Ficus Elastica, which is commonly known as Rubber Plant, is a popular houseplant with dark, glossy leaves. Rubber trees make great houseplants and they come in different varieties. The main difference between the Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby is the color of their leaves. The Tineke has variegated leaves in green and cream or pale yellow and the leaves of the Ruby have a bright coral or pink color. There are a few other differences between the Ficus Elastica Tineke vs Ficus Elastica Ruby and I am excited to share them with you!
Scientific Plant Classification
The ‘Ficus’ part is the genus – these plants are in the same genus as fig plants – which you may recognize as the extremely popular houseplant Ficus Lyrata, or fiddle-leaf fig, and over 800 other species. Ficus Elastica is also known as the Rubber Tree or Rubber Bush because it produces a substance called latex, which was once used to make rubber. Isn’t that fascinating?
You can see how their names came from how people thought of them to be similar to:
- Elastica = Plastic/Rubber
- Tineke = is a girl’s name is a variant of Christina (Latin) and the meaning of Tineke is”follower of Christ”
- Ruby = a bright red as in the color of its foliage
Fun Fact: All parts of the plant contain an abundant milky white latex, which has been tested for use in the manufacture of rubber, but without economic and technical results; commercial rubber is actually produced from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis. Ficus elastica yields a milky white latex, a chemical compound separate from its sap and carried and stored in different cells. This latex was formerly used to make rubber, but it should not be confused with the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), the main commercial source of latex for rubber making. Just as with Hevea brasiliensis, the latex of Ficus elastica is an irritant to the eyes and skin and is toxic if taken internally. – Wikipedia
The Main Difference Between Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby
The easiest way to tell the difference between Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby is by the color of the leaves.
The leaves of the Tineke are variegated green with cream or yellow. Baby plants and new growth at the top of the plant may have a pink tint that will fade over time.
On the other hand, the Ficus Elastica Ruby has leaves with variegated green, cream, and very vibrant pink, coral, or red color. The babies and new growth are very dark red and some even are completely solid without any variation.
Because of the slight pinkish color of the new growth of Ficus Elastica Tineke, it can sometimes be mistaken for Ficus Elastica Ruby. That happened to me – I bought it from an Etsy seller who accidentally labeled it wrong.
An easy way to know is that Ficus Elastica Ruby will have bright red or pink sheath around the new leaves before they uncurl.
Price and Where to Buy Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby
Both Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby are growing in popularity and are quite widely available. Tineke has been around a bit longer as a variety and is slightly more common.
The Ruby is a newer variety and can be harder to find depending on where you live. The prices of the two varieties are similar, but depending on where you live, the Ruby may be more expensive.
You can find these plants at your local nursery or on Etsy for about $20 – $50+
Care Tips for Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby
Light Requirements for Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby
To keep the coloring and variation on your rubber plants you will want to make sure they get bright but indirect light. If you keep them in lower light the color and the variation will fad and they will become practically solid green. During the winter I like to use additional lighting to help my plants keep their bright colors and variegation that I love so much!
Because non-green parts of their leaves can’t photosynthesize, they do not make food as easily as their non-variegated cousins (Burgandy Rubber Plant). Variegated plants need lots of bright but indirect light to be able to make enough food. If you notice your variegation and color diminishing move the plant to a brighter area.
Both Ficus Elastica Tineke and Ficus Elastica Ruby prefer to live in a home with the temperature set at 65°F – 80°F (18 – 27°C). We keep our home at 70°-75°F
Like most houseplants, Ficus Elastica Tinke and Ruby are sensitive to rapid changes in temperature and they should not be put near A/C units, heaters, or in a drafty area.
As with most houseplants, overwatering is a bigger problem than underwatering – do not kill them with kindness! Overwatering can lead to root rot and eventually cause your plant to die rather quickly. Water requirements for rubber plants are consistently moist but never soggy.
Always check the soil and feel for dampness. If the top 2-3 inches of the soil are dry, you may safely water your plant. If you feel more comfortable, you could use a moisture meter. The larger the pot the further down you will need to test for dampness.