A rubber plant is a timeless classic. Whether you are an experienced indoor gardener or you are just a beginner that is simply looking for an attractive, low-maintenance houseplant, a rubber plant can be a perfect choice!
One particular type of rubber plant, the Ficus Tineke, or variegated rubber tree, as it is also known, offers an incredible amount of color and character to any indoor space. Best of all, they are completely beginner-friendly, meaning they are a forgiving houseplant that requires very little maintenance.
If you would like to know more about these attractive yet simple indoor plants, we are here to help. By reading through our Ficus Tineke care guide, you will learn everything you need to know to help your little rubber tree thrive!
Ficus Tineke Characteristics
How Large Do They Grow?
The Ficus Tineke is often classified as a small ornamental tree or bush when it is grown indoors. While they can reach up to 50 feet in height when they grow in their natural outdoor environments, they usually only grow to a height of 2 to 10 feet when they are grown indoors.
How tall your Ficus Tineke will end up growing depends on several factors, including the size of the pot it is grown in, how much sunlight it gets, the quality of the soil it is grown in, and how often it is watered.
The leaves themselves can reach up to 12 inches in length and five inches in width; however, as you would expect, the smaller plants tend to have smaller leaves.
What Color Are They?
While there can be some variation when it comes to the color of the leaves, most Ficus Tineke plants will sprout tri-color leaves. In most cases, the leaves are primarily green in color, but they will feature yellow, cream, and even pink highlights, especially toward the perimeter of each leaf.
Ficus Tineke Care Guide
While the Ficus Tineke is a fairly low-maintenance and resilient plant, there are still some important care tips you should follow if you want your rubber plant to be happy and healthy.
While the tropical appearance might lead you to believe that the Ficus Tineke requires plenty of direct sunlight, they actually prefer indirect light. In fact, they will even tolerate surprisingly low amounts of sunlight.
If you want your Ficus Tineke to thrive, you should place it in a location where it will receive at least five hours of indirect sunlight per day. Avoid areas where sunlight is intense and direct, as the leaves of the Ficus Tineke are susceptible to leaf burn.
Under ideal conditions, meaning plenty of bright, indirect light, the leaves of the plant will grow out in more vivid colors; however, too much light will scorch and brown the leaves.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Like all rubber plants, the Ficus Tineke prefers a stable temperature. Inconsistent temperatures can cause it to shed some of its leaves. This means you should avoid placing your Ficus Tineke near a drafty window, or a heating or air conditioning vent.
With that being said, they are fairly rugged plants, so they should be OK as long as the average room temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In terms of humidity, they prefer a more humid environment over one that is extremely dry. If your home tends to be dry during certain seasons, you may want to consider a humidifier; however, watering the plant more frequently will also help it overcome an overly dry atmosphere.
Watering Your Ficus Tineke Plant
As mentioned, these plants are fairly low maintenance, which means they do not need to be watered very often. In fact, the roots of the Ficus Tineke are very susceptible to root rot, which means you should always avoid overwatering the plant and letting the roots sit in pools of water.
You will want to make sure the top two-to-three inches of soil are dry to the touch before you water your Ficus Tineke. In most cases, this means watering the plant roughly once per week, but the frequency will vary depending on a number of factors.
For example, the more sunlight the plant is exposed to, the more water it will require. This is because the sunlight can help increase the rate of evaporation from the soil and the added light will actually speed up the rate at which your plant uses the water it pulls from the soil.
What Type of Soil and Pot Should You Use?
For your Ficus Tineke plant to thrive, you will want to use a light, well-draining soil. You want the soil to retain some moisture but also drain properly. Using soil that holds onto excess water because it is absorbent and packed tight can lead to root rot.
Most people find that a well-draining potting soil mixture works best. You can also use a well-draining compost mix that contains small amounts of soil. This will give the plant all of the nutrients it requires but still allow the soil to drain properly.
Choosing the Correct Pot
One of the most important things when choosing a container for your Ficus Tineke plant is to make sure the pot has at least one drainage hole. Since this type of plant is so susceptible to root rot, you want to choose a container that will allow excess water to flow out of the pot, rather than pool near the roots.
The size of the pot you choose will influence the overall size of your Ficus Tineke. If you are aiming for a larger plant, choose a pot that has wider and deeper dimensions, as this will allow the roots to spread.
Many people will re-pot their rubber plants every two-to-three years into a larger container. This encourages natural growth and helps the plant reach new heights.
Other Things to Take into Consideration
While they are beautiful plants that are very beginner-friendly, it is worth noting that the leaves can be toxic when they are ingested. If you have curious pets or young children, you may want to choose a non-toxic houseplant over a Ficus Tineke.
When ingested, the leaves can irritate the digestive system and trigger vomiting and mild pain. While ingestion is not overly dangerous, it is still an issue worth your consideration.
Susceptibility to Pests
You will want to check the leaves for spider mites and mealybugs, as these pest creatures can damage the leaves. If you detect them, you can lightly wash the leaves with a mild insecticidal soap.