How to Take Care of a Rubber Plant


If you have a large space to fill indoors, consider a rubber plant (Ficus elastica). Adaptable to low light, although bright light is preferred, the rubber plant makes a lovely corner accent. This plant can easily grow to 10 feet in height but is easily pruned to keep to a more manageable size. The rubber plant is a low-maintenance houseplant and easy for the beginner to grow.

Step 1

Provide the rubber plant with lots of light. Extension agents with Clemson University suggest placing the plant near an east window where it will receive morning sunlight. The plant can tolerate lower light levels, but generally 5 to 8 feet from a window is the limit.

Step 2

Keep the temperature in the rubber tree's environment to 80 F or warmer in the daytime and 65 F at night.

Step 3

Water the rubber tree to keep the soil just slightly moist at all times.

Step 4

Fertilize the rubber plant with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer every two months if the plant is located in bright light, every four months for plants in a shadier area.

Step 5

Inspect the bottom of the pot if the rubber plant's leaves turn yellow. Look for roots coming from the bottom of the pot. If you find them, it is time to repot into the next size larger pot. Use standard houseplant potting soil.

Step 6

Prune any rubber plant branches that are extending beyond the desired size or shape. Use sharp pruning shears to prune no more than one-third from the top of the plant's main stems. Rubber plants grown in low light tend to grow more in width than height. Use the pruning shears to cut back unwanted branches, but be sure to either cut off the entire branch or leave at least two leaves on the branch that is left on the rubber plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Planting pot
  • Houseplant potting soil
  • Pruning shears


  • Colorado State University Extension: Rubber Plant
  • Clemson University Extension: Rubber Plant
  • "Foliage Houseplants"; James Underwood Crockett; 2001
Keywords: rubber plant care, care rubber plant, grow rubber plant

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.