In this guide you'll learn: How & where to buy the Ficus elastica 'Robusta', how to care for your plant and answers to FAQs to keep your plant happy
About Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’
The Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ is a popular cultivar of the rubber tree, with large, deep forest-green foliage with a glossy look and lighter new-growth, it is an excellent statement plant for any indoor area.
This cultivar is quick growing and can put out at least one new leaf each month during the main growing season, quickly reaching heights of 2-3m within just a few years, imparting a touch of class and nature because of its tropical yet neat and unobtrusive form.
While the rubber tree (also known as rubber fig) can reach 30 metres in the wild forests of South and Southeast Asia, this cultivar is unlikely to eclipse 3 metres indoors, but will delight you with beautiful new pink leaves if provided with some relatively basic and easy-to-achieve growing conditions.
Rubber plants are some of the most popular houseplants because they are so easy to take care of. Overwatering is the most common problem, but it’s easy to fix by following a few simple guidelines. Your Robusta should adjust well to any indoor climate in the UK.
If you’re looking for your first plant, this is a good option that is long-lived with minimal maintenance and is very rewarding. If this is the plant for you, read our buyer’s guide below to get your plant delivered direct to you.
Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ in the House & Office
Like other cultivars of the rubber tree, the Robusta is quick to adapt to almost any indoor climate and really does not need much care, making it one of the easiest indoor plants to grow.
The large and glossy leaves produce ample amounts of fresh, clean, oxygenated air and are perfect for trapping dust – just give them a wipe at least once each month with a damp sponge. Like other air purifying plants, it is a great option for workplaces with stuffy and stagnant air.
Studies from NASA show that the species is effective in reducing levels of toxic particles in the air, including formaldehyde, although it wasn’t particularly too high on their list of selected plants. While their study wasn’t on this cultivar, the Robusta should be roughly as effective.
Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ Size
As this tree can grow to a significant size in the wild, it can still become a very large plant when grown indoors. While it can reach up to 300cm indoors, it often doesn’t reach this size and can be controlled by providing it with less fertiliser and by reducing light.
Height: up to 300cm / 118in / 9.8ft
Spread: up to 180cm / 70in / 5.9ft
Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ Care
Light: This plant will thrive in bright indirect light but dislikes strong, direct light from south-facing windows. As this cultivar grows quite dark green leaves, it may be suited to slightly darker locations than other cultivars with lighter or variegated leaves. Keep your plant within a few feet of most bright windows, but at least five feet from a south-facing window to give it good and bright indirect sunlight that isn’t too strong.
Soil: You should be careful to not allow your plant to sit in water-logged soil as this can cause root rot. To minimise any risk, add 30-40% rough material to the potting mix, such as grit, perlite, clay pebbles or similar to increase drainage. Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil doesn’t remain waterlogged for any period of time.
Watering: Water your Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ when the top one inch of soil feels dry, about once per week. Do not water when the soil feels damp or the soil sticks to your finger, as this may drown the plant and cause the roots to rot.
Humidity: Provide your rubber tree plant with as much humidity as possible in its environment, while aiming for a level of at least 50%. For optimal growth, provide a humidity level of more than 60% by grouping your plant together with others, turning on a humidifier or by sitting the pot on top of a tray of pebbles and water. Keep your plant in a well-lit bathroom or kitchen where the humidity is highest in the home. Humidity levels below 50% are less ideal but your plant should adapt.
Feeding: Feed every two weeks during summer with standard houseplant fertiliser, and just once per month during spring and autumn. Don’t feed during winter as the plant will reduce its growth rate and salts from the feed will build up in the soil, potentially damaging the plant.
Temperature: Your plant will thrive in most indoor conditions, so temperatures of 18-24°C / 64-75°F will be ideal. The Robusta will be happy at temperatures above and below those levels, if not extreme, but do not allow the plant to reach near freezing temperatures.
Ailments: These plants can be prone to leaf drop, which can happen after transplanting, suddenly changing its environment, or if exposed to strong, direct sun for too long.
Further care: Read our full care guide to help your plant thrive.
Where To Buy Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ Online
- Ebay (UK) / (USA)
- Bloombox Club (UK) / (USA)
- Local Facebook Groups
The Ficus ‘Robusta’ is not too difficult to find either in garden centres, plant shops or online, but buying online is the easiest way to ensure you get the plant that you want without having to make multiple trips.
The easiest place to find these available will be Ebay and Etsy, where you can often also choose the exact plant that you would like to purchase.
We would recommend that you buy from a well-rated, positively-reviewed retailer online which can show a respectable return policy.
If you do buy online, you should inspect your plant after receiving the delivery and be sure to not introduce an infected or infested plant to the rest of your plant collection, to prevent any possible spread.
If you are unhappy with the plant you receive in any way, contact the retailer and begin the return and refund process, and never settle for a houseplant that is damaged or otherwise unhealthy.
How do you care for a Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ plant?
Provide bright but indirect light within a few feet of any window that doesn’t face south. Water weekly when the top inch of soil feels dry, provide a humidity level above 50% and feed a basic fertiliser monthly through the growing seasons. Wipe the leaves monthly to remove dust and keep the plant warm at typical room temperatures.
Where do you put Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’?
The Robusta will be happy indoors within a few feet of a north, east or west facing window, either in the home or office. It thrives in higher humidity, so a bright kitchen or bathroom is ideal.
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