Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rubber Tree
Ficus elastica 'Variegata'

Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: elastica (ee-LASS-tih-kuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegata

20 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 26 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive yakmon On Jun 5, 2010, yakmon from Portland, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

My plant was 15 feet tall before the freeze we had this Winter. I pruned it heavily, removing all dead branches and foliage. I am happy to say it is recovering nicely and looks as healthy as ever. I live in South Texas and look forward to this plant regaining its former height.

Positive murthyu On Mar 25, 2010, murthyu from Austin, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Please Help:

I used to have this wonderful plant Ficus elastica 'Variegata'. It was definitely a focal point of my indoor plant collection, however, this winter, I accidentally left it outside in the frost/freeze in Austin TX for 2-3 days. All the leaves fell off and the tree was looking awful. I pruned this down to 2-3" (no leaves, just the trunk/bark) hoping that it will regrow back, but it does not seem like it is coming back. Anyone had any luck with a Ficus elastica 'Variegata' that was left outside and had the same experience i had, but the plant recovering?

Please let me know.

Positive SudieGoodman On Sep 4, 2009, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Zone 8b, Heat Zone 9 deep East, TX, Broaddus
I have a potted Ficus Elastica 'Variegata' sitting near west window.
I don't like to put my plants outside because of probability of insects, disease or fungi problems.
I do wash leaves with warm water weekly. (dust cloggs pores on leaf surface).
To control size of plant, cut back on fertilizer during growing season.
I am especially pleased with 'Variegata' as I live in Angelina National Forest (green everywhere).
I'm so glad God and I can grow beautiful plants! This is a great help since I became an "empty nester". LOL

Positive BayAreaTropics On Sep 3, 2008, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

What started as a 6" pot plant on the front porch is now a 8' x 4' potted plant in a 15 gallon pot ..with roots that have now grown into the soil since being moved to the hot sunny side of the house. Like all F.elastica's no amount of heat is too much.Just be carefull in acclimating this variegated plant to full sun..the usual problem with burn from house or greenhouse to outdoors sun ,so take it slow.
Despite losing some major branches to the 07 freeze and some leaf burn in even lightest short frosts,it has recovered very fast. They do though seem to be more tender than the all regular Rubber plant.They do enjoy frequent feedings and abundant watering to grow fast. Maybe never a tree here in the bay area,it can be a large shrub able to to come back from frosts that set it back as long as it gets warm summer sun. In ground would further increase it's local hardiness. The amount of red flush to new growth varies from plant to plant..look for the better as in palmbobs photos .
EDIT 2011: I planted mine out in part shade in 2009..and the change of lighting /in ground planting has caused this sensitive to change plant, to slowy regrow all new leaves..whole old leaves turned an ugly bown and yellow before falling. Much more frost sensitive and slower growing then the all green Decora types. Still,an attractive plant if given enough sun outdoors..and water.
One last-It does look like the Tri color when leaves are new..lots of red,but that fades away. I'm not sure I've seen a true tri color locally..

Positive TropicalLover21 On Apr 21, 2005, TropicalLover21 from Santa Maria, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I really really love this plant, i currently have it in the house and it is doing very well.. I may plan to move it outside when it gets a little bigger, i have my other red leafed Rubber tree outside and its doing well too!! I cant wait for it to grow up and be a very nice varigated Rubber plant!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Olhão Municipality,
Bellflower, California
Hayward, California
Lompoc, California
Mission Viejo, California
Rowland Heights, California
San Anselmo, California
Denver, Colorado
Groveland, Florida
Ruskin, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Lafayette, Louisiana
Plaquemine, Louisiana
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Baytown, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Cedar Park, Texas
Greenville, Texas
Houston, Texas
Portland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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