THE POTTED GUIDE TO … RUBBER TREES

Resilient and tough Ficus elastica gets its common name, the Rubber Plant, from the white latex within the thick, leathery leaves. Originating from southern parts of Asia where it can grow tree-like to 30m, we recommend keeping these as indoor plants only. A member of the Fig family it is best to keep the root system contained. This will provide a manageable height for an eye-catching houseplant with instant tropical appeal. There are a range of beautiful, blushing colour variations and some require just a little more light than the deep green and burgundy standards. Pair with a strong and sturdy pot for a long-standing relationship.

Ficus elastica

STYLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • waxy, broad leaves and sculptural form
  • sheltered, frost free spaces with bright light
  • light misting in air conditioned environments
  • tropical styles, large planters, quick growers, apartments, public spaces

LIGHT – BRIGHT

Brightly lit rooms away from direct sun are ideal spaces for the Rubber Tree. Rotate them regularly for even growth distribution. Avoid the coldest of spaces that may drop below 15°C.

Ideal in brightly lit rooms

WATER – MODERATE

Keep the plant topped up with water once the top 5cm of the potting mix feels dry. Be careful to avoid over-watering however. Misting the leaves during dry conditions will help hydrate the plant while avoiding excess water to the roots. With the correct drainage, any chance of root rot is vastly reduced. Reduce watering during the cooler months when growth stalls.

A multitude of variations

SOIL – WELL-DRAINED

Our plants do not require re-potting for at least 12 months. The Rubber Tree will require excellent drainage. Once you are ready to re-pot your plant, use a quality indoor potting mix with peat, pine bark and perlite or coarse sand. Or make your own following a ratio of approximately 1:1:1. General potting mix will more-likely become too compacted from overhead watering, increasing the chance of root rot and disease.

Indoor plants and pots for small spaces
Those broad, stiff leaves

MAINTENANCE – MODERATE

These plants are not hungry feeders. A half-strength feed of liquid plant food for indoor plants can be applied twice a year, during Spring and Summer. Rubber Trees are quick growers and can be pruned once a desired height is reached. They respond well to pruning which will encourage a bushier appearance and branching. Make clean cuts just above a node (the junction on the plant stem from which one or more leaves emerge). As the sap can ooze and be caustic, wear gloves and other skin protection and avoid rubbing your eyes at all cost! Equally, some floor protection like the compostable tarp by The Plant Runner, will help with any wayward drips. Wrap cut stems with a cloth till the flow stops, around 5 minutes. Remember to clean your tools to avoid any nuisance latex hardening. The plants can also be propagated from approximately 5cm of fresh growth. Allow the sap to dry for an hour before inserting into a moistened propagation mix.

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