Rubber Plant: Air Purifying and Hard to Kill Plant – Details and Care Tips

Rubber Plant: Air Purifying and Hard to Kill Plant – Details and Care Tips
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They are ornamental plants grown because of their large and shiny leaves. The plants also act as air purifiers and are said to improve the quality of air in the room. They have the ability to absorb and destroy toxic substances.

Quick Details of Rubber Plant

Common NamesRubber Tree, Rubber Fig, Sharinga Tree, Seringueira, Rubber Bush, Indian Rubber Plant
TypeIndoor / Semi-Shade – Ornamental Plant
MaintenanceLow / Moderate
FloweringSpring (Only in natural habitat)
LightBright Indirect Light
WaterNormal – When top 1 inch soil is dry
TemperatureWarm to average temperature
SoilAny well-drained potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer like sea weed solution or compost
HabitatSouth Asia, South East Asia
ToxicityMild Toxic (Sap present in the stems and leaves)
Common diseasesLeaf Burn, Root Rotting, Bacterial leaf spot
Scientific NameFicus elastica

Rubber Plant Overview

Rubber plant is a NASA recommended air purifying plant. The leaves are shiny and oval. This plant is native to Southeast Asia and grows up to 100 ft tall in its natural habitat but at the same time this plant can be grown in medium to large pots for home decoration and air purifying purposes.

Typically we have noticed mainly two varieties of rubber plant:

Special About Rubber Plant

Rubber plants are grown in indoors for their big glossy and leathery leaves to brighten-up any corner of your home. Normally leaf size is largest when plant is young. Dimension for the broad shiny oval leaves can vary from 10 cm to 35 cm in length and 5 cm to 15 cm in breadth.

Something which makes rubber plant unique is that the leaves develop inside a sheath which grows larger when the leaf develops. Once leaf gets mature, sheath unfurls itself and finally drops off the plant. This cycle goes on and immature leaf starts to growing again in the new leaf.

Use of Rubber Plant

  • Rubber plants are grown as an ornamental plant
  • Rubber plants are grown indoors for air purification purpose
  • Rubber plants are cultivated for milky white latex. Latex is used for making rubber.

Rubber Plant Care

Something very important about the rubber plant care is that we should clean the rubber plant leaves very frequently as the dust on the plant leaves makes it looking unattractive and also makes the plant unhealthy.

Soil: We should use a well-drained potting soil for growing Rubber Plant. Non well drainage soil can cause root rotting for the plant.

Light: Rubber Plant require bright indirect light. It is ideal to keep them near the windows where there is provision for indirect light.

Watering: The rubber plant requires an ample amount of water during the growing season (summers) at the same time excess water content can lead to root rotting, yellowing and dropping of the leaves. Ideal way to add water one you notice top one inch soil is dry. If you provide less water to the plant, leaves may get thin and unattractive. So you have to provide optimal water to the plant.

Fertilizer: Any houseplant fertilizer ones or twice a year. We can use seaweed liquid solution or compost.

Pruning: They can be pruned during summers. Pruning can help in maintaining the shape and size of the plant and for the production of new growth. Pruning makes the plant bushy.

Pest Control and Other Problems

Normally, when grown indoors Rubber Plant does not get very frequent diseases.

They can be attacked by mites, mealy bugs, aphids. This can be prevented by spraying a soap solution. Read more about treating Mealybugs.

Most of the problems faced by the rubber plant are due to over watering. Since the plant requires a balance in water and sunlight excess or under the provision of both can lead to problems. This includes rot, yellowing of the leaves, drooping of leaves, etc.

Propagation

It can be done by two methods: cutting and air layering.

Cutting: a small beach is cut off from the parent plant and is planted in a potting mixture. The supply of adequate water and sunlight helps in the growth of a new plant.

Air layering: a small slit is made on the branches and a toothpick is inserted into it. The cut is filled with the help of moss and is wrapped with a plastic bag to retain moisture. It is left undisturbed till the roots start to emerge from the cut. This branch is later detached from the mother plant and planted as a new plant.

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