Rubber plants are not actually plants that are made of rubber, despite the fact that their name might lead one to believe otherwise.
They are plants that produce rubber sap and were used for rubber production in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Nowadays, rubber plants (Ficus elastica) are more for ornamental purposes.
Some people think they might be challenging to care for, but is that true?
In other words, are rubber plants easy to care for?
Yes, they are easy to care for because they are hardy and low-maintenance plants.
Although they are native to India and Indonesia, which have tropical climates, they can live in almost any condition.
So, how to care for rubber plants?
We will dig into the topic later in the article.
Are Rubber Plants for Beginners?
Are rubber plants good for beginners? Yes, rubber plants are for beginners.
These glossy, leathery, and large-leaves plants are hardy and easy to grow.
They can withstand irregular or even excessive watering.
As long as the water drains well, they will be fine.
They also tolerate dappled light and a shady spot that receives indirect sunlight.
They can handle drought and temperatures that change from 0 to 10 C in the winter to 10 to 30 C in the summer.
Rubber plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil types.
You can place them anywhere you like, inside or outside the house or office.
Their various leaf colors are attractive and suitable to sit in any corner.
You can also place them in a dark corner.
Their creamy or pinkish leaves make dismal corners look cheery.
They attract many people, including beginners.
Their hardiness and ease of care make them ideal plants for beginners.
Do Rubber Plants Need Direct Sunlight?
Rubber plants thrive in tropical rainforests.
Typical tropical forests have broad canopy trees that shade lower trees under them.
Do rubber plants need direct sunlight? No, they need bright, indirect sunlight.
That’s why we often find the plants growing as epiphytes on host plants in their early stages of life.
As they grow, they will eventually strangle the host plants.
So, in their native habitat, rubber plants thrive under a light tropical canopy.
It means they prefer a moist environment with dappled light or shade.
However, rubber plants need a sufficient amount of bright indirect light for vigorous growth and a healthy plant.
So, how do you determine the appropriate indirect sunlight for them?
The rule of thumb is it must form a shade on where you place your palm or paper to shade the light.
To do that, hold a piece of white paper up where you want to put the plant to test the sufficiency of light.
Situate your hand around 20 cm before the paper in the direction where the light shines.
The light is sufficient if you can see the shadow of the paper.
How Do You Take Care of a Rubber Plant Indoors?
People might think rubber plants are challenging to grow due to the extinction of the plantations in the mid-nineteenth century.
Farmers terminated the plantation because the superior-quality rubber Hevea brasiliensis had risen in production.
That’s why they neglected Indian rubber trees.
Another interesting fact is that rubber plants were popular as ornamental plants in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in 1921.
Since then, rubber plants have become popular as indoor plants all over the world because they require little care, purify the air, and can be grown in large pots.
So, how do you take care of a rubber plant indoors?
Rubber plants require three things to thrive: water, sunlight, and temperature.
Place the plants on the spots that receive indirect bright light.
The locations where you put the plants should not be freezing at night.
However, do not place your plants around heaters or central heating vents.
The heater will reduce the humidity around the plants and cause them to be susceptible to pest attacks.
Also, provide the pots with enough draining holes and choose a free-draining potting mix.
Make sure you water the plants lightly and allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Another good way is to check the soil with your finger before watering. If the soil is moist and sticks to your finger, your plant does not need watering.
As they are easy to care for, monthly weak liquid fertilizer or heavily diluted worm wee in the growing season will be enough for the plants.
Rubber plants have many features that make them ideal for beginners.
They do not need direct sunlight, but dappled or bright indirect light.
The plant pots need to have enough draining holes.
The potting mix should allow water to drain quickly.
They do not like a cold draft or sitting near heaters since the plants like a moist environment.
We can say rubber plants are low-maintenance plants.
Thus, they are easy to care for.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts by commenting down below.
If you are new to caring for houseplants, don’t forget to check out our houseplant guide for beginners.
It will help you take care most of the famous houseplants out there,
Until then, happy gardening!