Burgundy Rubber Plant Info: How To Grow Ficus Elastica Burgundy

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The burgundy rubber plant is a selected cultivar of Ficus elastica [FY-kus, ee-LASS-tih-kuh]. It is a Ficus species from the fig genus, a part of the Moraceae fig family, Ficeae tribe, and Urostigma subgenus. 

More on other Types of Rubber Plants

Group of Burgundy Rubber Plant aka Ficus Elastica Burgundy growing in a greenhousePin
Ficus elastica burgundy – Red Rubber tree

This particular Ficus plant is popular among homeowners who use it as a houseplant.

The plant is known for its prolific fleshy burgundy leaves. 

Elastica is native to many parts of eastern South Asia and Southeast Asia. 

Over the years, it has been naturalized in the West Indies and Sri Lanka, along with Florida in the United States.

Ficus Burgundy Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Ficus Elastica Burgundy
  • Common Name(s): Rubber Plant, Rubber Tree
  • Synonyms: Ficus Burgundy, Rubber Fig
  • Family & Origin: Moraceae family, native to South and Southeast Asia
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 10-12
  • Size: Grows up to 40′ feet high and 4-6′ feet indoors
  • Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: Prefers high humidity
  • Temperature: 60-75°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Water when the top inch of soil is dry, do not overwater
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize once a month during growing season
  • Pests & Diseases: Common pests include spider mites and mealybugs, which can be susceptible to root rot if overwatered
  • Propagation: Propagate through stem cuttings
  • Plant Uses: Popular as a houseplant, it can improve indoor air quality

The elastica or decora plant has earned quite a lot of common names, including:

  • Rubber fig
  • Rubber plant
  • Rubber tree
  • Rubber bush
  • Indian rubber tree
  • Indian rubber bush
  • Burgundy rubber tree

Burgundy Rubber Plant Care

Size & Growth

This cultivar of the Ficus elastica plant is definitely a looker when it comes to rubber trees. 

The burgundy-colored leaves are large, about 8” – 12” inches long and around 4” inches wide.

In temperate and tropical climates, the tree can reach up to 40’ feet in height when planted in the ground. 

This is proof of a fast growth rate. Indoor plants usually top at 4’ – 6’ feet and are pruned to keep them short.

Burgundy rubber Ficus plant dark, shiny leaves new growth in black potPin

Flowering and Fragrance

The plant is not known for its flowers. 

However, like other fig species, such as the fiddle leaf fig, the plant needs fig wasps for pollination. 

To attract them, they produce insignificant, small, ovoid-shaped inflorescences called sycones.

These sycones are not very fragrant and have a greenish-yellow hue. They appear in pairs in the axils of mature trees’ leaves.

Light Conditions & Temperature

Burgundy features rich, deep red foliage and turns almost purple under lower light levels. The Indian rubber tree plants are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 11. 

This means the ideal temperature for burgundy rubber trees is 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C) in the nighttime and around 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C) or more during the day.

In cooler temperatures, the plant is best grown indoors.

As for light requirements, this indoor plant thrives in bright, indirect light. 

Low light or indirect lighting with indoor plants is tolerated but leads to less vibrant colored foliage. 

Outdoors, Burgundy Ficus grows well in full sun or bright indirect light.  

Water Requirements and Feeding

Rubber plants are very sensitive to moisture. Water burgundy only when the soil becomes somewhat dry. 

Slowly pour water around the plant and let it run through to the bottom. 

Avoid splashing the leaves as it may stain them. Cut back on watering Ficus in winter.

Water-soluble and well-balanced plant food specially formulated for houseplants is nutritious for rubber trees. 

Do this every couple of months for optimal results. If your plants are in medium light, fertilizing is crucial.

Soil & Transplanting

The best soil for rubber plants is a well-draining potting mix with excellent aeration. 

This is important for rubber tree plants as poor drainage can lead to various leaf problems. 

A large, glossy-leaved rubber plant in a black pot by a wooden pallet and green ceramic pot.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @lanoha_nurseries

The optimal mix for a burgundy rubber ficus consists of one part pine bark and one part coarse sand or perlite.

Rubber trees grow at a relatively fast rate. Every few years, in the early to late summer, repotting is beneficial for the plants. 

Use a pot with a drainage hole a size bigger than the previous one, and add rocks at the bottom.

Mix two parts of peat moss and one part of potting soil mixed with one part of sand. 

Place the dug-up plant gently, spreading the roots and filling the hole. 

Water the plant and place direct sunlight at steady room temperatures.

Grooming and Maintenance

Caring for a rubber plant is not exactly very demanding. 

You need to prune the tops of the rubber tree from time to time to remove leggy growth or if it’s too tall for an indoor tree. 

Make sure it has bright light or high light.

Another part of rubber plant care involves dusting. The leaves of the tree have a texture that collects dust easily. 

Just wipe them off with a moist cloth, and it’ll be as good as new. Use neem oil as a leaf-shining product to maintain a natural shine on the leaves.

Related: How To Clean Plant Leaves

A potted rubber plant with glossy leaves against a textured grey wall.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @plantandcurio

How to Propagate Ficus Burgundy

Propagating Burgundy rubber plants from air layers is not difficult. 

The best way to go about propagating a rubber plant is by stem cuttings. 

  • Take a few stem cuttings, only a few inches long
  • Place them in an area where the sap can dry.
  • After an hour or so, dip the base of each cutting in a rooting hormone
  • Stick the cuttings in a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix
  • Provide warmth to the bottom of the pot if possible 
  • Once roots appear, plant the cuttings in individual pots.
  • Grow plants as you would mature burgundy Ficus.
  • Enjoy the burgundy color of the new leaves. 

The ideal temperature for the new plants to grow healthy is between 70° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (21° – 24° C).

Burgundy Ficus Pest or Diseases

The most common problem in rubber Ficus plants is the loss of leaves due to overwatering. Excessive water around the roots can cause rot. 

Overwatering will lead to yellow leaves with brown spots and wilting. 

Some bottom leaves can turn yellow and drop naturally, but it’s better to check the soil conditions.

The plant may also be vulnerable to common pests such as mealybugs, scales, and spider mites. 

Consult your local garden center or nursery for advice and a non-toxic or DIY solution to rid your Ficus burgundy of these pests.

NOTE: Sudden temperature drops can cause leaves to fall off. 

Toxicity For Pets

The white latex sap in the rubber tree is an irritant for pets’ skin and innards. 

If you have cats or dogs in your home, keep the plant away from their reach to avoid and foreseeable problems.

Related: Is The Rubber Plant Poisonous?

Suggested Burgundy Rubber Plant Uses

The burgundy rubber Ficus is used indoors and outdoors as ornamental floor plants to showcase their unique foliage. 

It’s a very popular houseplant, potted in large containers and placed around homes, hotels, and other buildings. 

Ornamental selections such as Robusta and others with variegated large leaves are favored.

Besides being grown as an indoor house plant, the rubber tree is also produced by vegetative propagation. 

The plant contains a milky white sap called latex. This is extracted and used for manufacturing rubber.

And lastly, the plant is used in India to form living bridges. 

In some parts, the roots of the plant are guided over chasms so they interlock and create a bridge.

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