Brighten Your Home with Variegated Ficus

Variegated plants --- those with leaves streaked, splashed, or otherwise marked in multiple shades or colors, are super trendy right now. And they're ideal plants for adding extra color and interest to your home. 

We've just added two crops of variegated Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica). Interested in adding them to your home? Buy them from our online plant shop! Get Tineke here and get Ruby here

Ficus elastica Ruby shows off thick, mid-green leaves variegated with pink-to-reddish-pink leaf edges. It enjoys bright light but tolerates medium light and can even grow in low light for weeks at a time if you can rotate it to a brighter spot. As is the case with many reddish-variegated plants, the more light it gets, the stronger the reddish color will be. 

Ficus elastica Tineke is an outstanding selection that has off thick, gray-green leaves variegated with creamy-white. Like Ruby, it's easy-going about light, so you can use it in various spots around your home. 

In my experience, these Rubber Trees are more forgiving of light and water than their cousin, Fiddleleaf Fig (Ficus lyrata). So you can enjoy their big, bold look in your home décor with these plants, even if you've had troubles with Fiddleleaf Fig. 

In good conditions, these Ficus are medium to fast growers, especially if you fertilize them regularly with a general-purpose fertilizer formulated for use on houseplants. In time and with good care, you can watch these plants transform from desk or tabletop specimens to stunning 6-foot-tall trees inside. 

Care Tips
Light: Ruby Rubber Tree and Tineke Rubber Tree thrive within 2 to 3 feet of an average-size east- or west-facing window. (As long as the window isn't obstructed by trees, buildings, or anything else that reduces the amount of light that comes in.) If you don't have good natural light, you can also grow them under plant lights, or in a less-than-bright window with an extra light (like a good LED lamp) to help it out. Dig in for more about houseplants and light

Watering: While these variegated Ficus varieties hold up well to drying out, they do best if they're watered consistently. It's best to let the top half or so of the potting mix dry in between waterings. The way I personally water mine is to add an inch or so of moisture to the decorative cachepot about once a week. I put the plant back in the cachepot and let it absorb as much water as it needs. Then after 20 minutes or so, I take the plant out, pour out any excess water (allowing the plant to drip in the sink in the process) and put it back in the cachepot. 

Pruning: You can cut off the top growth from the plant if you want to keep it smaller or for it to produce more side branches. So pruning is entirely optional. One benefit of pruning is that it's typically pretty easy to propagate Ruby Rubber Tree and Tineke Rubber Tree from cuttings. So if you cut off the top of the new growth, you can plant it to make more plants.  

Humidity: Both of these variegated houseplants prefer average- to above-average humidity levels. But those thick, rubbery leaves tolerate low humidity pretty well. Because they don't need high humidity, you don't need to worry about dry air making the leaf edges all crispy. 
While humidity isn't that important for them, dusting their leaves is. They'll be happiest --- and grow best --- if you wipe off any dust that accumulates every month or so. 

Never had a houseplant before? Check out our tips for new houseplant owners!

Looking for more tips? Check out our podcast!  

Written by Justin Hancock