Also known as the rubber fig or the Indian rubber bush, the ficus elastica tree is identified by its thick, rubbery foliage. In the wild, ficus trees can reach 90 feet in height; however, indoors, they grow to a manageable height of 4 to 6 feet. Ficus elastica is native to Asia and India, and can be found growing in homes around the world. Ficus trees make excellent houseplants, not only because of their beauty, but also because they require little care and attention. By providing these trees with the proper care, they can easily thrive indoors.
Plant the ficus elastica in a large pot that has bottom drainage holes. To properly accommodate the tree, the pot should be around 5 gallons. Use moisture retaining potting soil to plant the ficus. These trees have thick foliage and need plenty water. You can purchase moisture retaining potting soil at your local garden specialty store.
Water the ficus tree once per week to maintain proper moisture content. Water the tree until water is draining from the drainage holes on the bottom of the planting container. Make sure the container does not pool water. Prolonged exposure to water can increase the chance of disease and fungal growth.
Fertilize the tree once every two weeks using a houseplant fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer at half the rate the directions give that come with the fertilizer for optimal growth and best results. You can purchase a houseplant fertilizer at you local garden specialty store.
Prune the ficus elastica as needed using sharp pruning shears. Prune away in brown or dying foliage. Make your cut where the dead or dying branch joins the main trunk.