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How to Grow a Rubber Plant

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How to Grow a Rubber Plant

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Overview

Rubber plant, also known as Ficus elastica or rubber tree, grows natively in tropical regions of southeast Asia. A popular houseplant in the United States, indoor gardeners prize rubber plant for its minimal care requirements and attractive foliage. Rubber plant produces large, glossy, dark green leaves with some varieties featuring variegated or burgundy-colored foliage. When given adequate space, the slow-growing rubber plant easily reaches 10 feet in height indoors. Some gardeners prune the plant to control its size, while others allow it to reach its full height.

Step 1

Place rubber plant in a medium-sized container filled with an all-purpose, well-drained potting soil. Keep the plant in a location that receives four to six hours of bright light each day, such as an east- or north-facing window.

Step 2

Maintain a constant temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F. during the day and 60 to 65 degrees F. at night. Keep away from drafty doors or windows that may expose the plant to cold air. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature if necessary.

Step 3

Water once each week, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Decrease the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during winter months. Apply water directly to the soil to avoid splashing water on the leaves, which increases vulnerability to disease.

Step 4

Fertilize rubber plant once each month using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Apply at the rate recommended by the manufacturer for best results. Water before and after applying fertilizer to reduce the chance of root injury.

Step 5

Prune once a year in early spring just before rubber plant begins actively growing again. Remove diseased, damaged or excessively long limbs to improve aesthetic appeal and nutrient conservation.

Step 6

Repot rubber plant during late winter or early spring before active growth begins. Increase the size of the container by 3 to 4 inches each time to allow plenty of room for new growth. Water immediately after transplanting to compact the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Thermometer
  • Houseplant fertilizer

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension Service: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs and Other Friendly Ficus
  • Clemson University Extension: Rubber Plant
  • Colorado State University Extension---Plant Talk: Rubber Plant
Keywords: rubber plant, rubber tree, ficus elastica

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.

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