Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’-Variegated Rubber Plant

Ficus elastica ‘variegata’ on 4-18-12, #87-10.

Variegated Rubber Plant

Ficus elastica ‘variegata’

FY-kus ee-LAS-tih-kuh

Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Ficus. It was described by Jens Wilken Hornemann in Supplementum Horti Botanici Hafniensis in 1819. It was previously named and described by William Roxburgh then later by Mr. Hornemann giving Mr. Roxburgh the credit after his death in 1815. Roxburgh was known as the founding father of Indian botany.


Most sources say the genus is listed as Ficus L., but Plants of the World Online write it as Ficus Tourn. ex L.. Then when I did the author name research to see what “Tourn.” had to do with the name, IPNI just lists it as Ficus L. Of course, Carl von Linnaeus described the genus in Species Plantarum in 1753, but since the “ex” is used, apparently Linnaeus did not actually name the genus. It is likely the genus was actually named by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort. Mr. Tournefort was notable as the first botanists to make a clear definition of the concept of plant genera…

Plants of the World Online list 870 accepted species in the Ficus genus (as of when this page was updated on 11-28-18). They are species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiephytes. Ficus is the largest genus in the Moraceae family commonly known as the fig family. Some sources, or groups, list the many species of the Ficus genera in several subgenera but is disregarded by others. The 2013 version of The Plant List named 841 accepted species plus 70 accepted infraspecific names. It also listed a total of 2,811 synonyms, and 314 species still unresolved. The Plant List is no longer maintained.


Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ at 17 1/2″ tall on 10-28-12, #125-16.

I bought my Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 2012 while living at the mansion in Leland. I was never a fan of any species of Ficus until I found Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ and it was love at first sight. (GEEZ!). Some information online says rubber tree others say rubber plant. I am just saying plant because it didn’t seem large enough to call it a tree.

I took most of the potted plants outside during the warmer months, but I always kept the Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ inside. I didn’t want any critters snacking on this beautiful plant.

Ficus elastica is a tropical plant growing in several countries and has even naturalized in Florida Hawaii. In the wild, these trees can grow to an enormous height of 130 feet or more. In this country, they are mainly grown as an ornamental houseplant and will only grow to 4-6 feet in pots. They do produce figs, but only a certain species of fig wasp will pollinate it. Ummm… Fig pollination is a story in itself.


Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ at 19 1/2″ tall x 22″ wide on 4-16-13, #143-8.

When I sold the mansion in Leland, Mississippi in 2013, dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri. I had to give up several hundred potted plants but kept most of my succulents, Alocasia, and several others I couldn’t part with including the Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’. SO, in February 2013, we made the move.

Family: Moraceae
Origin: See links below
Zones: USDA Zones 10b-12 (35-50° F)
Size: Ummm….
Light: Part-full shade
Soil: Well-drained
Water: Average water needs, less in winter
Uses: Great as a houseplant


Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ on 12-7-13, #208-35.

Unfortunately, I gave up most of my plants in late summer of 2014 but I am starting over. Someday I will buy another Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’ and this story will continue.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please leave a “Like” below if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the information on the genus or species.


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