How to care for a rubber tree

Ficus elastica associated with the Fig family – better known as Rubber Tree. This tropical plant is native to humid climates like southern China, Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Fun Fact: It’s sap is made with latex which was used to make rubber before synthetics were available.

Rubber trees make excellent houseplants, as they are low-light tolerant, and help clean the indoor air from pollutants.

General Care

Sunlight

Thrives in medium to bright indirect light, and can tolerate bright direct light.

Water

Water when you see the top 1 in – 2 inches of soil is dry. Remember this plant is used to humid rainy climates mixed with intense sun. So act like the sun and the clouds. Increase frequency with increased light.

Humidity

Any humidity level will do. Normal room humidity is fine. Mist your tree to add any humidity you may be lacking.

Temperature

65°F-85°F (18°C-30°C). It’s best not to let it go below 60°F (15°C).

Size

This plant can reach an ultimate height of about 30’ (10m) and will have a spread of about 10” (3.2m) over the years. However, as a houseplant, will be much smaller.

Common Problems

It is generally a very easygoing plant. May get scale and mealybugs. Treat scale bugs and mealybugs as soon as they appear with weekly sprays of horticultural (Neem) oil and regular wipe-downs of the plant.

SYMPTOM: Color fading on leaves

CAUSE: Not enough sunlight

SYMPTOM: Leaves curling inward coupled with dry potting mix

CAUSE: Underwatered

SYMPTOM: Leaves dropping coupled with wet potting mix

CAUSE: Overwatered

Precautions

This plant is poisonous to cats, dogs, and humans if consumed. Best practice is always to keep houseplants out of reach of small children and pets.

Posted by

Melissa Philippe, or Mel, is the founder and creator of Da Modern Mama. An organisation built around the advocacy and support for POC maternal health. After being an English educator for 8+ years, Mel decided to devote her time to being a speaker and advocate for women of colour. With degrees in English, Writing and literature while being a doula and certified Montessori educator and an Adult and Child Psychologist focused on development and neuroscience. It's allowed her to learn from both sides of the fence and use the same practices in our family. Melissa is also a multi-award-winning author, writer, educator, parent coach, and keynote speaker. - Melissa Philippe (Laura Valentine)

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