Sometimes, we don’t just want a small houseplant in the corner of our room. Sometimes, a hanging basket in the kitchen isn’t enough. If you want a larger plant that can be an exotic and beautiful centerpiece for any room, you need to get yourself a Rubber Plant. And that means you also need to know about Rubber Plant care if you want to see it thrive and grow to its full potential.
Luckily, Rubber Plants are easy to care for. You’ll notice that they are quite hardy and versatile, requiring little effort on your part. But if you want to see vibrant green leaves and watch them climb to their full height, you most definitely want to follow our quick guide on this gorgeous (and useful!) plant.
What is a Rubber Plant?
This evergreen tropical tree, known scientifically as Ficus elastica, is part of the fig family. It’s native to China, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia. Members of this family bleed a latex-like sap when they are wounded. Their leaf shape also changes throughout its life, which is quite unique.
The Rubber Plant has large, dark green leaves. They can either be kept as a medium-sized house plant or even an indoor tree! It’s recommended that people adopt younger plants and help them adapt to indoor living as they mature.
In a few years, the Rubber Plant grows to a lofty height if you let it! Their ultimate height is about 30 feet. They can also reach a spread of about 10 inches. They will stay small as a houseplant, but their size is still quite impressive.
What Are the Benefits of a Rubber Plant?
The Rubber Plant is an extremely useful plant. Before synthetic rubber even existed, the Rubber Plant’s latex sap was used to make rubber.
The Rubber Plant has also been used for “living bridges” in India. A Rubber Plant’s dead tree trunk will lay across a body of water, like a river. As the trunk rots, the roots grow to the other side and thicken. This completes the flexible, wind-resistant bridge!
Within your home, the Rubber Plant helps keep the air free from pollutants. NASA’s clean air study stated that this tree reduces formaldehyde in the air, as well as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
Is a Rubber Plant Easy to Care For?
The Rubber Plant is quite simple to care for! It’s not too picky and can adapt to indoor life pretty fast with the right care. You can choose to keep it as a medium-sized plant in a pot or a striking indoor tree, depending on how you choose to go about caring for this plant.
How to Care for a Rubber Plant
The Rubber Plant isn’t too picky about light. It doesn’t demand much water. And, it can tolerate a pretty big temperature range. The Rubber Plant is definitely a versatile plant that can thrive indoors with the right care. Here’s a bit more to keep in mind!
Finding the Right Pot
Choose a pot with drainage holes, which will allow the soil to properly dry between waterings. If you give the plant a smaller pot, you can restrict its growth and keep it smaller. But if you want it to expand — and maybe even act as a divider in your home — choose a large pot so it can spread its roots.
Choosing the Right Soil
As you may have gathered, Rubber Plants don’t like to sit in water. Find a well-draining soil to go with their pot. The ideal soil for this plant is “one part peat, one part pine bark, and one part coarse sand.”
Watering a Rubber Plant
In general, you’ll need to water your plant about every one or two weeks. Check the soil between waterings to make sure it’s dry beforehand. Use a finger or toothpick to check below the surface.
Watering frequency will vary depending on the season. The summer is the Rubber Plant’s growing season. That’s when the soil should be kept moister. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or mist them lightly. If the air is dry, mist your Rubber Plant (usually in the winter).
Here is a great tip: Water the Rubber Plant with lukewarm water. This allows chlorine to evaporate and reduces the shock that this plant might experience when cold water touches its roots.
Placement and Lighting
The Rubber Plant thrives in medium to bright light as long as it’s indirect. It can tolerate bright direct light, but you will need to check that your plant isn’t getting burned.
Pruning Your Rubber Plant
This chill plant doesn’t require much pruning. Keep an eye on dead leaves and remove those. That’s about the extent of it!
If you want to shape your Rubber Plant, remember not to cut off the top until it has reached your desired height. Cutting the top will cause it to branch out. Instead, cut back unruly branches. Do this pruning in the spring or summer when the plant grows the most.
Rubber Plants won’t grow if you don’t re-pot them. When you transplant them (if you want them to grow), place them into a pot that’s about an inch bigger than the previous one.
Humidity and Temperature
The Rubber Plant isn’t too picky about temperature. It can be about 65 to 85 degrees F in your home. This plant only asks that you don’t let it drop below 60 degrees. Similarly, any humidity level is fine as well. But you can mist your plant when it gets dry in the winter.
Feeding a Rubber Plant
Like most indoor plants, the Rubber Plant only requires fertilizer in the growing season — the summer months. But fertilizer isn’t a necessity for this hardy plant. Of course, if you want large, glossy leaves, you can consider adding fertilizer to your routine.
Common Rubber Plant Care Issues
This a very versatile plant that doesn’t run into many problems with the right care. And luckily, the right care is quite easy! But here are some things to watch for:
- Droopy leaves: This is an indication that your plant needs more water. If they are curling inward, that’s another sign that they lack water.
- Brown leaves: The Rubber Plant’s leaves should be dark green. If the leaves are yellow and brown, that’s a sign of over-watering. If the leavesare dropping and the soil is wet, that’s another symptom of over-watering.
- Faded leaves: Your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight if the leaves look pale.
- Disfigured leaves: The temperature is getting too low if you see brown spots on the leaves or if they appear puckered. Make sure it’s not near any air conditioning or drafts.
How Do I Know if My Rubber Plant is Dying?
If the plant’s leaves or stem are still yellow even after you let the soil dry, your plant may be dying of root rot. If your Rubber Plant’s roots are decaying, the plant might die completely. Root rot is caused by the soil being too wet for too long, causing pathogens to grow in the soil.
Are Rubber Plants Toxic?
The Rubber Plant is poisonous if you, a child, or a pet consumes it. Make sure you keep it out of reach of pets and kids. If that’s impossible, the Rubber Plant is probably not right for your home. You can try keeping one outdoors if you live in a warm environment with shade.
Final Thoughts – Rubber Plant Care
Rubber Plants are gorgeous, exotic, and striking plants that will keep your home looking modern and vibrant. This is a tall plant that will take charge of any room it’s in. All it needs is the right care!
Rubber Plants are surprisingly easy to maintain. They need very little water and can tolerate a large range of temperatures. But, if you want to see them grow to their full height and bloom with their bright, green leaves, you’ll need to make sure they receive the right amount of light, water, food, and humidity. If you have ANY question about care or purchasing, feel free to contact us anytime!