How To Grow & Care For the Rubber Plant

The Rubber Plant, known for its lush, glossy foliage, is a popular houseplant that can bring a touch of the tropics to any interior space. Its large, dark green leaves can make a bold statement in homes, offices, or any area in need of a green accent. Native to Southeast Asia, this resilient plant is part of the Ficus genus and has become a favored choice for both novice and seasoned gardeners due to its adaptability and ease of care.

Beyond its ornamental appeal, the Rubber Plant has been historically significant in the production of natural rubber. The latex extracted from its trunk was once used in rubber manufacturing, although it has largely been replaced by other sources. Additionally, the Rubber Plant is recognized for its air-purifying qualities, making it a healthy addition to indoor environments.

The Rubber Plant’s versatility extends to its ability to thrive in various lighting conditions and withstand occasional neglect. Its care is quite straightforward, and with the right attention to its light, water, and soil needs, it can grow into a substantial and striking feature in any setting. Below, you’ll find a detailed guide to its characteristics and care.

Common NamesRubber Plant, Rubber Tree, Indian Rubber Tree
Botanical NameFicus elastica
Plant TypeTree, Shrub
Mature SizeUp to 100 feet in wild; 6-10 feet indoors
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light
Soil TypeWell-drained, fertile soil
Hardiness Zones10-12
Native AreaSoutheast Asia

Rubber Plant Care

Rubber Plants are relatively easy to care for and adaptable to different environments. While they are robust and can withstand occasional mishaps in care, understanding their specific needs can result in a thriving and lush plant that adds vitality to your space.

Position the Rubber Plant in a location with bright, indirect sunlight, and provide a well-draining soil mix. Regular watering and occasional feeding during the growing season will support healthy growth. Ensuring the right care can make the Rubber Plant a rewarding addition to your indoor garden, both for its aesthetic appeal and its air-purifying abilities.

Light Requirement for Rubber Plant

Rubber Plants thrive in bright, indirect light. While they can tolerate lower light conditions, a lack of light may result in leggy growth and a loss of the vibrant green color. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Soil Requirements for Rubber Plant

Choose a well-draining soil that retains some moisture for the Rubber Plant. A general-purpose potting mix with added perlite or sand can create the right balance of drainage and water retention.

Water Requirements for Rubber Plant

Water the Rubber Plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s essential to allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Reduce watering during the winter months.

Temperature and Humidity

Rubber Plants prefer temperatures between 60-75°F (16-24°C). Humidity levels around 40-50% are ideal, and misting or a humidity tray can help maintain optimal moisture.


Fertilize the Rubber Plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, which may lead to weak growth.

Pruning Rubber Plant

Pruning can help shape the Rubber Plant and control its size. Use clean, sharp shears, and be aware that the plant may exude a milky sap when cut.

Propagating Rubber Plant

Propagating the Rubber Plant is typically done through stem cuttings. Allow the cut to dry for a few hours before planting it in moist soil.

How To Grow Rubber Plant From Seed

Growing Rubber Plants from seed is uncommon and can be challenging. It’s generally easier to propagate through cuttings.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil.


Use a soft cloth or specific insecticidal treatments.

Common Problems With Rubber Plant

Drooping Leaves

This may be due to overwatering or underwatering. Check the soil and adjust watering accordingly.

Yellowing Leaves

Often a sign of overwatering. Ensure proper drainage and avoid soggy soil.

Brown Leaf Tips

This could be an indication of low humidity. Increase humidity through misting or a humidity tray.

Pro Tips

  1. Clean the leaves regularly to maintain their shine and remove dust.
  2. Rotate the Rubber Plant occasionally to promote even growth.
  3. Be cautious with the milky sap, as it can irritate the skin.
  4. Repot the Rubber Plant every couple of years to refresh the soil and provide room for growth.