Growing Ficus Tineke: How To Care For The Tineke Rubber Plant

Ficus Tineke is a select variety of Ficus elastica (FY-Kus ee-LAS-tick-uh) and one of the ‘new’ highly variegated rubber plants on the market. Elastica originates from India and Indonesia. 

Variegated foliage of ficus elastica var. "Tineke" houseplant.Pin
Variegated Ficus “Tineke” houseplant | Maritxu22-DepositPhotos

It belongs to the Moraceae family and the plant’s genus name means “edible fig.”

Some common names include:

  • Rubber Tree
  • Rubber Plant
  • India Rubber Fig

Ficus Tineke Care

Size and Growth

Ficus Tineke is grown as a small ornamental tree or bush in use indoors. It grows outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10b to 11. Outdoors trees may reach between 50′ feet tall or more.

When used as a houseplant, Tineke grows up to 2′ – 10′ feet tall.

The size of the leaves may reach up to 12″ inches long and 5″ inches wide.

Ficus Tineke produces glossy variegated leaves reaching up to 12″ inches long and 5″ inches wide.

Tineke rubber tree displays striking variegated cream to almost white and green leaves. Some suggest the leaf color looks almost like watercolor.

The burgundy rubber tree is a fast-growing Ficus. Variegated Ficus has less chlorophyll and grows at a slower pace.

Flowering and Fragrance Of Tineke Rubber Tree

Varieties of Ficus do flower but only when grown outdoors in their native home of Malaysia, Java, or the Himalayas.

Flowering indoors is a rare occurrence. When Ficus does flower they are simple white blooms. 

Its minimal fragrance only attracts fig wasps and no other kind of pollinators.

Light and Temperature

Ficus elastica Tineke does best indoors with bright, indirect light. It will tolerate lower light conditions but with less creamy variegation on the new leaves.

Indoors maintain average room temperatures above 55° degrees Fahrenheit with medium humidity levels. Consider adding a humidifier to increase humidity.

Inconsistent temperature, sudden temperature drops or cold drafts, and dry conditions can affect this Ficus.

Watering and Feeding Ficus Plants

The Ficus is a relatively low-maintenance house plant. Take care not to overwater rubber plants. If the roots sit in water, they can suffer from root rot and fungus gnats can become an issue.

The indoor ficus will still seek watering according to the natural growing season. Water your plant more during the summer months and scale back during the winter months.

During warmer months feed your plant once per month with a half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer.

Soil and Transplanting

This variegated rubber tree plant thrives in light, well-draining moist soil. It can tolerate heavy clay, sandy, or loamy soils. Always use a pot with drainage holes.

It does well in either acidic or alkaline soil. Do not water until the top inch of the soil is dry.

Regardless of the Ficus variety, these plants will grow indoors. Do not overpot. Your plant should be fine in the pot it was bought in for a year. If it gets top-heavy use a cachepot to keep the tineke rubber tree from falling over.

When repotting, repot during the early spring to not shock your plant. Ficus shows shock by dropping leaves.

Tineke Rubber Tree Grooming and Maintenance

As a houseplant, the tineke rubber tree will not need much pruning. Mature plants may require pruning to maintain their shape or remove unwanted branches.

To achieve a bushier, fuller shape, prune the primary branches.

For a more slender tree-like appearance, do not prune.

Large rubber plant leaves collect dust. From time to time, clean the thick, waxy leaves with a damp cloth.

Your Ficus tree may grow aerial roots – roots that grow above ground- when it gets larger.

These roots help stabilize the tree but aren’t necessary. Removing these aerial roots will not damage your plant.

How to Propagate Ficus Rubber Tree Plants

Ficus elastica Tineke is easy to propagate.

The process is easy but can get messy due to the milky sap it oozes when cut.

  •  Choose a branch to propagate and take a cutting about 12″ inches long
  • Remove the lower leaves
  • Apply a rooting hormone to the base of the tip cutting
  • Place into a new pot filled with well-draining soil
  • Water and place a plastic bag over the pot to create an artificial greenhouse. A soda bottle works well too.
  • Place your new cutting in a warm, sunny location. No direct sunlight.
  • New roots should form in 30-60 days.
  • Once your new Ficus is well established, repot into a larger 6″ pot.

NOTE: The sap can cause skin irritation

Ficus Tineke Pests or Diseases

Variegated plants like Tineke are prone to pests like leaf and root mealybugs, aphids, plant scale, and spider mites.

Like other rubber plants, Ficus Tineke can sometimes be prone to fungal diseases such as Anthracnose.

All variegated Ficus varieties seem to suffer from some form of brown spots on the leaves. What causes brown spots?

  • Too much direct light can burn leaves
  • Low humidity can dry the leaves
  • Over fertilizing can result in burns from salt buildup

Ficus Rubber Trees do not like changes. They like:

Consistent Temperatures – When exposed to drops in temperature they respond by dropping leaves.

Moist Not Wet Soil – If the soil stays too dry and then stays wet. Roots become mushy and start to die. Leaves turn yellow and fall off.

Bright indirect light – Ficus produces leaves based on the light they receive. When the leaves do not “fit” the lighting conditions. They drop leaves.

Provide your Ficus Tineke with consistent care for best results.

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