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Ficus elastica ‘Belize’ (Rubber Tree)

Belize Rubber Tree, Belize Rubber Plant, India Rubber Fig 'Belize', India Rubber Plant 'Belize', India Rubber Tree 'Belize'

Ficus elastica Belize, Belize Rubber Plant, Belize Rubber Tree

The Ficus elastica ‘Belize’ is not just a plant; it’s a dynamic element of home decor, a natural air purifier, and a symbol of tropical beauty. Its ease of care, coupled with its stunning visual appeal, makes it a desirable addition to any indoor plant collection.

Ficus elastica ‘Belize’: An In-depth Look

Native: This is a cultivar of Ficus elastica which is native to Southeast Asia, particularly India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Plant Type and Habit: This is a tropical evergreen tree belonging to the mulberry and fig family Moraceae. In its natural habitat, it can grow into a large tree. As a houseplant, it exhibits a bushy, upright growth habit. It’s favored for its robustness and ease of care, making it a popular choice among both novice and experienced gardeners.

Size: Indoors, Ficus elastica ‘Belize’ typically reaches heights of 4-10 feet (120-300 cm). The spread of the plant is usually around 2-3 feet (60-90 cm), forming a dense, tree-like shape as it matures.

Foliage: The foliage is the most striking feature of this plant. The leaves are broad, glossy, and leathery, displaying a stunning combination of green, cream, pink, and red hues. New leaves, in particular, exhibit a more vivid coloration, adding to the plant’s ornamental value.

Bark: The bark of Ficus elastica ‘Belize’ is smooth and light brown. As the plant ages, the bark may become slightly more textured, but it generally maintains a relatively uniform appearance, contributing to the plant’s overall aesthetic.

Uses: Primarily used as an indoor ornamental plant, it adds a tropical flair to living spaces. It’s also utilized in offices and commercial spaces for its air-purifying qualities. In landscape design, it’s used in warmer climates as a colorful accent plant.

Hardiness: It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10-12 and is not frost-tolerant.

Toxicity:  The Rubber Tree contains a sap that is toxic to pets and humans when ingested. The sap irritates the mouth and stomach. Contact with its sap can also lead to skin irritation for some individuals.

Invasiveness: In some tropical areas outside its native range, Ficus elastica can become invasive. It has been reported as invasive in Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Singapore, southeastern Australia, and offshore Chile

Benefits: Like other Ficus varieties, ‘Belize’ is known for its ability to improve indoor air quality by filtering airborne toxins.

Rubber Plant, Weeping Fig, ficus elastica, ficus

Rubber Tree Care Indoors

Caring for Ficus elastica indoors involves several key practices to ensure its health and vigor:

Lighting: Ficus elastica prefers bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light can cause leggy growth. A spot near a window with sheer curtains or an east-facing window is ideal.

Watering: Water when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so ensure good drainage. Reduce watering in the winter when the plant’s growth slows down.

Temperature and Humidity: Maintain indoor temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C). Avoid placing the plant in drafty areas or near air conditioning vents. It thrives in average to high humidity. If your home is dry, especially in winter, consider using a humidifier or placing the pot on a pebble tray with water.

Soil and Repotting: Use a well-draining potting mix, ideally one designed for houseplants. Topdress annually and repot every few years to refresh the soil and provide more room for growth. Choose a pot that’s slightly larger than the current one.

Fertilizing: Feed with a high-nitrogen fertilizer every month during the growing season (spring and summer). Do not fertilize in the fall and winter.

Pruning and Cleaning: Prune in spring to maintain size and shape. Always use clean, sharp scissors or pruners. Wipe the leaves regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust and maintain their glossy appearance.

Propagation: Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings with bottom heat in spring or summer.

Rubber Tree: Pests, Diseases, and Common Problems

The Rubber Tree is generally a robust and low-maintenance plant, but like all plants, it can encounter certain pests, diseases, and common problems, especially when grown indoors.

Pests

Aphids: They are small, sap-sucking insects, often green or black, which cluster on new growth and undersides of leaves. They excrete sticky honeydew, leading to sooty mold. Treatment includes washing them off with water or using insecticidal soap.

Spider mites: These tiny pests can cause yellowing or speckling on leaves. You may also see fine webs. Increase humidity around the plant and wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. If infestation persists, use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Mealybugs: These small, white, cottony pests suck sap from the leaves, weakening the plant. They can be removed with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or treated with insecticidal soap.

Scale insects: These look like small, brown, bumpy spots on stems and leaves. They can be scraped off gently or treated with neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Diseases

Root rot: Overwatering can lead to root rot, a serious condition that can kill the plant. Signs include yellowing leaves, wilting, and a musty smell from the soil. Prevent it by ensuring proper drainage and allowing the soil to dry between waterings.

Leaf spot: This can be caused by either fungal or bacterial infections, leading to brown or black spots on the leaves. Improve air circulation, avoid wetting the leaves, and remove affected leaves. Fungicide or bactericide may be needed in severe cases.

Gray mold or botrytis: A fungal disease that causes gray mold on leaves, especially in cool, damp conditions. Improve air circulation, reduce humidity, and remove affected parts. Fungicides can be used for severe infections, and preventive care is crucial.

Common Problems

Drooping Leaves: Can be a sign of both overwatering and underwatering.

Yellowing Leaves: Often a symptom of overwatering, poor drainage, or insufficient light.

Leaf Drop: Sudden changes in temperature, light, or transplant shock can cause leaves to fall off.

Lack of Humidity: Low humidity can lead to brown leaf tips or edges.

Requirements

Hardiness 10 - 12
Heat Zones 10 - 12
Climate Zones 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Houseplants, Trees
Plant Family Moraceae
Genus Ficus
Common names Rubber Tree
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' - 10'
(120cm - 3m)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Evergreen, Showy
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Ficus benjamina ‘Anastasia’ (Weeping Fig)
Ficus benjamina ‘Danielle’ (Weeping Fig)
Ficus benjamina ‘Samantha’ (Weeping Fig)
Ficus elastica ‘Abidjan’ (Rubber Tree)
Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’ (Rubber Tree)
Ficus triangularis ‘Variegata’ (Triangle Fig)

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 10 - 12
Heat Zones 10 - 12
Climate Zones 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Houseplants, Trees
Plant Family Moraceae
Genus Ficus
Common names Rubber Tree
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' - 10'
(120cm - 3m)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Evergreen, Showy
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Guides with
Ficus (Fig)
Not sure which Ficus (Fig) to pick?
Compare Now

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