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How To Grow and Care for a Ficus Elastica Tineke

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The Ficus Elastica Tineke is a gorgeous and easy-to-care-for tropical plant that comes in many varieties. The Ficus Elastica Tineke is a part of the rubber plant (Ficus Elastica) species. With oversized and glossy leaves, it’s easy for this plant to make a statement in any room in your home. The Ficus Elastica ‘Tineke’ has an even more striking appearance with its reddish-pink tones on the outside of the green and cream-colored foliage. The sheath stem on top also stands out as it is a deep burgundy-red color. The ‘Tineke’ is a variegated rubber plant and has become one of my absolute favorites.

Photo of Ficus Elastica Tineke by Sarah Bronske on Unsplash.
Photo by Sarah Bronske on Unsplash

The Ficus Elastica Tineke will be the happiest if given the appropriate light, which makes it a great option for people looking for low-maintenance plants. It is also important to regularly clean the leaves on the Ficus to ensure it can soak up as much light as possible. While it will need some attention every so often, don’t let that scare you off. The Ficus Elastica Tineke promises low-maintenance care when given the appropriate environment.

Light

Like most tropical houseplants, the Ficus Elastica Tineke will be happiest in bright, indirect sunlight. Finding the ideal spot in your home may take some time if you’re unsure of best placement. Too much sun and you risk scorching the leaves. Too little light and growth will become leggy.

An east-facing window is ideal for the Ficus Elastica Tineke, but with a bit of distance from a south or west-facing window, these spaces can work well too.

Water

Don’t worry about having to stay on top of a strict watering schedule with the Ficus Tineke. This plant is happy to have the top few inches of soil dry out in between waterings. And to err on the side of caution, under-watering is better than over-watering.

The Ficus Tineke also does not like misting or its leaves being wet, as water can stain the leaves. So it’s best to keep an eye on moisture levels to keep your Tineke happy.

Soil

Like most indoor houseplants, the Ficus Tineke isn’t too troublesome when it comes to its potting mix. As long as it is well-draining, your plant will be happy. Adding in a slightly acidic mix can sometimes be preferred, like a cactus mix. However, your regular indoor potting mix will do just fine.

Fertilizer

The best way to fertilize your Ficus Tineke is to weaken a liquid fertilizer slightly. Too much fertilizer or strong fertilizers can cause straggly growth and lead to a root-bound plant.

Like most plants, it is best to water regularly during the growing season. While cutting back during the more dormant seasons, such as autumn into winter.

Temperature + Humidity

The Ficus Tineke is a tropical plant and so it appreciates warm temperatures and moderate humidity. The ideal temperature for the Ficus Tineke is 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to keep your plant away from temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit as well as places in your home such as drafty windows/doors or A/C units.

Being a tropical plant, humidity is fairly important to your Ficus Tineke. If you don’t already have a humidifier, consider getting one you can place near your Ficus Tineke to increase the humidity levels in your home. Especially during winter when the humidity can drop drastically as the air becomes dryer and cooler.

Pruning

The Ficus Tineke is a fast-growing plant and can benefit from the removal of straggly stems and any leaves that look unhealthy. If you chop off any healthy stems, you can try propagating your cutting and creating a whole new baby Ficus Tineke!

How to Propagate

Propagating a Ficus Tineke is doable but can be tricky, but keeping the timing right can go a long way. Be sure to propagate in the spring when the growing season is at its most active.

  1. Using a clean sharp blade, take a cutting that is about 6 inches from a healthy-looking stem with at least four leaf nodes.
  2. Gently remove any leaves at the bottom of the cutting and leave one leaf at the top, so energy can be directed to the new root instead of foliage already on the stem.
  3. Once you’ve cleaned up the cutting, place it in a loose, well-draining soilless potting mix. Make sure to leave the top node exposed above the mix. Using a rooting hormone can also help to promote a successful propagation.
  4. A high humidity environment will help the cutting to root. By placing a sealed ziplock bag over the cutting will help encourage rooting. Using something like a chopstick in the mix will help to prevent the bag from touching the plant.
  5. Be sure to make sure you place the cutting in a spot that will receive bright, indirect sunlight.
  6. It can take about 4 weeks for the roots to begin to develop. If you gently tug on the cutting, the level of resistance will tell you if the propagation is successful or not. More resistance means developing roots whereas little resistance can mean roots may not be forming.

Common Problems

  • Yellowing leaves are a surefire sign that your Ficus Tineke is receiving too much water. Be sure to let the top few inches of soil dry out before watering again.
  • If plant leaves are falling off, this can be a sign of underwatering. Some leaf loss can be normal, especially during the dormant season. Be sure to keep the soil regularly moist and not completely dry out.
  • Brown tips on leaves can be a result of too much direct sunlight. If this is the case, move your Ficus Tineke to a place with more dappled sunlight.

Pet Safe?

The Ficus Elastica Tineke is generally not pet-safe and should be kept out of reach from pets and children. The Ficus Tineke produces sap that can be irritating if it comes in contact with skin or is ingested.

Overall

Lastly, be sure to keep your Ficus Tineke happy by giving in bright but indirect sunlight. As well as make sure your plant is potted in well-draining soil and the soil remains moist and does not dry out. The Ficus Elastica Tineke will show you if it is unhappy with its surroundings, which can go a long way in caring properly for your Ficus Elastica Tineke.