Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Rubber Plant
Ficus elastica
(fi-cus e-la-stick-ah)

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The rubber plant is a large glabrous tree in the Fig family. It can grow to a height of 20 feet or more in an uninhibited environment, but most people recognize this species as the popular "rubber tree plant" that many households have as an indoor plant. Rubber plants have oblong shaped leaves that may be a foot long. These leaves are very thick and glossy. Some of the varieties of this plant are vareigated with white or have red coloring.

What is it used for?

The rubber plant is most often used as an indoor floor plant.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

A rubber plant will enjoy a moderate amount of sunlight and adequate moisture. Drying out of the soil causes the leaves to drop off. A warm temperature that mimics the tropical environment is suitable.

What are its primary problems?

Rubber plants may have a problem with mealybugs and anthramose.

How do we propagate it?

Propagation occurs through terminal cuttings and air layering.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.