Ficus Elastica Tineke Care Guide
Fun fact of the day, the Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) has been trending since the Victoria era! With such a distinguished history we think this girl deserves a proper introduction. Latin name Ficus elastica, genus Ficus, family Moraceae. We give the Ficus elastica 'Tineke' a 2 out of 5 LTLC Rating, easy care provided a few simple considerations. Keep reading the full care guide below
Temperature & Light
You may have read that Ficus will tolerate lower light but we definitely wouldn't recommend it for the Tineke. Our Ficus fam all enjoy direct morning sun then bright indirect light for the rest of day. The Tineke tends to be on the smaller side with slower growth than her bigger Ruby and Black Knight cousins, but we just love her even more for it. To keep that stunning army camo variegation, bright light is a must. Direct light isn't good for too long though, so best to avoid stronger afternoon sun in winter, and keep her out of direct summer sun altogether.
Ficus are pretty chill about a range of temperatures. Anywhere between 10 to 29 degrees is all good. Hotter might be a concern. Cooler she can do but don't be caught slipping with over-watering if you're going below 10 degrees often in winter.
Let her drip dry before returning her to her cover pot or saucer, or if you water in her pot or saucer, tip out any excess after 30 minutes. No wet feet! A good water every one to two weeks is about right but decide based on the soil. In summer we add Groconut to get the most we can of that variegated growth during growing season. Keep in mind those super-sized big leaves need a lot of nutrients, so replenish what they take from the soil with Groconut or similar. Little and often is best for feeding. High humidity isn't a must for Ficus, but still avoid placing them in drafts or the path of your heat pump or air con.
A well draining soil is ideal, kept lightly moist to the touch (no boggy wetness for this girl). When it's time for a drink, in summer give Tineke a good drench when the top couple of cms of soil is dry, then wait till those top cms of soil have dried out again again before watering. In winter, also water based on her soil, but instead of a full drench each time, just aim for lightly moist soil each time you water (and again, always let Tineke dry out in-between).
These girls can get big even in a small pot, so don't feel the need to pot-up too fast. You can just remove the top layer of soil and replenish with fresh new potting mix instead (called topdressing). If you do prefer to pot up, then standard potting mix is okay, or a 3/4 potting mix, 1/4 perlite or something similarly free-draining. Go easy on the watering for a couple of weeks after repotting to avoid exposing the roots to a sudden increase in water from all that fresh new soil.
Ficus Elastica Tineke Pro Tips & Problem Solving
A common sign of not enough natural light.
Best to avoid scratching or cutting these girls as like any Ficus they'll drip milky white sap from their leaves or woody stems for a surprisingly long time. That sap is not safe to ingest and can irritate eyes and sensitive skin, so best to pop something down to catch those drips, and wash your hands right away if you get any on you and you should be fine.
Ficus aren't the fastest growers, but if we're talking no growth at all the common reasons are low light, or being root bound. Obviously winter is typically a no-grow season, so spring and summer are the times to be concerned if you're not getting any lovely new leaves.
Those huge, almost waxy leaves can be a dust magnet, blocking the leaves from breathing and absorbing light properly. Easy fix. Just wipe them down with a damp cloth every month or so as needed. You can use leaf shine products for a high shine finish, but we'd save the gloss treatment for the Black Knight.
That's a no sorry. Ficus can be mildly poisonous to pets and to us. That milky sap we told you about above is the reason. It can cause stomach upsets if eaten, and irritate eyes and skin if you don't wash it off pretty quickly, especially if it gets in to a cut. Best kept out of reach of pets and kids.
LTLC Rating (Love That Leaf Care Rating)
Give her decent light, moderate watering, fertiliser about once a month during spring and summer, and your easy care Ficus Elastic Tineke will reward you with big camo variegated leaves all year round. Not exactly Peace Lily or ZZ Plant level easy though, so we give Tineke a 2 out of 5 LTLC Rating.