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Rubber Plant

Rubber Plant
About the plant The Rubber plant is an evergreen tropical popular houseplant. The original name of this plant is Ficus Elastica, but more commonly, we know it as a Rubber plant because of its white milky sap, which is also […]
Rubber Plant

About the plant

The Rubber plant is an evergreen tropical popular houseplant. The original name of this plant is Ficus Elastica, but more commonly, we know it as a Rubber plant because of its white milky sap, which is also known as latex, is used to make rubbers. This plant comes under family Moraceae, which is often known as a Mulberry family or fig family.

Overview of the plant

The Rubber plant is an ideal home decor plant because of its great height and shiny- glossy, beautiful leaves. There is no need to make lots of effort to take care of this plant because it’s a very easy-going plant, but this plant takes a little bit of time to grow. So, you need to be very patient. It can reach a staggering length within just a few years. It grows vertically.

The leaves of the rubber plant are a bit thick and leathery and have a shiny texture on the leaves that attracts the most, it has thick stems. Leaves are broad and oval-shaped. And aren’t of the same color, and it may vary on its variety of species.

Mostly the leaves with the dark green color can be seen, but more colorful varieties are available.

The rubber plants can grow up to 100 feet in their homeland (Southasia), and if these plants are domesticated, then it can grow up to six to ten (6-10) feet.

The leaves of the rubber plants can be 10-35 centimetres long and 5-15 centimetres broad. Rubber plants are grown throughout the world.

evergreen tropical popular houseplant

Growth preferred areas:

Rubber plants are indoor plants. You can also plant it outdoors, but if you can protect it from winter and direct sun rays, it’ll survive, but I don’t recommend this plant to be planted outdoors. If you plant it outdoors, then you have to be extra cautious and have to put extra-extra effort into maintaining it and keeping it alive. If somehow the direct sunlight falls on its greasy leaves, it’ll burn very easily.

Botanical name Ficus Elastica
Common namesRubber fig, Rubber plant 
Family   Moraceae      
Plant type  Tree, Indoor plant
Mature size    80-100 feet(homeland), 6-10feet(domesticated)
Tribe     Ficeae
Genus  Ficus
Subgenus  Urostigma
Native area      Eastern parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia
Suitable location  Indoor

Varieties

Rubber plants come in many varieties. These are the popular varieties

  • Decora
  • Robusta
  • Variegated
  • Ruby
  • Doescheri
  • Tricolor 
  • Black prince
  • Burgundy or Abidjan
  • Ficus microcarpa
  • Ficus benghalensis
  • Tineke

Origin

The rubber plant mainly originated from eastern parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia. It is also commonly available in Srilanka, the West Indies and the US State of Florida.

How much does it seed costs?

Its seed costs around 150 – 500. Price may vary according to its quantity.

Cost of the plant

The cost of the rubber plant may vary according to its size and species. It generally ranges between INR 40-400.

Growth information and Rubber plant care tips :-

Rubber plants are the easy-going plant, and there is no excessive labor required to maintain these plants. If these plants get the right kind of care, then they can grow huge.

Here, are the few  rubber plant care tips

Sunlight

Rubber plants require the correct amount of water and light to grow properly. They prefer bright light but indirect light. If you keep this plant in direct sunlight, then the result will be that its leaves will get burned.

The best suitable place to keep this plant will be near the window with a curtain.

Make sure that your rubber plant gets enough bright light because bright light helps them to emerge their color more bright and beautiful.

Water

It is essential to give the right amount of water to these plants. Make sure that the pot in which it is planted has sufficient holes to drain out the excess water. Overwatering leads to rot of roots of these plants.

Rubber plants don’t require much water. Watering these plants once in 3-4 days is enough, but make sure whenever you water it, do it thoroughly.

Humidity

It’s essential to maintain the humidity level of rubber plants. Mist the leaves in the early morning, it improves and maintains the humidity and makes sure not to mist the leaves with cold water. Rubber plants lose their leaves due to overwatering and cold water.

You can also wipe the leaves with the help of wet cotton or cloth to keep the plant clean and fresh.

Temperature

Rubber plants prefer consistent moist and humid temperatures areas to live. An ideal temperature is compulsory for its proper growth. The ideal temperature for this plant is between 60°F to 75°F (15°C – 24°C). Where the plant is kept there, the temperature shouldn’t be less than 55°F (12°C). A sudden change in the temperature can cause its leaves to drop.

Fertilizer

Adding fertilizers in rubber plants improves growth. Soil regularly loses its nutrients with water, so to replenish, add fertilizers to improve the balance and the availability of nutrients in the plant.

Spring and summer are ideal for adding fertilizers. Avoid adding compost in winter.

 You should add fertilizer to improve the growth of the plant. Fertilizing it once a month or once in 40-50 days is enough. Try to fertilize the plant once in a month, especially when it’s growing.

Toxicity

According to the California Poison Control System, the rubber plant is a non-poisonous plant for human beings.

The thing that makes the plant poisonous is the white milky sap of the plant. That white sap can be harmful to both humans and animals.

Consuming white sap can lead to a mild stomach ache or more severe symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, etc. The latex (white sap) contains compounds like ficin, psoralen, etc. that can directly attack the DNA of the cell.

Dermal irritation can occur if the sap gets on the pet’s skin. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that some rubber plants contain poisonous compounds. So it depends upon the species of the plant.

The Washington poison centre says that it depends on the quantity of how much you have consumed it. So, it’s better to keep out of the reach of everyone, especially children and pets.

Pests and problems

Pests

Rubber plants can be easily affected by a few common pests like scale insects, spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, etc. pathogen problems also may occur.

Overwatering is one of the leading causes of a fungal pathogen because pathogens favored by waterlogged, and they help to rot the roots of the plant or tree, and this causes roots to decay.

You can remove pests from the leaves by wiping the leaves with soap & warm water solution or insecticidal soap.

Problems:

The only problem with these plants is they need a perfect balance of light, water & temperature for staggering growth.  So, it is necessary to keep an eye on the plant from time to time.  Make sure that they are getting enough bright light. Keep checking the moisture of the soil. Always maintain the temperature, avoid drowning your plant.

Re-potting and propagation

Repotting is suitable for the plant. It allows them space to grow. You can do this once in 3-4 years or every year.

These are the steps for repotting.

Step 1: Firstly, need a piece of stem something around 10-15cm long 

Step 2: Remove all the leaves from the stem, and before planting it in the soil, make sure that the liquid sap is not flowing from the stem. If it’s leaking, then wait until it stops (usually it takes a max. 30 min.).

Step 3:  Plant the leaf in perlite or gritty compost. 

Step 4: Keep the growing plant in a moist and warm spot under indirect bright light.

There is one more method named “Air layering” you can also use that method.

Note The best season for repotting the plant is the summer season.

Pruning Rubber Plant

Pruning also plays a vital role in your rubber plant. It helps to promote new growth and manage its size. You should prune your rubber plant timely. I know first, it might be painful for the plant lovers to cut the stem of their beautiful plant, but it’s necessary for the betterment of the plant.

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