Variegated Rubber Plant
Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’
Synonyms of Ficus elastica (12) (Updated on 12-4-21 from Plants of the World Online): Ficus clusiifolia Summerh., Ficus cordata Kunth & C.D.Bouché, Ficus elastica var. rubrinervis Sata, Ficus skytinodermis Summerh., Ficus taeda Kunth & C.D.Bouché, Stilpnophyllum elasticum (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Drury, Urostigma circumscissum Miq., Urostigma elasticum (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Miq., Urostigma karet Miq., Urostigma odoratum Miq., Visiania elastica (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Gasp., Macrophthalma elastica (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Gasp.
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.
The genus, Ficus L., was described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 12-4-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online list 877 species in the Ficus genus. They are species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiephytes. Ficus is the largest genus in the plant family Moraceae commonly known as the fig family. Some sources, or groups, list the many species of the Ficus genera in several subgenera but are disregarded by others. POWO lists 49 genera in the family. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
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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.
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.
Origin: See links below
Zones: USDA Zones 10b-12 (35-50° F)
Light: Part-full shade
Water: Average water needs, less in winter
Uses: Great as a houseplant
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.