The rubber tree plant, Ficus elastica, has a stiff, tree-like stem with dark green and burgundy tinted oval-shaped leaves. The leaves feel thicker than other house plant leaves and look shiny. The rubber plant tree can grow up to 10 feet in height with 8-inch long leaves. Burgundy ficus trees are popular house plants because they are easy to take care of. They are native plants found in the tropical rain forests in Malaysia, South America and India.
Rubber trees require indirect sunlight and should be placed near a window, preferably with morning sun and afternoon shade. Place burgundy rubber tree plants away from air-conditioning vents, heaters and drafts. If the burgundy ficus doesn't receive enough sunlight, the leaves will turn green and lose their burgundy color. Indoor temperatures for ficus trees should be kept between 65 and 80 degrees F.
Care and Maintenance
Rubber trees need well-drained soil. Adding Perlite and coarse sand to your own potting soil will ensure the burgundy ficus has good drainage. Water the ficus tree with room temperature or warm water until it begins to drain from the holes in the bottom of the pot. Dump any water that is in the saucer to avoid the roots becoming damaged and root rot setting in. Repot your burgundy ficus tree into a container 2 inches larger than the current pot when the plant begins needing water almost every day. This will give the dense root system of the rubber tree room to grow.
Use water soluble fertilizer every two weeks during spring and summer. Be sure to read the label for specific instructions on how to use the fertilizer. Fertilize once every four months if the rubber tree plant is growing in low light and turn plant once a week so all parts of the plant receive light.
Ficus trees are rarely bothered by pest or diseases of any kind. The most common pests to watch for are mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, thrips and scale. These pests typically target indoor house plants, especially in a high humidity environment.