Rubber Plant Guide: Everything You Should Know About Growing Rubber Plants
Ficus elastica, also known as the rubber plant, is a peculiar-looking species that is native to Southeast Asia's tropical regions. In its natural environment, this long-lived plant can grow up to 100 feet tall and has large, oval leaves with a deep emerald tint. Because it is not very understanding if it doesn't receive the care it requires, it is not the easiest plant for beginners. It is, however, more frequently grown as a houseplant indoors, where it can be planted, maintained year-round, and kept at a more manageable size.
For the indoor gardener, rubber plants make perfect houseplants. There are now so many options that there is something to suit every taste and budget. Around the beginning of the fall, you can find them at most garden centres; they are well-liked indoor plants for Thanksgiving!
Indoor Rubber Tree Growing Advice
The waxy-looking leaves of the rubber plant have pink-coral hues at first before deepening to a dark, rich green. A long wooden dowel (or bamboo stalk) can be used to support the rubber plant's drooping leaves so that they remain upright as the plant grows. If you haven't read our blog about ZZ( Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) Plant Guide, do so here.
Large, leathery green leaves are produced by the hardy rubber tree plant known as Ficus elastica 'Robusta'.
Ficus elastica 'Decora'
This variety has thick, glossy, dark green leaves.
The rubber plant variety Ficus elastica "Burgundy," also known as the "burgundy rubber tree," has leaves that are dark burgundy and stems that are bright red.
Ficus elastica 'Tricolor'
It has vibrant green leaves with splotches of pink and cream colouring.
This variety of the Ficus elastica has cream-coloured edges, patchy dark and light green leaves, and a pink stem.
Ficus elastica 'Doescheri'
The leaves of this rubber plant are narrower and dramatically variegated. The leaves have a pink midrib and are various shades of green, yellow, white, and greyish-green.
Ficus elastica 'Sophia'
A rubber plant with smaller, rounder, and entirely green leaves than the traditional "Robusta."
The cultivar has deep wine red leaves that are emphasised in direct sunlight.
In the recent competition for the most well-liked indoor tree-like plants, the ubiquitous fiddle leaf fig has triumphed over all rivals. But we believe it's time to take another look at and give this understated but stately tree—with its big, deep green leaves—another chance. Here's how to keep your rubber plant looking beautiful in your home for years to come.
Balance is the secret to caring for rubber plants. It enjoys the right amount of water and sunlight. You can have a content, robust, and tall rubber tree if you can give it the ideal ratio of both. Rubber plants need either more sunlight or water if you notice that they are losing their lower leaves. Discover the ideal conditions and maintenance for your rubber plant by reading on.
Rubber plants enjoy a lot of bright, diffused light, like the majority of the plants in their genus. They can withstand gentle morning sunlight, but you should move them away from direct afternoon sun because it can singe the leaves. Lack of light causes plants to grow languidly, lose their lower leaves, and have dull leaves as opposed to glossy, vibrant ones.
The rubber plant likes to be kept consistently moist but not soaked, so water it frequently. Additionally vulnerable to extreme dryness and poorly tolerant of drought are rubber plants. Check the moisture levels in the top few inches of soil to see if your plant needs another watering; if they are dry and crumbly, it is.
Rubber plants don't have a particular preference for their soil composition. Any decent, quick-draining potting soil will usually work; many indoor gardeners choose a cactus mix. In addition, acidic soil mixtures are preferred by rubber plants. They "eat" their soil just like fiddle leaf fig trees (which many people think they resemble), and eventually, their roots will be visible. If this occurs, simply add more soil to the top of your pot, and the situation will be resolved.
Generally speaking, rubber plants prefer temperatures between 60°F and 75°F. They can endure winter temperatures as low as 50 °F. A healthy temperature balance is ideal for this plant's growth, just as it is with its requirements for water and sunlight. Due to its tropical origin, it prefers moist, humid air, though it can survive in less humid climates. Because they are sensitive to temperature variations, rubber plants favour environments with stable humidity and temperatures.
Throughout the growing season, feed the plant a weak liquid fertiliser. When healthy, they consume a lot of food. Some experts advise sparingly fertilising indoor plants to prevent root entanglement and stretching as a result of rapid growth.
There are two things you can do to provide daily care for your rubber plant to raise the humidity and keep your plant looking fresh, especially in the summer. To start, mist the area around your plant with a spray bottle. Second, you can use a damp cloth to remove any accumulated dust and apply moisture directly to the leaves.
To help 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, but spring is the ideal time to do so and avoid the winter. Bear in mind that trimming the branches will result in some sap leakage.
Although leaf-tip cuttings can be used to propagate rubber plants, the process is not particularly simple and it is probably simpler to simply purchase a potted plant. Use a rooting hormone when taking cuttings, and watch out for high humidity and lots of warmth. If they are difficult to spread, try not to get discouraged. It is a labour-intensive, imprecise science.
Rubber plant repotting
Under the right circumstances, rubber plants can grow fairly quickly and require repotting every year until they reach the desired height. If you can't move the container, scrape off a few inches of the potting media and replace it with fresh potting soil because larger plants can be challenging to repot.
Pet friendly or foe
Some people may experience skin irritation from the sap of a rubber plant. After handling your plant, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands, especially if you touched the sap. Depending on how much is consumed, consuming this plant can result in minor stomach discomfort or more serious symptoms like diarrhoea or vomiting.
Due to its milky sap, this plant is not recommended as a houseplant for pets because it is toxic. It is fatal to humans, dogs, and cats if consumed. Always keeping these houseplants out of small children's and animals' reach is the best practice.
A rubber tree's metabolic processes naturally include the uptake of carbon dioxide and subsequent release of oxygen, just like those of other plants. Conversely, rubber trees replenish your indoor air environment more effectively and produce more oxygen than other plants.
Round leaves are preferred to sharp, pointy leaves in feng shui. Large, rounded leaves are preferred over small ones because they soften an area and draw in uplifting, nourishing energy.
The large, glossy, ovate leaves of the rubber tree have soft edges that are ideal for drawing good energy into your home and muffling the poisonous arrows of sharp corners. To bring luck and abundance to these areas of your home's Bagua map, rubber trees are said to be placed in the wealth (southeast or back left) and career (north or front centre) corners.
Rubber trees require little upkeep, but they have a high ornamental value. They have gorgeous, big, glossy green leaves. The tropical silhouettes of these plants fill bare corners with visual interest and add warmth to any space.
Taking care of all plants, especially low-maintenance ones whose upkeep won't cause stress, is incredibly good for your mental and emotional well-being. The therapy field of horticultural therapy has been specifically developed for the care of plants. Maintaining plants can help with depression symptoms, stress reduction, and general mental health.
Rubber plants are susceptible to several pests, such as aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, scale, and thrips, which commonly infest indoor houseplants. 1 If at all possible, locate the infestation as soon as you can and use the least invasive remedy, such as neem oil, to get rid of it.
A rubber plant in good health will happily display lovely, glossy, deep emerald green leaves. Because they grow so quickly, you can also tell if your plant is healthy if it expands significantly during the growing season!
In general, you ought to be able to spot any problems with your plant pretty quickly. Acquires browned or yellowing leaves? Do the leaves appear depressed and withered? Is a portion of your plant turning black? These are all typical rubber plant issues and indications that your rubber plant isn't enjoying its surroundings very much. See the solutions to these issues below!
It's time to get down and dirty with the soil if your rubber plant's leaves are beginning to curl. You must evaluate your watering schedule because both overwatering and underwatering are the root of this issue. When watering, you should wait until the soil is almost completely dry before watering heavily until you see water trickling through the drainage holes in the plant pot's base.
Low humidity may also be the cause of curled leaves. To give your plants the more sauna-like environment they desire if you have dry indoor air, add moisture with a mister or humidifier.
This is typical for extremely aged leaves. If not, it might be a sign of overwatering or inadequate lighting.
White drips and streaks on the leaves
A small cut or knock to a leaf or stem can cause a large amount of sap to drip. This may dry out and fall onto the leaves below, giving the impression that something strange is going on. With a damp cloth, the sap from the leaves can be easily removed, regardless of whether it is still wet or has dried.
Can I put my rubber plant next to a vent for air conditioning or heat?
It is best to refrain. Heat and cold air draughts can harm ficus trees. Whatever you can do to help maintain a tepid environment will keep your plant happy and healthy because they prefer humidity and warm temperatures.
Which rubber tree is unique?
The Ficus Elastica 'Ruby,' also referred to as the Variegated Rubber Tree, is a fantastic choice if you're looking to expand your indoor plant collection with a novel and uncommon specimen.
Which area in my home is best for a rubber plant?
Bright indirect sunlight is ideal for rubber plants. To get morning light, they should ideally have an east-facing window. Put your plant close to a window with a sheer curtain or drape to diffuse the light. The leaves of your rubber plant could start to burn if you place them in a location that gets direct sunlight.