The ficus ruby, also known as the ficus tineke ruby, is a hardy variegated version of the popular rubber tree. You can distinguish the ficus ruby rubber plant from the regular ficus elastica tineke from its deep pink, almost red, variegated leaves.
You’ll find that the ruby plant is very forgiving. You can let the plant completely dry out and the leaves can tolerate relatively low light. The simplicity of ficus elastica ruby care coupled with the beauty of its leaves allows this plant to be a great option for new plant parents as well as experienced one.
Ficus Ruby Care Guide
Like most ficus elasticas, ruby ficus care is usually quite simple and the plant is tolerant to being somewhat forgotten. The soil can be allowed to dry out completely, but if left dry for an extended period of time will cause lower leaves to yellow.
The ruby tineke can tolerate indirect, filtered light but will produce more highly variegated leaves if placed in a south-west facing window with indirect bright light.
Ficus Elastica Ruby Care Overview
Light: Can grow well in medium, indirect light but needs bright indirect light to produce variegation
Watering: Soil should be slightly moist, but not soggy; Water when top few inches are dry
Soil: Light, chunky well draining mix that retains moisture without becoming soggy
Feeding: Use houseplant fertilizer every 2 weeks in spring and summer
The ruby ficus light requirements range from indirect, filtered light to bright light conditions.
While the ruby plant is tolerant to low light, it will lose much of its beautiful variegation without some level of bright light. The ideal lighting and location for a ficus ruby plant is two feet back from a south-west facing window, or directly in an east facing window.
The ruby rubber tree is very forgiving to being under-watered. While the ruby rubber plant prefers to be kept in slightly damp soil at all times, it can tolerate completely drying out between waterings. However, leaving the soil dry for extended periods of time will lead to loss of lower leaves.
It is vital to remember that while the ficus elastica ruby prefers its soil to remain moist, you should be sure not to over water the plant. This will cause leaves to yellow.
When watering your ruby ficus elastica, allow the soil to become completely saturated and allow all excess water to drain away. Try to maintain a regular watering frequency to help new growth.
Preferred Soil / Potting Medium
Correct potting soil for the ruby rubber tree is key to maintaining a healthy plant. The ficus tineke ruby grows roots quite quickly and doesn’t love to be too root-bound. Due to the tree-like nature of the ruby ficus elastica, it prefers to have space for its roots to grow deeply and freely.
In addition, the ruby rubber tree plant does not do well with compacted soil. It’s helpful to aerate the soil once a month or whenever the top layer of soil looks compacted or dense. To do this take your finger, a pencil, a chopstick or your preferred tool and gently poke deep into the pot, gently moving the soil around.
The ruby tineke will do well in a light, well draining mix that retains moisture without becoming soggy. We suggest 3 parts peat based soil to one part coco chips or orchid bark.
The ruby ficus plant will do well in regular household humidity. The rubber tree ruby will thrive when the humidity is between 40-60% and can benefit from occasional higher humidity. A good way to accomplish this is with misting, a humidifier, or pebble trays.
Ruby Rubber Plant Propagation Tips
You can propagate the ficus elastica ruby from both leaf and stem cuttings. There is a high success rate for propagating both the leaves and the stem of the ficus tineke ruby.
It is important to be careful when propagating the plant as rubber plant sap can cause both skin and eye irritation. We suggest working with gloves on and ensuring you wash your hands after completing the project.
For a stem cutting, locate a spot below a node and ensure that the branch is at least 6 inches long with 4 nodes above the cut. While the cutting may survive shorter/ with less nodes utilizing this method will increase your chances for success.
Once cut, remove all leaves except four to encourage growth to the roots and not foliage. Dip the end of the cutting into rooting hormone and then place in a well draining potting mix. Water and cover with a ziplock bag. Finally, find a sunny warm location and watch nature work!
*If propagating in water, follow all steps until rooting hormone. At this point place the cutting into water and move your plant to a bright, warm location.
Is The Ficus Tineke Ruby Toxic?
Rubber tree sap is an irritant to both the skin and eyes of humans. The milky sap that is exposed when the plant is cut can produce rash and swelling eyes.
The rubber tree sap is also toxic to animals in the same way as humans, contact with skin or eyes can cause irritation. If the sap of the rubber tree is ingested it will lead to vomiting. Seek medical attention if this occurs.
Common Problems With Ruby Tineke
The ruby plant is fairly hardy, meaning it is not prone to most pests and can bounce back from many issues with relative ease. Curling or dropping leaves and yellowed leaves are the most common issues rubber plant ruby parents face.
Rubber plant leaves curling
There are many things that can cause the leaves of a rubber tree ruby to curl. The main causes of this issue are too much light, low humidity, inconsistent watering, and pests.
Make sure to take note of the environment your plant is in to ensure the lighting and humidity are accurate, and from there look at the plant itself for signs of root instability or pests such as brown spots on the leaves or bumps on the stem.
Rubber plant leaves dropping
The main reason that the ficus ruby plant drops leaves is a change in lighting. This plant enjoys remaining in the same place in your house and will drop leaves if moved.
Another reason for the ruby ficus plant to drop leaves is low humidity. To correct this, spray the plant daily, introduce a humidifier, or place the plant on a pebble tray.
Yellow rubber tree
The main reason a rubber tree will develop yellow leaves is over or under watering. When you notice yellow leaves on your rubber tree ruby, check the soil.
If the soil is moist, allow it to completely dry out before watering. If the soil is dry, thoroughly water and mist the leaves of the plant.
Ficus Ruby Rubber Plant: Your next wishlist plant
Here at houseplant hive we tend to overlook our Ficus Ruby Rubber plants. This isn’t because we don’t love the plant, or that we do not find it pretty. Instead, it’s so hardy we often forget we have it because of how simple the ficus elastica ruby plant care is!
Ficus Ruby care is not difficult to figure out, and with this guide we are positive you will be able to produce a beautiful plant with deep variegation to wow your friends and family.
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