About Rubber Plant:
The Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) could be the ideal houseplant for you if you want a tough but easy going indoor plant that can reach staggering heights within just a few years.
The shiny leaves look great in most homes and fill the space in an empty corner quickly.
Even if you don’t want to grow a really tall tree like plant indoors, the Rubber Plant’s size can be restricted to an extend with regular pruning. However you have to keep in mind these houseplants are determined to grow upwards, no matter what and don’t stay small and compact forever, eventually requiring a certain amount vertical of space.
Rubber trees, formally ficus elastica, can be enjoyed as either medium-sized house plants or grown to become focal point, beautiful indoor trees. If you’re patient enough to grow your own, plants that start out younger when you buy them adapt better to indoor living than starting with a more mature plant. They can grow to impressive heights within a few years, especially if you put the plants outside during the summer. Keeping the plants in small pots will restrict their growth, if you want to keep them smaller .
Health Benefits of Rubber Plant:
Air — including contaminants — is absorbed through the rubber plant’s leaves. The large leaves allow it to draw in large amounts of contaminants, making it efficient at cleaning the air. As water is drawn upward through the plant from the roots, air is drawn downward and out through the roots to make air available to the roots. Contaminants are drawn through the plant with the air and deposited in the soil. Once the contaminants are in the soil, they encounter microbes that naturally live around the roots. The microbes break down the contaminants and convert them either into nutrients the plants can use or to harmless compounds in the soil, depending on the type of contaminant.
Carbon Dioxide Removal
Rubber plants improve air quality by converting exhaled carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. The plants combine carbon dioxide with hydrogen broken down from water taken in by the roots. A by-product of this chemical reaction is oxygen. The rubber plant releases the extra oxygen into the air through the leaves.
Bacteria and mold spores float through the air, looking for places to grow. Soil is a natural place for these organisms to grow, but they can make rubber plants sick. Part of a rubber plant’s defense against these potential hazards kills these organisms while they are airborne. This process will not harm people or pets, but can reduce mold and bacteria in a room by as much as 50 or 60 percent.
These houseplants clean the air by emitting high oxygen content, and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldehyde or other toxins.
Rubber Plant Care:
In the summer I water mine thoroughly even 7 days. In the winter it’s every 10-14 days because the sun can be out every day here in the Sonoran Desert. You’ll have to adjust the watering frequency according to your growing conditions. Houseplant watering 101 will shed some light on factors to consider. You basically want a happy medium with this plant – not bone dry but not soggy wet.
As I say in regards to houseplants: if your home is comfortable for you, then it’ll be the same for your plants.
I use worm compost & compost to feed all my houseplants in early spring. Worm compost is my favorite amendment & am currently using Worm Gold Plus. You want to apply these sparingly indoors; easy does it.
If combo’s not your thing, you might prefer a balanced liquid organic fertilizer. You can use this 1 outdoors too so when it comes to your houseplants, dilute it to half strength. Use this in spring & maybe again in late summer but don’t overdo it because too much fertilizer causes burn.
Use a good organic potting soil when repotting this plant. You want it to be enriched with good stuff but also to drain well. I’m partial to Happy Frog because of its high-quality ingredients. It’s great for container planting, including houseplants.
The faster your Rubber Tree’s growing & the taller it’s getting, the more often you’ll need to repot it. That might be every 2 years or every 4 years, depending on the size pot it’s currently in.
I’m going to be repotting mine in a few months so I’ll do a post & video for you. It doesn’t matter if the new pot is 2″ bigger or 6″ bigger; the roots of this tree need room to grow & spread.
For me this is the fun part – more plants please! The way I like to propagate this fabulous houseplant is by air layering. I’ve always had success with this method & show you how to do it on my very tall & narrow Ficus elastica “variegata”. Here’s how you prune off & plant the air layered portion.
Air layering takes about 2 months but it’s a very effective way to propagate this indoor tree. Rooting softwood cuttings (the top 6″ or so of growth) in a propagation mix is another way. With the air layering, you can get a taller plant from the get-go
This might be necessary to control the size of this tree which not only grows tall, but wide. Make clean cuts right above a growth node. Avoid pruning in the winter months if you can. And of course, make sure your pruners are clean & sharp.
The Rubber Plant emits a white sap when pruned or broken. It’s irritating to their innards & skin so keep your cats & dogs away from this 1 if you foresee a problem. My kitties don’t mess with my plants so it’s not a concern for me