How To Care For A Rubber Tree Houseplant

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Indirect sunlight that is bright is ideal for rubber plants. They should ideally have an east-facing window to get morning light. Put your plant close to a window with a translucent curtain or drape to diffuse the light.

The leaves of your rubber plant could start to burn if you place it in a location that gets direct sunlight. They are able to adapt to low lighting and can live in workplaces and other dimly lit spaces. Your rubber plant likely needs additional light if you see the leaves getting paler or the bottom leaves dropping off.

How is a rubber plant cared for indoors?

Ficus elastica is an evergreen tropical tree species that is indigenous to southern China, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia. It makes a wonderful houseplant: It can withstand indoor lighting conditions, and NASA has even endorsed its ability to filter the air. Additionally, the plant has a unique past. It has been used to produce rubber alongside Hevea brasiliensis, earning the nicknames “rubber fig” and “rubber tree.” In tropical Northeastern India, Ficus elastica roots are even utilized to create extraordinary rubber “living connections! The Ficus elastica roots are led along a dead tree trunk that has been placed across a river. Roots are trained to complete the now wind- and flood-resistant bridge while the trunk rots and spreads to the opposite side.

A family of shrubs, trees, and lianas known as the Moraceae that includes the Ficus elastica is well-known for oozing a latexy sap upon wounding and exhibiting “polymorphisms in the leaves. Because most other plants display the same leaf shapes throughout their lifetimes, this indicates that their leaf shapes will vary depending on the stage of their life.

How much sunlight does a Rubber Tree need?

At least six to eight hours of light are required each day for the rubber tree. The optimal light for this species is medium to bright, especially brilliant indirect. However, this can occasionally be lower light. A transparent curtain over your windows can assist filter the light if they are exposed to glaring bright sunlight. The color of the Rubber Tree’s leaves will start to deteriorate if it doesn’t get enough light, which you can tell by how they look.

How often should you water a Rubber Tree?

It is advisable to water your Rubber Tree once every two to three weeks, letting the soil dry out in between. When the plant is exposed to more light, such as in the spring or summer, choose the higher end of the frequency range; in the fall or winter, use the lower end of the range.

The plant needs more frequent watering if its leaves start to curl inward or if the potting soil is dry. In contrast, you should reduce the frequency of your watering routine if the leaves start to fall or the potting mix is damp.

What temperature does a Rubber Tree prefer?

Avoid letting your Rubber Tree’s temperature drop below 60F and try to keep it between 65F and 85F (18C and 30C) (15C). Keep in mind that this plant is indigenous to hot jungle regions!

How big does a Rubber Tree get?

This plant can grow to a maximum height of around 30 feet (10 meters) outside and will eventually extend out to a width of about 10 feet (3.2 meters). If given the right conditions, it will still be somewhat huge when grown inside, possibly growing to a height of 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters).

Are Rubber Trees easy to care for?

In general, the rubber tree is a rather laid-back species. You merely need to make sure it doesn’t get plant pests like scale or mealybugs in addition to providing it with the necessary light and water. If so, take quick action by giving the plant weekly wipedowns and horticultural (Neem) oil sprays.

Are Rubber Trees safe for pets?

Due to its milky sap, this plant is not recommended as a houseplant for pets because it is hazardous. If consumed, it is lethal to humans, dogs, and cats. Always keeping these houseplants out of tiny children’s and animals’ reach is the recommended strategy.

Do rubber plants require sunlight directly?

PRO TIP: The Rubber Plant does contain latex, a milky white fluid you may find released if the plant is harmed, even if it is not the specific species bred for commercial rubber manufacture. After touching the sap, wash your hands since it can irritate skin.

A low-maintenance ficus that is native to southern Asia is the Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica), often known as the Rubber Plant. They may reach heights of 200 feet in their natural environment, and in India, living bridges have been created using the buttressing roots of these plants.

Avoid planting the Ficus elastica anyplace drying, such as next to a drafty window or vent, a heater, or in full sunshine because it prefers to be in soil with a decent quantity of moisture. The Rubber Plant grows best in bright, indirect light, but is exceptionally tolerant of lower light environments for a ficus. However, it is frequently advised to put the plant near a window that faces south and has sheer curtains so that greater light can enter.

We offer a guide on how to measure light in your space if you are unclear about the lighting setup in your house or place of business.

Rubber trees can tolerate reduced light levels, but without adequate light, their huge, deep burgundy leaves will turn a lighter shade of green.

Where in my home should I put a rubber plant?

Balance is essential to rubber plant maintenance. It enjoys the correct quantity of water and sunlight. You can have a content, robust, and tall rubber tree if you can offer it the ideal ratio of both. If you notice that rubber plants are losing their lower leaves, this is a sign that they either need more sunlight or water. Continue reading to discover the best circumstances and upkeep for your rubber plant.

Light: Bright, indirect light that isn’t too warm is preferred by rubber plants. Leaves that are in direct sunlight may become burned. To give your rubber plant the ideal amount of sunlight, keep it close to a window with a sheer curtain. Make sure they receive adequate bright light in particular because the more variegated varieties require more light to help bring out their colors.

Water: During the summer growing season, these plants need extra water. The soil should be kept wet but not drenched. To help your plant absorb more sunlight and to keep the leaves moist, you should also wipe them down with a damp towel. If you’d rather not wipe every leaf, misting is an alternative. To prevent root rot, keep your rubber plant in well-draining soil at all times.

You want to keep the soil dry throughout the winter months when plants are dormant, but not too dry. To avoid overwatering, let the top few inches of the soil dry between waterings. Your rubber plant is alerting you it needs more water if the leaves start to droop.

The ideal temperature range for rubber plants is between 60°F and 75°F. They can endure winter temperatures as low as 50F. A healthy temperature balance is perfect for this plant’s growth, just as it is with its requirements for water and sunlight. Due to its tropical origin, it requires moist, humid air, yet it may live in less humid climates. Because they are sensitive to temperature variations, rubber plants favor environments with stable humidity and temperatures.

Toxicity: Some persons may have skin irritation from the sap of rubber plants. After touching your plant, make sure to properly wash your hands, especially if you touched the sap. Depending on how much is ingested, consuming this plant might result in minor stomach discomfort or more serious symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting.

Pests include aphids, mealy bugs, mites, scales, and other typical insects that might settle in your rubber plant. If discovered early, you can get rid of these insects by wiping them down with an insecticidal soap solution or warm water and soap.

Problems: Your rubber plant might easily become dissatisfied if you stop paying attention to its demands because of its desire for balance in all forms. The easiest method to avoid this is to monitor the amount of light it receives, the amount of moisture in its soil, and the room’s overall temperature.

Overwatering-related plant diseases are especially common in rubber plants. As we previously indicated, you should let the soil on your plant dry out in between waterings to prevent drowning.

If you require additional guidance for resolving any of these rubber plant issues, take a look at our guide to plant revival.

Repotting: In order to promote growth, you need repot your rubber plant. Depending on the size of your pot and how quickly your rubber plant develops, you might need to do this every few years or every year. If you want to retain your rubber plant at its current size, don’t repot it.

The simplest method of propagation is to take a short branch from a healthy rubber plant and place it in water or soil to allow it to take root. Before planting, you should let the stem’s sap to dry. Air layering is a further means of propagation. Make a cut in a healthy plant and insert a toothpick into it to do this. To retain the damp moss on the toothpick, cover it with plastic wrap and then wrap it around the toothpick. Cut the branch off and put it in fresh soil once you can see roots forming in the moss.

Pruning: To assist your rubber plant support itself, encourage new growth, and keep it from getting too big, you’ll need to prune it. A rubber plant can be pruned at any time of the year, although spring is the ideal time to do it and escape the winter. Keep in mind that pruning the branches will cause some of the plant’s sap to leak out.

Care for rubber plants is simple provided you keep an eye on your plant and respect its demand for balance. If you’re wanting to develop a tall houseplant to amaze your guests, rubber plants are well worth the maintenance.

How long can a rubber plant live indoors?

One of the reasons rubber trees make such wonderful houseplants is that they are relatively simple to grow. Your rubber plant will flourish indoors as long as you are satisfying all of their lighting, watering, and fertilizer requirements. Low light levels can allow them to survive, but they frequently cause leaf drop and increased stress, according to Barnett. “Too much direct sunlight can also be bad for the plant’s general health.” She advises putting them somewhere that receives a lot of bright indirect light throughout the day. Additionally, you should maintain the soil moist but refrain from overwatering because this can promote the growth of numerous illnesses or even cause root rot. When indoor humidity is particularly low in the winter, further misting of leaves may be required, says Barnett.

Why do the leaves on the rubber plant fall off?

There are numerous possible reasons why a rubber plant could lose its leaves. The most frequent cause, according to Emilly Fernandes, a plant specialist and consultant at House Grail (opens in new tab), is a change in illumination. The majority of the time, according to Emilly, “this happens when the plant is brought inside if it is outside.”

A ficus tree is a type of plant, and ficus trees prefer lots of bright light. As part of your indoor garden ideas, if your plant is accustomed to being in a bright area and is suddenly placed in a dim one, it may begin to drop its leaves.

Problems with irrigation and humidity are the second most frequent causes of a rubber plant losing its leaves. Since rubber plants require higher humidity, Emilly notes that if your home doesn’t have enough of it, the leaves will fall since they are drying out. The winter is when this occurs the most frequently. Rubber plants are particularly vulnerable when put close to radiators, though they may also be undesirable for areas that frequently use dehumidifiers.

When overwatered, a rubber plant will also lose its leaves. ‘Most people think that leaves will drop due to under-watering, but it’s frequently due to overwatering, especially if plants are drought resistant like the rubber plant,’ says Emilly. The secret to keeping plants healthy is to only water them when they actually need it.

Rarely, a pest infestation may be the cause of a rubber plant’s leaf loss. The typical offender is a scale insect, which you can see on the leaves and stems.

How can you promote the development of a rubber plant?

You must first choose the location of your trunk’s amputation. Right where you cut it, there will be at least two new branches developing, and there may be more below that!

Make sure the original plant still has at least a few leaves after pruning. Leave additional space for larger rubber plants.

When pruning your rubber plant to promote bushier growth, you have three options:

Propagate in water or soil

Making a stem cutting and attempting to propagate in water are options if the trunk of the part you desire to remove is still flexible and not woody (and the cutting is not too large).

When the cut end of the rubber plant stops oozing latex, add it to a jar of water (see the latter portion of this page on rubber plant sap).

Instead of first roots the cutting in water, you can also plant it in a pot with soil. Maintain moisture in the potting mix and raise the humidity.

If you place a clear plastic bag loosely over the cutting, you can raise the humidity (but not touching the leaves). Your rooting cuttings will grow new roots more quickly if you place them on a heating mat.

Air layer your plant before cutting it off

The greatest technique to get a new plant when you still want to propagate it and it has woody stems is to air layer the top part of the plant. If you want to learn more about this alternative, I have a post that demonstrates how to air layer a rubber plant.

When you have truly mature, woody stems, air layering is really your only secure alternative.

It is also a fantastic technique to revive a rubber plant that is languid after losing many of its lower leaves.