Everything You Need To Know About Rubber Plants

Last updated on October 17, 2019 | Written by | Plants & Gardening

When you hear the term rubber plant, you might assume it refers to a variation of a fake plastic house plant. But in reality rubber plants refer to plants which are more tree-like than other house plants and grow a tad taller too. They also have dark green leaves which are commonly over-sized and these plants don’t require too much attention than some other house plants. But everything you need to know about rubber plants goes beyond knowing how to identify them.

Most of the time, it’s easy enough to identify rubber plants on sight. But there are plenty of things you will need to know and remember about them to take care of yours properly. And remember that rubber plants can be a little high maintenance.

What Is A Rubber Plant?

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Firstly, despite the slang overarching term, rubber plants are in fact real plants which require care and attention like any other plant you keep in your home. The official name for rubber plants is ficus elastica and they can be identified as leafy plants which can be kept in simple pots but still grow relatively tall inside of the pot.

You can keep your rubber plants outside if you live somewhere where the weather is consistently warm or even humid. But they are more commonly known as indoor plants which can be best ide tidied for dark green or just darkly colors large leaves. They won’t grow as high as your ceiling, so you won’t have to worry about the size, and if you want a bit of the outdoors inside, rubber plants can offer that to you.

But before you wonder if rubber plants can somehow make rubber, the answer is a definite no. Instead, rubber plants got their name from the sap inside of the leaves. The sap can actually be used to make rubber sometimes. So technically, rubber plants have rubber properties. Even if they aren’t entirely made of actual rubber. In fact, rubber plants are very much alive and the amount of care you will need to take as a rubber plant owner will remind you of that. While it’s not an edible plant, however, it isn’t necessarily poisonous. Still, eating it can cause an upset stomach in people and animals alike. And the sap itself can cause skin irritation. 

How To Take Care Of A Rubber Plant

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The worst thing you can do with a rubber plant is stop paying attention to its specific needs. When you keep a rubber okay in your home, it requires bright but indirect sunlight in order to thrive. Keep the plant near big windows, but still utilize a sheer curtain so the sunlight isn’t too direct, bright, or hot.

Speaking of temperature, rubber plants have specific temperature requirements. So if you don’t adhere to the temperature guidelines for rubber plants, your plant can potentially suffer. Unfortunately, they are fickle like that. They typically require temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees, but in the colder months, they can survive in 50 degrees if needed. If the temperature in your home goes up and down dramatically, it can have a negative effect on your rubber plant. Again, rubber plants are definitely touchy.

You should also be mindful of how much water your rubber plant gets. Over watering and under watering your plant can both negatively affect your plant. Make it a rule to wait until the soil dries completely before each watering.

Pruning a rubber plant is also all about being as careful as possible. You can do so regularly to ensure its continued growth. However, make sure you prune and trim your plant carefully so as not to kill any of the small branches. And since pruning will likely release some of the sap, make sure you are careful not to allow any of that sap to drip out onto your floor. Also ensure pets and small children stay away from sap drippings and that you wash your hands after handling the resulting sap.

Where To Find Rubber Plants

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You can essentially find rubber plants anywhere you might buy other house plants. Check your local Walmart during the Spring and Summer months. Or visit your local hardware store or big box chains like Home Depot or Lowe’s to go through their inventory of plants, including rubber plants. You might also want to visit a local nursery or garden center to find your rubber plant that way.

While caring for a rubber plant isn’t as easy as you might hope, in the end, it can be worth it to have a large plant inside your home that you can enjoy year-round. As long as you take extra special care of your rubber plant and adhere to the guidelines to ensure its life and longevity, you will be able to keep your rubber plant for quite a while.