Ficus ‘Tineke’

Ficus Tineke (Variegated Rubber Tree)

Ficus Tineke

The Ficus Tineke (pronounced Tin-Eh-Key) is the most popular variegated elastica. Commonly sold as a variegated rubber tree or Tineke Rubber Tree. Leaves are thick, and shiny and gray-green in color with a touch of cream. Even more, new leaves and sheaths will display splashes of pink. 

BOTANICAL NAME: Ficus elastica 'Tineke'

FAMILY: Moraceae

OTHER NAMES: Ficus elastica 'Sylvie'

COMMON NAME: Rubber Plant, Rubber Tree


PLANT TYPE: Tree, Perennial

ORIGIN: Cultvar

CLIMATE: Tropical



ZONE: 10-12 (USDA)

LIGHT: Bright, indirect light

LIGHT TOLERATED: Strong light (21,500-3,200 lux)

WATERING: Keep moist between watering

SOIL: Well-drained

SOIL TYPE: Acidic, Neutral

INDOOR GROWTH 24 inches (61 cm)/year

OUTDOOR GROWTH: 40 feet (12 m)/year

INSECTS: Mealybugs, scale, spider mites

LEAF COLOR: Light green & cream

TOXICITY: Toxic to pets

Ficus Tineke Care

This popular variety of rubber tree is arguably easier to care for than its infamous relative the Fiddle Leaf Fig. In fact, it is much more easy-going about light and water. Making Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’ an ideal choice if you like something similar, but certainly more forgiving.

Ficus Tineke Light Requirements

The Ficus Tineke can handle low light conditions. However bright light is preferred. Remember, variegated rubber plants need sufficient light in order to keep their level of variegation. Lighting that is too dim will cause the plant to lose its variegation. 

Rotate Tineke in intervals to ensure it gets even sufficient light. Indoors, lower-light conditions and containers will restrict root development and slow its growth. Therefore, you can keep it a manageable size for your space.

Ficus Tineke Watering

The Tineke Rubber Tree can become over sensitive to too much watering. However, it also does not do well in too dry soil either. Therefore, water them deeply and let the top two inches dry out in between watering.

Weather conditions also vary as you need to water once a week during summer, and for winter, you can water your plant every two weeks.

Ficus Tineke Soil

The Tineke Ficus likes a chunky, well-draining mix. Specifically a soil medium that can retain moisture, but drain excess water to avoid root rot. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or orchid bark. 

I have all mine in 2 parts potting soil to one part each of perlite and orchid bark (which also contains charcoal). It is similar to an aroid mix. Then, I toss in a handful of worm castings and cactus gritty mix, but that’s probably not necessary. You just want something that lets the roots breathe and drains well. Avoid soils that contain moisture retaining crystals.

Ficus Temperature Range

The Ficus elastica is native to the Southeast regions of India, with an average temperature of 80°F. Therefore, a range of 86°- 50°F (30°-10°C) is ideal. Anything below 50°F (10°C) is bad for your Tineke.

Also, be sure to be aware of any sudden weather changes. Specifically changes in wind or sudden excess rain.

Ficus Tineke Humidity

This plant will thrive in high humidity. However, the average humidity level in your home is typically enough for your Variegated Rubber Tree. Of course, that does not mean you cannot do more for your plant. 

Regular misting with the help of a pebble tray will help. For the best humidity level, you should buy a humidifier and place it near your plant to encourage growth.

Ficus Tineke Fertilizer

Nutrition is an essential for your rubber tree to grow. A general houseplant fertilizer will replenish its nutrients. Fertilize at half strength in spring through summer.

Ficus elastica Tineke vs Ruby

Ruby and Tineke Ficus look very similar. In fact, it can be a little tricky to tell them apart.

Both varieties will produce new leaves that are pretty pink. However, ‘Tineke’ foliage will lose most of its pink coloration as it matures. Typically it only keeps its green and cream colors. Although ‘Ruby’ will keep its pinkish red color even on mature leaves.

Ruby Ficus tends to be more expensive than the more common Tineke Ficus. The center vein will also be more pink on the Ruby vs a more yellow on the Tineke.

Ficus Tineke
Ficus Tineke vs Ruby Ficus

Variegated Rubber Plant

Ships in a 6″ wide grower’s pot. Height of plant is approximately 5″-9″ tall from the bottom of the pot to the top of the plant. 

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