18 Different Types of Rubber Plants

Different Types of Rubber Plants
Photo by Scott Webb

If you’re in the market for some new plants and have no idea where to start, consider starting with rubber plants!

These common houseplants can be found anywhere from garden shops to grocery stores. So chances are good that you’ve seen them before.

Though there are many different types of rubber plants, each has its unique characteristics. There are some general things to know about these plants.

So that you can tell if one is right for your home or office space. Learn more about the different types of rubber plants here.

What Are Rubber Plants?

A widespread plant in tropical areas worldwide and Southeast Asian nations is the rubber tree or Ficus elastica. The sap in the trunk of this tree is what gives it its particular name. It’s used to manufacture natural rubber. 

Most Rubber Tree species have enormous, lush green leaves that are glossy, rubbery, and clock. Some different types of rubber plants have leaves that are reddish-black, burgundy, pink, creamy variegated, neon variegated, and even those.

Rubber plants are common houseplants known for their attractive foliage and shiny, waxy leaves. There are many different types of rubber plants that make them some unique choices for decorating your home.

Rubber plants, or Ficus elastica, are easy to grow and well-known varieties of houseplants. But they have some lesser-known cousins that may suit your indoor gardening needs.

Learn about the different types of rubber plants. And how you can use them to decorate any room in your home or office. You never know when one might come in handy!

Different Types of Rubber Plants

1. Rubber Plant ‘Doescheri’

If you’re looking for a more advanced rubber plant, look no further than the Doescheri. It’s distinguished by dark green leaves veined with purple and is a slower grower than other plants. It thrives best in damp soil but can be watered daily if necessary.

Growing this plant outside will be most successful, but it will also do well inside! It’s said to be able to survive even if the temperatures dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and loves humidity. So try growing it next to your bathroom sink or near a humidifier.

2. Tineke Rubber Plant

There are many different types of rubber plants out there. And one that you may not have heard about is the Tineke Rubber Plant.

In addition to being rare, this plant has a thicker leaf than the rest. And it thrives in shady areas like wooded forests.

This plant also produces tiny pink flowers during summertime and prefers less sunlight than other varieties. It also needs to be watered frequently due to its love for shade. No droughts are allowed because it will droop if left without water for too long.

3. Black Prince Rubber Tree

One common form of rubber plant is the Black Prince rubber tree. The leaves of this variety have a black, leathery appearance and can reach lengths up to three feet long.

The black-colored trunk is also often knotted and has tufts resembling corkscrew sticking out. It’s best to keep these plants away from direct sunlight to avoid drying them out. And they’ll do well in cooler climates due to their hearty constitution.

Lastly, the Lady Louise rubber tree is another less common but still popular form. The Lady Louise features slender silvery-white leaves as opposed to the broad.

And dark leaves on the Black Prince plant, plus a slender frame rather than a wide trunk like its cousin plant.

4. Rubber Plant Ruby

Rubber plants come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. But there are three main varieties: the rubbery, broad-leafed Ruby; the needle-pointed, upright Sapphire; and the more matronly Gold. 

Ruby rubber plants are well-suited to living on window sills. And feature dark green leaves with a thick white coat that resists scalding. Sapphire rubber plants are smaller but make up for it with pointed needles that radiate out from their slender branches.

If you prefer something a little more traditional looking. Then go for Gold rubber plants with leathery leaves striped yellow and green.

5. Rubber Burgundy

A highly exotic plant, it features glossy, thick, glossy green leaves richly variegated in light and dark hues. The burgundy (Brugmansia) is often grown for its unusually shaped blossoms. That feature one or two white petals extending from a large, scalloped pink-to-lavender flower head.

Many varieties grow between three and four feet tall and come with thick stems. In addition to the unusual flowers, this plant has many varied uses in society.

6. Lemon Lime Rubber

Yes, there are actually different types of rubber plants. Most people are probably familiar with the Golden rubber plant. But those with green thumbs may not be as familiar with other varieties. 

These include the Croton Stella Lisa and the Sunburst Rubber Tree. All three have different characteristics and come in their own vibrant colors. For example, a golden rubber tree can grow to be anywhere from 10 to 15 feet tall.

 And is usually grown indoors as a decorative piece rather than outside. Golden orchid-shaped leaves provide shade and give this variety an all-around tropical feel. That is welcomed in any space during the summer months.

7. Robusta Rubber

Did you know? Just like most plants and trees in rainforests, Robusta trees need sunlight. But not too much water; an area with high humidity but not a lot of rain would be perfect!

However, most often, it’s grown as a small house plant. You can keep it in bright indirect light for most of the day to mimic the conditions found in nature.

It likes temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius) during the day and 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit (15-18 degrees Celsius) at night. In addition, this type is less susceptible to pests than other different types of rubber plants!

8. Green Rubber Tree

This sturdy, heavy-leafed tree produces large quantities of latex, the sap from which natural rubber is produced.

It’s often harvested for its on a commercial scale to make tires, bags, and even chewing gum. Plus, it boasts an iconic shade of green that lasts all year round.

The green Rubber Tree is a popular house plant. In its native South East Asian homeland, the sticky sap is tapped out of cuts in its bark to harvest latex used in many products such as chewing gum, car tires, bandages, and condoms. 

If you’re looking for a pet-friendly plant with stunning coloration that can withstand neglect, this may be your favorite!

The green variety has leaves that stay green all year long! One of the best among the different types of rubber plants.

9. Decora Rubber

The most common among the different types of rubber plants is the decora, which is the focus of this post.

Decoras are generally upright and tend to grow best when treated like an indoor plant with a south- or southeast-facing window.

A few tips for caring for a decora: don’t overwater them, be careful not to use a fertilizer that has citrus oil, keep their soil moist but not too wet, water more often in the winter than in the summer, and allow their soil to dry out a bit between watering sessions.

10. Abidjan Rubber Plan

One of the different types of rubber plants is called the Abidjan rubber plant. And it’s believed to be one of the hardest plants in existence to kill.

They do not respond well to fluctuations in water levels or temperatures but will endure both without much injury.

The trunk can reach up to two meters high, and its shiny green leaves are intensely prized for food dishes. Abidjan rubber trees are primarily cultivated on farms in Côte d’Ivoire, growing wild throughout the savannah areas near Abidjan.

When tapped, these trees produce dark brown latex with a sweet taste. That has been used for generations as an alternative crop with great economic potential. 

These trees have weathered famines and civil war alike, adapting easily to each natural disaster. While continuing to produce strong yields every year.

11. Variegata Rubber Tree

There are more different types of rubber plants than you think, and they come in a variety of sizes. To help you identify your plant, the list below shows each type of plant. And the size ranges that are typical for the species. 

Remember, not all rubber plants will fit neatly into a specific size range or even one type! Check to see if your specific rubber plant matches any criteria besides size.

Garraea nudicaulis, also known as the giant bike tire rubber tree, grows anywhere from three to nine feet tall (0.9 to 2.7 meters).

In spring, this type has drooping green leaves that start getting reddish brown spots in summer. Then it’ll die back completely by fall.

12. Creeping Fig Rubber

I really like this plant because it’s always green no matter what time of year. And it thrives in low light and cold weather conditions, which are great qualities when you live somewhere. That has those types of climate changes throughout the year.

Fast-growing and vigorous, Creeping Fig Rubber Plant is an evergreen ground cover with spreading roots and glossy leaves. The leaves can grow up to 12 inches long and 6 inches wide.

But they stay close to the ground to not shade other plants underneath them. They’re best planted in bright indirect light or filtered sun for part of the day and regular watering.

13. Weeping Fig

Numerous species of plants make up the fig family, but one of the most common is the weeping fig. It’s also one of the most beautiful members with leaves that drape from drooping branches and small light green flowers.

It doesn’t grow too large and can be planted in a container or as a ground cover. They thrive in bright, indirect light and when watered properly.

This member does not require supplemental fertilizer or pruning for continued growth. It’s one of the different types of rubber plants we have around. 

14. Fiddle Leaf Fig

The Fiddle Leaf Fig is not a true fig plant despite its name. Instead, it belongs to the larger family of Acanthaceae (also known as Acanthus). The plant is native to Madagascar, which lies off the southeast coast of Africa.

 Within its natural habitat, this tropical evergreen can reach heights of 80 feet. And will only grow with rich organic soil or similar conditions in cultivation. If you need an arid landscape, this ficus should not be your first choice!

In terms of coloration, it’s difficult to say what makes for a typical Fiddle Leaf Fig. They are often striped but may also be solid green and shaped somewhat like a rectangle.

15. Banyan Fig

One of the most popular different types of rubber plant is the banyan fig, a type that features fan-shaped leaves.

It’s a plant that’s easy to maintain but can grow upwards and outwards in different directions at an alarming rate. Other varieties include ground rubber plants (with peeling bark), elephant foot trees, and foxtail plants.

And also ice plants, moonstones, walking stick plants (more flexible than vines), and coastal redwoods. All are worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new type of plant to spruce up your home.

16. Pará Rubber Tree

Native to the Amazon Rainforest, Pará rubber trees are prized for their strong sap, which was historically used as an ingredient in making rubber products.

But what is a Pará rubber tree? The natural habitat for these trees is in southeastern Bolivia, Brazil, and northern Bolivia near the Amazon River.

 The long-lived tree only lives 50 years or so before it starts producing latex. But its lifespan can be prolonged if proper care is taken.

As a result, the tree was not just sought after because of its sap. But also because it provides shade and fruit that can be eaten by humans and livestock alike. 

When cutting down the trees to harvest their juice. They need to be boiled first before they are cooled into sheets.

17. Green Island Ficus

Green Island Ficus is a type of rubber plant and is commonly found on the West Coast. They grow in places like Southern California, Seattle, and in areas where there is moderate humidity. These plants produce lots of deep green foliage resembling large jade plants.

Typically, there’s a tall and wide trunk with vines climbing the branches. The leaves are usually lime green, sometimes with a yellowish tinge.

These plants need a medium to high humidity and do best when temperatures are below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re not really suitable for our climate here in Vermont!

18. Banana Leaf Fig

One of the less common among the different types of rubber plants, but still a popular variety, is the Banana Leaf Fig.

This unusual and stunning plant has waxy, fig-like leaves which closely resemble banana leaves. The flowers are creamy-white and grow in clusters, producing an intense apple fragrance.

With its lush, deep green foliage and bold colors, this plant is sure to make a statement in any room of your home. Banana Leaf Fig Trees thrive in well-drained, acidic soil and need good air circulation.

They require fertilizing twice a year with organic fertilizer or compost. And they should be watered when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch.

These plants prefer bright light but not direct sunlight. So they should be placed near windows where they will get morning sun or indirect sunlight all day long.

How to Care for Different Types of Rubber Plants?

Many plants require different conditions to thrive. Here are two major tips for caring for your new rubber plant:

  • Put it in a room that is warm and well lit -Allow the soil to dry out before watering it again 
  • Watch for insect infestations or other issues that could result in rotting

Each of the different types of rubber plants has its own needs. So you will need to do your research when picking out your new pet.

The prices range from $25-$50, but they are worth it because they can live up to 25 years! The ultimate decision depends on what type of atmosphere you want your new friend to live in.

Conclusion

To most, rubber plants are just tall houseplants that can add a touch of greenery to any room in your home. And while these tropical beauties can certainly do that.

They also have several surprising benefits you might not know about. And even more impressive characteristics you’ve never heard of before!

 If you’re looking to bring the tropics into your home or office, you should consider investing in one of these unique superpowers plants!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Tell a Rubber Plant Apart?

Identification of many sorts of rubber plants using an image. The major feature of a rubber plant is its thick, leathery, big, oval leaves with intriguing colors or patterns, while some also have brilliant red or orange leaf sheaths. They bundle up unopened leaves tightly and stand out like bright candles in dense foliage.

How Old Are Rubber Plants?

According to Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, author of Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing, and Caring for Indoor Plants, “With the correct care, a rubber tree houseplant can live for 10 years or more.”

Are Rubber Plants Sun-dependent?

The Rubber Plant grows best in bright, indirect light but tolerates lower light environments for a ficus. However, it is frequently advised to put the plant near a window facing south with sheer curtains so that greater light can enter.

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