Ficus Elastica Ruby Care

Placement

PRO TIP: The Ficus Elastica Ruby is variegated. This means the paler, non-green parts of the leaves cannot photosynthesize so make sure it receives plenty of light.

The Ficus Elastica Ruby, also known as a variegated Rubber tree, is native to  tropical regions of India and Malaysia. Its care is similar to that of the Rubber Tree, however its tri-colored variegation is what makes it unique! To keep the colors strong and defined, place your Ruby in a location where it can receive bright, but indirect light. This plant will not fare well in low light spaces. Too much direct sun can scorch the leaves. Ideally a few feet removed from southern or western exposure is ideal. Directly in an eastern facing window works too! Consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breath and allow for moisture to be released. 

If you are unsure of the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.

Ficus Elastica Ruby Leaf

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: When it doubt, let it drought! The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it.  Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first. Keep the soil of your Ficus Elastica Ruby evenly moist, but not soggy. In the growing seasons (spring and summer) it may require more frequent waterings. In the winter, you can let the top two inches of the soil dry out. Always feel the soil before giving your plant a drink, about once a week is a good place to start, but be sure to feel the soil before watering to ensure it is dry in the surface of the pot.  Watering frequency will likely decrease in the winter.

For regular upkeep, dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize properly. When dusting, take the opportunity to inspect the underside of leaves and keep an eye out for pests. Using fertilizer spring through fall will enhance your plants foliage and promote new growth. Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Ficus Elastica Ruby and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship. 

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC, those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. All these factors play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole, have been set up with a built in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir and retain any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants with a drainage hole, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray. Empty the catch tray before returning the plant back to its location.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for moisture requirements.

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important, because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks until the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the plant starts drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period.  Most plants need to dry out between waterings, so once the reservoir is empty wait a few days before you refill. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after the drying out period, be sure to fill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Ficus Elastica Ruby difficult to care for?

  • The Ficus Ruby is easier than its sister plant the Ficus lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig tree). It acclimates well to new spaces, it’s less finicky when it comes to water, and it doesn’t need quite as much light. We consider it a medium level difficulty plant to care for.

Why are the leaves of my Ficus dropping?

  • Typically this is caused by either over or under watering. If your tree is showing brown tips with yellow edging, and dropping from the lower portion of the plant then you are likely over watering. If you see fully yellow leaves, and some crispy brown tips without yellow edging then it is likely due to under watering. Always feel the soil to see if its conditions match your diagnosis, and consider the recent care you have given.

Can I place my ficus next to an AC or heating vent?

  • It is best not to. Ficus are sensitive to hot and cold air drafts. They prefer humidity and warm temperatures, so anything to aid in maintaining a tepid environment will help keep your plant happy and healthy.

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • For smaller desktop plants, we suggest repotting once every 12-18 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 1”- 2” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Repotting in the spring or summer is ideal.

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