How To Take Care of A Rubber Plant Or Ficus Elastica

The Rubber Plant is a plant that belongs to the Morrissey family, which houses mulberry and pigs around 1000 species of them and the genus is  Ficus. It is native to the eastern parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. This plant has many cultivars like the Tineke, Burgundy, and Ruby Decorah being the most common ones. Robusta shiveriana and many more. 

Some of the few interesting names it goes by are the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant or Indian rubber bush, and the Indian rubber tree. In its natural habitat, it grows to 30 to 40 meters tall as a tree. New leaves on this plant grow inside a sheath and it slowly unfurls as it grows out of the protective sheet which then drops off as the leaf matures.

This plant yields a milky white latex used to make rubber formally. Now the rubber is toast mainly for commercial use by the latex that is drawn from the heavier resilience of the para rubber tree. which is a completely different tree. Ficus Elastica has been used to build botanical architecture without using tools in many cultures all around the world.

The plant is planted on either side of the riverbank and once it reaches maturity the ariel roots are wound across some deadwood or bamboo and are made to go across the river the routes which usually hang down vertically are directed to go horizontally and when this happens, when they reach the opposite side they are implanted and begin to thicken eventually and they grow stronger. 

Read More:- Aglaonema plant care tips

Caring For Rubber Plant

Sunlight

Many people claim that the Ficus elastica can do well under low light but I would strongly disagree. Just think about it in the wild this plant grows to be a large tree. Don’t you think it needs a good amount of sunlight I think it does. So now the question is Does Rubber plants need direct sunlight? 

So, remember to put the plant in a spot where it will get a dose of good bright light. Maybe not too harsh direct light in southwestern exposure as leaves might scorch in the bright afternoon light. But bright morning direct to indirect bright light will do good for this plant.

People take this for granted with this plant is because they do not give it the light it needs. But the majority of problems are solved if you understand that this plant needs good bright light may be morning direct light in an eastern exposure will be perfect for it. If you have a south or western exposure move it a little back a little away from direct sunlight because I have heard that you know many people have had the leaves of this plant scorching in such kind of light. So just find a good spot for this where it receives enough sunlight and this plant will do very well.

Water

How often do we water Rubber plants? The plant will do very well with water when you give it more sunlight it will need more water as well. So tune your watering schedule accordingly to the best and most effective way to ensure that you don’t overwater or underwater. Simply check the soil before you water it again if it is dry two inches down then water again in deep water the plant and let it dry a little before you water it again.

You will have to make your own watering schedule as a lot of factors like the kind of soil, the pot plant is in the kind of sunlight you receive, the kind of air drafts the humidity in your area. All will hamper will affect how you need need to water your plants. So don’t go by what someone else tells you. Just make your own watering 

Soil

Rubber Plant tolerates moist soil but it needs soil that is more well-draining rather than moisture-retaining. So don’t use too much cocopeat and vermiculite that will retain a lot of water. If your plant is in a pot that is already in a moisture-retaining mix then be careful while you are watering your plant as you might end up overwatering it. Also, this plant needs a nutrient, rich mix.

So adding compost to your mix is a very good idea. So all in all it needs nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Most rubber plants come potted in clay soil from nurseries and they grow pretty well in them. So you don’t need to panic and start repotting your plants right away whenever you have the need to repot your plant that is when you put them in a better soil mix.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing monthly with nitrogen-rich fertilizer can be more than enough for this plant to grow healthy. You can use compost or seaweed solutions. Now the question is When should we fertilize your rubber plant? Fertilize Rubber Plant during the active growth in the Spring and Summer. The Plant which is kept in low light should be fertilized less often.

Toxicity

The white milky sap of this plant is toxic and can cause irritation to the eyes if it comes in contact with your eyes. If consumed this sap can irritate your bowels as well. So it’s best to keep it away from kids and pets and be careful when you come in contact with the sap. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Pruning

If you want this plant to grow well and you want it to grow bushy, you could prune it occasionally or you could pinch off the bud. Pruning gives your plant better shape. Also whenever you prune a plant, the plant realizes that it’s lost a lot of foliage that will help it make its food. So it pushes out new growth. So it’s always good to prune your plant so that new foliage, more foliage grows. But remember to do it once in a while maybe once a year or something like that not more than that and when you prune, don’t prune more than 25 percent of your plant.

Grooming

The leaves of the Ficus Elastica are wide and big and hold a lot of dust on the surface. So what you can do this wipe it down occasionally or you can hose down the dust or wash the plant occasionally. Dust tends to block the pores that are the stomata and it hampers transpiration. So it’s important to clean the leaves once in a while.

Humidity

It is a humidity-loving plant and thrives in places where the humidity is high but it will also tolerate low humidity. It does best in humidity which is between 60 to 80 percent. 

Temperature

This plant will tolerate cold but temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius to below 29 degrees Celsius are best to keep it happy. Rubber plants like these types of temperatures. Avoid cold direct windy draughts. This plant won’t appreciate that.

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