The Rubber tree plant is one of the most popular tropical houseplants grown indoors that come in a few different varieties but I personally LOVE the variegated kind. The care for this plant is extremely easy compared to other plants and is one of the reasons why I HIGHLY recommend this be the FIRST plant for beginner indoor gardeners. If you’re the type that like the darker Rubber tree version, you can start your darker colored indoor garden here!
The variegated kind IS my favorite and so I will let you know the secret to keep the white, pink and different shades of green to continue to offer a foliage show while growing fast and tall. This post is not for the bushy rubber plant lovers but for tall and colorful rubber plant lovers out there. Let this plant decorate a corner with a tall ceiling and reap the added benefits of having an indoor garden.
You may have heard most indoor plants like bright ‘Indirect’ light and is true for this Rubber plant but the rules can be bent a little. Bright ‘Indirect’ light means you have a room with windows and the plant is placed in a spot where it gets the reflection of sunlight in the room but not direct sun rays.
The truth is, the plant CAN handle a short period of direct sun rays such as 30 min. – 1 hour when the sun comes up or when the sun goes down. The sun rays are harsher during the day. I found if the plant does not get a small amount of direct sunlight hitting the leaves, the plant will bend towards the light growing more horizontal and NOT tall.
Placing the plant in front of a shear curtain closer to the window also helps give it more light that won’t burn the leaves. Having the RIGHT amount of light will keep those variegated colors and prevent it from turning more green. Adding a bit more light will also give it enough to photosynthesize and GROW.
TIP: Turn the plant every few days to once a week to evenly distribute the sunlight
This plant THRIVES on neglect! That being said, this plant likes to dry out and recovers very quickly if it is forgotten about especially during the winter months. During the summer, it needs a deep water about once a week when the soil is dry.
TIP: Lift the pot up when fully watered and again when the plant is dry. Feel the difference in weight and water when you feel the pot is lighter again.
During the winter, this plant can easily wait a whole month for a good watering especially if you have increased the room humidity a bit for those other high maintenance tropical plants.
If your room is fairly dry, water every 2-3 weeks during the winter.
Water ONLY with filtered water as this plant is sensitive to tap water chemicals.
Do wipe the leaves with a wet rag frequently to remove dust from the leaves. Dust will prevent the leaves soaking up the sunlight. Do this in the morning so any water will evaporate quickly.
The fertilizer requirements for the Rubber plant is similar to most other tropical houseplants, but your plant won’t grow quickly if you forget to feed it. Since this plant is sensitive to chemicals, an All-Purpose organic fertilizer makes this plant the happiest.
Once a month feeding in the summer and no need to feed during the winter.
Pruning For Tall Rubber Plants
If you have bought a Rubber tree that actually is a bush and want a taller plant, it’s time to prune off those additional shoots.
This plant can handle harsh pruning so don’t be afraid and cutting promotes fast growth as well. Cut additional shoots that you don’t want ALL the way down to the soil. Be sure to wipe the wound with a paper towel and cover the cuttings in a paper towel as well. The milky sap is irritating to the skin and toxic. If you get it on your skin, don’t worry. Just wash it off quickly with water.
I personally like having 3 shoots left over to grow tall, but 2 and even 1 can look good too. Most people who leave just 1 shoot let it get a few feet tall and cut the top off to get bushy on the top. Then remove the bottom leaves to look more like a regular tree.
Once you prune your Rubber tree, the plant will begin to grow taller much more quickly.
If you are LOVING your Rubber plant and want to start obsessing over more indoor plants, take a look at this group of plants that look great with the Rubber tree as the center piece!