How To Care For A Rubber Tree Plant

Potted Rubber Tree Plant
rubber plant
(Image credit: tamara_kulikova)

A rubber tree plant is also known as a Ficus elastica. These large trees can grow up to 50 feet (15 m.) tall. When learning how to care for a rubber tree plant, there are a few key things to remember, but rubber plant care isn't as difficult as one might think. Starting with a young rubber tree houseplant will allow it to adapt to being an indoor plant better than starting with a more mature plant.

Proper Light and Water for a Rubber Tree Plant

When it comes to rubber plant care, the correct balance of water and light is crucial, as with any plant. You can control the amount of light and water it gets, which is important because they shouldn't have too much of either.


A rubber tree houseplant needs bright light but prefers indirect light that isn't too hot. Some people recommend putting it near a window that has sheer curtains. This allows plenty of light, but hopefully not too much heat.


The rubber tree plant also needs the right balance of water. During the growing season, it needs to be kept moist and watered at least once a week. It is also a good idea to wipe off the leaves of your rubber tree houseplant with a damp cloth or spritz them with water. If you water the rubber tree plant too much, it will signal you by the leaves turning yellow and brown and falling off. 

In order to promote new leaves on a rubber tree houseplant, cut a slit in the node where a leaf fell off. This will allow a new leaf to grow quicker. During the dormant season, it may only need watered once or twice a month. If the leaves begin to droop, but not fall off, increase the water you give the rubber tree gradually until the leaves perk back up again.

Propagation of a Rubber Tree Plant

Once you know how to care for a rubber tree plant and it is growing well, you can begin the propagation of indoor rubber tree plants. There are a couple different methods for creating new rubber tree plant cuttings. The simplest is to take a small branch from a healthy tree and put it in good potting soil or water and let it root.

Another method, called air layering, is where you make a cut in a healthy rubber tree houseplant, put a toothpick in the hole, then pack damp moss around the cut. After that, wrap it with plastic wrap to keep the moisture level higher. Once roots begin to appear, cut the branch off and plant. All these things will lead to successful rubber plant care.

Shari Armstrong

Shari Armstrong is a guest writer for Gardening Know How.