Rubber Plant

Collection: Rubber Plant

Belonging to the same family as the Fiddle leaf fig, every home gardener's first love in recent years, is the stately, humble but oh so stunning - Ficus elastica, or the rubber plant.


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Rubber Plant Indoor

With Rubber Plants stately glossy leaves in either moreish dark reddish-green or pastel shades of off-white, sage green and pink, the rubber plant has been a part of home gardens for decades now. While it might have never ruled the Instagram grid like its cousin, it has never gone out of style, much like itself it is dependable.
Native to Southeast Asia, this evergreen tropical tree is an excellent houseplant that is tolerant of a variety of light conditions and can grow with very little care. It has only one nemesis - overwatering. When grown in the wild, this tree can be huge in size and its sap is used to make rubber, hence the name. In Northeastern India, the Indian rubber plant or tree is also used to make ‘living bridges’. While its ability to make rubber and living bridges are not selling points for home gardeners, what should put this plant on your next plant shopping with Ugaoo is the fact that it's one of the best air purifying plants out there and when cared for well it can live for decades.
One interesting fact about the plant from the Ficus elastica family is that they all exhibit “foliar polymorphism” - the leaf shape changes through its life cycle, unlike other plants that have the same leaf shape through life.

Let's take a look at the detailed guide for rubber plant care-

Rubber plant care

The rubber plant care does not have a very difficult care regime, if the few basics are taken care of then the plant lives very happily for decades. If you want a plant that lives happily in your home for decades, get a younger plant and allow them to grow to the conditions in your home and adapt to give them a much higher chance at a long healthy life; however, if you want a smaller more manageable plant you can do so by keeping the plant in a comparatively smaller planter to restrict its growth. One of the major points to be kept in mind before you get the rubber plant for indoor gardens is that it is not a pet-friendly plant.

◾ Soil

As highlighted in the introducing paragraph, rubber plants have but one nemesis - overwatering. 99% of the rubber plants that don’t survive in home gardens suffer because of overwatering.
Rubber plants hate sitting in water, so well-draining soil is a must. The catch here is that since it's a tropical forest plant, the soil also needs to be rich in organic matter at the same time. A good mix of regular garden soil, vermicompost, and perlite or wood chips/tree bark will work very well.
Here, the planter size is also important because a larger planter size (in comparison to the plant) means more soil and hence more retained water, so always rubber plant in a proportionate sized planter.

◾ Light

Yes, it is an excellent indoor plant, but the fact that the rubber plant loves the sun cannot be disputed. The rubber plant thrives in the sun, so when placed indoors give your rubber plant the brightest spot you can. It should get either the brightest possible indirect light through the day or get partial to direct sunlight for a few hours of the day. Place it next to a south or west facing natural light source to give it all the light and warmth it needs to grow to its full potential.

◾ Water

For the rubber plant, always err on the side of caution - underwatering is better than overwatering. The watering requirement of rubber plant changes from season to season, in its growing months of spring and summer the plant will require more frequent watering, while in its dormant months of autumn and winter the plant might need to be watered only once in 2 weeks (depending on the light it gets and how cold it gets in your area).
Even in its growing season, let the top 2-3 inches of soil dry out before watering your rubber plant and always empty the base plate of any residual water. Check for droopy leaves, a clear sign that the plant needs water. Regularly poke holes into the soil to aid aeration of oil and facilitate better drainage.
While watering if the soil is too dry and cracked, water in batches. Watering the plant in one go will make the water run out of the potting mix without being absorbed by the soil. So it is essential to water in batches to allow the potting mix to absorb the water completely.

◾ Fertiliser

Rubber plants love frequent feedings and they reciprocate with bigger leaves and a thicker stem. Feed your plant every 20 days with a well-balanced houseplant fertiliser like the Ugaoo Plant tonic in its growing period from spring to the start of monsoon.
You can also change/augment its potting soil when winter ends (February - before spring starts) with a good quantity of vermicompost for a growth spurt through the warm months.

Propagating Rubber plant

The rubber plant can be propagated by stem cutting. Take at least a 5 to 6 inch cutting from the main plant and remove the lower most leaves and retain only the top two leaves. Once the sap has dried, place the cuttings in a bottle filled with water in a well-lit and warm area till it grows roots. Once the roots emerge plant it in a deep planter with a well-draining soil mix.
To promote branching in your rubber plant, prune it right above a leaf node, approximately 5-6 inches from the top. You can use this top cutting for propagation while the original plant will throw multiple branches from its cut edge. One thing to be kept in mind is that the cut should always be made at an incline.

Types of Rubber plant

Ficus elastica is an excellent indoor plant, which when conditioned from a young age, can grow very well even in comparatively low light conditions. It has several stunning varieties.

✅ Robusta (Ficus elastica ‘Robusta’):

A hardy ficus elastica variety with leathery large green foliage.

✅ Tricolor (Ficus elastica ‘Tricolor’):

Bright, variegated, thick leathery leaves with a waxy surface. The foliage has an awesome combination of green, pink, and cream.

✅ Tineke(Ficus elastica ‘Tineke’):

Displaying dark and light green patchy leaves with creamy margins and pink stems.

✅ Decora (Ficus elastica ‘Decora’):

Shiny, thick, dark green leaves that can grow up to a foot long.

✅ Doescheri (Ficus elastica ‘Doescheri’):

Evergreen blotched foliage with narrow edges in a cream-white hue.

✅ Burgundy (Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’):

Exhibits deep, thick, burgundy to almost black foliage on the red stems.

✅ Red Ruby (Ficus elastica ‘Red Ruby’):

Large dark green leaves densely variegated with purple, red, and white hues.

✅ Black Prince (Ficus elastica ‘Black Prince’):

Dark green leaves of this plant look almost black from a distance.

✅ Yellow Gem (Ficus altissima ‘Yellow Gem’):

Leathery, green-centred leaves with a golden-green hue at the borders.

Problems with Rubber Plant

Other than overwatering, rubber plants have very few issues that you need to worry about. Let’s take a look at some of them-

🔺 Leaf curling:

Both under and overwatering can cause this issue. Allow the soil to almost dry out in between watering cycles, but don't let the plant stay dry for too long. If you see the leaves start to flop down, water immediately and thoroughly.

🔺Yellowing leaves:

A typical telltale sign of overwatering. Let the potting mix dry out in between waterings and in dormant months of winter, water very rarely.

🔺Brown spots:

They are caused due to dehydration and sunburn. Don't let your plant stay dry for too long and if you are keeping it in the sun, then ensure that the plant does not stay dry for too long.

🔺White deposits:

if you see white cotton-like deposits on your rubber plant, it might be mealy bugs. Wipe down your rubber plant with soap water solution and spray it with neem oil solution regularly to keep pests at bay.


Does a rubber plant need sun or shade?

The rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is a popular indoor plant that is native to Southeast Asia. It is a relatively low-maintenance plant that can tolerate a range of light conditions, from low to bright indirect light.
While the rubber plant can tolerate low light conditions, it will grow best in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch or fade, so it's best to place the plant near a window where it will receive bright light but not direct sunlight. In low light conditions, the rubber plant may not grow as quickly or become as large as it would in bright light, and it may also drop some of its lower leaves.
It's important to keep in mind that the rubber plant is adaptable to different light conditions, so you can adjust the plant's location to suit your needs and the available light in your home or office. With proper care, the rubber plant can grow to be several feet tall and can provide a lush, tropical touch to any indoor space.

Is rubber plant lucky?

The rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is often considered a lucky plant in many cultures. This is because it is believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and wealth to its owner.
In traditional feng shui, the rubber plant is considered a powerful symbol of good fortune and is often placed in the southeast area of a room or home to attract wealth and prosperity. Its lush, green leaves are said to represent growth and abundance, and its ability to thrive in a variety of indoor environments makes it a popular choice for those looking to bring good luck into their homes or offices.
It's important to note that the idea of a plant being "lucky" is a cultural or personal belief, and its effects on one's life will depend on individual experiences and interpretations. Regardless of its cultural significance, the rubber plant is a beautiful and low-maintenance indoor plant that can bring a touch of greenery to any space.

How long do rubber plants live?

The lifespan of a rubber plant (Ficus elastica) can vary depending on a number of factors, including growing conditions, care, and overall health of the plant. In general, rubber plants can live for many years, sometimes even decades, when provided with proper care.
Under ideal growing conditions, rubber plants can grow to be large, long-lived specimens that can reach several feet tall and wide. In order to maintain the health and longevity of your rubber plant, it is important to provide it with bright, indirect light, a well-draining soil mixture, and consistent moisture. Additionally, it is important to avoid exposing the plant to extreme temperature fluctuations or dry air, which can cause the leaves to drop or become dry and brittle.
By providing proper care, a rubber plant can become a long-lived and attractive addition to your indoor garden. Whether grown for its beauty, cultural significance, or luck-bringing properties, the rubber plant is a popular choice for indoor gardeners and a great way to add a touch of greenery to any home or office.

Do rubber plants like small pots?

Rubber plants are relatively tolerant of being rootbound, but they can grow quite large, and eventually, they may outgrow a small pot. While a rubber plant can thrive in a small pot for a short time, it's best to provide a larger pot with fresh soil and adequate space for roots to grow as the plant matures. Additionally, the soil in small pots tends to dry out faster, and it may be more challenging to maintain consistent moisture levels, which can affect the health of the plant. Moving the rubber plant to a larger pot will allow the soil to retain moisture better, and provide adequate space for the roots to grow and access the nutrients they need to thrive.
In general, a pot size that is one or two inches larger in diameter than the previous pot is appropriate for most houseplants, including rubber plants.

Does rubber plant need fertilizer?

Yes, rubber plants can benefit from fertilizing, especially if they are grown in containers or if the soil in which they are planted is not rich in nutrients. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that is formulated for houseplants can be used once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). During the fall and winter, when the plant is in its dormant phase, it is best to reduce the frequency of fertilizing or not fertilize at all. It is also important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the specific fertilizer you are using, as too much fertilizer can harm the plant.