Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’)
Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’)
Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’)
Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’)
Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’)

Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’)


Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’)

We know what you’re thinking. The answer is yes! The Burgundy Rubber Fig Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’) IS a very close sibling of the trees whose sap is used to make natural rubber. They don’t leak it unless they’ve been cut, though, so your house won’t get all sappy. 

We also know what you’re thinking now that you’re done thinking the first thing. That answer is no. Rubber trees do not bounce. However, they DO look so utterly spectacular in your home that they’ll have you rubbernecking to admire them every time you walk by—which we have to say is way better than bouncing. 

Granted, every cultivar of Ficus Elastica is gorgeous. It’s the foliage. Those wide oval leaves, 4” across and 8”-12” long with smooth edges and a glossy, almost lacquered surface, are just so classy and exotic. But this cultivar steps it up a notch by painting those already impressive leaves an irresistible shade of deep wine-green, so rich it almost seems decadent, like dark chocolate or maroon crushed velvet seat cushions. There’s no other plant like it. 

Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’) is native to the jungles of India and eastern Asia, where it can grow up to 100’ tall. Fortunately, home specimens tend to top out around 4’-10’, and are easily pruned back to size if they get too tall. In fact, the pruning is a great way to encourage a denser, bushier growth habit. Ficus tend to drop leaves when moved to a new location, but give them the usual care (adequate indirect light, good soil with good drainage, etc. It’s all below) and they’ll recover quickly—you might even say bounce back—and share their beauty with you for years to come.  

Characteristics and traits of a Burgundy Rubber Fig Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’) 

  • Scientific Name: Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’
  • Genus: Ficus
  • Family: Moraceae
  • Common Name: Burgundy Rubber Tree, Rubber Plant, Rubber Tree Plant, Rubber Fig, Rubber Bush, Indian Rubber Tree/Bush
  • Indoor:  Year round temperatures above 60F
  • Outdoor zones: 10-11
  • Type: Perennial; propagated via air layering
  • Mature Height: 6’-10’ (40’-100’ in the wild)
  • Mature Width: 18”-36”
  • Plant Height when Shipped: XXXXXX
  • Growth Rate: Medium-fast
  • Flower:Not flowers exactly, but small pairs of green-yellow, berry-like “sycones” can appear near the leaf bases.
  • Foliage: Shiny, dark purple-green leaves, oval in shape and 8”-12″ long x 6″ wide, that have a slight V shape when viewed tip-on. New foliage is quite reddish on underside and midvein.

Plant Care and Advice for Burgundy Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’) 

  • Grown In: Inside: all zones year round, Outside: zones 10-11
  • Light Requirements: Bright to medium-low, always indirect
  • Water Requirements: Water deeply, but allow to drain afterward. Keep soil moist (but not waterlogged) year round, watering more heavily during the growing season.
  • Drought Tolerance: Fair
  • Temperature:65-85F indoors and out - 75-ish is ideal. Bring indoors when temp falls below 60F.
  • Air Purification: Excellent - removes formaldehyde
  • Toxicity: Toxic (sap). Keep away from pets.
  • Fertilizer: Half-strength general houseplant fertilizer monthly during spring and summer
  • Container Friendly: Yes - But must drain well
  • Planting:Step one when repotting a Burgundy Rubber Tree is to make sure it needs to be repotted in the first place. Changes like repotting and relocating can be stressful to this species, so try not to repot unnecessarily. That said, this is a fast-growing species when comfortable, so you will need to repot every couple years. When that time comes, follow these “tricks” to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible: First, choose a pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Second, place a 1” layer of pebbles at the bottom of that pot to aid in drainage. Third, choose a potting mix that grabs onto moisture, but still drains well. For example, a 1:1 mix of pine bark and sand/perlite, or a 2:1:1 mix of peat moss, potting soil, and sand/perlite. Once you’ve got your soil mixed, simply move the plant from the old pot to the new, fill in around it, and water in as normal.
  • Plant Care:For such an exotic-looking plant, Burgundy Rubber Trees actually require very little in the way of special treatment. Step one, as with any plant, is finding them the right location. They dislike direct sunlight, but thrive in indirect light ranging in intensity from bright to medium-low. In fact, their leaves will grow larger in medium light than in bright. This gives them quite a bit of flexibility as far as placement. However, they do stress a bit anytime they’re moved to a new location, so try to choose the best spot right from the start, put the plant there, and leave it. Rubber Plants, like many tropicals, require soil that is always moist, but never waterlogged. Give them deep drinks, especially during the spring and summer, but then allow the soil to drain completely and never leave the plant soaking in saturated soil. During the dormant season, it’s okay to let the very top of the soil become dry. Burgundy Rubber Trees love their humidity. They respond well to light misting and especially to being placed on a “pebble tray”—a tray an inch or two wider than their pot, filled to the top with pebbles and halfway up with water. Also, try to keep them away from A/C or heating vents, which decrease humidity and cause sudden temperature changes that stress the plant. Your Burgundy Rubber Tree will look and feel its best if you wipe its massive leaves clean once a month. You can also prune it if it’s getting too tall or if you’d like it to be more bushy and dense. 
  • Expert Advice: If the leaves of your Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’ start to droop but do not change color, there’s a good chance it just needs more water. If its lower leaves are dropping, it’s probably natural maturity, but make sure the plant isn’t in a draft just in case. Too much cold can also cause brown spots on the leaves. If leaves are yellowing and dropping too quickly for it to be natural aging, there’s a strong chance your plant has root rot. Repot in moist, (but not soggy) soil ASAP, taking time to trim off any damaged roots (hopefully there are plenty of good roots left). Once repotted, check light levels as well. It might need more. Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’ is fairly pest resistant, but can still contract typical pests like mites, scales, aphids, or whiteflies. Many pests, such as thrips and mites, are put off by misting, so if you’re doing what you can to give your plant adequate humidity, you’re also administering preventative care. But even if Burgundy Rubber Tree does catch something, a quick wash with horticultural soap is usually enough to set things right. Similarly, this species is quite resistant to disease as long as it isn’t left sitting in saturated soil, which is the perfect breeding ground for fungal infections such as root rot. If you avoid overwatering, the only disease worth fearing is nematodes. Sadly, nematodes have no reliable cure, but they are thankfully among the rarer of plant diseases.  Propagation of Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’ is predominantly done one of two ways. The first is with simple stem cuttings. Cut a portion of stem perhaps 4-6 inches long, let the sap dry for an hour or so, then dip it into rooting hormone and then into moist potting mix. However, a more complex, but reliable option is air layering. This procedure involves injuring a branch and then treating it in such a way that it develops its own root system so you can cut it away and pot it on its own. To air layer a Ficus Elastica var ‘Burgundy’, find a healthy branch and cut halfway through it. Soak a toothpick in rooting hormone and place it crossways in the cut to prevent the cut sealing. Wrap the cut in moist peat moss and secure in place with plastic or other material (it does not need to be airtight). Keep the moss slightly moist and within 2-4 weeks, you should see roots from the cutting growing into the moss. Unwrap the “bandage”, cut your newly rooted branch free and plant it in a separate container.