Rubber tree plant (Ficus elastica) is a regal, dynamic houseplant with thick, glossy, dark green leaves. A healthy rubber tree plant exposed to adequate levels of sunlight can grow to majestic heights of 10 feet tall and beyond. If the rubber tree plant is allowed to become too tall, the plant can buckle under its own weight. A light pruning prevents the rubber tree plant from suffering possible damage, and promotes full, bushy growth.
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Things you need
- Rubbing alcohol or household bleach
Sterilise your pruning shears to prevent transmission of bacteria from the shears to the plant. Wipe the pruning shears with rubbing alcohol, or with a solution of one part household bleach to 10 parts water.
Stand back 8 to 10 feet and scrutinise your rubber tree plant. Decide how the plant should look and where it should be pruned.
Prune your rubber tree plant, making each cut just above a leaf scar or a leaf node, which is where a leaf or stem grows from a larger stem. New growth will eventually grow from the leaf scar or node.
Remove up to one-third of the rubber tree's growth. Work carefully, and don't prune more of the plant than necessary. Expect the plant to look a bit worse for wear immediately after pruning, but it will soon rebound and look better than ever.
Keep the rubber tree plant compact under control by pinching new growth. When new growth is removed, the plant will branch out from the pinched area. When the plant branches out, you can pinch the new growth on each of the new branches. Pinch the plant evenly to prevent unbalanced growth. Avoid pinching the plant immediately after a major pruning, as the plant needs time to heal.
Tips and warnings
- Use care when pruning your rubber tree plant, as some people may experience an allergic reaction caused by the sticky sap. Wear gloves and long-sleeved shirts to protect your skin.
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