Rubber Plant: How To Develop Ficus Elastica The Proper Manner

In case you are contemplating including new crops to your houseplant assortment, together with rubber plant care in your repertoire is unquestionably the way in which 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 look after a rubber plant is much like different indoor plant care practices, there are  various factors to think about. Protecting the shiny leaves the precise coloration, and avoiding wounds which end in drips of white sap isn’t tough, per se, but it surely does require slightly extra understanding than another crops do. 

Fortunately, we’ve devoted this complete piece to rubber plant care, so you are able to do it at dwelling! Let’s talk about every part you might want to find out about this beautiful plant. 

Fast Care Information

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

All Concerning 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 crops are perennial evergreens. They’ve woody stems and enormous, broad, waxy leaves which are 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 appropriate with their flowers. 

In home settings, Ficus elastica doesn’t bloom, however produces beautiful leaves year-round. Rubber tree plant roots are voracious, and may injury foundations and different crops if they’re planted in situations that promote extreme progress. The widespread identify “rubber plant” pertains to the tree’s use as a supply of latex, which the tree bleeds when minimize. Whereas the Hevea brasiliensis tree is the primary supply of business rubber, this plant has been a secondary supply previously. 

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 kids if ingested. Keep away from inserting it the place curious canines, cats, and kids can attain it. Nonetheless, it cleans toxins from the air the place it’s positioned. This and their stark foliage is why rubber tree crops are so beloved.   

Rubber Plant Care

Rubber plant leaves
Rubber plant leaves.

So that you’ve determined to look after a rubber plant at dwelling. Let’s speak about rubber plant care in each indoor and out of doors settings. 

Solar and Temperature

The rubber plant wants at the least just a few hours of brilliant, oblique gentle. Should you’re rising one indoors, place it someplace close to a south-facing or east-facing window, the place it receives oblique daylight. Should you stay in zones 10 and 11, plant your rubber tree outside in a calmly shaded space. Arduous afternoon solar isn’t preferable, so guarantee there’s some shade within the latter a part of the day. Decrease gentle could make your rubber plant develop slowly. 

Rubber crops do greatest in night time temperatures between 60°F to 65°F, and day temperatures between 75°F and 80°F. Make sure that your rubber tree isn’t uncovered to 55°F or decrease temperatures for prolonged intervals. Whereas your rubber crops can stay 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 lively rising season in spring and summer season, and enters dormancy in fall. This dormant interval lasts by means of winter. Don’t water as a lot throughout this time. Let chilly water come to room temperature earlier than irrigating.

Younger crops 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, out of doors bushes will just do superb. Indoor rubber crops 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. All the time 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. Whenever you’re rising indoors, give your rubber plant 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 on your rubber plant. 

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

Fertilizing Rubber Vegetation

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 could trigger root and moisture retention points. Younger bushes do greatest with an natural, high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer diluted to half power to assist new progress 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 precise stability of vitamins in the precise concentrations.   

Pruning Your Rubber Plant

Whereas pruning isn’t crucial, you’ll be able to prune an indoor plant to encourage bushier progress. 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. All the time put on gloves and protecting gear once you do that, because the latex sap may cause pores and skin irritation. 

As a basic rule for houseplants, take away diseased or useless leaves or branches year-round. This rule additionally applies to out of doors bushes. Should you stay someplace these sorts of ficus crops are invasive, it’s in all probability greatest to keep away from planting outside. Nonetheless, when you inherited the out of doors rubber plant, you’ll be able to attempt to set up a root barrier, and prune away any suckers that develop across the rubber tree. 

In each indoor and out of doors instances, prune your tree simply above a leaf node to encourage new progress. Clear cuts stop entryways for illness, and points along with your rubber plant total. 

Rubber Tree Propagation

Variegated Ficus elastica in pots
Variegated Ficus elastica in pots.

Through the means of pruning your rubber plant, you’ll be able to 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 reducing, 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 crops and make sure the moisture stage stays up round them as new progress begins. Place your cuttings in a heat space with entry to oblique gentle, and in about 5 or 6 months you’ll discover new progress. 

You can even propagate rubber crops by means of 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 way in which by means of 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 at the moment you’ll be able to take away the plastic wrap and detach the stem with the foundation intact. Plant the stem in your favourite ficus potting soil and place it in brilliant gentle. When you have a wholesome Ficus elastica, be happy to pack damp moss round different stems when the tree is in lively progress to make extra.    

Troubleshooting Rubber Vegetation

Whereas rubber plant care is comparatively low upkeep, chances are you’ll 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

Sluggish progress or a scarcity of recent leaf progress may point out improper gentle ranges. Give your rubber plant slightly 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 situations 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’ll be able to resume watering and fertilizing on an adjusted schedule. Attempt a plant moisture meter when you’re having bother 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, fastidiously take into account which of those may very well be occurring, and regulate as wanted. After all, leaf fell can be generally a sign of pest points. 


A popular Ficus elastica variegation
A preferred Ficus elastica variegation.

Fungus gnats are sometimes current in crops when moisture ranges are too excessive. For a rubber tree houseplant, you might need to cope with them after they make their method inside your house. Outside rubber crops received’t have this situation as a lot. Reduce 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. Should 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 stop 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 plenty. These are literally bugs that transfer very slowly and feed on the rubber plant as they transfer round. You possibly can 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 Illnesses

In relation to ailments, rubber crops do must cope with just a few. Rubber crops could have points with root rot, particularly in situations the place a rubber tree houseplant has been overwatered or planted in a poorly draining medium. It’s in these situations fungi that trigger root rot thrive. Generally it’s attainable to cease the problem 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, chances are you’ll have to get rid of it, and begin over.

Botrytis blight is brought on by a fungus referred to as botrytis cinerea. This illness is often brought on by wind carried spores. Indoors your rubber crops can contract it from different crops 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 could stop the illness in situations the place botrytis thrives. In case your rubber crops are coated in mould, you’ll seemingly must throw them away and begin over. 

Leaf spot is brought on by varied fungi and micro organism that thrive on rubber crops particularly in excessive humidity situations. In the middle of look after a rubber plant, take away leaves that exhibit these spots. They will unfold and trigger distorted progress. 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 crops cope with, and it happens in damp, cool situations. It seems to be 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 can assist. Selectively prune away diseased areas of the plant, which additionally supplies good air circulation. You possibly can attempt to stop the illness with common functions 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 isn’t a remedy for this illness. Present good air circulation round your rubber tree plant. Maintain it in situations the place it’s not too scorching, and never too moist. Permit the soil to dry between watering and prune away diseased foliage. 

Regularly Requested Questions

Rubber plant against a blue sky
Rubber plant towards 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 brilliant gentle supply. 

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

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

Q: Is rubber indoor plant?

A: Sure. It’s the most effective indoor houseplants. 

Q: How lengthy do rubber crops stay?

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

Q: Why do rubber plant leaves fall off?

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

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. Maintain it out of attain of youngsters and pets. 

Q: Is rubber plant fortunate?

A: Sure. In accordance with the tenets of Feng Shui, the plant is believed to convey good luck and success to those that look after them and the areas they’re positioned in. 

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