How to take care of rubber tree plants


Rubber Plant Care: Growing Information and Tips

Ficus elastica (more commonly known as a rubber plant, rubber tree or rubber tree plant) is a popular houseplant because of its waxy leaves and larger-than-life appearance. Rubber plants can grow up to 100 feet in their native homeland of Southeast Asia. As a domesticated houseplant, rubber plants grow anywhere between six to ten feet tall. You can grow outdoor rubber plants if you live in zone 10 or 11. You can check out the USDA’s plant hardiness zone map here to learn more about the different zones.

Rubber plants are tree-like plants that are known for their great height and beautiful leaves. These grand plants also comes in different varieties and colors that complement any home decor theme.

Rubber Plant Overview

Rubber plants earned their name thanks to their sap, which is sometimes used to make rubber. The rubber plant’s leaves also have a shiny and rubbery appearance. These plants will grow tall and produce beautiful leaves if you give them proper care.

Rubber plants are commonly seen in their dark green variety, but also come in more colorful varieties. For example, varieties known as the “black prince” or “burgundy” have reddish-black leaves

Rubber Plant Care Tips

The key to rubber plant care is balance. It likes just the right amount of sun and water. If you can give it just the right amount of both, you’ll have a happy, strong and tall rubber tree. Rubber plants will tell you if they need more sunlight or water if they start to drop their lower leaves. Read on to learn about the most ideal conditions and care for your rubber plant.

Light: Rubber plants prefer bright, indirect light that isn’t too hot. Direct sunlight can result in scorched leaves. You can keep your rubber plant near a window with a sheer curtain to give it just the right amount of sunlight. The more variegated varieties need more light to help bring out their colors, so make sure they especially get enough bright light.

Water: These plants require more water during their growing season in the summer. You should keep the soil moist, but not drowning. You should also wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth to keep them moist and to help your plant absorb more sunlight. Misting is another option if you don’t want to wipe down every leaf. Keep your rubber plant in well-draining soil at all times to combat root rot.

In their dormant season in the winter you want to keep the soil dry but not too dry. Let the top few inches of the soil dry in between waterings to make sure you don’t overwater. If the leaves start to droop, then your rubber plant is telling you it needs more water.

Temperatures: Rubber plants generally prefer temperatures between 60°F to 75°F. In the winter, they can survive in temperatures as low as 50°F. Just like with water and sun needs, a good balance of temperature is ideal for this plant’s growth. It prefers moist and humid air due to its tropical origin, but can survive in less humid temperatures. Rubber plants are sensitive to temperature changes and prefer to live in areas with consistent humidity and temperature.

Toxicity: A rubber plant’s sap can cause skin irritation for some people. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your plant, especially if you come in contact with the sap. Consuming this plant can cause mild tummy trouble or more severe symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting depending on how much is consumed.

Pests: Mealy bugs, mites, scales and aphids are a few common bugs that can find a home in your rubber plant. If caught early, you can remove these bugs by wiping them with a warm soap and water solution or an insecticidal soap.

Problems: Due to its need for balance in all forms, it’s easy to make your rubber plant unhappy if you stop paying attention to its needs. The best way to combat this is to keep an eye on the light it’s getting, the moisture in its soil and the overall temperature of the room it’s inhabiting.

Rubber plants are mostly susceptible to plant diseases associated with overwatering. Like we mentioned before, you should let your plant’s soil dry out between waterings to avoid drowning your plant.

Take a look at our guide to reviving a plant if you need more tips for taking care of any of these rubber plant problems.

Repotting: You should repot your rubber plant to allow it to grow. You may need to do this every few years or every year depending on how large your pot is and how quickly your rubber plant grows. Don’t repot your rubber plant if you’d like to keep it at its current size.

Propagation: The easiest way to propagate is to take a small branch from a healthy rubber plant and let it root in soil or water. You want to let the sap from the stem dry first before planting. Another way to propagate is by air layering. To do this, make a cut in a healthy plant and stick a toothpick in the opening. Wrap it in damp moss and then wrap plastic wrap around the moss to keep it on the toothpick. Once you start to see roots growing in the moss, cut the branch off and plant it in new soil.

Pruning: You’ll need to prune your rubber plant to help it support itself, promote new growth and control its size so that it doesn’t grow too large. It’s best to prune in the spring and to avoid the winter, but a rubber plant can be pruned at any time of the year. Be aware that cutting the branches will release some of the plant’s sap.

Rubber plant care is easy if you remember to keep an eye on your plant and honor its need for balance. Rubber plants are well worth the care if you’re looking to grow a tall houseplant to impress your guests.

Rubber Plant Care 101: Mastering This Trendy Indoor Tree

Photo: istockphoto.com

Ficus elastica, better known as the rubber plant, gets its name from the latex it produces that once was used to make rubber. Also known as rubber fig, rubber bush, and rubber tree, this species is part of the fig genus. These tropical evergreen trees have become ubiquitous around the world as houseplants.

Read on to learn all about rubber plant care, including its soil, light, water, and temperature needs.

Rubber Plant Care At a Glance

Common Name: Rubber plant or rubber tree
Scientific Name: Ficus elastica
Soil: well-draining, pH 5. 5 to 7
Light: bright, indirect light
Water: once per week during the growing season
Food: 24-8-16 fertilizer
Temperature and Humidity: high humidity, 65 to 85 degrees
Propagation: 6-inch cuttings with 4 nodes
Safety: toxic and irritating to eyes and skin

Rubber Plant Characteristics

Rubber plants are native to South Asia, but over the years have become naturalized in Sri Lanka, the West Indies, Hawaii, and Florida. Rubber plants have thick, dark green leaves and typically grow to heights of between 100 and 130 feet in the wild, though some have even been known to grow to nearly 200 feet.

In their natural habitat, the plants’ trunks are approximately 6 feet 7 inches in diameter. When grown indoors, rubber plants become medium-sized houseplants or can grow into small trees with a maximum height of between 8 and 10 feet. It’s best to buy rubber plants when they are young so that they can adapt to growing indoors. To restrict its growth, keep the rubber plant in a small pot.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Related: 10 Large Houseplants That Make a Statement

Types of Rubber Plants
  • Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’ is the most common variety, with large green leaves.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Tricolor’ has the same thick, leathery leaves as the common variety, but comes in a mix of three colors: green, pink, and cream.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’ has pink stems and leaves that mix dark and light green with cream.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Decora’ has large, shiny leaves that grow up to 12 inches long.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Doescheri’ has blotched leaves with pink accents on the stalks’ undersides.
  • Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’ has dark crimson leaves that appear almost black in certain lighting.

Selecting Soil for Rubber Tree Plants

Rubber plants require well-draining soil to avoid getting root rot. The soil needs to drain completely between waterings. They do, however, appreciate soil with good water retention that doesn’t dry out too quickly. Essentially, rubber plants need soil that remains moist without becoming soggy. The ideal mixture includes 1 part peat, 1 part pine bark, and 1 part sand.

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The Right Light

Photo: istockphoto.com

Rubber plants thrive with bright, indirect sunlight. Ideally, they should receive morning light from an east-facing window. Place your plant near a window where a sheer drape or curtain filters the light.

Avoid placing your rubber plant in a spot that receives direct sunlight because the leaves can begin to burn. They can also learn to tolerate low light conditions and can survive in offices and other poorly lit areas. If you notice the leaves becoming paler or the bottom leaves falling off, it’s a good indication that your rubber plant needs more light.

Watering Rubber Trees

During their growing season, which occurs during the summer in most climates, keep the soil moist. Water the plant once a week and mist the leaves with water or gently wipe them with a damp cloth. In the winter, when rubber plants are dormant, it’s okay if the soil becomes dry between waterings. Water them every 2 to 3 weeks during this time. Leaves turning brown or yellow is a sign of overwatering, while drooping leaves are a sign of underwatering.

Fertilizing Rubber Plants

Fertilizing rubber plants will make them grow taller and bushier. Signs of under-fertilization include stunted growth, yellowing or browning leaves, and drooping leaves. Fertilize rubber plants every 2 weeks during the growing season using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. The ideal fertilizer has a 24-8-16 ratio, which includes 24 percent nitrogen, 8 percent phosphorus, and 16 percent potassium.

Choose a liquid, granular, or pellet fertilizer. When in low-light conditions, rubber plants can tolerate more infrequent fertilization. Overfertilizing can cause rubber plants to become leggy.

Related: Count on These 25 Indoor Plants for Easy Color Year-Round

Photo: istockphoto.com

Setting the Temperature and Humidity

Indoors, rubber plants do best in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees. Putting a rubber plant outdoors during the summer will help it grow more quickly. In fact, in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, the plants sometimes can grow outdoors year-round. Make sure to bring a rubber tree inside for the season as soon as temperatures fall below 65 degrees.

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Due to their tropical origins, rubber plants thrive in humid conditions. If your home is particularly dry due to the climate or to indoor heating, consider misting the leaves year-round.

Propagating Rubber Plants

Rubber plants are easy to propagate. Simply cut off a stem and dip it in a rooting medium after the sap has dried. Make sure each cutting is at least 6 inches long and includes four leaf nodes. Remove the bottom leaves from the cutting, leaving 2 or 3 leaves at the top.

Plant the stem in soil and consider placing its container on a heating pad to encourage rooting. As a general rule, it’s preferable to propagate houseplants in the early spring to late summer, during their growing period.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Safety Considerations

The milky white latex that rubber plants produce is irritating to the eyes and skin, so it’s essential to wash your hands after interacting with the plant. It’s also toxic if consumed, so it’s crucial to keep rubber plants out of reach of pets and young children.

Potential Pests and Diseases

Rubber plants are generally resistant to pests, but they are still susceptible to the occasional infestation. Some of the most common culprits are aphids, spider mites, thrips, and scale. If you notice pests on your rubber plant, use a natural or chemical insecticide to eradicate them. Neem oil and other horticultural oil will also help to rid your plant of insects.

Rubber plants might suffer from root rot due to overwatering. If you notice the leaves drooping or yellowing, be sure to let the soil dry out completely before watering the plant again.

Related: 12 Brilliant Inventions for Your Indoor Garden

FAQs About Rubber Plant Care

While you’ve learned more about rubber plant care, you may still have some questions about their maintenance needs.

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Q. How often should I water my rubber plants?

In the summer, water your rubber plants once a week. In the dormant season, water 2 or 3 times per month.

Q. Where should I place my rubber plant in my house?

Ideally, place your rubber plant in indirect sunlight from an east-facing window.

Q. Can my rubber plant survive in low light?

Yes, while rubber plants generally prefer strong, indirect sunlight, they can also learn to survive in low-light conditions, especially if you start them in their conditions while relatively young.

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Rubber ficus home care

Content

  • one Basic rules for caring for ficus
    • 1.1 The soil
    • 1.2 Temperature
    • 1.3 Light
    • 1.4 Moisture
    • 1.5 top dressing
  • 2 Transplant and reproduction
  • 3 crown formation
  • four And a little about the secrets of the Author
  • 5 Recommendations from our Readers

Ficus rubber - a houseplant with large dense leaves. Can be found in almost every apartment or office. It has become so popular due to its undemanding and attractive appearance. Even beginners in the field of crop production will easily cope with the cultivation of ficus. All you need to do is follow a few simple conditions, and the flower will become a real decoration of any room.

Powerful indoor tree of the Mulberry family

Basic rules for caring for ficus

What does any plant need for normal growth and development at home? Of course, this is earth, water, light and heat. Only caring for ficus, unlike many other plants, does not require any special manipulations. One has only to find a suitable place for him once and constantly observe the watering regime, and there will be no difficulties with this flower.

The soil

This flower grows well in porous soil. You can try to buy a suitable soil in the store. But there is nothing difficult to make the perfect mixture at home. Peat soil is suitable for the base, you need to add sand, humus and soddy soil to it. The ideal land, in which the flower will need minimal care, is ready.

Suitable soil for indoor tree

Temperature

Ficus is a heat-loving plant, so you should immediately choose for it the place that fully meets the necessary conditions. It is desirable that the air temperature be kept in the range from 17 degrees in winter to 28 in summer. Excess may threaten that the leaves of the plant will begin to dry, and the cold will lead to the gradual death of the plant. Also, this flower does not like drafts and direct sunlight. In principle, it is not so difficult to provide suitable conditions for the plant, and further care will no longer cause difficulties.

Light

The plant loves a lot of light, but is able to tolerate light shade. Ideal conditions - bright diffused light. The active rays of the sun can cause leaf burns. And a long stay in a dark room threatens to fall off the leaves and slow down the growth of the ficus. Again, finding a suitable place for a flower at home is not so difficult. In the extreme, you can always put a special lamp, which can be purchased at any store for plant growing.

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Tropical Potted Tree Growth Potential

Moisture

Ficus care is also convenient because it is not particularly capricious in terms of watering and spraying. The plant can easily endure the absence of water for some time. This is due to the fact that the dense ficus leaves accumulate enough moisture, which can last until the next watering.

But, if you completely forget about the flower, its leaves will gradually begin to wither, dry and fall off. Ideally, watering should be moderate as the potted soil dries out.

But there should not be stagnation of water either, otherwise the ficus root system will begin to rot. The optimal mode of watering at home is twice a week in summer, once every two weeks in winter.

"Water procedures" of a houseplant

As for the humidity of the air, the ficus is undemanding to this. It does not require constant spraying of the leaves for normal development. Only if the air temperature in the room is higher than required, then it is already possible to periodically spray the plant. In general, periodically wiping the leaves from dust and bathing in the shower is the minimum care that a flower needs.

top dressing

Like any other plant, ficus also needs additional nutrition. Basically, top dressing at home is done at the moment when the flower enters the stage of active growth - from late March to October. Additionally - after transplantation or pruning. Ready-made fertilizers, which are sold in any appropriate store, are suitable as top dressing. Or you can make a mullein solution yourself, and feed the ficus with this composition.

Transplant and reproduction

If everything is done correctly and the necessary conditions for development are created for the ficus, then sooner or later it will have to be transplanted, since the old pot will become small for it. As soon as the roots appear from the drainage hole, and the flower itself stops releasing new shoots, then it's time to change the place of residence of the plant to a more spacious one. The best time to transplant any plants at home is spring - early summer. During this period, indoor flowers easily tolerate any manipulation and quickly recover from stress.

Growing a plant

There is nothing difficult in transplanting a plant from one pot to another. The main thing here is to choose the right pots, soil and carry out the whole process as required. First, the new pot should be three centimeters wider than the previous one. Otherwise, the ficus will stop growing, because the plants first fill the space with roots, and only then does the main part grow. The second point is that the soil must be calcined in the oven before use. This simple action will help prevent the appearance of pests. Now the process itself.

  1. First, a layer of drainage is necessarily poured onto the bottom of the pot. This will prevent stagnant water and, as a result, rotting of the roots.
  2. Next is a piece of soil.
  3. Now you need to transfer the ficus along with the earthy lump in which it grew.
  4. The rest of the soil is laid on top. It is necessary to crush it a little and, if necessary, add more.

After the plant is transplanted, you need to water it a little. In the future, flower care is carried out in the usual manner.

A lot of the question is the reproduction of ficuses. But there is nothing complicated here either. Most often, reproduction occurs by cuttings. You can try to plant a leaf, but it is unlikely that it will grow into an ordinary plant, although it will take root. Therefore, it is better to root the cutting.

To do this, cut off a shoot about 10 centimeters long. Then the stalk must be held under running water until the milky juice is completely washed off. It is advisable to carry out these two processes with rubber gloves, since ficus juice is poisonous. The cut stalk can be placed in water or immediately planted in a pot. In the second case, it will be necessary to cover the young sprout with polyethylene. If the stalk will stand in water, then a couple of activated charcoal tablets should be added so that the water does not become cloudy. In two to three weeks, the young plant will take root. As soon as they become powerful enough, you can plant ficus in the ground. After two weeks, you will need to feed the flower, then again - when growth starts. Further care for the young ficus is carried out as usual. In a similar way, plant propagation can be carried out at least every year, after a planned crown pruning.

Useful tips from a florist: the basic rules for growing an indoor tree of the Mulberry family

crown formation

Pruning a plant is a mandatory item included in the care of a ficus. This is required for two reasons. Firstly, this plant at home can reach 10 meters in height, which is unacceptable in city apartments. And the second point - a ficus with one trunk looks ugly. For the same reason, two or three shoots are often planted in one pot at once.
Ficus pruning should be carried out in early March, when it has not yet begun to actively grow. You only need to remove enough more shoots, cutting them off by about five to ten centimeters. These cuttings, by the way, can be rooted and then planted again, growing a few more ficuses.

In general, there is nothing difficult in the formation of the crown. The main thing is to do it systematically.

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Rubber ficus - home care, the benefits and harms of the rubber tree

Rubber (rubber) ficus also has another little-known name - ficus elastica. This plant came to us from the Indonesian islands and northeastern Indian regions. It is very unpretentious and does not require special care or certain skills. How to grow rubber ficus on your own, home care for which is extremely simple?

What is ficus elastica?

Many plant growing lovers have seen a photo of a rubber ficus or a plant live and would not mind growing this powerful handsome man at home. The plant can grow quite strongly - up to 30 meters in height and several meters in width. The tree has many aerial roots that grow into the ground, descending to it from the trunk. It is they who supply the rubber-bearing ficus with the necessary substances and give it a peculiar shape, which is often called "banyan tree".

The plant has fleshy dark green leaves. They are slightly pointed, and their body most often has the shape of an ellipse. The leaves are first wrapped in small brown stipules. When the leaves open, they dry up very quickly and fall off.

The rubber tree rarely flowers because it must be pollinated by certain insects. In room conditions, ficus elastica almost never blooms. But this is not a big loss: its flowers and fruits are plain and absolutely useless. This plant got its name because of the viscous milky juice, which contains rubber in large quantities, which is successfully used for the production of rubber.

At home, caring for rubber ficus is extremely easy. That is why it is often chosen by people who have just started gardening at home, or those who spend a lot of time at work and cannot pay due attention to their plants.

The most commonly chosen varieties of indoor plant lovers are the following varieties of ficus elastica:

  • Robusta;
  • Teaneck;
  • Belize;
  • Black Prince;
  • Abidjan;
  • Melanie.

What conditions does rubber ficus like?

Home care for rubber ficus does not create any particular difficulties. This plant loves fairly bright places, but you can not put it in direct sunlight. By and large, a ficus pot can also be located in the shade, but in this case it will grow quite slowly. In addition, with a lack of light, the lower leaves are likely to quickly begin to fall off.

The optimum air temperature for ficuses of this variety should be between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. But, if the temperature goes beyond the specified limits for a short time, the plant will be able to endure it quite calmly.

Ficus should be rarely watered: abundant watering is usually enough once every 6-7 days. In the summer heat, the frequency can be increased up to twice a week. The leaves of this plant in the hot season should be regularly sprayed with clean water from a spray bottle, and in winter - just wipe with a damp cloth. To achieve a strong shine and glossy effect, the leaves can also be rubbed with non-alcoholic beer. In addition, once a month, the ficus should be pampered a little by giving it a warm shower (you need to cover the earth in a pot with plastic wrap).

Between April and September, rubber ficus should be fed twice a month. In this case, it is best to alternate liquid mineral and organic fertilizers with a high nitrogen content. For example, on the 1st day of each month, you can water the plant first with clean water, and then with a solution of nitrophoska. After 2 weeks - approximately on the 15th - pour cow dung diluted in water on wet soil over wet soil.

See also:

  • Why doesn't Kalanchoe bloom?
  • Hoya: landing and care
  • How to care for indoor dollar tree

What difficulties can arise when growing a plant?

The only difficulty that inexperienced growers may encounter is that the rubbery ficus will have to be transplanted and cut regularly. When you notice that during watering, water almost immediately flows into the pan, this means that your plant needs a transplant.

Take a pot 4-5 cm wider in diameter and 5-6 cm deeper than the previous one. Next, carefully remove the ficus along with a large clod of soil and transfer it to a new "home". The voids in this container must be filled with earth. To do this, they purchase a special soil mixture for ficuses or prepare it on their own, mixing in equal proportions turf, peat and leaf soil, as well as river sand.

Since Ficus elastica grows quite quickly and can reach incredible heights, it needs to be trimmed regularly. In addition, after pruning, the plant will begin to expand in breadth, and its leaves will become thicker and more beautiful. To do this, in early to mid-March, with a sharp and clean knife, cut off the top of your ficus 10-15 cm long and 5-6 internodes. If desired, the cut off top can be planted in a separate pot, having previously held it in clean water for several days until the roots appear.

Contrary to popular belief, the reproduction of rubber ficus with a leaf is just a myth. If the leaf of this plant is kept in water for several days, it will indeed give roots, however, by planting it in the ground, you will not wait for shoots.

Diseases of rubbery ficus

Ficuses are quite resistant to parasites and various diseases. However, sometimes this plant can be affected by spider mites or scale insects. From these pests, tobacco dissolved in clean water at the rate of 4 tbsp is excellent. l. per 1 liter water. In addition, it is necessary to add a little soap to this solution, and then wipe the leaves with it until the parasites are completely destroyed.

The rubber ficus constantly sheds its old lower leaves, this is completely natural. Meanwhile, in some situations, growers notice that other leaves fall off the plant. This condition is usually caused by the following reasons:

  • excessive watering or, conversely, too dry soil;
  • too low air temperature or overheating;
  • lack of light.

See also:

  • Ficus drops its leaves. What to do?
  • How to care for amorphophallus at home?
  • How to grow a dollar tree?

Benefits and harms of the plant

All the benefits of rubber ficus (as well as harm) lies in its miraculous juice. Medicines made from it are used in the treatment and prevention of such female diseases as myoma and uterine fibroids, as well as mastopathy of the mammary glands. Compresses with ficus juice help to cope with hemorrhoids, sciatica, osteochondrosis and arthritis.

However, milky juice can be dangerous. When it comes into contact with open areas of the skin, it often causes various allergic reactions, redness and itching. Keeping this plant in an apartment is contraindicated for people suffering from severe forms of bronchial asthma, as it can lead to an attack of suffocation.


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