Ficus Elastica Tineke is a variegated rubber plant and is also known as the Tineke rubber tree. It produces beautiful thick leaves with light-pinkish edges.
If you are looking for easy-to-grow houseplant then you must grow Ficus Elastica Tineke.
This variety of rubber plants does not need much care and maintenance.
In this article, I will explain the Ficus Elastica Tineke care steps and its growing requirements.
Lets’ dive in
What is Ficus Elastica Tineke?
Ficus Elastica Tineke is a hybrid variety of Indian rubber tree plants.
Whereas the common rubber plant has only dark green leaves. Tineke rubber tree plant produces dual-color pattern leaves.
It is a member of the Moraceae group of plants.
You can grow it in your outdoor garden or in a plant pot. USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11 are suitable for outdoor cultivation.
Whereas it is suitable for every type of indoor environment as long as it gets proper care.
In the outdoors, Elastica Tineke can grow up to 50’ tall. But in a plant pot, the roots do not find a way to spread large in size.
This keeps the plant short and medium in height.
In small pots, it grows 2 to 3 feet tall and in large size pots, your Ficus Elastica Tineke can grow easily 10 feet tall.
The leaf size varies according to the growing conditions. In ideal conditions, the rubber plant leaves can grow 12 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide.
This is a slow-growing plant because plants need chlorophyll to make their food and grow.
The green part of the leaves helps the plant to make chlorophyll.
Ficus Elastica Tineke leaves are green from the center only. This green part in leaves absorbs low sunlight and produces less chlorophyll. Hence the plant grows slowly.
Tineke rubber tree produces beautiful flowers but only when growing outdoors. The indoor growing plants do not produce flowers because of their small size.
Ficus Elastica Tineke care routine
The very first thing is buying plants from the garden store. Look for a healthy plant and buy it.
Nursey stores sell the plants in plastic pots because plastic pots are cheap and they want to increase their profit.
Request the garden store to repot your selected plant in the terracotta pot. Make sure the new pot is 1 to 2 inches wide and deep than the existing plastic pot.
Then bring the plant home and spray a mixture of neem oil and water.
This will prevent bacterial infections and pest attacks.
Then put the plant in the correct temperature range of 60 to 85 degrees F. Give proper care to your plant until it adapts to your home environment.
Once your plant shows healthy growing signs then follow the below Ficus Elastica Tineke care steps.
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Light requirements of Ficus Elastica Tineke
Put your healthy rubber plant on the east-facing window sill. Because it needs a good amount of bright indirect light.
I know on the window sill it will get direct light. You will be surprised to know that direct sunlight is also necessary for creamy variegation.
Limit the direct light exposure to 3 to 4 hours.
As I always said morning light is beneficial for plants that produce color patten on their leaves.
The warm rays of the morning sun also prevent many common plant pests and diseases.
If you are growing your plant in outdoor plant pots.
Then you need to be careful about light stress.
This is the situation where we frequently move the plant from an outdoor environment to an indoor environment. In some cases more than 2 to 3 times a day.
If you have to move it indoors due to weather changes then move it gradually.
Watering Ficus Tineke
Many people make mistakes when watering their rubber plants.
This plant is native to India and its neighboring countries. These countries have warm weather.
Therefore, Ficus Tineke also needs warm growing conditions to grow.
The first mistake that people made is they give cold water to Elastica Tineke plants in the summer season.
This invites any pests and fungal diseases.
Coldwater rises deadly conditions for the plant. In its native place, it gets warm water.
The temperature of the water has to be between 20 to 26 degrees C for best Ficus Tineke care.
Secondly, check the soil before watering. If the top 2 inches are dry then pour some water.
Do not mist water on its leaves even if the humidity is low in the room.
Misting or spraying water increases the chances of leaf rot.
Always pour water directly to the base of the plant. Pour a few cups of it and let the soil soak it. Then repeat the process until the water starts coming from the draining hole.
Note: In the summer season your plants need more water than on winter days. Normally you need to check the potting soil once in 3 days.
The ficus Tineke soil must be well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5.
Do not use your garden soil if you are growing Ficus Tineke indoors in plant pots.
Use sandy soil because it has well aeration properties and also drains fast than other soil. To add nutrients to it mix the compost in the soil.
Do not add organic fertilizer to the potting mixture because this will cause fertilizer burn.
Because the rubber plant is not a heavy feeder.
Fertilizing Ficus Elastica Tineke
The soil that you prepare with compost contains a moderate amount of nutrients that are sufficient for growing and caring for Ficus Elastica Tineke.
But once the plant absorbs all the nutrients from the soil. The potting soil loses its fertility and needs extra nutrients to become active again.
Therefore, you need to add nutrients from time to time to the potting soil.
General-purpose houseplant liquid fertilizers are best to use. Dilute it first according to the instruction manual.
Use nutrient supplements only in the spring and summer.
Stop fertilizing your Ficus Elastica Tineke plants on winter days. Because plants do not need fertilizers on cold days.
They take a rest in winter and stop growing.
Ficus Elastica Tineke is a warm tropical forest plant. It needs a warm environment to stay active.
This means you will not face any problems in spring and summer.
But the winter will surely create problems if you do not follow the Ficus Elastica Tineke care routine.
Keep the indoor temperature above 55 Degrees F throughout the year.
The general temperature range is 60 to 85 degrees F. But it can tolerate below range to 55 Degrees f.
Below this range, the sap of the plant starts freezing and you will notice yellow leaves.
If you do not fix the temperature of the grow room. The plant drops a significant number of leaves.
This is why I always recommend variegated rubber plants for indoor gardening unless you are in USDA zone 10 b to 11.
To increase the room temperature, you can turn ON the heating vents. But make sure your plant is away from the direct hot air.
The direct flow of heating vents fades the color of Ficus Elastica Tineke leaves.
Also make the plant dry, dull, and weak.
Humidity for Ficus Elastica Tineke care
In its native place, the Ficus Tineke grows in very high humidity near about 90%.
But this high humidity is not good for humans and is not possible where we live. And you do not need to have very high air moisture in your home to grow this plant.
The good news is,
Ficus Tineke can survive in 40 to 60% humidity. This range is suitable for humans, pets, and plants.
Due to any reason if you have low humidity in your indoor air. Then group the plants together to increase it.
In the second method, you can use a pebble tray and water.
In the last step, the only option left is the use of electric humidifiers. If you have one at home then use it to save Ficus Elastica Tineke in low humidity.
If you are planning to buy. Then buy a small portable size plant humidifier. Place it next to the plant and it will save all your plants.
Note: Do not mist water on plant leaves this will not solve the low humidity. It will only increase fungal and bacterial infections.
Water your plant 48 hours before repotting.
Then take the plant out of its pot.
Trim the infected roots
Fill the new pot to its half with new potting soil.
Put the plant in the center of the pot and fill the remaining portion with soil.
Gently pat the soil around the plant.
Give some water to keep the soil moist.
Put the pot in the bright filtered light location.
This plant does not need trimming. It is necessary only when you need to keep your plant short.
You want to give it a new shape.
Cut the unwanted growth and remove the dead and yellow leaves.
Propagation in water
Cut the health stem, 5 inches long with few leaves
Dip the stem in the rooting hormone to increase propagation success.
Take the glass of water
Place the stem in it
Put the glass in warm weather
Change the water once a week or when it gets dirty or unclear.
Within 30 to 40 days the stem will develop strong roots.
Then you can transfer it to the potting soil.
Propagating in soil
Repeat the stem-cutting process as you do in the above step.
Then leave the cutting on the table for 40 minutes to drain out the white milk-like substance.
After that put the cutting in the potting soil and give some water.
Place the pot in a warm humid location.
Within 30 days the stem cutting will produce roots and you will see well-established growing rubber plants.
The white milk of the plant is mildly toxic to cats, dogs, horses, and humans. Vomiting, headache, stomach pain, and swollen throat are the few symptoms of Ficus Elastica Tineke toxicity.
In this situation call the poison control center or visit your nearest hospital.
Sap-sucking pests like spider mites, aphids, and Scales are the common enemies of houseplants.
They drink up the nutrients from the plant and make it weak and unhealthy.
To kill them, use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray.
Do not use commercial-grade pest-killing sprays. They are not safe for houseplants.
Root rot and leaf rot are two common diseases. To prevent them learn the best way of watering Ficus Elastica Tineke.
Overwatering results in wet soggy soil that leads to root rot.
Then this root rot infects the beautiful leaves.
If you spray water on plant leaves and let them wet. Then they also develop leaf rot.
Therefore, do not mist water on plant leaves. Always give water to the plant base and follow the good Ficus Elastica Tineke care practices.