Ficus Tineke is a variegated Rubber Tree initially from Asia, specifically the South and Southeast regions. It can be described as a close relative of Ficus Elastica. These two plants are often mistaken, although they have visible and pretty noticeable differences.
The main difference that separates these two is leaf color. Ficus Elastica has dark green leaves without any other color or pattern.
On the other hand, Ficus Tineke has a variegated and much brighter leaf design. These variegated leaves are thick and lush, featuring three shades: milky white, creamy, and bright green.
Baby leaves are slightly different because their look changes progressively as they develop. Firstly, their surface has a blushy and maroonish glow while they’re still young. Then, at the end of the maturation process, they become thicker and brighter.
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Typically, Ficus Tineke is grown as a houseplant, but this plant can thrive in both indoor and outdoor conditions with appropriate care and knowledge. Depending on the environment and how you care for it, it can grow up to 60 feet tall, making it look like a full-grown tree.
The most common household places for this plant are stairs and corners with bright indirect light. However, it can also thrive under the window with a perfect balance of shade and sun.
Native Area: South Asia (India), Southeast Asia (Indonesia)
Height: Indoors (from 2 to 6 feet, 0.5 to 2m), outdoor (up to 60 feet, 18m)
Leaf Size: Lenght (up to 13 inches, 33cm ), width (up to 5 inches, 12.5cm)
Water: Medium need
Soil Type: Well-drained
Exposure: partial sun and shade
Seasons: All four (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
Ficus Tineke related plants
Ficus Tineke represents one of many Robber Tree varieties. Here are several types besides Ficus Tineke plants:
Ficus Elastica Melany: Leaves (deep, glossy, green or burgundy, dense)
Ficus Elastica Doescheri: Leaves (evergreen, white, or cream edges, stalk with pink underside)
Ficus Elastica Decora: Leaves (glossy, thick, dark green)
Ficus Elastica Robusta: Leaves (large, dark green, lighter green underside)
Ficus Elastica Burgundy: Leaves (deep, thick, burgundy, or almost black), stem (red)
Ficus elastica Black Prince: Leaves (dark green, from far away seem almost black)
Plant Care Tips – Ficus Tineke
Generally speaking, Ficus Elastica Tineke isn’t needy, but it’s still sensitive to some things you should pay attention to in order to avoid damage.
It can be really sensitive to changes such as temperature variation. Also, another essential piece of advice is to use a proper-sized pot with drainage holes. Limited space can suffocate its roots and prevent further and healthy new growth.
You should always take some time to inspect the plant to see if there are any changes. Plus, this can give you an upper hand if you notice any sign of disease caused by parasites.
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Ficus Elastica Tineke requires bright indirect light, so it’s always better to keep it in an indoor space. Still, light not bright enough is also a problem that’ll reflect on its variegation. The beautifully variegated leaves we mentioned will lose their cream shade if you don’t provide the plant with enough bright light.
You should avoid leaving it in direct sun during summertime. It takes only two to three hours for the intense heat to damage and burn its foliage, so make sure to provide indirect light.
Moving it indoors and outdoors too often will cause it to stress due to temperature and light fluctuations. The plant always gets used to a certain amount of light, so its variegated leaves will likely fall out if you move it around too often.
If you have to move it, try to do that step by step in order to preserve its lush and beautiful leaves.
Ficus Tineke isn’t too demanding in terms of temperature, so anything between 10°C and 30° is bearable.
However, a sudden drop or increase will cause it to suffer, stress, and change color. In both of these cases, leaves will lose their cream shade, turn yellow and start falling out.
The best temperature for Ficus Elastica Tineke is somewhere between 60°F and 70°F.
Watering ficus Tineke shouldn’t be too much of a problem, making this houseplant perfect for those struggling to keep plants alive. All you have to do is make sure not to overwater it.
Ficus Tineke needs more water during the summer and spring, and it’s the only time you’ll have to water it more frequently.
It doesn’t need frequent watering during autumn and winter when the temperatures are lower.
As with most plants, the best way to determine if it needs watering is to check if the soil is dry. Then, make sure the pot you plant it in has drainage holes to let the excess water out.
Much like other types of plants, this houseplant loves well-drained soil. However, it can tolerate heavy clay and sandy soil, so you can pick one of the two.
The soil will tell you when it’s time to water your Ficus Tineke. The first few inches of soil should be completely dry before you water it again.
It should be moist but not too wet, or the soil will cause the roots to rot.
use standard potting mix
or mix potting with perlite, sand, or peat
get the right pot size
How you’ll fertilize your Ficus Tineke depends on the season. Ficus Elastica Tineke thrives the most during spring and summer, so it needs most fertilization during this time.
On the other hand, it doesn’t need any fertilization during cold weather. Of course, it probably won’t mind additional food during this time either, but it’s not required in most cases.
Sometimes it’s necessary to shorten the rubber tree because it can grow a lot. However, its height can be a big problem because it reaches up to 60 feet.
It’s best to prune it in spring or early summer, but you can trim it throughout the whole year if you want to. First, prune it above the node using a sharp tool like a knife or garden scissors.
Make sure to leave at least two leaves on each stem so that new growth can develop. For outdoor plants, make sure to leave at least five or six leaves on each branch.
Pruning is critical for the rubber plant to keep its characteristic shape. You can even remove a lot of it, but make sure to do it step by step, giving the Ficus Elastica Tineke enough time to recover.
Like many other Ficus varieties, Tineke is pretty easy to propagate. There are few simple steps to follows:
use gloves for skin protection
cut the plant using a sharp tool (cut it so that there are at least two leaves left on the stem)
place the stem in water and wait for the roots to grow
place it in soil(or pot) when it’s ready
you can place it straight into the soil but make sure it’s moist
Plant Care – Diseases
Ficus Tineke is prone to pests like aphids, spider mites, and plant scale. It can also suffer from fungal diseases like Anthracnose.
As we said, it doesn’t like changes. Any change in temperature and light conditions will cause its leaves to turn yellow and fall off. Another thing that can spark diseases is soil too moist.
Benefits and Disadvantages
A variegated Rubber plant can serve as an air purifier. It helps cleaning the indoors by absorbing bad gases such as formaldehyde. This toxic gas can cause breathing problems or eye irritation.
On the other hand, Rubber Plant is toxic, so make sure to keep your pets away. Consuming its leaves can lead to an upset stomach and even poisoning, so make sure to place it away from your pets.