Rubber ball, I come bouncin’ back to you… We’ve known a lot of amigos in our time, but we keep coming back to the rubber plant! This cool, sleek amigo, with its rubbery-feeling leaves is both easy to care for, and a champion air purifier. That’s why this week’s plant spotlight is shining on our beautiful amigo the Ficus Elastica! Also called rubber tree, rubber plant or rubber fig, amigos like Heidi and Jack are known for their broad, shiny oval leaves. They can be small enough to sit on your table, or grow tall enough to touch the ceiling. The tallest rubber trees can grow 30-40 metres tall! But that’s not all that makes them special. Without further ado, let’s meet the rubber plant!
I’m rubber, you’re glue…
Besides having rubbery-looking leaves, rubber plants got their name from their sap, which is sometimes used to make rubber. But don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly if you touch the sap, because it can cause skin irritation! It can also be toxic for people and pets when ingested, so don’t let your furry friends munch on this amigo. Rubber plants originate in sub-tropical parts of the world, such as India, Nepal, Burma, and China, which is why it prefers a humid climate However, this amigo is super durable and grows well in the dry air in your house.
Just to clear the air
Jack & Heidi are pros at filtering for fresh air. In fact, they are on that famous list of the top 10 best air purifiers according to NASA! Some say that air purifying plants can boost your creativity, stamina, reaction speed, and neural development. That makes this amigo a perfect roommate!
Pretty in pink
Rubber plants come in colours from dark green, deep maroon, or variegated colours with light green, yellow, cream, pink or white. These colours can be affected by how much light you give your amigo. If you notice that Jack is fading from deep burgundy to a light green, he might not be getting enough light! Similarly, if Heidi’s leaves aren’t white enough for your liking, try moving her to a spot with more light.
Grow, baby, grow!
These amigos only grow new leaves from the top, not the sides of the plant. The new leaves are grown in a sheath, which appears as a tiny spike at the top of your plant. When the baby leaf is ready to emerge, it will push its way out, and the sheath will fall off completely, leaving you with a shiny new little leaf! Rubber trees can grow up to 24” during the spring and summer months, but they will become dormant during winter, so don’t freak out if your amigo hasn’t sprouted any new leaves for a while.