Rubber plant bounces back - Sep 21, 2010

I had a call from an excited friend tonight who had been to an indoor plant shop in Surrey Hills. My mate is only 24 years old and he has just bought a unit in Cronulla. He has been looking for a plant that would make a statement in his living room.

Well today he discovered this new plant that looks absolutely fantastic and it has these great big shiny leaves and it will grow in his unit and you can't kill it and he has to have one and it's called Ficus elastica.

I got a big smile on my face when I heard that name because Ficus elastica is commonly known as The Rubber Plant. This plant is not new and it was big in the 80's when the line "my gardens full of furniture and my house is full of plants" was being heard on the radio.

Gardening follows fashion so it shouldn't be a surprise to see 80's colours, clothes, furniture and now indoor plants coming back.

Rubber plants were one of the most successful indoor plants ever grown. They could survive with little light and they didn't seem to mind being pot bound. The leaves looked great and they looked even better if you sprayed them with " Leaf Shine ". Unfortunately this caused dust to stick to the leaves and over time many of the leaves would drop off as the plant gasped for air.

The straggly plant would then be set free in the garden where it would grow into a massive tree up to 20 metres high!

The roots would seek out sewerage pipes and block them within months and plumbers were able to buy holiday houses near the beach for cash. If indoor plants are coming back it's not just plumbers that are getting excited.

Tim Pickles is a CNP horticulturist and director of Tim's Garden Centre 2 Queen st Campbelltown 46267022.