A rubber plant/rubber tree (Ficus Elastica) is one of the easiest indoor plants to care for at your home. The blackish, reddish, and dark green leaves allow it to stand out from the rest. Here are some rubber plant care tips to consider to ensure that you keep your plant healthily and strong for a long time.
What Soil Works Best for a Rubber Plant?
An all-purpose potting mix works best for a rubber plant due to its well-draining soil. Coffee grounds are suitable for this plant only in compost, mulch, or liquid fertilizer. However, don’t add coffee grounds to the all-purpose potting mix, as this can lead to issues like attracting bugs, growing fungus, and stunting the plant’s growth.
How Much Sun Does a Rubber Tree Need?
Indirect light tends to works best for a rubber tree. Consider placing the plant in front of an eastern or western facing window with a sheer curtain in your home that receives consistent bright light. However, be careful about direct sunlight as it can burn the plant’s leaves, which is why the curtain is essential.
If you notice that the rubber plant’s leaves look leggy or floppy, they might not be receiving enough sun. Perhaps the location of where they live in your home receives low light instead of indirect light. If your plant looks leggy, you want to move it into an area of your home with brighter light.
What Temperature Works Best?
Room temperature between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit works best for this plant. With the plant initially from Southeast Asia’s rainforests, it enjoys more humid environments over hot climates.
Does this Plant Like Humidity?
A rubber plant enjoys humid environments, so consider placing this plant in your bathroom that has a shower. A hot shower can create a similar topical environment, which the plant prefers. Also, consider placing this plant on a pebble tray since the water evaporating on the rocks creates additional humidity in the air.
How Often Do You Need to Water a Rubber Plant?
It is best to water this plant when the top inch or so of soil becomes dry. It is best to keep the soil moist during the spring and summer since most of the growth occurs then. During the dormant season in the winter, you can water the plant less often.
However, when in doubt, you should water the plant less and monitor how it performs. You don’t want to create root rot, so it is vital to learn how much water the plant needs during the growing seasons. Finally, consider getting a pebble tray since it creates a bit more moisture via evaporation, along with a container with drainage holes to release any excess water to reduce root rot.
What Size Does it Grow To Typically?
For indoor settings, you can expect the rubber tree plant to grow around six or so feet. However, out in the wild can have this grow well over 100 feet.
Most Common Disease
Root Rot is one of the most common problems for this plant from overwatering. Common signs of root rot include yellow leaves and drooping. If you think you have root rot on a rubber tree plant, you must do a few things.
- Cut off any dead leaves to preserve energy for the rest of the plant.
- Remove the plant from the current soil. From there, you want to trim any soft roots that are on the plant.
- Place the plant in fresh new all-purpose potting soil. You might even want to repot the plant if the original container was too small. Just make sure that the new pot has drainage holes in it.
- Place the plant next to a well-lit window that has a sheer curtain. However, be careful not to let the plant sit in front of direct light as that can cause the leaves to burn.
- Monitor the plant and let the soil dry before watering it again
Most Common Bugs
Mealybugs, scale bugs, and spider mites are the most common insects to latch on to this plant. To remove these insects, you should use a damp cloth or paper towel with rubbing alcohol and rub the insects off the plant. Once you do that, you should spray the plant off outside to remove any bugs still left on the plant.
When Should You Repot a Rubber Plant?
You should repot a rubber plant in new soil once every two to three years. However, if the plant is growing too large from the current container, you can move the plant to a slightly larger pot. Check out the how-to correctly repot a plant guide to learn more about this practice.
The general rule is to wait at least two weeks after bringing home a plant before repotting it. You want the rubber plant to acclimate to your surroundings when it arrives at your place. Immediately changing the soil, the pot, water cycle, and more can result in shock, leading to plant stress and leaf drops.
How Do you Propagate a Rubber Plant?
There are two ways to go about propagation for a rubber plant to start new growth. The first is soil, and the second is water. The practice is similar with both where you want to cut a healthy part off the rubber plant and then place it in soil or water. Check out the complete guide from Simplify Plants since that goes into greater detail on what to do with either method.
Conclusion – How to Take Care of a Rubber Plant
In summary, the rubber plant (rubber tree) is a straightforward low-maintenance houseplant to take care of for anyone. The plant does best with indirect light, waterings when its topsoil is dry, and all-purpose potting soil. Also, if you want to keep glossy leaves, you should dust them often with a damp cloth.