The rubber plant originated in India. The plant is an ornamental plant known as a rubber bush, rubber fig or a rubber plant. The rubber plant requires minimal care, which makes it ideal for homes and offices. The ficus elastica, which is the Latin name for this plant, has thick dark green leaves that can grow up to eight inches long.
Water the plant when the soil is almost dry. Use a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom so that the excess water can drain out into a drainage tray. Do not leave the standing water in the tray; empty it when the water is done draining, usually a few hours after watering.
The rubber plant will adapt to any location in a home. The plant can be kept outside during late spring and summer in a container. The ideal location is in a place where the plant will receive indirect sunlight from a west, east, north or south location. If the plant is kept outside for a long period of time, it must not be placed in direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves.
The rubber plant does well when daytime temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees F and the night temperatures are about 60 degrees F. Ideally, the room should have medium humidity during the day and lower humidity at night.
The plant will need fertilizer every two months when in a high-light location or every four months when in a low-light location. Use a houseplant fertilizer that has a 10-10-10 (nitrogen, phosphates, potassium) formula. Avoid fertilizing during the winter months when growth is slowed.
Rubber plants are prone to some pests that can be removed by using a mild soap and rag. Wipe the top and undersides of the leaves to remove thrips, scale, mealy bugs and whitefly.
Keep the leaves clean and dust free by using a warm damp cloth to wipe the leaves weekly or monthly. Use leaf shine product if the leaves have a dull appearance after wiping with a damp cloth. If the plant needs watering every day, repot in a larger pot with one part humus, one part course sand and one part garden soil with a dusting of lime.