How to Care for your Rubber Tree PLant
The Rubber tree plant is also known as the ficus elastica, rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush, & Indian rubber tree. These plants have beautiful, broad shiny, oval leaves.
I think that it is important to know a house plant’s native country so you can create an ideal environment for it! The rubber tree plant is native to Nepal, Indonesia, Bhutan, northeastern India, Burma and China, and Malaysia.
Fig wasps and Rubber
Something really interesting about this plant is that it requires a certain kind of wasp in order to pollinate because it is part of the fig family. This means, in order to create more plants, unless you live in a region where the wasp lives, you have to propagate your plant.
Most of the rubber plants you see are most likely created from propagation by stem cuttings or layering. Which I find fascinating. How many of us have a plant from the same OG Rubber plant?!
There is also milky white latex throughout the entire plant which was once tested to create rubber, but these days rubber comes from the Hevea brasiliensis plant.
How to care for your Rubber Tree Plant
The rubber tree plant needs well-draining and well-aerated potting. 1 part peat, 1 part pine bark, and 1 part coarse sand (or perlite) is a good mix for your plant.
When it comes to light, rubber plants love bright light, but not direct light. Hot, direct light can scorch the plant’s leaves. Setting your rubber tree in front of a sheer curtain in a bright window is perfect! As long as that spot doesn’t become too hot. Your rubber plant will need to live in a space that has temperatures around 60°F to 75°F.
Your rubber tree plant’s watering schedule will depend on what season you are in. during summer, your plant will need to be watered and misted often to keep the soil moist. Yet in the winter, you only need to water your rubber plant once or twice a month. If your home is heated and dry in the winter, you will also want to mist the plant’s leaves. You can also mist the leaves and gently clean them too! If you overwater the plant, its leaves will turn brown & yellow and drop.
If you want your rubber plant to grow, you need to make sure that it doesn’t become root-bound. When the plant reaches its maximum size in its pot, it will stop growing. This plant is also pretty low maintenance when it comes to pruning. You only need to prune the plant back if you don’t want it to grow any further. Keep in mind that rubber tree plants can grow to be 50 feet tall in their native environment but in a house, plant setting can be 6-10 feet tall when properly cared for!
The rubber tree plant can have similar pest problems to other common house plants such as Mealybugs, mites, scales, and aphids. Check-in on your plant’s leaves when you water to keep an eye out for these pests.