Rubber Plant Vs Ficus

People often ask, ‘What’s the difference between a rubber plant and a ficus?’ Both are popular house plants that require similar care, but there are some major differences between them.

In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between these two iconic plants.

The rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is an evergreen tree native to India and Malaysia. It can grow up to 6 feet tall and has thick, glossy leaves that range in color from dark green to reddish-purple.

The ficus (Ficus benjamina) is also an evergreen tree native to tropical regions of Asia and Australia. It typically grows 2-4 feet tall with slender stems covered in oval-shaped leaves in shades of green.

Both plants are easy to care for, but they do have different needs when it comes to light, soil, water, and temperature.

Light Requirements

When it comes to light requirements, rubber plants and ficus trees have different needs.

Rubber plants need bright indirect light – never direct sunlight – while a ficus tree should be placed in an area of the home or office that has plenty of bright, natural light.

Both plants require a moderate amount of watering; however, rubber plants will need more frequent fertilizing than their ficus counterparts.

When it comes to potting tips, both rubber plants and ficus trees can benefit from pots with drainage holes at the bottom.

However, for a healthier environment for the rubber plant, you should opt for soil that is well-draining and slightly acidic.

For best success with your ficus tree, use a high-quality loam-based mix potting medium.

Soil Requirements

Soil requirements for the rubber plant and ficus are quite different. The rubber plant needs well-draining soil to be able to thrive, while the ficus can do well in more moist soils. It’s important to be aware of these differences when deciding which one to select for your home or office space.

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When it comes to feeding habits, both plants need regular fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer solution. For pest control, the rubber plant is relatively resistant but may still require occasional treatment with an insecticidal spray if pests become an issue. The ficus on the other hand is more vulnerable to pests and will need regular monitoring and treatment with a pesticide or miticide as necessary.

All in all, both plants can make excellent additions to any indoor environment, as long as their soil and feeding requirements are met. With some basic knowledge and maintenance, either one can provide years of lush foliage indoors.

Water Requirements

When it comes to water requirements, rubber plants and ficus differ in some significant ways.

Rubber plants are a bit more forgiving when it comes to drainage needs and prefer soil that is consistently moist, but not soaking wet. On the other hand, ficus can tolerate slightly drier conditions but prefer well-draining soil in order to prevent root rot.

Both rubber plants and ficus need regular watering, however they should never be left sitting in water.

Humidity levels for both plants are relatively similar; both prefer higher humidity levels but can survive in lower humidity levels with proper care. To increase the humidity level around the plant, misting or using a humidifier is recommended. In addition, grouping multiple plants together will help create an environment with higher humidity levels as well.

Ultimately, it is important to closely monitor both rubber plants and ficus for changes in water requirements according to season or climate change. With good care and attention, these two beautiful houseplants will thrive for many years to come.

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Temperature Requirements

When it comes to temperature requirements, rubber plants and ficus have more similarities than differences.

While both varieties of plants are known for their low-light tolerance, they do need slightly different conditions when it comes to temperature.

However, there are potential problems that can arise if the environment is too extreme in either direction.

The ideal temperature range for a rubber plant is between 65°F and 80°F.

They should be kept away from cold drafts or any other type of sudden temperature changes as this can damage the foliage.

Ficus plants prefer temperatures slightly warmer than the rubber plant at between 70°F and 85°F.

Keeping these temperatures in mind when caring for your plant will help you avoid pest control issues and other problems associated with improper environmental conditions.

In addition, be sure to check regularly for pests that might be attracted to either species of plant due to high humidity or poor air circulation.

Doing so will ensure your plants remain healthy and vibrant.

Maintenance Considerations

When it comes to the maintenance of rubber plants and ficus, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Both of these plants require frequent watering and light, but they must also be kept in an appropriate potting mix for optimal growth. Additionally, it is important to monitor both plants for pests or other issues that may arise.

One major difference between these two plants is the amount of humidity required for ideal growth. Rubber plants prefer more humid climates, while ficus thrive in drier conditions.

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To maintain humidity levels properly, it’s important to make sure the soil is well-draining and not too wet. In addition, misting the leaves can help increase humidity for rubber plants.

Both rubber plant and ficus need regular fertilizing during their growing season—typically spring and summer—but this should be done sparingly as overly fertilized soil can burn the roots of either plant.


  • Rubber Plant

  • Pest Control: Spider mites are a common pest that can affect rubber plants, so monitoring closely for signs of infestation is key.

  • Potting Mix: Use well-draining soil with a high organic content to ensure proper root growth in a rubber plant.

  • Ficus

  • Pest Control: Fungus gnats are one of the main pests that can affect ficus; yellow sticky traps placed near the base of the plant are effective at trapping them before they cause damage.

  • Potting Mix: Soil that is slightly acidic (pH 6–6.5) will provide optimal growing conditions for a ficus tree.


In conclusion, both the rubber plant and ficus have similar needs when it comes to temperature, light, soil and water requirements.

The main difference between the two is the amount of maintenance they require. The rubber plant is low-maintenance and can be quite forgiving if you forget to water it occasionally. On the other hand, the ficus needs more frequent watering and pruning in order to keep it looking its best.

So if you’re looking for a plant that requires minimal care but still offers plenty of beauty, then a rubber plant may be your best option. However if you’re looking for something with a bit more pizzazz, then a ficus might be worth considering.

Whatever you choose, I’m sure you’ll enjoy having either of these lovely plants in your home.