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How to Care for Your Rubber Tree

How to Care for Your Rubber Tree

Learn the simple ways on how to care for your Rubber Tree. You're going to love this low-maintenance houseplant, promise!

The Rubber Tree or Ficus Elastica, also known as the Rubber Plant, is one of the easiest of the ficus trifecta to care for and grow, except for one thing: it doesn't like change, so pick a bright spot for your Rubber Tree and let it do its thing. Rubber Tree is also one of the hardiest members of the ficus family, a perfect houseplant for beginners. Famous for its large glossy leaves, this plant can grow up to 100 feet in their native homeland of Southeast Asia. Yes, it's bigger than the Dragon Tree. However, an indoor Rubber Tree plant can grow anywhere between six to ten feet tall.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the roots of the Rubber Tree are used to make living bridges? Yes, a dead tree trunk with its roots is put across a river, and its roots will eventually grow and thicken until more roots will grow to complete the bridge. The bridge made from the roots of the Rubber Tree is so flexible that it can resist strong wind and flooding. Amazing, huh?

The Rubber Tree's name originated from their sap, which is sometimes used to make rubber. With the right amount of TLC, these plants will grow tall and produce beautiful rubbery and shiny leaves. Rubber Tree makes excellent houseplants, so if you're planning to add into your space, here are the things you need to learn on how to care for your Rubber Tree.

Botanical Name Ficus elastica
Common Name Indian Rubber Bush, Indian Rubber Tree, Rubber Bush, Rubber Fig, and Rubber Plant
Plant Size Indoors: 6 to 10 feet, In Their Native Homeland: 100 feet
Types of Rubber Tree Plants Abidjan, Benjamina Ficus (Fig Tree), Decora, Ficus Benghalensis, Ficus Burgundy Rubber Plant, Ficus Carica, Ficus Microcarpa, and Robusta
Sunlight Rubber Tree prefers bright, indirect light that isn't too hot. It's best to place it near a window with a sheer curtain so that it will receive the right amount of sunlight.
Water Rubber Tree's water needs vary according to season. During summer, keep the soil of your Rubber Tree moist, but do not overwater it. During winter, water your Rubber Tree when the top inch of the soil becomes dry.
Humidity Rubber Tree can survive in less humid temperatures, but it prefers moist and humid air due to its tropical origin. It's best to mist its leaves to increase humidity, especially during summer.
Temperature The Rubber Tree enjoys average room temperatures of 65-80°F
Toxicity Mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and humans.
Food Feed your Rubber Tree every month during the spring and summer with diluted liquid fertilizer. Stop giving fertilizer during the winter.
Pests & Problems Aphids, mealy bugs, mites, and scales are a few common bugs that usually destroy your Rubber Tree. Also, it's most susceptible to plant diseases connected with overwatering.
Omysa Plant Care Tip Rubber Tree doesn't like change, so it's best to pick a bright spot for your plant and let it do its thing. However, it's still important to pay attention to its needs like sunlight, temperature, and watering schedule.

Rubber Tree Plant Care Tips

Growing a Rubber Tree doesn't require a green thumb at all. You simply need to find the right balance in your environment to make this plant happy and healthy. One thing to keep in mind is the leaves of your Rubber Tree can get dirty pretty fast, so it's recommended to clean its leaves with a soft, slightly moist, lint-free cloth to maintain its glossy leaves.

Here's a complete explanation of how to care for your Rubber Tree, from sunlight requirement to common problems and its solutions.

Sunlight

First on our list on how to care for your Rubber Tree is to find it a spot in your home where it will get bright, indirect light that isn't too hot. For example, you can place it near a window with a sheer curtain. Keep in mind that there are types of Rubber Tree that needs more light to help bring out their colors.

Common Problem: If the leaves on your Rubber Tree is dropping or turning yellow, then it's not receiving enough light.

Solution: Relocate your Rubber Tree to medium to a brightly lit area where it will get enough light. Never place your Rubber Tree direct sunlight for too long because its leaves will burn.

Water

Next on our list on how to care for your Rubber Tree is to water it when the top inch of the soil becomes dry. Your Rubber Tree requires more water during their growing season in the summer. Always keep the soil moist, but not drowning. Water your Rubber Tree less during winter. Keep the soil dry but not too dry.

Common Problem: The leaves of your Rubber Tree are turning brown or yellow, this means that you overwatered the plant.

Solution: Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering it again. This might take 2-3 weeks. Also, check the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot and into the saucer because sometimes excess water in the saucer can cause root rot, which can kill your plant.

Common Problem: The leaves start to droop.

Solution: Your Rubber Tree is telling you that it needs more water.

Humidity & Temperature

Adding to our list on how to care for your Rubber Tree is to check the humidity and temperature of your place. Rubber Tree prefers moist and humid air due to its tropical origin. It's best if you can mist its leaves to increase humidity, especially during summer. Also, it enjoys average room temperatures of 65-80°F. Keep in mind that the Rubber Tree is sensitive to temperature changes.

Common Problem: The leaves start to droop or turning yellow, which are the signs of dry soil and low humidity. 

Solution: Mist the leaves of your Rubber Tree often to increase the humidity.

Toxicity

Rubber Tree is mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and humans. The plant's sap can cause skin irritation for some people, so be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching your plant. It can also cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting to humans and pets.

Food

Another on our list on how to care for your Rubber Tree is to feed your plant with a balanced liquid organic fertilizer, dilute to half strength. Do this every month during the spring and summer. Stop giving fertilizer during the winter.

Common Problem: When leaves are turning brown or yellow, but it's not because of too much sun.

Solution: Fertilizer burn is the result of applying too much fertilizer to your plant. Remember, fertilizer contains salts, which draw moisture out of plants. It's best to stick to the recommended amount of fertilizer to avoid this problem.

Pests & Other Problems

Rubber Tree is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, but it doesn't mean that it's not immune to pests like aphids, mealy bugs, mites, and scales. If you notice these bugs on your Rubber Tree, wipe them with a warm soap and water solution or insecticidal soap.

Another thing that you should take note of is it's susceptible to plant diseases connected with overwatering. To avoid this problem, check first if the plant's soil is dry before watering.

That's a wrap on how to care for your Rubber Tree. It’s really easy and simple, right? The perfect plant for beginners and busy owners. Plus, it's an air-purifying plant, which makes it more attractive to plant enthusiasts.

Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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