Written by Ivy
Nov 10 2022
The best way to care for your Ficus elastica Ruby plant can be found in this guide. This plant is native to tropical areas of India and Malaysia.
The soil must be rich and well-draining for Ficus elastica "Ruby." Water only after the top layer has dried, and keep the soil evenly moist. Illumination must be bright and indirect. Although humidity is not a problem, temperatures below 60°F (16°C) are not ideal. Between spring and summer, feed your plant once a month.
|Common Name||Variegated Ruby Rubber Tree|
|Scientific Name||Ficus Elastica Ruby|
|Identification||Ovate foliage that is pink, red, and cream|
|Height||Up to 10 feet tall|
|Soil||Airy, loose soil|
|Water||Water when top two inches of soil are dry|
|Sunlight||Bright indirect sunlight|
|Toxic to Cats & Dogs||Yes|
|Toxic to Humans||Yes|
|Pests||Mealybugs, thrips, spider mites|
Native to the tropical regions of Malaysia and India, where rubber trees have been cultivated for rubber production, are Ficus elastica Ruby plants.
When grown outdoors, this exotic beauty can reach heights of up to 30 feet, but your potted Ficus elastica Ruby plant will probably reach a maximum indoor height of about ceiling height.
Ficus elastica Ruby is well known for its lovely variegated leaves that are streaked with pink and red against a dark green background.
Growing Ficus elastica Ruby will also assist you in purifying your air because these plants are capable of removing formaldehyde, bacteria, and mold spores.
This Ficus is a beautiful addition to any home and requires little maintenance.
Although it can be planted in a variety of potting mixtures, the variegated rubber plant prefers a loose, airy environment. This plant will have the rich, aerated soil it wants with the help of a combination of commercial mix with additional compost and perlite or vermiculite incorporations.
Rubber trees thrive in a potting soil that drains freely. It is the same with the Ficus elastica "Ruby."
This plant prefers a moist pot of soil with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.0. When kept indoors, especially, it is crucial that your plant's soil is nutrient-rich.
Generally, any indoor potting soil or soil for succulent plants will do. If the soil's drainage capabilities aren't quite right, they can easily be improved.
In the spring and summer, feed your Ficus elastica "Ruby" once a month. Winter and autumn are not good times to fertilize because the plant is not actively growing and will not benefit from the fertilizer.
Throughout the warm growing seasons of spring and summer, your Ficus Elastica Ruby will appreciate being fed by a monthly application of a balanced liquid fertilizer. Do not overfeed your plant, and make sure to adhere to all label instructions. Fall is the time to reduce fertilizing frequency, and winter is the time to skip fertilizing your ficus. Your plant could suffer from overfertilization.
The best time to feed your Rubber Tree ‘Ruby' is spring through summer. In the fall and winter, don't fertilize this plant at all.
In these chilly months, your Ficus elastica "Ruby" does not actively grow. Dormancy is the state an organism is in when it is not actively growing.
It is unable to utilize the nutrients that fertilizing has provided during this time. The fertilizer will probably end up burning the roots of your plant if it is not used.
An essential aspect of care is watering your Ficus elastica "Ruby." Improper watering can result in fungal issues and root rot.
Although it doesn't want its soil to be overly wet, your Ficus Ruby enjoys a constant moisture level. When the top 2-4 inches of soil are dry, you should rewater your plant. You might need to rewater your plant more frequently during the warm growing season, possibly up to once a week depending on the growing conditions. Winter months will probably require less frequent watering.
Avoid drowning these plants with water. Just keep them moist. Prior to watering, check the soil moisture. If the soil's top layer has dried out, water your plant only then.
Ficus elastica "Ruby" plants prefer to have a schedule for watering. However, this does not imply they need to be watered every day. They do prefer their soil to be kept evenly moist.
Soggy or waterlogged soil is a no-go, so your plant's pot must have holes for drainage.
During the summer, depending on where you live, you should water your Ficus elastica "Ruby" once a week.
It is crucial to check the soil's moisture content before watering your "Ruby" Rubber Tree.
Simply insert your finger into the soil of your plant about an inch (2.5 centimeters) deep to accomplish this. Don't water the soil if there is still moisture there.
Before watering your Ficus elastica "Ruby" again, wait until the top layer of soil has dried out.
To keep their leaves variegated, these vibrant plants require a lot of light. It must be well-lit in an indirect manner.
Only brief periods of partial to full sun exposure are acceptable. Its delicate leaves will burn or scorch from too much direct sun exposure.
While it can tolerate some morning sun, this tropical plant will prefer to be kept in bright, indirect light. With more exposure to sunlight, this Ficus' foliage will shine more brilliantly. Although this plant can tolerate lower light levels, its foliage will eventually deteriorate. Aim to give your Ficus elastica at least 6 hours of daylight each day. If your plant needs additional indoor lighting to get enough sunlight, you should give it more than 10 hours of artificial light every day.
Even though this plant can tolerate a variety of light conditions, not all of them are optimal for it to grow.
The Rubber Tree "Ruby" won't be able to live up to its name without the proper light exposure.
For these plants, light is crucial because it fosters the lovely variegation in their foliage.
Long periods of exposure to the sun should be avoided, though. The delicate leaves of the "Ruby" Ficus elastica are susceptible to burning or scorching from the sun's harsh rays.
Your plant will require more sun to stay healthy the less chlorophyll it has.
Plants of the "Ruby" variety of Ficus elastica need to be protected from temperatures below 60°F (16°C). These plants should be protected from both cold and warm drafts as they are not frost-hardy.
This tropical plant thrives best in average room temperatures between 21°C and 25°C (70°F to 77°F).
These tropical plants don't give humidity much of a thought. The edges of your Ficus elastica "Ruby" plant's foliage may turn brown if the air around it is uncomfortably dry.
A semi-hardy tropical plant called Ficus Elastica Ruby prefers to be kept in warm environments with temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Never expose this plant to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit as it cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. Although this Ficus prefers to be kept in up to 80% humidity, it will tolerate average household humidity levels if the environment is not primarily arid. For optimum growing, try to keep the humidity levels in the area where this plant is grown above 40%. The edges of your ficus will crisp up and turn brown if it gets too dry.
The Ficus elastica "Ruby," which was originally cultivated in tropical regions, enjoys warm weather. The ideal room temperature ranges between 21°C and 25°C, or about 70°F and 77°F.
You should protect Ficus elastica "Ruby" from colder weather because they don't thrive in it. Additionally, the Ficus elastica "Ruby" is not a frost-resistant plant.
For this plant, winter temperatures between 60°F and 65°F (16°C and 18°C) are suitable.
In USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 13b, these plants are believed to thrive. However, they may be more adaptable if grown indoors.
Try to keep drafts from reaching your Ficus elastica "Ruby." Keep it away from heaters and air conditioners alike.
Any airflow that directly encounters this plant is undesirable.
Ficus elastica might require repotting every one to two years, depending on the growing environment. When roots start to protrude through the drainage holes, it's time to repot your plant. Repot the plant into a container that is 1-2″ larger than the old one while taking care not to disturb the roots. Refresh the soil and lightly compact it. Put your newly potted plant in indirect light after giving it plenty of water.
Regular pruning of your Ficus elastica is necessary to keep up its lovely appearance. Use clean, sharp shears to periodically remove any diseased, discolored, or dead foliage. To promote a bushy appearance and aid in giving it shape, you can also prune it.
The Ficus elastica "Ruby" has a natural growth potential of up to 131 feet (40 meters) tall.
They typically reach a height of 13 feet (4 meters) and a spread of 5 feet (1.5 meters) as common houseplants, though. Their leaves have pinkish-red edges and centers that range from pale to deep green.
Ficus elastica "Ruby" plants are prized for their distinctively variegated foliage. The leaves of these plants are oval, shiny, light to deep green, and the edges are bright pinkish-red.
When the plant is kept in its ideal conditions, this flashy coloring grows boldly. The color of your Rubber Tree "Ruby," on the other hand, will be rather bland or dull if the environment is less than ideal.
The "Ruby" Ficus elastica trees can reach astounding heights in their natural environment.
The average height of a "wild" Rubber Tree Ruby can reach between 98 and 131 feet (30 and 40 meters). Their trunk's width can easily reach 6.5 feet (2 meters) with their height.
Ficus elastica "Ruby," on the other hand, is a much more manageable variety. The "Ruby" Rubber Tree can be grown indoors, but it will probably only reach a height of about 4 meters (13 feet).
Additionally, at only 5 feet (1.5 meters), their total spread is small compared to their natural capacity for growth.
These plants thrive in containers and don't need to be replanted frequently. Only repot this plant every two to three years or when its roots become very overgrown and rootbound.
It is important that the pot you plant your Rubber Tree ‘Ruby' in has a drainage hole.
Because these plants are typically grown as indoor houseplants, potting and repotting are inevitable. However, Ficus elastica ‘Ruby's are not difficult to please in this aspect of care.
They grow exceptionally well in pots. The most important feature for a pot to have for this plant is a hole for drainage.
Rubber Tree ‘Ruby' plants are thought to grow better under slightly cramped conditions. Hence, frequent repotting isn't as necessary compared to other plants.
Typically, you should only repot your plant when it has become so rootbound that its roots are overgrown. Or, repot your Ficus elastica ‘Ruby' every two to three years.
These plants do not need much pruning. Remove damaged, yellowing, or dead leaves as necessary with a pair of sharp, clean, gardening shears. Typically, Ficus elastica ‘Ruby' plants are pruned most often to maintain their shape and size. This plant should only be pruned during its growing season.
Prune your Ficus elastica ‘Ruby' during its growing season, in the spring or summer. Generally, these plants are pruned in order to maintain good shape and size.
In addition, yellowing, damaged, or dead leaves should be pruned away as necessary.
When pruning your Rubber Tree ‘Ruby', it is recommended you use a pair of clean, sharp, garden shears.
Propagation of Ficus Elastica Ruby is straightforward and may be done through stem cuttings taken during pruning. Take a stem(s) at least 6″ long and dip in rooting hormone to encourage rooting. Next, place your cutting(s) in potting mix and keep moist. You should see that your plant has produced new leaves within several roots, indicating successful propagation.
Being in the Ficus family, Ficus Ruby is considered toxic to humans, cats, and dogs. The sap that the Ficus secretes is irritating to the skin and can cause contact dermatitis. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling this plant.
The best method to use when propagating this plant is stem cuttings. The method is not hard to do, and the results are quite fast.
The best time to begin propagating your Ficus elastica ‘Ruby' is in the spring to summer months. This is when your plant actively grows.
This is also when you should typically prune your plant. When you prune your Ficus elastica ‘Ruby', instead of discarding the offcuts, use them to propagate your plant!
Ideally, you should have a cutting about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long with at least two healthy leaves.
Strip the lower part of the cutting of its bottom set of leaves and insert in moist soil inside a small pot.
Make sure to take care of the cutting as you would a mature Ficus elastica ‘Ruby'. In about two to three weeks your newly-propagated plant should develop roots!
Unfortunately, Ficus Elastica is considered toxic and is not safe for consumption. Keep this plant out of reach from young children and babies. Additionally, if the plant becomes injured, the milky sap excreted may cause contact dermatitis in humans.
Ficus Elastica Ruby is considered toxic to pets and should never be ingested. However, if you suspect that your pet has consumed any portion of this plant, contact your veterinarian or animal poison control immediately.
The Ficus elastica Ruby appearance can be summed up as big and beautiful.
The colorful variegation on its large leaves, as well as its commanding size, will make it a focal point of your tropical garden.
While you may never see a Ficus Ruby flower, the lush leaves will make up for that.
The foliage of Ficus elastica Ruby is the reason people grow this popular houseplant, and with good reason.
Each large oval leaf features generous splashes of pink and red against a dark green backdrop on top. The texture is smooth and shiny. The undersides of the leaves are a solid pale pink or cream.
Leaves will grow to a mature size of a foot in length and half that wide. They are attached to the main stalk by thick stems. Each stem has one leaf growing from its tip.
Maintain the glossy appearance of the leaves by wiping them down once a month with a damp cloth.
Ficus elastica Ruby flowering occurs rarely on plants grown indoors in pots. In rare instances, you will see it blooming, but the flowers are small and insignificant.
When you see a tall, narrow sheath emerging from the end of the stalk, you may think that you are about to get a Ficus elastica Ruby flower. However, this bright red sheath is in fact a new leaf getting ready to unfurl itself.
Because of the unspectacular nature of the rare flowers, it's not worth trying to coax your Ficus elastica Ruby to produce them. Instead, focus on the gloriously variegated leaves.
When grown outdoors in a tropical region, the full size of Ficus elastica Ruby can be a spectacular 100 feet or more.
However, when grown as a potted plant, it will usually finish up at about 8 feet tall, spreading out about 3 feet.
If you have a cathedral ceiling and want to aim for 12 feet or so, you may be able to achieve that in time and with ideal conditions.
Ficus elastica Ruby has a slow growth rate and may take up to 10 years or so to reach its full height indoors.
The main stem will grow into a thick trunk as it grows in height.
There is no discernable Ficus elastica Ruby fragrance. This may be a positive for you if you are sensitive to strong scents.
However, even though it has no scent, it has other benefits for your indoor air.
Ficus elastica Ruby filters bacteria and mold spores from the air, clearing up to 60% of these harmful pathogens.
Rubber plants also filter out formaldehyde and produce more oxygen than any other plant, making them not just beautiful but useful.
Ficus elastica Ruby is an ideal plant to use in places where fragrant plants aren't permitted, such as nursing homes, and air filtration is a positive bonus in any setting.
While you won't want to use this big plant in a small space like a studio apartment, a Ficus elastica Ruby can make a strong statement where there's room for it indoors.
In a public atrium with a soaring ceiling, one or more Ficus elastica Ruby plants in large planters will provide an excellent low-maintenance backdrop. One plant in a large living room or conservatory can serve as the centerpiece of an assortment of tropical plants.
You can move your Ficus elastica Ruby outside for the summer season, where it will immediately establish a tropical vibe on a shady patio.
Plain or dull-looking leaves are a sign that your Ficus elastica ‘Ruby' is not getting enough sun. Move your plant to a spot where it will receive bright, indirect light for as long as possible throughout the day. The more sun your plant gets, the more pronounced its variegation will show through!
Leaves of Ficus Elastica Ruby may turn yellow due to issues related to watering, lack of sunlight, or pest issues.
When leaves of Ficus Elastica turn brown, it is typically due to either underwatering or too much direct sunlight.
While Ficus Ruby is generally disease-resistant, it is still susceptible to infection, especially fungal or bacterial infections related to overwatering.
Ficus Elastica Ruby, like many other houseplants, may become susceptible to infestation from common household pests such as mealybugs, thrips, spider mites, and more. Periodically check your plant for signs of infestation and if spotted treat with a pesticide accordingly.
Ficus elastica Ruby should be kept in a warm, moderately humid environment out of the direct sun. Water to keep the soil consistently moist but well-drained.
Ficus elastica Ruby can be grown outdoors year-round in a tropical region. Plant it in dappled shade and do not let the soil dry out.
Ficus elastica Ruby has a slow growth rate, taking 10 to 15 years to reach its full size when grown indoors as a potted plant.
When grown indoors, Ficus elastica Ruby can reach a height of 8 feet or so. A Ficus elastica Ruby grown outdoors in a tropical region can reach more than 100 feet.
Ficus elastica Ruby will grow its fastest when given ideal conditions of bright, indirect light, warm temperatures, moderately high humidity, moist soil, and regular light fertilizing.
Ficus elastica Ruby naturally grows upright with a strong central trunk, so it does not need any staking. Rotate the pot a quarter turn a week to keep it growing evenly.
Ficus elastica Ruby should be potted in a container with good drainage holes, in rich but well-draining soil which will stay evenly moist without being saturated.
If your Ficus elastica Ruby's soil has completely dried out, plunge the pot into the water until it has fully absorbed the water. Let the excess water drain out completely.
Your Ficus elastica Ruby may have an insect infestation or fungal disease. Use insecticidal sprays for bugs and remove diseased leaves, stems, and roots if necessary.
Your Ficus elastica Ruby may be drooping because it has been overwatered. If the soil is waterlogged, remove it from the pot and replace it with fresh, porous soil.
Ficus elastica Ruby cannot tolerate temperatures much below 60ºF (15ºC), and freezing temperatures will kill it. Keep it at 70 to 77ºF (21 to 25 ºC).
Get rid of insect pests such as mealybugs and scale on your Ficus elastica Ruby by using sprays such as insecticidal soap and neem oil.
The foliage of Ficus elastica Ruby has no scent, and the plants rarely if ever produce flowers when grown as a houseplant. It is considered fragrance-free.
The Ficus elastica ‘Ruby' is a tender plant that requires fairly specific care. Although it is not necessarily difficult to care for, it can be quite demanding.
The right level of light exposure is the most important care aspect of this plant.
However, with patience and determination, these trees will bring the perfect pop of pink into your home!