top of page

Rubber Plant

Scientific Name

Ficus elastica


Rubber plant, rubber tree

Origins / Hardiness Zones

Asia / 10-12 USDA


Sturdy, leathery leaves that range from a striking deep dark green to variegated varieties make the Rubber Tree a standout plant. Generally potted in groups of a few stems, this elegant plant looks just as nice whether a petite, bush-like plant or a stately tree branching out and up!

Light Needs

Water Schedule


Humidity Levels




Does well at normal (about 40% - 60%) humidity levels. If the air around the plant is too dry, use a humidifier or occasionally mist the plant to increase humidity.

Rubber Tree leaves are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting. Some people experience skin irritation when handling the sap.

Like most plants in their genus, rubber plants love lots of bright, diffused light. They can tolerate soft morning sunlight but should be moved out of the line of harsh direct rays in the afternoon as they can singe the leaves. Plants that do not receive sufficient light will become leggy, lose their lower leaves, and their leaf color will become dull instead of glossy and vibrant.

Water your rubber plant frequently—they like to be kept steadily moist but not soaked. Rubber plants also are vulnerable to excessive dryness and don't tolerate drought well. To check if its time for another watering, check the moisture levels in the first few inches of soil—if they're dry and crumbly, it's time to water your plant again.

Rubber plants are vulnerable to cool drafts. Unhealthy plants will become leggy, with stretching internodes, and the leaves might first turn yellow and then brown before dropping off entirely. Generally, rubber trees are best kept in moderate to warm temperatures between 60°F - 75°F.

Rubber plants are vulnerable to a variety of pests that typically infest indoor houseplants, including aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, scale, and thrips.
If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat it with the least invasive option, like neem oil.

If you pruned your Rubber Tree to encourage branching, you can also propagate with that stem cutting! This will be an apical stem cutting (the top of the stem where there is new growth). Trim the stem back a bit, if needed, leaving a decent section with 3-4 leaves and make the cut just below the lowest leaf. Remove the lower leaves to ensure a clear stem before rooting in water or another medium. Rubber Trees are a bit more stubborn to root that other plants, so it can be helpful to dip the cut stem in rooting hormone first. Once the roots are a few inches long you can pot up your new Rubber Tree!

These ambitious growers are fairly quick to fill out their pot and become rootbound. Try to repot every 1-2 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time. Once mature and becoming unwieldly to maneuver—you can reduce your repotting frequency and switch to a routine of refreshing just the top few inches of soil.

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength.

Rubber Trees can be particularly sensitive to environmental changes.
Try to avoid any shocks to the system by introducing change gradually. For example, if you want to move a plant from their preferred bright light to a lower light location, do so for just a few hours at a time, slowly increasing the duration over time.

Multiple leaves are wilting and turning yellow. You may also notice stunted growth and mushy stems. The most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. Ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage and let the plant dry out more than you have been. If you suspect a serious case of root rot, you need to take a look at the roots by removing the plant from their container and remove any black/mushy roots.

The gorgeous XL large leaves on this plant can quickly accumulate dust. Dust blocks the plant from absorbing light—so be sure to keep their leaves clean and dust-free. You can do this by misting and wiping each leaf or a routine hose-down/shower.




Pests / Diseases

Common Problems



bottom of page