I bring home, so I am always aware of what may harm her… Any advice?

    • Danae Horst says:

      Hi Erin- though we’re not pet experts, by any means, according to the ASPCA, ingestion of the kind of rubber tree we’re talking about in this post can cause “moderate gastrointestinal tract irritation”. We always recommend asking your vet before bringing a new plant into your house. Hope that helps!

  6. […] Either small or large, rubber trees all take on a life and shape of their own as they grow. Above, a variegated rubber plant from The New Bohemians by Justine Blakeney and Dabito, via The Jungalow. […]

  7. […] Plant-o-Pedia: Rubber Tree | The Jungalow – This color combination of dark green with this shade of salmon is gorgeous. It’s very tropical. So if you’re worried your rubber plant only looks good in stark spaces, think again and think vibrant. […]

  8. Miranda says:

    i’ve had my rubber tree for maybe a year and it has never grown. ever. it’s lost a LOT of leaves. like fallen off to the touch. it was 2 branches in one pot and 1 of them died, so now i have one branch left.

    i don’t know what i’m doing wrong. i don’t live in the sunniest place but it does get light. i could water it more. but the dang thing hasn’t grown at all! …it saddens me. my fiddle is thriving.

  9. Emily says:

    I just bought one of those dark rubber tree variety beauties for the good corner of our master bedroom. I’m hoping it will grow way up! Thank you for the info! And I would also live some info on the Chinese money plant as well!!

  10. […] For care tips on some these lovely plant homies, consult our Plant-o-Pedia: Prayer Plant, Caladium, Rubber Tree. […]

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