The rubber tree, or Ficus elastica, is a popular indoor plant with glossy green leaves and purifying the air. These trees are known for their easy care and ability to thrive in various conditions, making them perfect for novice gardeners or people who don’t have much time to devote to their plants.
This guide will help you know how to choose the right type of rubber tree for your needs, where to place it in your house or office and what care instructions you should follow so that it grows strong and healthy.
Taking Care of Rubber Tree
Rubber tree care is relatively easy, but there are a few things you should know to keep your plant healthy and looking its best. If you are lucky enough to have a rubber tree as a houseplant, you will want to learn this rubber tree care guide. Let’s delve into the details.
What kind of soil does a Rubber Tree like?
Rubber trees like the soil that is well-drained and slightly acidic. A potting mix that is high in organic matter will work well. You can either make your potting mix or purchase a pre-made mix from your local garden centre. Be sure to avoid potting soils that are too sandy or have too much fertiliser, as this can harm your plant.
At a minimum, rubber trees need a standard 10-inch pot filled with moistened soil. They’re strong growers and need to be transplanted regularly as they outgrow their pots. If you want your plant to grow faster/taller, you should transplant the tree into a larger container every one or two years. A Rubber Tree in a too-small pot will have smaller leaves and fewer of them.
What’s the Best Light Environment for your Rubber Tree?
Rubber trees do best in bright, indirect light. A rubber tree that is regularly exposed to direct sunlight can develop sunburned leaves or become leggy as it reaches for the sun. The leaves look glossy and dark green if your plant is getting enough light.
Rubber trees can be moved outdoors in summer if given plenty of shade. When the leaves begin to turn yellow, it’s time to bring the plant back inside.
A Rubber Tree that is getting too much light will have light green leaves, and the edges of the leaves will be yellow or brown. If you are unsure if your plant is getting enough light, place your hand just above the leaves. If you can’t see your hand, the plant needs more light.
Do Rubber Trees Like Humidity and Misting?
Rubber trees like humidity, but not soggy soil. One way to increase the humidity around your plant is by regularly misting it with a plant mister. You can also place it on a tray of wet pebbles or grow it in a greenhouse where the air is humid.
When there is less moisture in the air during the winter months, you may need to mist your rubber tree more often.
Watering your Rubber Tree
How often your rubber tree needs water will depend on various factors, including the pot size, type of soil, temperature, and humidity levels. In general, you should water your rubber tree when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
Be sure not to overwater your rubber tree, as this can be just as harmful as underwatering. A plant in soggy soil will develop root rot and eventually die. If you are unsure whether your rubber tree needs water, it may be best to wait until the top of the soil feels dry before watering it again.
Fertilising a Rubber Tree
Rubber trees don’t need much fertilisation if any at all. If you are planting your rubber tree in a potting mix rich in compost, it may not need to be fertilised.
You should only fertilise your rubber tree if the leaves are yellowing or pale in color. The nutrients get used up quickly by a rubber tree in a pot, so you will only need to fertilise it every few months. Use a water-soluble fertiliser that is high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus.
Pruning a Rubber Tree
Rubber trees should be pruned during the springtime. You will encourage a denser growth habit and more leaves by trimming your plant. You can remove new shoots, suckers, or flowers by pinching them off with your fingers or cutting them out with a clean knife. To minimise the risk of infection, sterilise your tools between each cut with a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water.
Do Rubber Trees have any special requirements?
Rubber trees require a lot of light and humidity. If you live in a dry or hot region. It may be beneficial to move your rubber plant outside during the summer months so it can experience cooler temperatures and higher humidity. Rubber trees should not be exposed to cold drafts, especially if they are placed near a heating vent or air conditioning unit.
Keep off the Pests
Rubber trees are not typically bothered by pests, but they can occasionally get aphids, mealybugs, or scale. If you notice any tiny insects on your plant, use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them. Be sure to read the directions carefully and test a small area first to ensure the product will not harm your plant.
Bringing Your Rubber Tree Inside for the Winter
When the temperature drops below 50 degrees F, you will need to bring your rubber tree inside. It should be placed in a bright, warm location to get plenty of sunlight. Rubber trees do not like cold drafts, so be sure to keep yours away from any air conditioners, vents, or draughty windows.
A rubber tree will lose its leaves as it is dormant for the winter. While this may seem ordinary, you can tell if your plant is stressed by looking for yellowing leaves and shrivelled stems. If you notice these symptoms, discontinue watering until the leaves have turned green again. This usually indicates that your plant has recovered and is ready to be watered as usual.
So, as you can see, taking care of a rubber tree is not too difficult. Just remember to provide it with plenty of light and humidity and water it when the top of the soil feels dry. If you follow these steps, your rubber plant should continue to thrive for many years.
- Potting mix
- 10-inch pot
- Plant mister
- Watering can
- Water-soluble fertiliser
- Horticultural oil or insecticidal soap