Rubber plants, known botanically as Ficus elastica, are glossy-leaved ornamental plants native to northeast India and southern Indonesia. In the United States, rubber plants can be grown as attractive, no-fuss, low-light-loving houseplants. In addition to the aesthetic benefits, the Ficus species has also been recognized by NASA for its ability to remove toxins from indoor air.
Situate your rubber plant 4 to 8 feet from an east- or south-facing window where it can receive a minimum of four hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day. Position your rubber plant in a location that is at least 5 feet away from air conditioners, heaters or drafts.
Water your rubber plant regularly during the spring, summer and fall to keep its soil moist. Use lukewarm water, rather than cold, to avoid shocking the root system.
Maintain a healthy level of humidity around your rubber plant. Spray the rubber plant with water from a spray bottle up to twice a day to provide the humidity it needs to thrive.
Fertilize young rubber plants with an application of a high-phosphorus fertilizer to help them form strong, healthy root systems. Fertilize established rubber plants with a half-strength solution of a high-nitrogen fertilizer every three to four weeks during the spring, summer and fall. Use fertilizer products according to package directions to avoid damaging your plant.
Prune discolored, diseased or dead foliage from your rubber plant, as needed, to keep it looking healthy. Prune in the spring using sharpened, sterilized pruning shears to minimize the pruning stress to your plant.