Rubber Plant Varieties (Ficus elastica Types)

There are many Rubber plant varieties to choose from in the Ficus genus. Most of the common varieties are of Ficus elastica. However, a few belong to Ficus altissima or Ficus benghalensis. Ficus is a species in the family Moraceae (Mulberry Family) and native to eastern parts of South and Southeast Asia.

Variegated Rubber Plants are definitely some of my favorite all time houseplants. Specifically because they are so beautiful and very low-maintenance. 

All parts of Rubber plant varieties contain an abundant milky white latex. However, despite its common name, it is not used in the commercial production of natural rubber. In fact, commercial rubber is actually produced from the sap of Hevea brasiliensis.

The Ficus elastica is the common species of rubber plant and has been a tried and true classic houseplant. Specifically, due to its ease of care and beautiful, large, leathery leaves. Stunning emerald green leaves have scarlet red sheaths from which new leaves emerge.

Rubber Plant Varieties
Rubber Plant Varieties - Ficus elastica

Ficus elastica was extensively grown indoors in the early 1950s, but has since been replaced by the numerous, beautiful cultivars found below. This sun lover grows best in a spot that receives plenty of direct sun. However, Rubber fig will still grow with no direct sun indoors, as long as it is not far from a window.

Indian rubber trees can grow to soaring heights of up to 100 feet (30 meters) in their natural habitat.

The Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’ is the most popular variegated elastica and often sold as a “variegated rubber tree”. Its thick, shiny leaves are gray-green with a touch of cream. And, even some pink in the younger leaves. Sheaths are a beautiful pink color. 

Ficus ‘Tineke’ (pronounced Tin-Eh-Key) has been known to start small but has a fast growth rate. In fact, indoors it can grow 24 inches (61 cm) per year. Outdoors in frost-free areas, Tineke can grow up to 40 feet (12 meters) tall. Indoors, lower-light conditions and containers will restrict root development and slow its growth. 

This popular variety of ficus, is certainly easier to care for than its infamous cousin the Fiddle Leaf Fig. It is much more easy-going about water and light. Ficus Tineke is an ideal choice if you like something similar, but less of a diva. 

Tineke is a classic that has been around for decades. Although, recently it has surged in popularity thanks to the creamy-white variegation on its large, thick leaves. Be sure to wear gloves while pruning, as their interior milky latex sap can be irritating to skin.

Learn more about Ficus Tineke in our post here.

The Ficus elastica Ruby is the most vibrant cultivar of Ficus elastica. Also known as a Ficus Ruby, Ficus elastica ‘Belize’, Variegated Rubber Tree, Ficus ‘Belize’ or Ruby Rubber Tree. Native to the tropical regions of India and Malaysia.

Ficus elastica ‘Ruby’ has been around for decades. However, it has recently skyrocketed in popularity making it one of the most sought after rubber plant varieties. Its dazzling leathery leaves have striking variegation in shades of green, cream and pink. As leaves of Ficus Ruby mature, the redness mellows to dark green and cream with hints of pink. 

Care is similar to that of the Rubber Tree. Although, its unique tri-colored variegation requires brighter lighting conditions to keep the colors strong and defined.

Ficus Ruby vs Tineke

Ruby and Tineke look very similar and it can be a little tricky to tell them apart. Both will have new leaves that are pretty pink. However, Tineke’s leaves will lose the pink as it matures. Although, Ruby will keep its pink color even on mature leaves. 

‘Ruby’ also tends to be more expensive than the more common ‘Tineke’.

Rubber Plant Varieties
Rubber Plant Varieties - Ficus Ruby vs Tineke

Ficus Ruby

  • Ruby has variegated green foliage with pink purple tones. 
  • The ‘Ruby’ sheaths are a bold shade of pink.
  • On Ruby, the center vein is pink/red.

Ficus Tineke

  • Tineke has variegated green and white foliage with a blush of pink. 
  • ‘Tineke’ features greenish sheaths with a faint pink color.
  • On Tineke the center vein is cream

The Ficus Burgundy is exotic-looking and the most commonly kept of the Rubber Plant Varieties. Also known as Ficus elastica ‘Abidjan’ or Ficus elastica ‘Black Prince’.

Rich burgundy leaves eventually darken to a green so rich that it appears black. The sheaths are a stunning, rich red. Even more, the undersides of the leaves are just as beautiful as the tops.

Fun Fact:

In the 1900s, the milky sap from this plant was used to make rubber, helping it earn its common name.

The Ficus Shivereana Moonshine is one of the rarest and most sought after Rubber Plant varieties. This distinct beauty features creamy-green leaves liberally streaked, splashed, and speckled in olive green. Each leaf is unique and one of a kind.

Rubber Plant Varieties
Rubber Plant Varieties - Ficus elastica 'Shivereana'

This variety of rubber tree displays highly variegated leaves growing from a central stem. Easier to grow than a Fiddle leaf Fig and more upscale than Burgundy Rubber Tree. Perfect for both new gardeners and experienced plant enthusiasts, as this sought-after variety is a breeze to care for.

In frost-free areas like its native Southeast Asia, Ficus Shivereana grows up to 40 feet tall (12 meters). As a houseplant in lower light conditions, and in a container that restricts root development, you can easily control its growth.

Rubber Plant Varieties

Ruby, Shivereana & Tineke

Ficus elastica 'Robusta'

The Ficus ‘Robusta’ is a more compact form of rubber tree. Waxy leaves are a deep green and it can grow pretty tall depending on its growing conditions.

Robusta resembles the ‘Decora’ cultivar. However, its growth is more compact and has a more free branching nature.

Ficus elastica ‘Decora’

The Ficus ‘Decora’ is one of the most stunning rubber plant varieties and introduced around 1950. In fact, it gets its name ‘Decora’ from its decorative foliage. Gorgeous new leaves emerge in a stunning shade of bronze. Then, as they mature, they darken to rich shades of emerald green. 

Glossy, broad leaves are accented with pops of red from the sheaths. The center vein of Decora’s leaves is slightly white and underneath the center vein is red.

Decora is different from other rubber plants as it grows very dark, thick leaves. These leaves can get a lot bigger than their counterparts. The casing around the new leaves is also deep red.

Ficus elastica ‘Melany’

‘Melany’ is a more compact growing variety of the rubber plant. Leaves are more narrow and smaller than other Ficus elastica varieties. Additionally, it grows a lot denser. 

Pinkish sheaths protect new leaves which have a touch of bronze to them. The Ficus ‘Melany’ is typically trained to grow like a tree so they will have multiple stems growing leaves as opposed to just one trunk.

Ficus elastica Black Prince

The ‘Black Prince’ Rubber Plant is dark green, almost black. It’s also commonly referred to as Ficus elastica Burgundy. Stems and undersides of the leaves have a burgundy tone. In fact, the undersides of the leaves are just as beautiful as the tops.

Ficus elastica 'Doescheri'

The Ficus elastica ‘Doescheri’ has narrower leaves and a striking variegated pattern. Dramatic foliage is green, yellow, white, and grayish-green. Additionally it has a pink midrib, stalk and petiole.

Tineke Ficus is very similar, although more compact.

Ficus elastica Doescheri vs Tineke

The Doescheri Rubber Plant has slightly lighter green leaves and its vein (the center of the leaf) is cream colored. While the Ficus elastica Tineke has its veins that are very light pink and tend to have reddish colors on new leaves.

Ficus elastica Cloe

The Ficus elastica ‘Cloe’ features glossy, olive green leaves with beautifully contrasting pink sheaths on emerging leaves.

Rubber Plant Varieties

Back row: Ficus elastica Ruby & Ficus elastica Tineke
Front row: Ficus elastica Burgundy and Ficus elastica Cloe

Ficus ‘Sophia’

‘Sophia’ is a new compact variety of Ficus elastica. Leaves are glossy and displayed on sturdy stems. It is quite similar to Ficus Robusta, however leaves are smaller and rounder.

The Ficus altissima is a separate species from Ficus elastica. In fact, Ficus altissima has not been in cultivation as long as Ficus elastica. 

Altisima isn’t actually a Rubber Plant. Specifically, it is actually a Banyan Tree. That is why it has veins in its leaves.

Altissima has a much thinner, softer, more flexible foliage than elastica. As a tree, altissima can be a much faster grower. While spreading, it can develop a slightly pendulous habit on its longest branches. Either way, it is still commonly called a Rubber Tree, so we included it with our favorite Rubber Plant Varieties.

Ficus altissima is also known as Ficus altissima Yellow Gem, Yellow Gem Ficus, Lemon Lime Rubber Tree, or Lemon Lime Ficus. It is easy to see why this stunner is called a gem. The Lemon Lime Rubber Tree is quite a stand out with its vibrant, yellow and lime  foliage. This easy-care plant loves bright light to encourage its citrus-inspired variegation.

Learn more about Ficus Altissima ‘Yellow Gem’ here.

Ficus benghalensis

The Ficus benghalensis is the national tree of India and has been grown for centuries. Commonly known as banyan, banyan fig, or Indian banyan. Audrey Ficus is a horticultural cultivar developed by botanists. Therefore, it does not grow in the wild, but its parent plant does.

Audrey Ficus has a unique woody light trunk with vibrant green leaves and light green veins. It is the cousin of the Fiddle Leaf Fig. Still, Audrey is an easier plant to care for.

Ficus Audrey also grows well indoors as a houseplant and prefers a spot where it will receive high levels of bright, indirect light or direct sunlight.

Rubber Plant Varieties


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Rubber Plant Varieties

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