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Ficus Tineke Care: The Definitive Guide

Do you wonder why your Ficus Tineke does not look as good as seen in the pictures online?

If you do, I am about to share why my Ficus Tineke looks like the ones on Instagram, and it is not that difficult, trust me.

Ficus Tineke thrives in moderate, indirect light. Be sure to keep room temperatures above 55°F and humidity levels moderate(50-65%). Water once in 4 days in summer and once in 2 weeks in winter. Your plant will do great if you fertilize it with liquid plant food once a month for healthy leaves.

Ficus Tineke
Ficus Tineke (Source: Etsy)

The way you care for it and how you water it will impact your plant’s health and exactly what your plant looks like.

So you can say the key to having a gorgeous-looking Ficus Tineke is all in how you care for it, even though this plant does not require as much attention as some other plants would.

Just place it in a good spot, check on the plant and water from time to time, use fertilizers if you want to—detailed information on why, when, and how is given throughout this article.

Ficus Tineke Overview

Ficus Tineke, or variegated rubber tree, is a houseplant. It’s a lovely pink, green, and white plant that quickly brightens any space.

Although it is a beginner-friendly plant, it is deadly to humans and pets, so bear this in mind before bringing one home.

Mainly found in East India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, and China. Also found in parts of Sri Lanka, the West Indies, Australia, and areas of the United States.

Full Botanical NameFicus elastica Tineke
Plant GenusFicus
Plant FamilyMoraceae
Common NamesIndia Rubber Fig,
Rubber Tree
Native AreaSouth Asia (India),
Southeast Asia (Indonesia)
USDA Zones10b to 11
HeightIndoor (from 2-6 feet, 0.5-2m),
Outdoor (up to 60 feet, 18m)
Leaf sizeLength (up to 13 inches, 33cm ),
Width (up to 5 inches, 12.5cm)

Ficus Tineke: The Definitive Guide

Rubber plants (also known as rubber trees, Indian rubber trees, or Ficus elastica) are low-maintenance houseplants that may grow to be quite the showpiece.

The things that make a difference in how your plant grows and looks depends on the location, environment, size of the Ficus Tineke, size of the pot it’s in, the direction it’s facing, the airflow, and the potting soil.

It will repay you with rapid, dramatic development if you provide it with enough sunshine, regularly check water levels, and keep a lookout for pests.

FactorsOptimum Conditions
Sunlight and Location4-6 hours of Indirect and bright sunlight
Watering RequirementsOnce in 4 days in summer
Once in 2 weeks in winter
Ideal Temperature60°F to 85°F
Humidity Level50%-65%
Soil mixWell draining
pH level 6.0-6.5
Fertilizing RequirementsAll purpose fertilizer,
Compost manure can also be used
PottingTerracotta or clay pots
Adequate draining holes
RepottingOnce every two years.
During the spring and summers.
PruningTrimming through nodes
Before winter
PropagationThrough cuttings (soil-medium)
ToxicityToxic to humans and pets

1. Sunlight and Location

To thrive, the Ficus Tineke plant prefers indirect sunshine.

Your Ficus Tineke will thrive in a location with plenty of bright, indirect light for 4-6hours. However, it can withstand 3-4 hours of direct sunshine.

It is not a good idea to place the plant near chilly breezes. The plant’s leaves may become yellow as a result of this.

Ficus Tinkie does not mind occasional shade; however, keeping it in a sade is a big no as the plant will appear leggy.

Ficus Tineke enjoys natural lighting more than artificial ones. However, bringing your Ficus Tineke to a warmer spot insider and maybe investing in a grow light is recommended.

Sunlike Plant Light for indoor plants
Sunlike Plant Light for Indoor Plants (Source: Amazon)

Although it won’t love it, it will for sure thank you for that extra bit of light!

Protip- Place your ficus Tineke in a south-facing window for a happy and healthy plant!

2. Ideal Temperature

Ficus Tineke loves temperatures between 60 and 85°F (15 and 29°C). Ensure that temperatures do not fall below 55°F (12°C) throughout the winter.

A graph showing the temperature range needed for tropical plants
A graph showing the temperature range needed for tropical plants (Source: Researchgate)

The plant’s leaves may fall off if exposed to excessive temperatures. On the other hand, extreme low temperatures might result in drooping or dry leaves.

Tips to Maintain Ideal temperature

  • Place the plant in a warm spot right beside a window for optimal growth.
  • During winters, place them away from windows and cold drafts.
  • Keep your plant away from heaters and heating vents.
  • Heating pads and frost covers can be a good investment to protect your plant from cold.

3. Moderate Humidity

Moderately humid environments are the best for Ficus Tineke.

If your surrounding humidity is anywhere near 50%, it is perfect for your Tineke.

Effect of Humidity on Plant's Humidity
Effect of Humidity on Plant’s Humidity (source: Wikimedia)

Low humidity often hampered plant growth, as they take significantly longer to reach acceptable height. Additionally, lower leaves frequently fall off, development is difficult, and the plant looks are compromised.

Use a humidifier, pebble tray, or light misting when the moisture starts dropping massively because it directly affects the appearance of the leaves.

You may position the plant in a bathroom or a kitchen to satisfy the moisture needs. However, make sure not to place it in a dark spot with little light.

4. Weekly Watering

Once a week, water your Tineke thoroughly with room temperature, non-softened water. Let the top of the soil dry out thoroughly before watering again.

During the winter seasons, make sure to water the plant once in two weeks or less, depending upon the plants’ size. However, as summer approaches, you might want to water it once every 4-5 days.

It is probably underwater if your plant looks limp with brown crips edges on the leaves. Go ahead and water your plant immediately to restore its vitality.

But, if the plant looks floppy with soft, water-logged leaves and stem, it is overwatered. Place it in a dry spot and remove the damaged plant body to restore the plant.

If the damage is excess, change the soil entirely and avoid watering for about a week.

Tips to Properly Water Ficus Tineke

  • Check if your Ficus Tineke needs to be watered by putting your fingers two inches in the soil. If it feels dry, it is time to hydrate the plant.
  • Morning is the optimum time to water your plants. If the leaves become wet, they will have all day to dry out.
  • It is ideal to let the topsoil dry out a little between waterings.
  • A thin layer of organic components, such as manure, shredded leaves, crushed bark, or twigs, can be applied to the soil to prevent evaporation and runoff.

5. Acidic Soil Mix

It prefers a well-drained compost potting mix, particularly sandy or loam, or a combination of the two. It should be mildly acidic, in the range of 6 to 6.5 pH value.

A Healthy Ficus Tineke
A Healthy Ficus Tineke (Source: Pexels)

DIY soil mix for Ficus Tineke

  • 2 parts pre-moistened peat moss or coco peat
  • 1 part perlite or pumice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 part vermiculite

Mix all these three ingredients to create a perfect plant of soil for your plant!

Or you can even buy some good soil mixes available on the market; here are some of the best ones!

6. Light Fertilization

Ficus Tineke does not require much fertilization. However, you can feed it light liquid fertilizer once a month to stimulate strong, healthy leaves. The Rubber plant’s variegated version is a light feeder.

Use a regular water-soluble houseplant fertilizer from spring until summer once a month. Before using the fertilizer, dilute it to half strength.

Make sure not to fertilize the plant during the winter period as the development is halted throughout the dormant period. In fact, it can do more bad than good!

Ficus Tineke is not a fussy plant. Hence, any regular plant food in liquid form works great for the plant. Simply get one from your plant store and follow the direction from the plant food package.

Here are a few of the best ones available in the market!

7. Growth Habits

Ficus Tineke has a relatively faster growth rate. It can grow as much as 60 centimeters each year under the right lighting conditions.

A healthy Ficus Tineke should generate a new leaf once every four weeks or so. Your plant will reach a height of 2 to 8 feet when grown indoors.


Ficus Tineke has glossy variegated leaves that may grow up to 12″ long and 5″ broad.

Tineke’s leaves are variegated from cream to almost white and green.

Ficus Tineke Foliage
Ficus Tineke Foliage (Source: Unsplash)

The tint of the leaf has been compared as a watercolor by some.


Ficus Tineke does blossom, but only when planted outside in their native Malaysia, Java, or the Himalayas. Indoor flowering is an uncommon phenomenon.

When Ficus flowers, it produces modest white blossoms. Its delicate scent attracts only fig wasps and no other pollinators.

Ficus Tineke flowers during the spring and summer seasons, every year. It will not give you many blooms, rather a handful of them throughout the growing seasons.

8. Potting and Repotting

Ficus plants grow slowly and steadily; therefore, it all relies on the size of your plant and how fast it grows.

This plant, in particular, does not mind being root-bound as long as it is in the right type of pot with plenty of drainage holes.

Make sure to use a terracotta or clay pot for your beloved Tineke to make sure of healthy root development.

Clay Pots
Clay Pots (Source: Pixabay)

The size of the pot is heavily dependent on the plant size-tiny pots for tiny plants placed indoors and larger pots for rigorously growing ones placed outdoors.

If you observe roots sprouting out of the bottom or top of your pot, or if the dirt is peeling away from the edges, it may be time to relocate your plant in a bigger container.

Depending on the growth tendencies, you might have to re-pot your Ficus Tineke once every two years. Make sure to only re-pot during the spring and summers.

It is recommended not to disturb the plant (especially the roots!) during the winter season.

However, don’t put your plant in a too-large container. Anything broader than two inches in diameter than the original container may be too much for your plant.

It’s like stepping out of a fish tank and into the ocean—overpowering.

Select a potting media that drains properly and isn’t too clumpy when repotting. Soggy roots are a no-no for these plants.

Steps to Re-pot Ficus Tineke

  • Try to carefully remove the plant from the existing pot by twisting it. Make sure that the roots are not damaged.
  • You can submerge the plant in some water to make the process more effortless.
  • Then clean the roots and prune away the dead ones.
  • Now, re-pot the plant in a fresh potting mix in a slightly larger pot.
  • Make sure that the pot has numerous drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Water the plant and let it remain in a shady place for a week before positioning it in a sunny location.

9. Frequent Pruning

Rubber Plants may quickly overrun their surroundings, but frequent trimming keeps them healthy and under control.

The plant may be molded into a tree-like form or compact shrubby topping to stop upward growth and pruning to stimulate branching from a lower node.

These pleasant plants respond well to moderate trimming. They may be controlled, strengthened, and sculpted over time with relatively easy approaches.

Rubber Plants may be pruned at any time of year, but the best period is late spring to early summer. If you prune during their growing season, new growth may be delayed.

Techniques to Prune the Plant
Techniques to Prune the Plant (Source:

Rubber plants can withstand a lot of pruning. It’s fine to prune a third or even half of the plant at once, but keep in mind that this impacts photosynthesis and hence the plant’s recovery.

Tips to Prune

  • Use a sterile, sharp blade for Pruning. Just above a node or growth point, trim.
  • You have the option of cutting straight through or at a 45-degree angle. New branches sprout beneath the incision.
  • Individual stems can be cut to any length desired. A minimum of 2 leaves should be left on the stem of a small Rubber Plant, and 6-10 leaves should be left on each branch of a bigger plant.
  • If more must be removed, do it in stages every two or three months to prevent upsetting the plant.

You can use the pruned branches and leaves to propagate a whole new plant! Just make sure that the leaves have petiole attached.

If you dip the petioles in water for about a month, you will gradually see roots forming. And the same goes for the prunes branches.

10. Class 4 Toxicity

If swallowed, the plant is toxic to cats and dogs and people and horses.

It’s also abrasive to the touch. Rubber trees, in general, are not poisonous enough to be lethal, especially in tiny amounts.

The Indian rubber plant is classified as Level Toxicity Class 4 by the University of California Davis.

The sap of the rubber tree includes caoutchouc, which gives the tree its name. It is responsible for the suppleness of rubber.

While caoutchouc has various applications, it may also irritate the eyes and mucous membranes. If consumed, it will result in more severe symptoms.

Because rubber trees are hazardous, keep them out of the reach of children and dogs. If the plant is accessible, keep a watch on it when children or animals are present to avoid mishaps.

For the similarly detailed information on another variety of Ficus commonly is known as Council Tree is here: 13 Best Tips to Care for Ficus Altissima.

Propagation Methods for Ficus Tineke

Like other Ficus types, Tineke can be propagated via air layering or cuttings.

While the procedure may take months, new plants will develop quicker if started during the spring; growing season.

Here’s how to grow a variegated rubber tree:

1. Air Layering

Air layering is frequently utilized with tall plants that have leaves growing on top of a bare stem.

This method lets you to create a new plant from the top of the stem.

The mechanism allows nutrients to concentrate in the plant’s vascular system near a stem cut, pushing new roots to sprout from that site.

Remember these Steps

Step 1: Gather sharp gardening scissors, a toothpick, long-fibered sphagnum moss, twine or twist ties, a transparent plastic bag, and optional rooting hormone in step one.

Step 2: Locate a healthy location on the plant from which to propagate. Choose a location at least six inches below the leaves on the stem when air layering before trimming leafy tops off a too-tall plant.

Step 3: Carefully make an upward diagonal cut approximately one-third of the way through the stem or branch using a clean, sharp blade.

Step 4: Insert the toothpick in the cut sideways to keep it open. Apply rooting hormone to the wounded area to hasten the process (new roots will start growing even without it).

Step 5: Wet a handful of sphagnum moss and wrap it around the stem cut with twine or twist ties. This provides a medium for the new roots to grow in.

Step 6: Tie the plastic around the stem just above and below the cutting to completely cover the ball of moss to keep moisture in.

Step 7: After a few months, remove the plastic wrap and trim the stem or branch just below the new root.

Step 8: Plant your new Tineke in a pot with fresh soil, leaving the moss on the roots.

Maintain moist but not wet soil. Your Ficus can gradually handle more water once new growth appears on the stem.

2. Stem Cuttings

Cutting propagation is an excellent technique to put the pruned-off portions of your Ficus to use.

Tip cuttings (the end of a branch with fresh growth) or a part of a healthy stem can be used.

Remember these Steps

Step 1: Assemble a cutting knife, an air-tight plastic bag, a chopstick, and any rooting hormone you choose to use.

Step 2: Cut a six-inch section of a healthy branch right above a leaf node using a clean, sharp blade. Tips should have two to three leaves at the end, while stem cuttings should have at least one leaf at the top.

Step 3: Remove any lower-hanging leaves. Apply optional rooting hormone to the bottom of your cutting before planting it in a small pot of moistened all-purpose potting soil.

Step 4: Place the cutting in a transparent plastic bag that can be sealed (like a gallon zip-top bag).

Step 5: To keep the bag from contacting the foliage, insert a chopstick into the dirt. To keep moisture in, close the bag almost entirely but not totally.

Step 6: Place the bag in a warm, indirect light source. Remove the plastic bag once the roots have developed for two to three months, and look for fresh leaves after six months. Maintain your plant as usual.

You can also propagate Stem cuttings in a water medium. However, this process has a very less chance of giving any roots or plantlets.

It is often found that the stems tend to rot during the process. Hence, soil-medium is the safest option for Ficus Tineke propagation.

Also watch,

Common Problems in Ficus Tineke

1. Pests Infestation

Ficus Tineke is likely to get infested with pests once in a while, especially if kept outdoors or together with other plant varieties.

The pests foe to your Ficus Tineke are mentioned below.


These are small, pear-shaped bugs that congregate on the undersides of leaves or the junctions between leaves and stems.

Pests are often green, although they can also be red, brown, black, or yellow, depending on the species. Aphids wreak havoc on rubber plants by draining the delicious nectar from the leaves.

Mealybugs infesting the plant
Bugs Infesting The Plant (Source: Pexels)


These are microscopic rubber plant pests that adhere to many areas of the plant and feed on sweet plant secretions, similar to aphids.

Scale pests might be armored scales with a plate-like outer coating or soft scales with a waxy or cottony surface.

Spider mites

These are difficult to detect with the human eye, but they are dangerous rubber plant pests that penetrate plants to extract nectar.

Mites leave telltale webs on plants, so you know they’re there. They frequently develop when the weather is dry and dusty.


These are small, winged insects that live on rubber plants.

When disturbed, the insects, which might be black or straw-colored, tend to leap or fly. Thrips are more problematic for outdoor rubber tree plants, although they can also infest interior plants.

Remedy for Pest Infestation

  • Insecticidal soap sprays are normally successful against rubber plant bugs, but you may need to re-spray every couple of weeks until the pests have been eliminated.
  • Because DIY sprays are frequently too strong for indoor plants, use a commercial product.
  • Neem oil is another alternative.
Easy to use methods for neem oil
Neem oil: Easy to use (Source: Amazon)
  • Horticultural oils suffocate bugs and are especially efficient against challenging rubber plant pests like scale and thrips.
  • Because certain indoor plants are sensitive to oils, read the label carefully.
  • Before applying, cover any furnishings. Use Insecticides containing chemicals as a last resort.
  • Make sure to use the chemicals approved for indoor usage.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid over-watering as moist soil is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and pests.
  • While watering, make sure you water only the soil, not the entire plant body.
  • If you like misting your plant, wipe the leaves with a clean cloth to remove excess moisture.

2. Diseases Infestation

Here you will find a list of diseases that are common in Ficus Tineke.

AnthracnoseGlomerella (Colletotrichum)Greasy yellowish spots appear
Death with a yellow halo.
Bacterial Leaf SpotXanthomonas campestrisAngular yellow spots are limited in size by veins.
Spots become brown and leaves fall.
Branch Dieback PhomopsisLeaves wilt, die, and fall.
Small and eventually large branches die.
Wood under the bark is black.
Cold Injury Temperatures below 40° F.Mature leaves have large brown blotches.
Young leaves appear puckered or distorted and brown.
Foliar NematodeAphelenchoidesAreas between the leaf veins become yellow and die.
Leaf Drop Low soil moisture
Low relative humidity.
Leaves become yellow and fall.

Remedy for a Diseased Ficus Tineke

  • Isolate the diseased plant from other plants immediately.
  • Remove the affected leaves, stems, and roots. Prune all parts that appear sickly.
  • Clean the plant with a mixture of water and dishwashing soap.
  • If the damage is extensive, it would help if you used some fungicide.
  • Place the plant in moderate light and avoid watering for at least a week.
  • Avoid overhead watering.

Preventive Measures

  • Make sure never to overwater your plant; over-watering is the main source of disease.
  • Do not use regular garden soil. Rather, prefer a sterile one.
  • Keep inspecting your plants for any indications of disease. Early identification improves the plant’s survivability.
  • Do not place plants near air conditioners. Maintain temperatures above 40° F.
  • Avoid purchasing plant already affected by the disease.

Frequently asked Questions about Ficus Tineke

Can Ficus Tineke be Outside?

Yes, Ficus Tineke does better outside than indoors. These plants are known to live for centuries outdoors while they only live up to around 25 years indoors.

A Healthy Ficus Tineke
A Healthy Ficus Tineke (Source: Amazon)

Why isn’t my Ficus Tineke Growing?

Ficus Tinekes are, in general, slow growers.

But if you think your plant is not growing at all, try placing it somewhere bright where it can get enough indirect sunlight, like in front of an east-facing window and water sparingly.

Questions on the common problem of Ficus and answered with Solution in: How to Fix Drooping Fiddle Leaf Fig? and What are the Red Spots On Fiddle Leaf Fig?


So that’s pretty much about how to take care of your Ficus Tineke.

I hope you found this article helpful, and I was able to answer most of the questions and issues you had regarding your Ficus Tineke plant.

And if you are planning to get yourself a Ficus Tineke, I hope this article made it clear that this beauty of a houseplant is really easy to care for if you just follow the basics.

Is your Fiddle fig leaning? It could be the result of many wrongs you have been doing as a parent. Find out the reason and solve it with: How to Fix a Leaning Fiddle Leaf Fig?

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