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Rubber Tree

Discover the benefits of the Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica), a popular, air-purifying houseplant perfect for enhancing office environments.

Rubber Tree Overview

Scientific name:

Ficus elastica



Water requirements:


Light requirements:

Indirect Sun


Air Purifying, Low Maintenance

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Rubber Tree

The Rubber Tree, scientifically known as Ficus elastica, is a popular houseplant that has captured the hearts of plant enthusiasts and interior designers alike. With its glossy, dark green leaves and impressive height, this tropical beauty is not only aesthetically pleasing but also remarkably well-suited for office environments.

One of the most striking features of the Rubber Tree is its large, oval-shaped leaves that can grow up to 12 inches long and 5 inches wide. These leaves are not only visually appealing but also serve a practical purpose in office settings. The Rubber Tree’s foliage has been shown to absorb indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide, effectively purifying the air and creating a healthier work environment.

Another aspect that contributes to the Rubber Tree’s popularity in office settings is its relatively low maintenance needs. With proper watering and occasional pruning, this hardy plant can thrive for years, providing a long-lasting and cost-effective solution for enhancing the ambiance of any professional environment.

Detailed Description of the Rubber Tree

The Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica), also known as the rubber fig or rubber plant, is a striking and unique species that stands out among other houseplants. Its distinctive appearance and growth patterns make it a popular choice for indoor spaces, adding a touch of exotic beauty to any room.

One of the most notable features of the Rubber Tree is its foliage. The leaves are large, glossy, and leathery, ranging in colour from a deep, dark green to a rich burgundy-black. These almond-shaped leaves can grow up to 12 inches long and 5 inches wide, creating a lush and vibrant canopy. The leaves are also known for their resilience, as they can withstand occasional neglect and still maintain their attractive appearance.


As the Rubber Tree matures, it develops a thick, woody trunk that can reach impressive heights, even when grown indoors. In its natural habitat, the Rubber Tree can grow up to 100 feet tall, but as a houseplant, it typically reaches heights of 6 to 10 feet. The tree’s growth pattern is characterised by a central trunk with branches that extend outward, creating a full and bushy appearance.

Natural Rubber 

Another fascinating aspect of the Rubber Tree is its milky white sap, known as latex. When the bark is cut or damaged, this sap oozes out, serving as a natural defence mechanism for the plant. In fact, the Rubber Tree is the primary source of natural rubber, and it has been cultivated for this purpose for centuries. Rubber plantations can begin harvesting latex from trees once they reach about six years of age.

While the Rubber Tree is undeniably beautiful, it is important to understand its care requirements to ensure its healthy growth. This plant thrives in bright, indirect light and prefers consistently moist soil. Overwatering or allowing the soil to dry out completely can lead to leaf drop and other health issues. Additionally, the Rubber Tree benefits from occasional misting to maintain humidity levels and keep its leaves clean and glossy.

Optimal Care Guide for the Rubber Tree

Caring for your Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) is essential to ensure its healthy growth and longevity. In this section, we’ll dive into the key aspects of optimal care, including light requirements, watering schedule, temperature and humidity, and soil and potting tips. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to nurturing a thriving Rubber Tree that adds a touch of natural beauty to your office space.

Light Requirements

When it comes to light, the Rubber Tree prefers bright, indirect sunlight. While it can tolerate lower light conditions better than other ficus species, it’s important to provide it with the right amount of light to keep it happy and healthy. 

Ideally, place your Rubber Tree near a southern-facing window with sheer curtains to filter the bright light. Exposure to the right amount of light plays a crucial role in the growth and overall health of your Rubber Tree. Too little light can lead to stunted growth and a leggy appearance, while too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. 

To optimise light intake, consider positioning your Rubber Tree in a spot that receives bright, indirect light for at least six to eight hours a day. If you’re unsure about the light levels in your office, you can use a mirror to bounce more light onto your plant or choose a room with white walls to help reflect light. 

Additionally, make sure to keep the leaves free of dust to maximise light absorption. Gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth every few weeks, taking care not to damage the delicate new growth.

Watering Schedule

Proper watering is key to maintaining a healthy Rubber Tree. These plants prefer to be kept moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can be detrimental to your plant’s health. On the other hand, underwatering can cause the leaves to droop and eventually fall off. 

As a general rule of thumb, water your Rubber Tree when the top 2-3 inches of soil feel dry to the touch. This typically translates to watering once a week, depending on factors such as light, temperature, and humidity levels. When watering, make sure to thoroughly soak the soil until water runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. 

Pay attention to signs of overwatering or underwatering. If the leaves start to turn yellow and fall off, it could be an indication of overwatering. If the leaves begin to droop and the soil feels dry, it’s time to give your plant a good drink. Ensuring proper soil drainage is crucial to prevent water from stagnating and causing root issues.

Temperature and Humidity

Rubber Trees thrive in warm and humid environments, similar to their native habitat in the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. The ideal temperature range for optimal growth is between 15°C to 24°C. Avoid placing your Rubber Tree near cold drafts or air conditioning vents, as sudden temperature fluctuations can stress the plant.

Humidity is another important factor to consider. Rubber Trees prefer humidity levels around 50% or higher. If the air in your office is particularly dry, you can increase humidity by placing a tray of water near the plant, using a humidifier, or misting the leaves regularly. 

However, be cautious not to oversaturate the leaves, as this can lead to fungal growth. If you notice the leaves starting to brown or curl at the edges, it could be a sign that the air is too dry. Adjusting the humidity levels and ensuring consistent moisture can help keep your Rubber Tree looking its best.

Soil and Potting Tips

Choosing the right soil mix is essential for the health and growth of your Rubber Tree. These plants prefer well-draining soil that allows for proper aeration and moisture retention. A good potting mix for Rubber Trees should consist of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and potting soil. 

When potting your Rubber Tree, select a container with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom. The pot should be slightly larger than the root ball, allowing room for growth. Avoid using a pot that is too large, as this can lead to overwatering and root rot. 

Repotting your Rubber Tree every 1-2 years is essential to maintain healthy roots and provide fresh nutrients. Signs that your plant needs repotting include roots growing out of the drainage holes, slow growth, or water running straight through the soil without being absorbed. 

When repotting, gently remove the plant from its current container, loosen any tangled roots, and place it in a new pot with fresh soil mix. Water thoroughly after repotting and allow the soil to drain completely. Give your Rubber Tree some time to adjust to its new environment before resuming regular care. 

Benefits of the Rubber Tree in Office Settings

The rubber tree, with its lush foliage and striking appearance, is more than just a decorative element in the workplace. This iconic plant offers a multitude of benefits that can transform your office environment into a healthier, more productive, and aesthetically pleasing space. 

One of the most significant advantages of having a rubber tree in your office is its remarkable ability to purify the air. According to a study by NASA, the rubber tree is one of the top plants for removing indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. 

These harmful chemicals are commonly found in office furniture, carpets, and cleaning products, and prolonged exposure can lead to health issues like headaches, respiratory problems, and allergies. By incorporating rubber trees into your office decor, you can effectively combat these pollutants and create a cleaner, healthier breathing environment for your employees. 

In addition to its air-purifying properties, the rubber tree also contributes to a more pleasant and inviting atmosphere in the workplace. The presence of plants has been shown to have a positive impact on employee morale and productivity. The calming effect of the rubber tree’s lush green leaves can help reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a more relaxed and focused work environment. The plant’s presence can also serve as a visual break from the monotony of computer screens and office equipment, providing a refreshing and soothing focal point for the eyes. 

Moreover, the rubber tree’s ability to regulate humidity levels can contribute to a more comfortable and balanced office climate. By releasing moisture through its leaves, the plant helps maintain optimal humidity levels, which can alleviate dry skin, irritated eyes, and respiratory issues often associated with air-conditioned offices. 

Practical Tips for Incorporating Rubber Trees in Your Office

  • Choose a well-lit spot with indirect sunlight for optimal growth and health.
  • Ensure proper drainage to avoid overwatering and root rot.
  • Regularly dust the leaves to maintain their glossy appearance and air-purifying efficiency.
  • Consider placing the rubber tree in high-traffic areas or collaborative spaces to maximise its benefits.
  • Pair the rubber tree with other air-purifying plants like snake plants or peace lilies for a comprehensive green solution.

Common Issues with the Rubber Tree

While the rubber tree is a resilient and low-maintenance plant, it is not immune to certain issues that can affect its health and appearance. As a rubber tree owner, it’s essential to be aware of these common problems and know how to address them effectively. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most prevalent issues you may encounter with your rubber tree and provide practical solutions to help you keep your plant thriving.


One of the most common problems rubber tree owners face is pest infestations. Some of the most notorious culprits include:

  • Scale insects: These tiny pests attach themselves to the plant’s leaves and stems, feeding on the sap and causing yellowing and leaf drop.
  • Spider mites: These microscopic arachnids create fine webbing on the leaves and can cause discoloration and premature leaf fall.
  • Mealybugs: These white, cottony insects cluster on the plant’s stems and leaves, sucking the sap and causing damage.

To combat these pests, start by isolating the affected plant to prevent the infestation from spreading. Remove any heavily infested leaves and treat the plant with an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution. Regularly inspecting your rubber tree for signs of pests and maintaining proper care can help prevent future infestations.

Leaf Discoloration

Another common issue rubber tree owners may face is leaf discoloration. Yellowing leaves can indicate several problems, such as overwatering, underwatering, or nutrient deficiencies. If the leaves are turning brown and crispy, the plant may be receiving too much direct sunlight or suffering from low humidity.

To address leaf discoloration, assess your rubber tree’s care routine and make necessary adjustments. Ensure you are watering the plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry and providing it with bright, indirect light. Increase humidity levels by misting the leaves regularly or placing a humidifier nearby. If the issue persists, consider testing the soil for nutrient deficiencies and addressing them with appropriate fertilisers.

Root Rot

Overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root rot, a serious issue that can quickly kill your rubber tree. Signs of root rot include yellowing leaves, wilting, and a foul odour emanating from the soil. If left untreated, the plant’s roots will begin to decay, ultimately leading to the plant’s demise.

If you suspect root rot, remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Healthy roots should be firm and white, while rotting roots will be mushy and brown. Trim away any affected roots and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil. Be sure to adjust your watering habits to prevent future instances of root rot.

By familiarising yourself with these common issues and taking proactive steps to address them, you can ensure your rubber tree remains healthy and beautiful for years to come. Remember, prevention is key, so maintain a consistent care routine and keep a watchful eye on your plant for any signs of distress. With a little knowledge and effort, you’ll be able to troubleshoot and overcome any challenges your rubber tree may face.

Fun Facts and Trivia about the Rubber Tree

Did you know that the rubber tree has a fascinating history and some surprising uses beyond its well-known role in producing natural rubber? Let’s dive into some intriguing trivia and fun facts about this iconic plant species, the Hevea brasiliensis.

Historical and Cultural Significance

The rubber tree has played a significant role in various cultures throughout history. The ancient Olmec, Maya, and Aztec civilizations were among the first to discover the unique properties of the rubber tree’s latex sap. They used it to create rubber balls for games, waterproof clothing, and even primitive forms of shoes. This early use of rubber demonstrates the ingenuity and resourcefulness of these ancient societies. In more recent history, the rubber tree has been at the centre of social and economic struggles. Chico Mendes, a Brazilian rubber tapper, became a prominent figure in the fight against deforestation and the protection of indigenous communities’ rights. His efforts to establish extractive reserves, which allow for sustainable harvesting of rubber and other forest products, have had a lasting impact on conservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest.

Beyond Rubber: Surprising Uses and Properties

While the rubber tree is primarily known for its latex sap, which is used to produce natural rubber, it has several other surprising uses and properties. For instance, the seeds of the rubber tree contain oil that can be used in the production of soap, paints, varnishes, and even insect repellent. This versatility showcases the plant’s potential beyond its most famous application. Another interesting fact is that rubber tree flowers are a source of nectar for bees, which in turn produce a unique type of honey. The wood of the rubber tree, known as rubberwood, is also used in construction and papermaking, adding to the tree’s economic value.

Trivia Tidbits

Here are some additional fun facts about the rubber tree that might surprise you:

  • A rubber tree can live up to 100 years in the wild and grow to heights of 100 to 130 feet.
  • When a rubber tree fruit ripens, it bursts open and scatters its seeds up to 100 feet away from the tree.
  • Rubber trees are capable of producing latex for harvesting as early as six years of age.
  • The rubber tree is a fast-growing species and is often the first to establish itself in forest clearings, making it an important pioneer species in the Amazon rainforest.

These fascinating facts and trivia about the rubber tree offer a glimpse into the plant’s rich history, diverse uses, and ecological significance. By understanding and appreciating these aspects of the rubber tree, we can develop a deeper connection to this remarkable species and the vital role it plays in our world.

Discover the benefits of the Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica), a popular, air-purifying houseplant perfect for enhancing office environments.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the fascinating world of the Ficus elastica, a beloved plant that has captured the hearts of plant enthusiasts and office managers alike. From its stunning appearance to its remarkable benefits, the Rubber Tree has proven itself to be a valuable addition to any indoor space.

We’ve delved into the essential aspects of caring for your Rubber Tree, ensuring that it thrives and enhances your environment. By understanding its light requirements, watering needs, and optimal temperature and humidity levels, you can create the perfect conditions for your plant to flourish. Additionally, by selecting the right soil mix and following proper potting practices, you’ll promote healthy growth and maintain the longevity of your plant.

If you’re ready to experience the transformative power of the Rubber Tree in your office, we invite you to explore the exceptional plant hire services offered by Aztec Plants. With their expertise and dedication to providing high-quality plants, Aztec Plants can help you select the perfect plant for your specific needs and ensure its ongoing care and maintenance.

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