How to Plant Rubber Tree Plants

Overview

Ficus are often referred to as rubber trees. These trees can grow up to 100 feet tall in their native habitat of India and Southeast Asia, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. They are more commonly used as landscape trees or indoor plants in the Unites States. Grown in this environment, the average height for a rubber tree is 25 to 40 feet. Potted varieties are generally shorter. They grow well in containers and are virtually pest-free plants. Rubber trees enjoy partial shade to full sun, but should be kept out of the direct summer sunlight. A drought-tolerant plant, the rubber tree thrives in various soils from loam to clay and sand. They are best transplanted in May before the summer heat arrives.

Step 1

Choose a large planter. Place a sponge in the bottom of the planter. Fill the container with a soil mixture, leaving 2 inches of space at the top. Combine 1 part sharp sand, 2 parts loam, 1 part humus, ½ part dried cow manure and 1 qt. bone meal. Mix the ingredients together in the planter.

Step 2

Dig a hole in the center of the planter with a hand shovel. Make the hole the depth of the root ball and twice as wide as the root system. Place the rubber tree in the center of the hole and back fill with the removed soil. Apply a layer of mulch to the top of the soil, preventing the mulch from coming in contact with the rubber tree trunk.

Step 3

Water the rubber tree until the excess water freely drains from the bottom of the planter. Apply lukewarm to room temperature water to prevent shocking the root system. Allow the soil to dry between watering. Apply additional water when the top 1 inch of soil has become dry.

Step 4

Fertilize the rubber tree every three weeks with a half-strength houseplant fertilizer. Follow the package directions for application. Reduce fertilizer applications in the fall and avoid applying fertilizer to the plant in the winter months, advises the University of Minnesota.

Things You'll Need

  • Planter
  • Sponge
  • Sharp sand
  • Loam
  • Humus
  • Dried cow manure
  • Bone meal
  • Hand shovel
  • Houseplant fertilizer

References

  • Colorado State University: Rubber Plant
  • Plant Ideas: Potting Soil
  • University of Minnesota: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs and Friendly Ficus
  • University of Florida: Ficus Elastica
Keywords: rubber tree care, plant rubber tree, plant ficus

About this Author

Christina Wheeler has been a professional freelance writer since 2007. She lends her expertise in animal care, gardening and home improvement to online publications such as Garden Guides and eHow. Wheeler studied business management at Ohio University.