Rubber Tree Plant Care

The Essentials of Rubber Tree Plant Care

Rubber tree plant care is a matter of creating the right kind of environment for your house plant. If you are thinking of getting a rubber tree plant, care and upkeep are nothing to be worried about. An understanding of the background and natural habitat of the rubber tree will help you be effective in caring for your indoor plant.

This plant, also called Ficus elastica, is the domesticated version of the tree which in nature grows to around 50 ft. tall. The sap of the rubber tree from which we get most of our rubber is the source of the tree’s name. It is found in many parts of the world and thrives in the tropical climate of countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, which are the three largest natural rubber producers in the world.

Those considering acquiring a rubber tree plant are best advised to get a young sapling. The younger the plant you get, the greater its chance of adapting well to the new environment.

The plant does well in tropical and subtropical environments and this is a salient detail to remember when you decide on the placement for your indoor rubber tree plant. They need lots of light and cannot withstand excessive heat. It is considered a good idea to place the plant near windows to give them the benefit of direct light. However, you should make sure that this is a well-sealed window so that there is no cold draft to deal with in the cooler months.

In the forests where the rubber trees grow, they are watered by heavy downpours interspersed by periods of dryness. So while the soil does get thoroughly soaked with water there is also time for the water to dry out between the rains. You can use this as a broad guideline for your watering routine. Make sure the soil in the container is completely moist soon after watering but give the plant time to use up the water before giving it any more water. Over-watering can lead to brown & yellow leaves which will fall off the plant. If you are worried about under-watering just observe the plant for it will let you know through its drooping leaves if it needs more water. It is best to use room temperature water for these plants. Fall and winter are the dormant period for the rubber tree plant and you can reduce the watering significantly during the period.

As a part of rubber tree plant care you should plan some pruning and trimming. Pruning is also a good way to make sure the plant does not become too big for the indoors. You can also encourage the growth of new foliage by cutting a slit where an old leaf falls off. This will accelerate the appearance of a new leaf.

You will need to plan on feeding the plant some fertilizer once a month at least during the active growth phase. You can use the water soluble type or use the fertilizer stakes that are most appropriate for this kind of house plant and follow the directions of the manufacturer. Fertilizing can be suspended during the dormant months.

If your plant is doing well, and you want to try growing some more you can propagate new plants from the cutting of your healthy rubber tree plant. The simple way of obtaining a cutting is to snip a little branch off the old tree and plant it in water or potting mix for roots to sprout. Air layering is another method that is sometimes adopted in the case of these plants. You can make an incision in a lively rubber tree plant and then insert a toothpick through it. By packing damp moss near the hole and putting a plastic wrap around it to ensure high levels of humidity in the area, you can make roots appear on the branch. This branch can then be taken as a cutting. In this latter method, you can get the benefit of your healthy plant’s resources to ensure that new roots sprout at the earliest possible.

Rubber tree plant care should also include some cleaning of the plant’s renowned glossy leaves. Since the foliage is the most striking feature of this plant, you should make sure it is cleaned with a wet cloth or gentle duster. There are leaf shine products that are available at garden centers which may also be used to make sure the leaves are in good condition.


 

 


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