How to Properly Care for a Rubber Plant

Overview

Rubber plant, a member of the ficus family and popular houseplant in the United States, requires only minimal care to thrive indoors and adapts to a wide range of growing conditions. Grown for its thick, glossy leaves, the rubber plant reaches heights of 6 to 10 feet if provided with adequate space and care. Native to tropical areas of Asia and India, the plant cannot tolerate cold temperatures. American gardeners grow rubber plant indoors to brighten interior spaces where other plants may fail.

Step 1

Keep your rubber plant in a location that receives bright morning sun and partial afternoon shade, such as an east-facing window. Maintain a daytime temperature of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and a nighttime temperature of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Water about once every 10 days, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every two weeks during winter, when the plant is dormant and not actively growing.

Step 3

Fertilize once per month using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Apply at the rate described on the product's label for the best results. Water thoroughly before and after applying to release the nutrients into the soil and prevent injuring the plant's roots.

Step 4

Use a damp cloth to clean rubber plant's leaves once per week to improve the appearance and health of the plant. Use a clean, soft cloth soaked in tepid water to avoid shocking the plant with excessive heat or cold.

Step 5

Repot once every four years during late winter, before active growth resumes. Increase the size of the container by 3 to 4 inches in diameter to provide plenty of room for growth. Use an all-purpose potting soil as the growing medium.

Things You'll Need

  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Cloth
  • Container
  • Potting soil

References

  • Colorado State University Extension: Rubber Plant
  • University of Minnesota Extension Service: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs and Other Friendly Ficus
  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Rubber Plant
Keywords: rubber plant, care for a rubber plant, 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.