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how to care for a rubber plant

How To Care For A Rubber Plant

How to care for a rubber plant is pretty easy if you follow some basic tips.  The rubber plant is mostly known for the milky white sap it produces known as latex.  The Mayan and Aztec people would use the sap to make rubber balls, waterproof clothing as well as homemade shoes.  

This is a plant that gets an honorable mention in the song “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra.  High Hopes also won an Oscar in 1959 for the best original song. 

And according to Feng Shui, placing a rubber plant in the wealth corner can bring good luck and fortune.  


Rubber Plant (aka the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, indian rubber bush or indian rubber tree)

Botanical Name & Family: Ficus Elastica from the Moraceae ficus family

Other rubber plant species include: There are over 1100 rubber plant species.  The Ficus Elastica Robusta, Decora, Burgundy, Melany, Doescheri, Tricolor, Abidjan, Tineke, Ruby, and the Dwarf Ficus all are great additions to any plant collection.  

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How To Take Care Of A Rubber Plant

  1. Light: Does best in medium to bright indirect light
  2. Best Grown: Near a South facing window
  3. Benefits: Because it is a low maintenance plant the cost for upkeep is pretty low.  Rubber plants do not produce pollen so if you have allergies this is a good plant to have
  4. Soil: 50% potting mix 50 cacti potting mix with a handful of perlite.  The key is good drainage because this plant doesn’t like it’s roots to sit in water
  5. Watering: Water 1-2x week in the summer which is growing season.   Make sure the soil is dry between waterings.  And 1-2x a month during the dormant season.  Mist the leaves and wipe with a dry cloth to keep the leaves nice and shiny.
  6. Fertilizer: Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer once every three months
  7. Repotting: Repot in the summer or spring which is growing season and should be repotted every 1-2 years until it reaches your desired height.  After that growth will happen at a slower rate.  A good indication of when it’s time to repot is if it’s root bound which is when you see roots appearing on top of the soil.  Make sure to upgrade to a pot that is one inch bigger than the previous pot.
  8. Toxicity: The white milky sap (latex) if ingested can cause oral irritation to dog and cats
  9. How big it will grow: When grown indoors it can reach up to 13 feet. 
  10. Propagating: Cut the stem just above the nod with some fiskar pruning shears.  Always make sure to clean the blades with alcohol to avoid any cross contamination from any plants you may have pruned.  You may get some latex leaking but no need to worry.  Place your cutting in a jar of water.  Let  it sit for a few weeks until you start to see little sprouts of roots form at the base of the stem then plant in a small pot.  If you want your rubber plant to grow more like a bush, cut the top leaves and new shoots will begin to form and grow out.
  11. Temperature: Keep this plant between 65°F-85°F (18°C – 30°C).  It does not do well in temperatures below 55°F (13°C)

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How to care for a rubber tree plant has its rewards.  With its big tropical leathery leaves this beauty can grow to be over six feet.  The addition of this plant will surely create a stunning impact to any room.  If you want to learn about other low maintenance plants check out our blog post on the Snake and Monstera plant.

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