Ficus elastica (more frequently referred to the rubber plant, rubber tree, or the rubber tree) is a favorite home plant due to its large-than-life, waxy leaves as well as its appearance. The rubber plant can reach as high as 100 feet within their natural region in Southeast Asia. As a domestic houseplant the rubber plant can are anywhere from six to 10 feet tall. It is possible to grow rubber outdoors plants if you are in a zone between 10 and 11. It is possible to look over the USDA’s zone for plant hardiness maps here to find out more information about the various zones.
Rubber plants are similar to trees that are famous for their tallness and gorgeous leaves. They also come in various varieties and colors that match with any interior design.
Rubber Plant Overview
The name rubber plants was derived because of their sap that is often used to create rubber. The leaves of the rubber plant feature a glossy and rubbery appearance. The plants will get taller and will produce gorgeous leaves if you provide them with the proper attention.
The rubber plant is usually found in dark green varieties However, they are also available in more vibrant varieties. For instance, the varieties known as “black prince” or “burgundy” are characterized by their reddish-black leaves.
Rubber Plant Care Tips
The most important aspect of the care of rubber plants is equilibrium. It requires just the proper amount of sunlight and water. If you give it the perfect amounts of these, you’ll end up with an extremely strong, healthy with a tall and sturdy rubber tree. Rubber plants can tell you whether they require more sun or water when they begin to shed the lower leaf. Find out more about the best conditions and how to care of your 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 the dormant time of the winter months, it is important to keep the soil moist but not so dry. Let the top two inches of soil dry between waterings to ensure you don’t over-water. If the leaves begin to drop, your rubber plant is telling your it’s in need of 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.
Issues: Due to its requirement to maintain balance across every form, it’s possible to cause your rubber plant to be unhappy if you do not pay attention to its requirements. The best way to tackle this is to be aware of the amount of light it’s receiving and the amount of moisture it’s getting in its soil, and the general temperature of the space it’s living in.
Rubber plants are most susceptible to diseases that affect plants caused by excessive watering. As we’ve mentioned earlier, it is important to let the plant’s soil dry between waterings in order to prevent drowning the plant.
Check out our guide on how to revive a plant for more information on how to take care of all of these issues with rubber plants.
Repotting Repoting your plant is essential so that you can allow it to expand. It is possible to do this every couple of years or each year based on the size of your pot is as well as how fast the rubber plant is growing. Do not repot your rubber plant if you want to maintain its current size.
propagation Propagation is the easiest method to grab tiny branches from the healthy plant of rubber and allow it to root in water or soil. It is important leave the stem’s sap of the stem dry before planting. Another method to spread is through air layering. To achieve this, create a cut in an established plant and insert an open toothpick into the cut. Cover it with damp moss. Then, cover it with plastic wrap to hold it attached to the toothpick. As soon as you notice roots growing within the moss, slice the branch and place 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.
The rubber plant’s maintenance is simple if you be attentive to your plant and respect its needs to be balanced. Rubber plants are well-worth taking care of if you want to establish a plant that is tall enough to impress guests.