Additional Plant Care
Rubber trees (Ficus elastica) can be propagated though stem cuttings. Take a healthy stem from the parent plant and put it in moist soil or water until it grows roots. To do this, cut a stem that is at least 6 inches long from the parent plant just below a node with a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears. Take off any leaves that are close to the stem's base and leave a few leaves at the top. Plant the cut end in moist soil or a jar of water with rooting hormone. Put the pot in a warm, bright place that doesn't get direct sunlight, and keep the soil or water just a little bit damp until the plant grows roots in a few weeks. Once the new plant has roots, you can move it to a pot with soil that drains well and take care of it the same way you would a full-grown rubber tree plant.
Rubber trees are a popular houseplant with glossy, leathery leaves. The rubber tree plant is toxic to humans and pets if ingested. Rubber trees contain a milky white sap that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, so it's advisable to wash the affected area with soap and water if sap is accidentally touched. In terms of ingestion, the sap of the rubber tree contains compounds called ficin and proteolytic enzymes. Ingesting these compounds can cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If someone ingests parts of the rubber tree and exhibits severe symptoms or if you have any concerns, it's recommended to seek immediate medical attention or contact a poison control center.If you suspect your pet has ingested parts of the rubber tree, it's best to contact a veterinarian for guidance.
Every one to two years, or when the roots have grown too big for the pot, rubber tree plants should be moved to a new pot. When the plant is growing, spring or summer is the best time to repot a rubber tree. To repot, carefully take the plant out of its current pot and separate any roots that are tangled. Choose a new pot that is one size bigger than the old one and fill the bottom with fresh soil that drains well. Place the plant in the new pot and add more soil around the roots, pressing gently to get rid of any air pockets. Give the plant a lot of water and put it somewhere with bright, indirect light. To keep the roots from rotting, it's important not to water the rubber tree too much after it's been repotted.
Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut back any long or overgrown stems to just above a leaf node. This is the best way to prune rubber tree plants. This will help the plant grow new leaves and keep its shape and size. Rubber tree plants will also do better if you take off any leaves or stems that are yellow or broken. It's important to make clean cuts and not tear or hurt the tissue around them. You should prune the plant when it's growing, which is usually from spring to early fall. Don't prune it in the winter, when it's not growing. Also, rubber tree plants can grow very tall, so the stem needs to be cut just above a healthy leaf node to encourage branching and make the plant fuller and bushier. If you want to control how tall the plant gets, you should cut the stem back to the height you want. This will make the plant grow more side branches. Regular pruning can help rubber tree plants grow well and keep them looking lush and full.
Choose a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to feed a rubber tree plant. Before you put the fertilizer on the plant, you should water it well and dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength. Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the plant's base with a watering can or spray bottle. Be careful not to get any on the leaves or stem, as it can burn them. During the growing season, which usually lasts from spring to early fall, do this every two to three weeks. Don't give the plant fertilizer when it's sleeping in the winter. Too much fertilizer can hurt the plant, so it's important to follow the directions on the package and not use too much. If the leaves start to turn brown or black, cut back on how often you fertilize or make the solution less strong. You can also follow the instructions on the package and use a slow-release fertilizer once every three to four months.
Rubber Tree plants do best in soil that drains well and has a lot of organic matter. Equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and potting soil would make a good soil mix for rubber trees. The peat moss keeps the water in, the perlite lets the water out, and the potting soil gives the plant nutrients. It's important to make sure the soil drains well so that it doesn't get too wet and cause root rot. Also, rubber trees don't like salt, so it's best to stay away from soil mixes that have a lot of salt. In general, a soil mix that is loose, well-aerated, and full of nutrients will help rubber tree plants grow well.