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Rubber Plant: How To Develop Ficus Elastica The Proper Method

If you’re contemplating including new vegetation to your houseplant assortment, together with rubber plant care in your repertoire is certainly the best way to go! Give this ficus oblique daylight, let the soil dry between waterings, and feed it in spring and summer season, and also you’re set.   

Whereas take care of a rubber plant is much like different indoor plant care practices, there are  various factors to contemplate. Conserving the shiny leaves the proper shade, and avoiding wounds which lead to drips of white sap isn’t tough, per se, but it surely does require a little bit extra understanding than another vegetation do. 

Fortunately, we’ve devoted this entire piece to rubber plant care, so you are able to do it at house! Let’s talk about all the pieces you could learn about this pretty plant. 

Fast Care Information

Widespread Title Rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, Indian rubber bush, Indian rubber tree
Scientific Title Ficus elastica, Ficus elastica robusta
Household Moraceae
Top & Unfold 3-12 toes tall, 3-6 toes large indoors; 50-100 toes tall and large outdoor
Gentle Vibrant, oblique gentle
Soil Nicely-drained potting soil
Water Water when the highest few inches of soil are dry
Pests & Ailments Fungus gnats, spider mites, scale, root rot, botrytis, leaf spot, powdery mildew, southern blight

All In regards to the Rubber Plant

Rubber plant in pot
Rubber plant in pot.

The rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is a flowering tree native to southeast Asia, and is naturalized in Sri Lanka, Florida, and the West Indies. In its native vary, Ficus elastica grows massive, as much as 100 toes in jungles of the tropics. It stays at about 6 toes tall as a typical houseplant, as rubber plant care is pretty easy. 

In USDA zones 10 and 11, and indoors, rubber vegetation are perennial evergreens. They’ve woody stems and huge, broad, waxy leaves which can be organized alternately. The leaves are various colours based mostly on the cultivar in query. In its pure habitat the greenish-white aromatic flowers of Ficus elastica bloom in spring. These type inedible fruit when they’re pollinated by particular species of wasps. Like different fig bushes, solely psenes wasps have the anatomical construction that’s suitable with their flowers. 

In home settings, Ficus elastica doesn’t bloom, however produces pretty leaves year-round. Rubber tree plant roots are voracious, and might harm foundations and different vegetation if they’re planted in circumstances that promote extreme development. The frequent title “rubber plant” pertains to the tree’s use as a supply of latex, which the tree bleeds when lower. Whereas the Hevea brasiliensis tree is the primary supply of economic rubber, this plant has been a secondary supply prior to now. 

The sap of each bushes may cause irritation when contact is made with human pores and skin. Due to this fact, put on gloves, eye safety, and lengthy sleeves when pruning and repotting. Equally, the plant is mildly poisonous to pets and youngsters if ingested. Keep away from inserting it the place curious canines, cats, and youngsters can attain it. Nevertheless, it cleans toxins from the air the place it’s positioned. This and their stark foliage is why rubber tree vegetation are so beloved.   

Rubber Plant Care

Rubber plant leaves
Rubber plant leaves.

So that you’ve determined to take care of a rubber plant at house. Let’s discuss rubber plant care in each indoor and outside settings. 

Solar and Temperature

The rubber plant wants at the very least a number of hours of vivid, oblique gentle. In case you’re rising one indoors, place it someplace close to a south-facing or east-facing window, the place it receives oblique daylight. In case you dwell in zones 10 and 11, plant your rubber tree outdoor in a evenly shaded space. Laborious afternoon solar isn’t preferable, so guarantee there may be some shade within the latter a part of the day. Decrease gentle might make your rubber plant develop slowly. 

Rubber vegetation do finest in night time temperatures between 60°F to 65°F, and day temperatures between 75°F and 80°F. Be certain your rubber tree isn’t uncovered to 55°F or decrease temperatures for prolonged intervals. Whereas your rubber vegetation can dwell in hotter temperatures, they might lose the fascinating coloring on their leaves above 85°F. 

Water and Humidity

Water your container-grown rubber tree plant when the highest few inches of soil dry out. For outdoor-grown bushes, water them each different week when the soil across the tree dries. As a result of the rubber tree is a tropical plant, it has an energetic rising season in spring and summer season, and enters dormancy in fall. This dormant interval lasts by winter. Don’t water as a lot throughout this time. Let chilly water come to room temperature earlier than irrigating.

Younger vegetation want extra water to develop, and a mature plant wants much less. 50% or extra humidity is important to develop a wholesome rubber tree houseplant. In a heat humid local weather, outside bushes will just do advantageous. Indoor rubber vegetation may have an exterior supply to spice up humidity ranges within the type of a each day misting with distilled water, or a plant humidifier. At all times water within the morning when your plant has time to soak up the water earlier than the solar evaporates it.   


A closeup of variegated Ficus elastica leaves
A closeup of variegated Ficus elastica leaves.

A rubber tree houseplant can thrive in fundamental, well-draining potting combine. While you’re rising indoors, give your rubber plant a superb high quality container with first rate sized drainage holes. A mixture of one half pine bark, one half peat moss, and one half sand is right to your rubber plant. 

The identical goes for rising outdoor. Guarantee the world during which you’ve planted it has well-draining soil by offering the mandatory aeration and amendments. Break up compacted areas, and add compost and drainage supplies like agricultural sand or perlite. Poor high quality soils aren’t finest for Ficus elastica, and acidic soil at a pH of 5 to 7 is perfect. 

Fertilizing Rubber Crops

Your rubber tree wants fertilizer each two weeks to each month throughout the rising season. Within the dormant season, don’t add fertilizer, as this will trigger root and moisture retention points. Younger bushes do finest with an natural, high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer diluted to half power to help new development of roots. Seek for one thing with an NPK of 24:8:15. 

A extra mature plant appreciates nitrogen fertilizers utilized on the identical fee, with out dilution. Espoma indoor liquid fertilizers are nice for this goal, as they’ve the proper stability of vitamins in the proper concentrations.   

Pruning Your Rubber Plant

Whereas pruning isn’t vital, you possibly can prune an indoor plant to encourage bushier development. Take away a desired portion from the highest of your rubber plant by clipping the central trunk with sterile loppers or pruning shears relying on its dimension. At all times put on gloves and protecting gear while you do that, because the latex sap may cause pores and skin irritation. 

As a normal rule for houseplants, take away diseased or useless leaves or branches year-round. This rule additionally applies to outside bushes. In case you dwell someplace these sorts of ficus vegetation are invasive, it’s in all probability finest to keep away from planting outdoor. Nevertheless, when you inherited the outside rubber plant, you possibly can attempt to set up a root barrier, and prune away any suckers that develop across the rubber tree. 

In each indoor and outside instances, prune your tree simply above a leaf node to encourage new development. Clear cuts stop entryways for illness, and points together with your rubber plant total. 

Rubber Tree Propagation

Variegated Ficus elastica in pots
Variegated Ficus elastica in pots.

Through the technique of pruning your rubber plant, you possibly can take cuttings to make new rubber bushes. Make your cuts one inch above the node. If any milky white latex drips from the plant on this course of, dab it with a paper towel till it stops. Take away all however one leaf on the stem slicing, and roll the leaf right into a cylinder so the waxy floor of the leaf faces outward. Then place a rubber band over it to carry it in place. 

Dip your stems in rooting hormone, and plant them in small pots full of the identical potting combine you’d use for a rubber plant grown indoors. Affix a plastic bag excessive of your rubber vegetation and make sure the moisture stage stays up round them as new development begins. Place your cuttings in a heat space with entry to oblique gentle, and in about 5 or 6 months you’ll discover new development. 

It’s also possible to propagate rubber vegetation by air-layering. Choose a stem that can disconnect from the father or mother rubber plant to make a brand new one. Use sterile pruning shears or a budding knife to chop ⅔ of the best way by the stem. Dab away any dripping sap. Then pack damp moss across the wound and wrap plastic wrap round it. 

Make sure the moisture stays constant, and in 2 to three weeks, you’ll see roots start to type. It’s presently you possibly can take away the plastic wrap and detach the stem with the basis intact. Plant the stem in your favourite ficus potting soil and place it in vivid gentle. When you’ve got a wholesome Ficus elastica, be happy to pack damp moss round different stems when the tree is in energetic development to make extra.    

Troubleshooting Rubber Crops

Whereas rubber plant care is comparatively low upkeep, you might run into some points. Let’s talk about what can crop up and what to look out for when you take care of a rubber plant.

Rubber Plant Rising Issues

Gradual development or an absence of latest leaf development may point out improper gentle ranges. Give your rubber plant a little bit extra gentle by shifting it nearer to a light-weight supply, eradicating obstructions, or offering extra gentle from a develop gentle. Inexperienced leaves on people who ought to have pink or purple ones in all probability resulted from improper gentle circumstances as properly – often an excessive amount of gentle. 

Browning of inexperienced leaves may point out a few various things. Crispy brown leaves point out an excessive amount of gentle, and your rubber plant must be protected. Brown mushy leaves may point out fertilizer burn or overwatering. To treatment this, cease watering and fertilizing till the soil is dry. Take away broken leaves from the rubber plant. When the rubber plant soil is dry, you possibly can resume watering and fertilizing on an adjusted schedule. Attempt a plant moisture meter when you’re having hassle telling when to water subsequent.

Leaves drooping or leaves falling may point out any of the above points. In case your rubber tree is dropping leaves, rigorously take into account which of those may very well be occurring, and regulate as wanted. After all, leaf fell can be typically a sign of pest points. 


A popular Ficus elastica variegation
A well-liked Ficus elastica variegation.

Fungus gnats are sometimes current in vegetation when moisture ranges are too excessive. For a rubber tree houseplant, you may need to cope with them once they make their approach inside your private home. Out of doors rubber vegetation received’t have this difficulty as a lot. In the reduction of on watering to stop them and both soak the soil round your rubber plant with diluted neem oil, or deal with with helpful nematodes to stop any hatched larvae from consuming the roots of your rubber plant.

Spider mites are small bugs that feed on plant sap and weave tight webs across the leaves and branches of a rubber plant. In case you discover them, gently wipe the leaves with a moist material to take away them. Then observe up with a light-weight mist of neem oil or insecticidal cleaning soap to kill any remaining mites and forestall future infestations. 

Scale is a typical insect for the rubber tree houseplant, and presents within the type of slimy brown bumps on branches and nodes, or cottony lots. These are literally bugs that transfer very slowly and feed on the rubber plant as they transfer round. You may take away them with a moist material or q-tip dipped in alcohol, after which observe up with a mist of insecticidal cleaning soap. 

Rubber Plant Ailments

In terms of ailments, rubber vegetation do must take care of a number of. Rubber vegetation might have points with root rot, particularly in circumstances the place a rubber tree houseplant has been overwatered or planted in a poorly draining medium. It’s in these circumstances fungi that trigger root rot thrive. Generally it’s potential to cease the difficulty by not watering or fertilizing after which resuming when the soil has dried. If the bottom of the rubber tree plant is mushy or the central trunk is, you might have to get rid of it, and begin over.

Botrytis blight is attributable to a fungus known as botrytis cinerea. This illness is often attributable to wind carried spores. Indoors your rubber vegetation can contract it from different vegetation or contaminated soils. Younger leaves of the rubber tree plant are the primary to expertise an infection. Prune away contaminated leaves and branches. Copper fungicide might stop the illness in circumstances the place botrytis thrives. In case your rubber vegetation are lined in mould, you’ll possible must throw them away and begin over. 

Leaf spot is attributable to numerous fungi and micro organism that thrive on rubber vegetation particularly in excessive humidity circumstances. In the middle of take care of a rubber plant, take away leaves that exhibit these spots. They’ll unfold and trigger distorted development. To deal with them, use a copper-based fungicide as prevention. Water appropriately on the base of your rubber tree plant. 

Powdery mildew is one other illness rubber vegetation cope with, and it happens in damp, cool circumstances. It appears like white patches that type on the leaves of your rubber tree plant. Permitting the soil to dry out and repotting your plant into new soil may help. Selectively prune away diseased areas of the plant, which additionally supplies good air circulation. You may attempt to stop the illness with common purposes of neem oil spray as properly. 

Southern blight is a typical illness of the rubber tree plant. It’s a fungal illness that grows mats of mycelial membranes that department from the leaf of a rubber tree plant. There is no such thing as a remedy for this illness. Present good air circulation round your rubber tree plant. Preserve it in circumstances the place it’s not too sizzling, and never too moist. Permit the soil to dry between watering and prune away diseased foliage. 

Continuously Requested Questions

Rubber plant against a blue sky
Rubber plant in opposition to a blue sky.

Q: The place ought to I place a rubber plant in my home?

A: Place it close to, however barely offset from a vivid gentle supply. 

Q: How do I do know if my rubber plant wants water?

A: Anticipate the highest few inches to dry out in your container, after which water.

Q: Is rubber a superb indoor plant?

A: Sure. It’s among the finest indoor houseplants. 

Q: How lengthy do rubber vegetation dwell?

A: They’ve a lifespan of about 10 years. 

Q: Why do rubber plant leaves fall off?

A: That is often attributed to an absence of humidity. Present your rubber plant with a plant humidifier or a each day misting with distilled water to maintain it blissful. 

Q: Does rubber plant want daylight?

A: Place them out of direct daylight, as their leaves are delicate to an excessive amount of gentle. 

Q: Is rubber plant toxic?

A: It’s reasonably toxic when consumed, inflicting mouth irritation, and digestive misery. Preserve it out of attain of kids and pets. 

Q: Is rubber plant fortunate?

A: Sure. In line with the tenets of Feng Shui, the plant is believed to deliver good luck and success to those that take care of them and the areas they’re positioned in. 



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