Common Name: Rubber Tree' Ruby'
Botanical Name: Ficus elastica 'Ruby'
This gem of a ficus only needs a little polishing to make it shine (and to keep it clean)! Ficus Ruby has a gentle pink and glowing red tint on its glossy leaves. For this Rubber Tree 'Ruby' to explode with color, try placing it in bright indirect light, but avoid placing it in the sun's direct rays to prevent leaf burn. Ouch! Remember, each Ruby is unique, and some plants will have more or less variegation according to how much light it receives! It's best to let the soil dry out between watering Ficus elastica' Ruby', as watering too often will cause the leaves to drop. This low-maintenance indoor plant does not love to be relocated once you have found a spot where it flourishes! Learn more about Ficus Ruby's care needs!
Although you may have read that ficus can handle low light, we would not recommend it for Ruby. Ficus Ruby loves a few hours of the very early direct morning sun, followed by filtered, indirect light for the remainder of the day. The leaves will give off that ruby glow when exposed to over 8 hours of filtered light daily. However, the intense afternoon sun will burn the leaves if the plant has not been properly acclimated to full sunlight. Learn how to transition your sun-loving indoor plants to full sun. If the indoors is Ruby's final destination, place it in a brightly lit room, and if it's happy there, let that be it's forever home!
The Ficus elastica 'Ruby' is easier to care for than thin-leaved types of ficus. It prefers the soil to be somewhat damp most of the time but not soaked. In most cases, weekly watering is sufficient but temperatures and light exposure will dictate how much moisture the plant will use. Reduce the watering frequency in winter as the days get shorter and cooler. Yellowing and falling leaves indicate over-watering, leading to root rot and the ultimate demise of your Ruby Ficus! However, older, lower leaves can also turn yellow and fall off. If you notice this happening at a rapid pace (which is not normal!), pay close attention to the moisture level in the soil and make any necessary watering adjustments.
Ficus Ruby needs soil with drainage and the ability to hold moisture long enough for the roots to absorb it. Ficus should never be planted in dense soil mixtures with moisture-retaining crystals, so be sure to check the labels when purchasing pre-mixed potting soil. You can use a universal potting soil for ficus, but reduce the watering frequency when using this type of soil as it will retain water longer, causing potential damage to the roots! Nutrient-rich, loose soils are perfect mixtures for Ficus Ruby. If your soil is not draining well or you need to transplant, mix ¼ cactus soil with ¾ potting soil to increase drainage.
Temperatures between 65°F and 80°F are perfect for Ficus Ruby. Never allow temperatures to get below 55°F as the leaves can become misshaped and eventually fall off!
This plant prefers a relatively humid environment. Do what you can to increase the humidity for these tropical indoor plants. Try adding pebble trays filled with water under your ficus, group them, or use a cool mist humidifier. Learn how to increase the humidity in the air around your indoor plants!
Fertilize your Ruby Ficus every six weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer (equal parts N-P-K) diluted to ¼ the recommended strength during the spring and summer. A balanced fertilizer contains equal amounts of phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. Keep track of how often you add fertilizer to your Ficus Ruby because too much fertilizer can do more harm than good. Avoid fertilizing during the winter as the plant slows in producing growth, as the unused fertilizer can cause leaf damage.
Ficus elastica 'Ruby', if loved and treated with plant respect, can grow over 24" each growing season! It is a relatively fast-growing houseplant if given the light and warmth it needs to proliferate! Ficus Ruby can reach heights of over 15’+ indoors if you have the space. You can trim it back every spring to keep its height in check.
Pet Friend or Foe
Ficus Ruby is toxic to pets. Foe!
- Pruning your plants not only improves their appearance but also promotes their general growth. When you decide to trim your Ficus ruby plant, be sure to cut above the leaf nodes.
- Place this plant in a shady outdoor setting. You can put it on a patio or beneath an umbrella. You may even position it beneath the shades of a bigger tree. Bringing your ficus outdoors for the summer will help it grow faster, but remember to bring it back inside before the nighttime temperatures fall below 50°F
- Clean the leaves of your ficus often, as they are known, dust collectors! This will help grow, stay pest free, and look fabulous.
- Rotate your ficus every time you water it to help maintain a well-rounded shape!