Ficus elastica 'Burgundy', or Rubber Plant, is a man-made cultivar of the old standard Rubber Plant. Rubber plants are native from India to Malay. If grown in very high light, the thick glossy leaves have a burgundy color to them, with a red midrib. Leaves will reach 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide and they are oblong to elliptic in shape. In nature, the plants can reach up to 40 feet (12 m) tall. Rubber Plants were once grown economically for rubber from the sap of the trees. They are very easy to grow whether in container or in the landscape. Trees are hardy in USDA zone 10-11.
Blooming: Our plants have never produced figs.
Culture: Ficus elastica 'Burgundy' do best in full sun to very high interior lighting to keep its rich burgundy color. Plants will tolerate lower light levels but the color will become a lighter green. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry before watering again. We fertilize the plants monthly with a balanced fertilizer. It has been my experience that the plants are fast growers and will need to be re-potted every couple of years, if grown in a greenhouse setting. They can be quite long lived. During the winter months in the greenhouse, we restrict watering to every couple of weeks and fertilizer is withheld during this period.
Propagation: Ficus elastica 'Burgundy' can be propagated from cutting or air layers. Cuttings are very slow to root. Air layers will take up to 6 weeks to root.
Ficus elastica 'Burgundy' was featured as Plant of the Week January 30-February 5, 2009.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.