Rubber Plant

This article contains: Appearance Potting Mix and planting Sunlight Water Fertilizer Repotting Propagation Diseases Toxicity Common problems

4/18/20235 min read


Rubber plant also known as Ficus elastica. This is a tall growing plant but it can be grown in a pot also. If this plant is planted on the ground it grows up to 30-40 m in height. It has shiny oval shaped leaves. Small plant leaves are about 10 -15 cm long. It’s leaves have a rubbery texture which looks attractive. This plant does not require any special care. Its leaves are of two types one is pure burgundy color and the other is variegated which contains green and cream or white color.

Keeping house plants always clean will enhance its beauty. Clean leaves look shinier.

Potting Mix and planting:

Like other house plants, rubber plants also like well-drained soil. Take an 8–10-inch pot (any pot plastic or clay) for it. Make potting mix for rubber plants, take 70 percent garden soil, 20 percent cocopeat, 10 percent good quality compost. Make 3-4 drainage holes at the bottom of the pot and cover those holes with some stone so the soil. Now fill the ¼th pot with potting mix and put the plant at the center of the pot, add some potting mix around the plant and press it gently. Water it thoroughly. Keep it away from the direct sunlight for 3 - 4 days.


Rubber plants require bright light not direct sunlight. Rubber plants show lack of light by losing their leaves' luster. If it does not get enough bright light, it becomes leggy. Rubber plants also grow very well in shaded balconies. I have put my rubber plant in a shaded balcony for 2 years and it grows very well. But I think partial shade is best for the rubber plant. If you want to put it in sunlight then the evening and the morning sunlight is ok for it. Do not expose it in harsh direct sunlight that will burn the leaves or make some spots on the leaves.


Rubber plant requires frequent water in its growing season so water it once in 2-3 days in its growing season otherwise water it once in every 4-5 days or when it is required. But take one thing in mind that when you water it thoroughly means each and every root will get enough water or water should come through the drainage holes. What i do before watering my rubber plant, i check the soil if it gets dry up to 2 inch in depth then i water it thoroughly. Rubber plants can tolerate a little bit of underwatering but do not tolerate overwatering.


Every plant requires fertilizer in its growing season like that rubber plant also like fertilizer only in its active means growing season. Any light liquid fertilizer is good for it. You can take ½ teaspoon water soluble 10-10-10(nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) fertilizer, mix it into 2-liter water and apply it to the plant. Use this fertilizer once every 3 - 4 week. You can also add compost to it, just remove the upper 3-inch soil and add 2-3 handfuls of compost and again add the soil as it is. Always a

give water to the plant after giving compost to it. I recommend organic liquid fertilizer for rubber plants.

Do not fertilize the plants in their dormancy period. Winter is the dormancy period of rubber plants so just water it in its dormancy period not much but when it requires to keep it alive.


When to repot a rubber plant?

When the roots are coming upwards from the soil or from the drainage holes that means your plant needs to repot. To repot the rubber plant, choose 2–3-inch bigger pots. Make 3-4 drainage holes at the bottom. Cover those holes with stones and fill the ¼th pot with a well-drained potting mix. Now remove the plant from the old pot gently tapping on the sides of the pot. Put the plant at the center of the new pot and add more soil around it, press gently by hand. Water it thoroughly and put it in shade for a couple of days.


Rubber plants propagate in soil as well as water.

Rubber plant propagation in Water:

To propagate rubber plants in water, take 3–4-inch stem cutting with sterilized sharp tools and remove the last leaf of the cutting. You can take a single leaf also but make sure it has at least 1 inch stem part attached. Now put that cutting in the water. Use a glass container for it so the roots are seen easily from outside. Put that container where it gets bright light. Change the water once every 5-6 days. After 2-3 weeks the roots start to develop. When the roots are grown up to one inch length then plant it in soil in a 4–5-inch pot in well drained potting mix.

Rubber plant propagation in soil:

To propagate rubber plants in soil, take 3-4 inch stem cutting with sterilized sharp tools and remove the last leaf of the cutting. You can take a single leaf also but make sure it has at least 1 inch stem part attached. Now fill a tray or small pot with a light potting mix and make a hole with a stick in it and put the cutting into that hole and press gently. Water it thoroughly and put it in shade for at least 3-4 days. Make sure that the tray or pot has some drainage holes at the bottom so the excess water will drain out. After 2-3 weeks the new roots start to develop. New shoots will develop after 2 months. After 3 to 4 months repot it in a slightly bigger pot using the well-drained potting mix. Keep it in shade after repotting for 3-4 days.


I have had a rubber plant for 3 years. I notice brown spots on leaves, root rot and powdery mildew.

Root rot happens due to overwatering and also due to blocked drainage holes. Before watering the plant let dry the upper 1-inch layer of the soil. But when you water the plant, water it thoroughly so each and every root gets water. Before root rot the plant drops their lower leaves so when plants drop the lower leaves abnormally check the soil. If the soil is soggy, change the plant into completely dry soil and do not water it for 2-3 days. After that water the plant by checking the soil first, if the upper 1-inch layer is dry then and only then water the plant.

Brown spots on leaves will happen due to exposure in harsh direct sunlight. Rubber plants like direct bright light or partial shade so do not put it in direct harsh sunlight.

I saw Powdery mildew on my rubber plant some time. Clean powdery mildew with just plain water by using soft cloth. After that spray the whole plant with any organic or chemical pesticides. According to me if you clean the plants once every 15 -30 days there will be no pest attack on the plant.


Yes, rubber plants are toxic for humans as well as for pets. The white sap of rubber plants contains latex, which is used to make rubber. That's why the rubber plant is poisonous. So, it is better to keep the plant away from the kids and pets.

Common problems:

The common problem with the rubber plant is-

1)Dropping the lower leaves: -

This is the common problem with the

rubber plant. This will happen due to

overwatering or underwatering. If the soil is

soggy and the plant is dropping their lower

leaves by changing its color means the plant is

overwatered. To revive the plant from this

condition, replant the plant into a dry potting mix

and do not water it for 2-3 days. After that, water

by checking the soil.

Sometime the leaves will drop due to under

watering so does not let soil completely dry, just

keep it moist.

Leaves drop in winter is normal because

winter is the dormant period of the rubber plant.

Only give little water to it in winter just to survive.

2)Slow growing rate: -

This is also the common problem with the rubber plant. To increase the growing rate, provide all the necessary things to the plant properly, like light, water and nutrients also. To boost its growth rate prune it at times. By pruning it will get more bushy.