If you are looking for some famous house plants, then you will come across a rubber plant.
A rubber plant or Ficus elastica is also popular as a rubber tree or rubber tree plant.
It is a popular plant because of its waxy leaves and lager-than-life appearance.
Moreover, these plants can grow up to 100 feet in their native homeland South Asia.
However, as domestic houseplants, they can grow anywhere between 6 to 10 feet tall.
You can also grow rubber plants outdoors if you live in zone 10 or 11.
These plants are tree-like plants that are known for their great height and beautiful leaves.
These grand plants tend to come in different varieties and colors that complement any home decor theme.
Keep on reading to learn more about rubber plants in detail.
Rubber plants or formally known as Ficus elastica can be enjoyed as medium-sized houseplants.
Or you can grow them to become a focal point, beautiful indoor trees.
Moreover, if you are patient enough to grow your plants, these plants can start out younger when you buy them, and adapt better to indoor living than starting with a more mature plant.
They can also grow to impressive heights within a few years especially if you plant them in your garden or backyard during the summer.
Furthermore, keeping these plants in small pots will, however, restrict their growth if you want to keep them smaller.
Soil and Light Requirements for Rubber Plants
Rubber plants do not like to stay in the water, so well-draining soil is important for them to thrive.
Experts suggest that a well-draining and well-aerated potting soil can help their growth.
Moreover, 1 part peat, 1 part pine bark, and 1 part coarse sand or perlite is a good mix for a good mix.
On the hand, rubber plants like bright light and a lot of it.
However, they can not thrive in direct sunlight.
A sunny spot shielded by a sheer curtain is perfect for your rubber plants.
Furthermore, you can tell if your rubber plants need more light if it becomes leggy, their leaves lose their luster, and lower leaves fall off.
Watering and Fertilizing your Rubber Plant
The water needs of a rubber plant tend to vary according to the season.
In the growing season, i.e. summer, you will need to keep the plant moist.
This also includes wiping the leaves with a damp cloth or even misting them.
During the dormant season, however, your plant will only need water once or twice a month.
Watch for droopy leaves, which indicate a need for more water.
Moreover, if the leaves turn yellow and brown, and drop, it signals over-watering.
Make sure to mist during any season, if the air is too dry, especially heated dry air that may occur during winter indoors.
Another tip is to water them with lukewarm water.
Experts explain that you should let cold tap stand until room temperature as this will allow the chlorine to evaporate and reduces the shock that cold water can cause to the plant roots.
Make sure to fertilize your rubber plant during the growing season only just like most indoor plants.
Fertilize with water-soluble houseplant fertilizer during the active growth season.
You should do it every two weeks during spring and summer.
Rubber plants prefer temperatures between 60°F to 75°F.
During the winter season, they can thrive in temperatures as low as 50°F.
Just like the water and sunlight requirements, a good balance of temperature is ideal for their growth.
Moreover, rubber plants prefer moist and humid air due to their tropical origin.
However, they can also survive in less humid temperatures.
Rubber plants are sensitvie to temperature changes and prefer to live in areas with consistent humidity and temperature.
Pruning and Repotting your Plant
Apart from removing dead or dying leaves, rubber plants do not need much pruning.
However, for shaping, make sure to keep the following in your mind:
- do not cut off the top of your plant until it reaches the desired height
- when you cut off the top of the plant, it will branch out
- you can prune to your desired shape by cutting back unruly branches
Moreover, pruning your plants in spring or summer is best, but not a necessity.
If you do not re-pot your rubber plant, it will not grow.
But do not put rubber plants in pots that are too big.
Transplanting to pots that are about an inch bigger in diameter than the previous pot is a good rule of thumb.
Propagating Rubber Plants
Once your family and frineds see how gorgeous your rubber plant is, they will want one for their own home.
Though it does not always work perfectly, the rubber plant is one of those plants that you can just hack a piece from and stick in the soil and they will grow.
Allowing the sap to dry, dipping the cutting in rooting medium, and adding a healthy pad under the pot with cutting in it can help increase your chances of success.
Moreover, you can also air layer them.
According to experts, this is another method where you make a cut in a healthy rubber tree houseplant, put a toothpick in the hole, then pack a damp moss around the cut.
After this, you wrap it with plastic wrap to keep the mositure level higher.
Once the roots begin to appear, make sure to cut off the branch and plant.
To promote new leaf growth where leaves are falling, cut a notch in the node from which it fells.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Plantation of Rubber Plants
If you live in the U.S zones 10 and 11, you can easily grow rubber plants outdoors.
However, if you are able to protect them during winter, zone 9 is also possible.
Otherwise, make sure to keep them in a container to bring in during the colder months once it hits 30 degrees.
Make sure to place them in a shade or dappled sun where they can grow up to 100 feet.
Due to their size, they can make great space dividers and privacy screenings on patios and decks.
Toxicity of Rubber Plants
Rubber plants are toxins in nature.
The plant is dangerous not only to cats and dogs but also to humans and horses if consumed. Moreover, it is also irritating to touch.
Generally, rubber plants are not toxic enough to be fatal, especially in small doses.
According to the University of California Davis, the Indian rubber plant is in the level toxicity class 4.
Plants in this classification often cause only minor irritation.
When poisonous, a rubber tree is one of the least dangerous toxic plants.
The rubber plant gets its name from its sap, which contains the compound Caoctchouc.
This is what gives rubber its elasticity. While it has a number of uses, caoutchouc can also irritate your eyes and mucous membranes.
If you eat them, they can cause even more severe symptoms.
Therefore, due to their toxic nature, you should keep them out of reach of children and pests.
To prevent any accidents, make sure to keep an eye on it when the kids or animals are in the room.
Symptoms of Poisoning
In most cases, symptoms of Ficus poisoning involve mild to acute skin dermatitis.
The sap can irritate the skin, causing discomfort, rashes, and even blistering. Moreover, if it gets around your mouth, nose, or eyes, it can cause severe burning.
Signs of poisoning from ingesting the rubber plant sap are lethargy, lack of coordination, nausea, and vomiting.
The severity of the case, however, depends on how much of the plants were consumed, especially for smaller animals.
In most cases, cases of rubber tree poisonings do not result in fatality for humans or pets.
Pests and Problems
Pests like mealy bugs, mites, scales, and aphids are a few common bugs that can find a home in your rubber plant.
If you find them early, you can remove these bugs while wiping them with a watm soap and water solution. or you can also use insecticidal soap.
On the other hand, due to its need for balance in all forms, it is easy to make sure rubber plants are unhappy if you stop paying attention to their needs.
Thus, the best way to combat this is to keep an eye on the light it is getting, the moisture in its soil, and the overall temperature of the room it is inhabiting.
Moreover, rubber plants are more susceptible to plant diseases associated with overwatering.
Therefore, make sure to let the soil of your plant dry out between waterings to avoid drowning your plant.
Caring for your rubber plant is easy if you remember to keep an eye on your plant and honor its need for balance. These plants are well worth the care if you are looking to grow a tall houseplant to impress your gusts.
It is hardy and grows well indoors thanks to a number of features like low light toerlance, limited water needs, dealing with neglect, needs for minimal maintenance, and relatively temperature resistance.