How to Propagate Rubber Plant Like The Professionals?

Yes, some people do like rubber plants indoors but they don’t know how to propagate rubber plant properly. Plant propagation might seem like a tall order if you have never tried it before.

What if we told you it is relatively straightforward? That anyone can propagate any plant provided it is possible to do it. Would you believe us?

Plant propagation begs the question can any plant be propagated. Our answer? It depends on the plant. T

The rubber plant, for instance, can be easily propagated. Want to know how? Please sit back and relax as we teach you to do it the right way!

Propagating Rubber Plants

how to propagate rubber plant

Rubber plants are one of the hardiest plants out there. They are beautiful and can be a versatile home decoration plant that can clean indoor air.

That is why many people prefer them. It is also the main reason most people wouldn’t want to know how to propagate them.

There are various ways you can do that. The most popular and easiest way is to use rubber plant cuttings. The rubber plant can grow very tall, necessitating occasional pruning to make them ideal indoor plants.

Another technique you can use to propagate rubber plants is the air layering method. This involves getting a new plant for the rubber tree stems.

Let’s get started on the various way you can propagate rubber trees.

Rubber Tree Propagation Using Cuttings

Using cuttings to propagate rubber trees is one of the simplest ways to get a new rubber plant. Apart from having a high success rate, it will also cost you next to nothing planting it.

So how do you do it? See the step-by-step guide below.

What you Will Need

  • A Pair of Pruning shears
  • Hand Gloves
  • Rooting Hormone
  • Potting Soil
  • Perlite
  • A Pot
  • Plastic bag

Now that you have everything ready, follow these steps:

  1. Basic Preparation

Rubber trees ooze a sticky substance t that can make the process messy. The latex sap from these trees is what is used to manufacture rubber, among other things.

It can be irritating when it touches bare skin, so you need to be wearing your hand gloves.

Therefore, before embarking on cutting, prepare a clean part of the surface you will cut in advance of starting the process.

Also, ensure you have all the tools you need in one place to ensure you enjoy uninterrupted working once you start.

  1. Identify The Ideal Place To Cut

Carefully survey the plant you will be cutting and identify the perfect area to cut. That will involve you looking for parts that are ripe for some pruning.

Remember, if it is a tall indoor plant, you have to maintain it at a certain height hence the pruning.

The ideal places for pruning are uneven growth areas or in spots that have inadequate development and benefit from pruning. Elongated or leggy stems and branches can be a priority when pruning.

You will need to ensure that you cut stems that have leaf nodes. Leaf nodes will be the genesis of the new roots for the new plant.

To improve the success rate, ensure the cuttings are about 6inches long and have a minimum of four-leaf nodes.

  1. Make Your Cut

As soon as you identify the ideal place to cut the rubber tree, use your pruning scissors or shears and cut diagonally below the cutting’s lowest node.

Pat the cutting on a towel to get rid of any sap that might ooze from the cut end.

  1. Remove Leaves

After making the cuttings prepare them by removing the leaves at the bottom of each of the stems. Leave two or three leaves at the top of the stem cuttings. This will expose the branch while encouraging rooting.

It will also ensure the plant concentrates on new growth rather than wasting energy trying to maintain previously existing leaves.

  1. Plant It!

Now you are ready to plant the cuttings. Take a 50/50 mix of perlite and potting soil, then moisten with a spray or mist bottle.

Apply some rooting hormone on each side of the cutting, then create a small hole in the potting soil.

Push the cutting inside the potting should through the hole you just made. While doing this, ensure the nodes on the cuttings are covered with the soil.

Secure the cutting into the soil by patting around the cutting. Ensure it is firmly in place.

Now place the plastic bag on the cutting to create a greenhouse effect on the cutting. Rubber trees will grow faster in greenhouse conditions due to the humidity the conditions spur.

  1. Ensure Light & Water

Now place the cuttings in a warm place you are sure will receive light throughout the day. You, however, need to ensure it is a place out of direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight will kill the cuttings by making the nodes wilt, as well as the soil, becoming dry.

Be checking to ensure the plant has adequate water. This means the soil should be moist and not soggy. After four or five weeks, check to see whether the cutting has formed any roots.

Give the cutting a gentle tug and feel for any resistance. If you feel any resistance, then voila, the cutting has developed roots.

A few weeks later, you will be ready to transfer the cuttings as the roots will become firmer.

You can also try this method with water, although it isn’t that advisable. When you use water, you expose the cuttings to rot.

Therefore, it is a complicated affair to pull off but still worth trying if you are adventurous enough.

And that’s how you propagate rubber plants with cuttings. Let’s now look at how to do it with air layering.

Propagating Rubber Plant with Air Layering

rubber tree propagation

Air layering rubber plant though relatively common isn’t a favorite of many people when propagating rubber trees.

Still, many people see it as a better way to propagate most indoor plants than using cuttings.

So how does one go about it? Before we get started, it is imperative to mention that you will need to do this in the spring.

That’s because, in spring, the plant has a high rate of growth and will most likely recover when you transfer it from the parent plant.

What Will You Need?

  • A knife
  • Rooting Hormone
  • Forest Moss
  • A plastic bag
  • Twist Ties
  • A rag or towel

Have you got everything checked? Fantastic! Now, follow these steps:

  1. Wet The Moss

Soak the forest moss in water for about half an hour. A bowl or small cup will suffice here. The moss will be primarily dry, which is why you need it wet to promote growth.

  1. Identify The Place To Cut

Select the ideal place to cut. Twenty inches on the stem should do fine. That ensures there is an adequate base for the plant to regenerate.

If you cut a large chunk of the branch, you might kill the plant in the process by making it harder for it to bounce back.

  1. Remove Leaves

Remove about two r four leaves in the area you have decided to cut. This creates some room for the moss ball and the cut.

If sap oozes out, rub it off with the rag or towel. The sap shouldn’t come into contact with your bare skin as it could be irritating.

  1. Make Your Cut

Make the first cut a quarter inches under the top node and the other cut just above the bottom node.

When making tuis cuts, ensure they are deep enough to remove the outer bark but not to present any harm to the plant.

  1. Vertical Cuts On Band

Make some vertical cuts on the band you have just made in the previous step, then pull off the bark or stem covering.

You will see some roots in the area you have just exposed. It is usual for the cut area to be somewhat moist.

  1. Don’t Forget The Rooting Hormone

Add the rooting hormone onto the exposed area using either a cotton swab or even with your gloved hand. Then create a moss ball with the moss and cover the place you have cut on the stem.

The moss should cover the entire opening of the tree since the roots will grow into the moss.

  1. Wrap The Moss Ball

Now tightly wrap the plastic bag all-round the moss ball. Ensure it is tight enough not to let any air come in or leave. You will have successfully created an air layer.

In about three weeks, there should be some roots at the stem’s ring. You can now cut the stem with roots and transfer it to a pot or any other container.

The rates of success will be dictated by how careful you were in the process. When making the cuts ensure you use a sterile knife that won’t give the plant any infections.

Barring any complications, this should be a relatively straightforward technique of rubber tree propagation trees.

It, however, isn’t only limited to rubber trees as you can also propagate Monstera plants with the method as well.

Weeping fig, umbrella tree, and dumb cane are some other plants you can propagate with air layering. If you have them, then don’t be shy to try this propagation method.

How to Care for Rubber Plants?

rubber plant

In as much as you might do all the propagation carefully, you still will need to take some measures to ensure the rubber plants grow to maturity. That means you will have to care for them as you would any other plant. That is despite their hardiness.

  • Support

The rubber plant tends to droop as it grows. That is why you need to add extra supports for it to ensure it remains upright. A bamboo stalk or a wooden dowel would come in handy.

  • Lighting

Rubber plants love bright light. They thrive where they can access lots of bright light. The ideal light for them is the morning sunshine just before it gets too hot.

You can move them in the direction of the sure before taking them back to the shade when it gets too hot.

If you see the leaves becoming dull or the lower leaves fall off, the tree isn’t getting enough sunlight. It is therefore prudent that you give them enough light.

  • Soil

Rubber plants will grow in almost any soil type provided it is fast-draining. That means pretty much any potted plant soil will be fine for them. Additionally, they prefer the sold to be somewhat acidic.

They tend to expose their roots, which equates to them eating their roots like the fiddle leaf figs. You, therefore, have to continuously top up the soil each time you see exposed roots.

  • Fertilizer and Mulching

Whilst you can use almost any mulching you want, liquid fertilizer will also suffice for the rubber plant. When growing, rubber trees can be pretty demanding and will need regular feeding with liquid fertilizer.

That, however, doesn’t mean you should overdo it. You don’t want to find yourself grappling with high growth rates. Indoor plants shouldn’t have high growth rates as they could become too big for the house.

What Pests are Rubber Plants Susceptible to?

Rubber plants, like any other indoor plants, can also be infested with pests. The most common, however, are aphids, mites, whiteflies, or mealybugs.

If you see any of the pests, treat the tree immediately before it becomes an infestation.

Neem oil is a popular option since it is a non-toxic remedy.

Can the Rubber Plant Be Toxic?

The sap or milk from the rubber plant is not only a danger to you but also to your pets. It can be harmful to your pets, particularly dogs and cats, if they eat the plant leaves.

This will, however, depend on the age of the plant and the pet itself.

Any traces of vomiting, diarrhea, and oral irritation will point to poison by the rubber plant. You should therefore contact a vet immediately you detect any of these symptoms with your pets.

Final Thoughts

We hope how to propagate rubber plants isn’t much of a puzzle to you anymore. You could see from our guide that it is a rather straightforward affair and should able to have several plants from only one of them.

Whether you decide to propagate with air layering or cuttings, you are sure to get excellent results if you do it carefully.

Don’t be afraid to add some innovative methods along the way as you propagate. Now, watch this video to recap everything.

Happy propagation.

References:
  1. Stem cut: An alternative propagation technology for rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) tree species.
  2. B N J Persson, O Albohr, G Heinrich and H Ueba: Crack propagation in rubber-like materials.
  3. In-vitro culture of Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree) embryo.

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