We bet you’ve been noticing a trend on social media – a new plant has been taking the place of the fiddle leaf fig! The Rubber Plant is the new kid in town and we are here for it!
I got my first Rubber Plant as a young plant a few years ago and it has already grown to incredible heights in just a couple years! These plants are hardy, easy to grow plants that are great for the beginner indoor gardeners.
They’re quite show stopping too, both with their large leaves and with how tall they get! If you’ve been looking for an easy to grow indoor tree, look no further!
Today I’m sharing all about rubber plant care and how to add this new plant to your space.
Table of Contents
Rubber Plant Background
The Rubber Tree Plant, formally ficus elastica, is a fairly easy to care for plant that can grow to incredible heights! It can grow to be 100 ft tall in its native home, Southeast Asia!
As indoor plants, the Rubber Plant grows to heights of 6 to 10 feet tall. If you’re patient enough it’s best to get these plants when they’re young so they have time to adapt to an indoor setting.
Keep them in smaller pots to keep them small or put them in larger plants to allow them to grow to super tall. These can be brought outside during the summer months.
*Find other tall plants here!
Rubber plants are also called Rubber Tree or Rubber Plant Tree. They get their name due to their sap. Historically, the latex, or milky sap, found in the bark of Rubber Trees was used to make rubber!
This is now not the case and there’s another type of tree that is used for rubber. Their leaves also have a bit of shiny and rubbery appearance, almost looking fake. This also contributes to their name.
If you do notice sap coming from damaged bark of your Rubber Plant, be sure to not touch it as it can be toxic and cause skin irritation.
The Rubber Tree is also one that removes toxins from the air. Three that they remove are carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
*Find other air purifying plants here!
Rubber Plant Care Tips + Tricks
Rubber tree plants need the right balance of water with more during the growing season and much less during the dormant season (or winter months). Typically this means watering your houseplant about once a week during the growing season and once a month during the dormant season.
If your Rubber tree is looking droopy, that’s a good sign that it needs to be watered! Once you figure out a good mix of water and light you’ll find that rubber trees are very easy to grow!
Rubber tree plants ideally grow best with a good amount of bright, indirect sun so keep that in mind when purchasing one. Too much direct sunlight or lower light spots will not do well for this plant.
What we mean by indirect light is that the sun is not actually touching it. The light will be filtered through a sheer curtain or it will be just out of reach of direct sun but still near a window.
Rubber tree plants won’t do well in low light. You also don’t want them to get too much direct sun. I have mine just out of reach of the sun in a south facing window and it is thriving!
If you notice your plant starts to get leggy or dropping leaves, it could mean that you need to give it a bit more sunlight.
Like most houseplants, be sure to turn your plant every so often so it grows evenly. I typically do a quarter turn every time I water it.
You can put rubber plants outdoors in the summer to grow nice and big and tall. Just remember to not put them in direct sun or they won’t do so great!
When it comes to soil for your Ficus elastica you’ll want something that is well draining and slightly acidic. Rubber tree plants are susceptible to root rot so you want to ensure the soil is able to drain out the excess water.
Temperature and Humidity
The Rubber tree likes comfortable temperatures between 60°F-75°F. As tropical plants, they prefer more humid spots but can do fine in a place with regular humidity. They’re sensitive to temperature changes so keep them away from cold drafts from windows or doors.
As mentioned above, rubber plants are toxic to cats, dogs and humans if consumed so keep this clear of your furry friends and tiny hands!
Pruning and Re-potting Rubber Plants
Rubber plants don’t need a lot of pruning unless you want to shape them a bit. Just be sure to not cut the top of of your plant or it will branch out!
The size of your pot will directly impact the size of your plant. If you keep them in a small pot they will stay small. If you repot them too slightly larger pots they will continue to grow. Be careful to not put them in a pot that is too oversized or they won’t!
These plants grow decently fast so keep an eye on the roots of your plant in relation to the container. If you notice roots popping out at the top or coming out through the drainage hole you know it’s time to repot your plant.
Get a container that’s only about one to two inches larger than the current pot it’s in. If you go too big too quickly your plant will be more susceptible to root rot.
Pests & Diseases
Some of the most common pests for a rubber plant are spider mites and mealy bugs. These can easily be treated by spraying your plant with neem oil.
Proper maintenance of your plant and wiping your plants with a damp rag frequently can help keep pests at bay and your plant’s glossy leaves happy!
Propagating Your Rubber Plant
I have yet to propagate my rubber plant but there are a few different ways to do this. One is through water propagation and the other is through soil propagation. You’ll want to propagate in early spring when they have plenty of time to grow roots and establish themself.
Here’s how to do it!
1. Prep Your Space
First you’ll want to put on gloves or something to protect your hand from the sap that will come out from the cut end of the plant. It’s also a good idea to lay down something to protect the surface you’re working on to make sure that nothing gets ruined by the white sap.
2. Cut Your Branch
Next, simply cut off a healthy branch from your tree. You’ll want to ensure that the remaining part of the branch has at least a couple leaves on it and that you have a healthy plant to cut from!
Keep in mind that wherever you cut your branch you’ll have new growth that come out from where you cut. If you want a bushier base you’ll want to cut closer to the soil. If you want a bushier top, cut closer to the top.
It doesn’t matter where you cut as long as it is a healthy branch with some leaf nodes on it.
3. Put in Soil or Water
Soil propagation is the preferred method for propagating the Rubber Fig. To do so, first you’ll want dip the cut end of the stem cuttings in rooting hormone (for best results) or just put it directly in good potting soil in a pot with drainage holes.
Wait a few weeks and let it root! You’ll know it’s getting roots when you give your clipping a slight tug and you’re met with resistance.
To speed up your propagation you could also wrap your clipping and pot in plastic wrap or a clear plastic bag. This will help increase the humidity level and give it the right conditions for optimal root growth!
Another way to propagate your rubber plant is in water but you may not have quite as good results that way. The bonus part about this is you can see the roots forming so you’ll easily know that your propagation worked!
*You can find 10 plants that live in water here!
Rubber Plant FAQ
No, they do best with indirect light. Too much bright light can be too drying.
Yes, rubber plants do remove some toxins from the air. It’s been known to remove formaldehyde from the air making this a great plant to have in your home!
I hope this care post inspires you to try out the Rubber Tree and have success growing and caring it! Now the question is – do you keep them small or let them grow giant?!
If you want a pink version of this plant, be sure to check out the Ruby Rubber Plant care guide!
And if you’re looking for even more plant posts, be sure to check out one of these!