Rubber tree plants, also known as Ficus elastica, are renowned among plant enthusiasts due to their glossy leaves and propensity to grow 50 feet tall.
These features encourage homeowners to cultivate more of these plants and research for information on propagating rubber plants from leaves.
Although there are other ways, like air layering or placing the stem cuttings in water, leaf cuttings are the best way to propagate rubber trees.
So if you are looking for answers on propagating a new rubber tree from leaf cuttings, continue reading!
How to Propagate Rubber Tree Plants
Table of Contents
By following the steps mentioned below, you can easily propagate rubber plants through cuttings:
Prepare a Clean Surface to Work on
Propagating rubber trees may be messy since you will notice latex-rich sap oozing out when you cut these plants.
So you want to prepare for the mess and create a clean workspace before you begin. This involves cleaning the surface to remove dirt or disease from other plants.
Having a tidy workspace with all the necessary equipment will also give you a positive experience of propagating the plants.
Gather all Equipment
Once you have prepared your surface, you want to gather all a few tools you might need to propagate rubber trees successfully, including:
A sharp knife or pruning shears
Pots with drainage holes (depending on how many plants you want to grow from the cuttings)
Wear protective Gloves
Before you begin the steps for rubber plant propagation, you want to ensure you have the protective gear needed to safeguard yourself from issues like skin irritation.
This is because the latex-rich sap Ficus elastica plants produce is susceptible to causing skin irritation.
Prepare the Soil Mix
Ficus plants like rubber trees demand a well-draining soil mix to thrive and avoid issues like root rot. Root rot can be deadly for a plant, so you don’t want to miss this step.
The soil you get for propagating a rubber plant must be lightweight and have sufficient space between each particle to provide optimal oxygen.
You can go the easy route and purchase a potting mix that ticks all the boxes and is made for propagating ficus varieties like rubber trees, or you could make your potting mix by mixing the following ingredients:
You want to mix equal parts of these ingredients in a pot. Coconut coir is the ideal potting mix ingredient since it is light, airy, and can retain enough moisture to help the cuttings grow into rooted leaves.
You can also utilize peat moss if you don’t have Coconut coir. However, since it is less sustainable, it is best to stick to Coconut coir.
Secure the Leaf Cuttings
Once the soil is ready, you want to secure a leaf cutting from the parent plant. To do so, grab your rubber tree plant and look for a healthy stem.
Ensure the plant you choose does not have signs of pests or disease and has optimal leaf growth. These factors can help you ensure successful propagation.
You want to cut at least a 10-inch height with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Make sure to wash your pruning shears before using them to avoid contamination.
Moreover, ensure that you always cut underneath the leaf nodes of the rubber plant since this is where the new roots will grow.
Once you are done taking cuttings, you want to cut the bottom leaves and leave only a single leaf at the top of the stem.
Doing so will allow you to encourage rooting by exposing the plant’s stem and ensure the cutting’s energy goes towards the growth of a new root instead of maintaining its leaves.
Dip the Rubber Tree Cuttings in Rooting Hormone
Rooting hormone is an essential ingredient you want to have when propagating any plant. This secret ingredient protects the new growth on the rubber tree cutting and enhances the chances of a successful prorogation.
Important tip! Avoid dipping your rubber plant cutting directly into the container of the rooting hormone. This can risk contaminating the entire container. Instead, take some rooting hormone out on a different surface. Once you are done, discard any leftover rooting hormone.
Pot the Cuttings
Now, take the soil-filled container and poke a hole in the center. Insert the cutting into the hole, careful not to touch the sides with the rooting hormone.
Carefully push the rubber tree cutting into the pot to adjust and prevent it from shifting due to water or air.
Place a Plastic Bag Over the Plant
Ficus plants thrive in humid conditions. Placing a plastic covering over the pot is the best way to provide that environment.
Make sure the plant is completely covered. Doing so will help you mimic the environment of a greenhouse.
Moreover, prevent the soil from drying entirely by watering the pot and ensuring excess water drains out of the drainage holes.
Lastly, keep the plant in a sunny location. However, protect it from direct sunlight exposure. Direct sunlight will scorch the plant and cause it to dry out.
The roots will take 4 to 5 weeks to form, and you will notice new leaf growth in a few weeks. You can also check for root growth by gently tugging on the plant. Feeling resistance when you do so is a sign of sprouting roots.
What is the Best Time to Propagate a Rubber Tree Plant?
Rubber plants enjoy warm and humid conditions. So, the ideal time to propagate a rubber tree plant is summer or spring.
However, since rubber trees do well indoors, you can propagate them during any season while providing the conditions they need to thrive.
Take necessary precautions if propagating rubber trees during extreme weather by keeping them away from cold drafts and providing optimal indirect sunlight through plant grow lights.
Now that you know how to propagate a rubber tree plant and create new plants through rubber tree cuttings, what are you waiting for?
Grab your propagating supplies and follow the steps discussed above to grow more of these beautiful plants.