Rubber Fig - Moraceae F. Elastica.

What You Need to Know About the Rubber Fig – Moraceae F. Elastica

The original rubber plant, which hails from the eastern Himalayas to Java, has been popular as an indoor plant for many years, although it has now been largely superseded by newer cultivars with a more compact habit or with colored leaf markings. The glossy leaves are large and leath­ery with prominent midribs and pointed tips. They arise from a single tall stem that rarely produces sideshoots, unless the top is removed.

Cultivars include: F.e. ‘Decora’ which bears broad, shiny leaves with white midribs; F.e. ‘Doescheri’ with green, gray-green, creamy yellow, or white on its leaves; F.e. ‘Tricolor’ whose gray-green leaves are variegated pink and cream; and F.e. ‘Variegata’ which has pale green leaves with a white or yellow margin.

Size: Height 6 ½ ft. (2 m).

For cultivation see F. benjamina.

Propagation: Take 3-4 in. (7—10 cm) stem cuttings with two nodes, remove the lower leaf, and roll up the top leaf, upper surface facing out, and secure with a rubber band to form a tube. To prevent the latex forming a cap on the base of the cutting, place in water for 30 minutes.

Remove, shake off the water, and then dip the cut surface only in rooting hormone. Support the cutting with a short cane passing down through the rolled leaf, then insert into potting soil and seal into a plastic bag in a bright place, out of direct sun. Alternatively, this plant can be air-layered.