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Ficus Elastica Tineke: All you need to know about the Variegated Rubber Plant

The Ficus Tineke is an easy-to-grow houseplant. The variegated ficus species is known for its large and stunning leaves that are riddled with variegations that vary from red to pink. 

Ficus Elastica Tineke: All you need to know about the Variegated Rubber Plant
Cowell’s Garden Centre

They are colorful houseplant that adds a tropical yet whatever room they are placed in. However, be careful when planting them indoors as they could grow as tall as 50 feet. 

Also called the Tineke Rubber Tree, it is a perennial tree plant that can be traced down to the tropical regions of Indonesia and India.   

It belongs to the Moraceae family and is a sought-after member of the Ficus genus. The rubber tree tineke does have invasive tendencies when grown in the right conditions, so extra caution must be taken when growing them outdoors. 

Known to be toxic to pets and children when ingested, the Tineke rubber tree should be kept away from the reach of kids and pets. 

Botanical NameFicus Elastica Tineke 
Common NamesVariegated Rubber plant, Ficus Tineke, Ficus Elastica Variegata
OriginIndonesia, and India
Plant TypePerennial, Tree plant 
Full SizeFrom 30 feet to 50 feet tall
Sun ExposurePartial, Indirect Sunlight
Soil TypeAcidic to neutral, Well-draining soil
ToxicityToxic to both children and pets. 

How to care for Ficus Tineke 

Often regarded as an easy-to-grow plant, the Ficus Tineke requires average maintenance to grow healthy and flourish. Meeting its basic requirements such as light, water, pruning, soil, and temperature, would help guarantee great results for the potted houseplant. 

How to care for Ficus Tineke
my Bageecha

Ficus Tineke Light Requirement  

Access to sufficient bright light is an important aspect of Ficus Tineke care. The light intensity must be partial or indirect as exposure to direct sunlight for long periods would be harmful to the variegated leaves of the rubber plant. 

 Although the Ficus Tineke plant favors indirect sunlight, a little access to direct sunlight could prove useful in the proper growth of the exotic plant. 

You could alternate between both sun intensities by providing the rubber tree plant variety with access to a maximum of 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. After which, you provide access to indirect sunlight for the remaining part of the day. 

If the intensity of sunlight being provided is too low, the exquisite houseplant could suffer stunted foliage growth and end up looking sad and leggy. 

Keep the plant in a room, next to an eastward-facing window to enjoy the morning sunlight, when the sun gets too hot, the use of a light curtain could help provide the needed shade to stay strong. 

Ficus Tineke Water Requirement 

The roots of the Ficus Tineke might suffer from rot when exposed to muddy and soggy soil, this is why care should be taken when it comes to watering the plant. 

Watering should not be done often, In fact, it helps to limit it to once in a week or two. Focus on watering during the growing season of summer and avoid watering during the winter season. 

You should aim for soil that is kept moist at all times, as letting the soil dry for too long might cause the plant to be dehydrated and die. 

When watering, ensure that it is directed towards the soil and not the plant’s foliage, as it could open the plant up for fungal attacks. Also, ensure that the water being used is free from chlorine and other harmful chemicals. 

To get a good measure of the soil moisture level, feel the top part of the soil with your finger, if it feels a little dry, then you can proceed to water. 

Soil Requirement for the Ficus Tineke  

Soil Requirement for the Ficus Tineke  
Promise Supply

Ficus Tineke plants do not select soil types much as all soil types from clay, to loam, to sandy soil would be perfect for the potted plant. 

However, what is required by the ficus rubber type is a light, well-draining soil that has a slightly acidic to neutral pH level. It should also have a little moisture-retaining ability to keep the plant’s roots moist for long periods.

 When growing indoors, using a cactus mix would be ideal, just ensure that the pot being used contains sufficient holes to encourage proper drainage. 

Temperature and Humidity Requirement for the Ficus Tineke

The Tineke prefers a warm temperature with an average level of humidity. It is a tropical plant so aim at replicating the same environment when growing them indoors 

Aim at a 30% to 40% humidity level and a temperature level that ranges from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Be careful when regulating temperature, because a temperature level that is lower than 55 could lead to the death of the rubber plant.

Ficus Tineke Fertilizer Requirement

The Ficus plant variety grows fast, so fertilizer feeding should be done with average frequency. Fertilizing your rubber tree plant should be done once a month or for 3 weeks. 

Fertilizing should be done during the summer growing months. During the winter, avoid fertilizing as much as possible as the plant would be in its dormant state.

Using a liquid soluble fertilizer that has been diluted to about half its initial strength should be ideal. The fertilizer should be directed to the plant’s soil, not its leaves. 

Doing deep watering to get rid of the excess fertilizer residual that may lay on the plant’s soil would be needed. Be sure to watch the excess water pass through the base of the pot before stopping. 

Ficus Tineke Propagation  

Ficus Tineke Propagation  
The Macatee Shop

It can be easy to propagate the Ficus Elastica as it can be done by two main methods; 

  • Propagation by air layering 
  • Propagation by stem cuttings. 

Exercise caution when propagating the Ficus plant, so as to avoid skin irritation caused by the plant’s sap. 

Pruning the Ficus Tineke plant

The Ficus Tineke does have a tendency to grow fast and take up a lot of space, pruning would be required to keep the glossy plant under control. 

Aim for dead leaves so as to keep the plant looking fresh. Before pruning, ensure that the tools used are sterilized and kept clean.


The plant is known for its toxic properties as it can be harmful to both children and pets when being eaten. It can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, and mouth. 

This is why, all potted plants like the Tineke, should be kept away from the reach of these children and pets. 

Call a doctor when you notice that the potted plant has been eaten and watch for signs and symptoms that might develop. 

Common Health Problems of the Ficus Tineke

Most of the problems suffered by the Ficus Tineke would be caused by poor maintenance as the plant has a high tolerance against diseases and pests. A few of these health problems are;

  • Root Rot
  • Yellow Leaves
  • Leaf Drop
  • Brown Leaf tips
Common Health Problems of the Ficus Tineke
Cambridge Bee

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the suitable pot size for a rubber plant?

When picking a suitable pot for your rubber plant, ensure it ranges from 3 inches to 4 inches in diameter. 

How do you get to ficus to grow more leaves?

Frequent, but recommended watering should get the ficus plant to grow more leaves. 

How much water for a rubber plant?

When watering your rubber plant, try watering the potted plant once every week during the growing season. 

What is a rubber tree plant?

Rubber tree plants are ornamental plants with shiny, glossy foliages that have elastic properties.

How tall do indoor ficus trees grow?

When grown indoors, the Ficus tree can grow as tall as 10 feet.