Sunday, June 30, 2013

High Hopes for growing a Rubber Tree


I just could not pass by the sublime rubber plant on my last visit to Flowers & Plants in Mclean, VA.   www.flowersplants.com   There was one in my family's home that lived with us in the family room for about twenty years.  If only it had ears!  It was about this size when my mother bought it and it grew into a rubber tree that stood about six stately feet tall.  She gave it away after the children had all left and my parents moved to an apartment.

The rubber plant is definitely one of the most tried-and-true great houseplants you can live with.  It's been available as a houseplant favorite for a long, long time because of its dramatic beauty and easy care.  In 1959 Frank Sinatra sang a delightful song featuring the rubber plant called "High Hopes" !       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJVewWbeBiY    

Botanically, it is known as Ficus elastica 'Decora'.  This serenely, majestic ficus is a tropical banyan tree that can grow to over 35 feet high in its native environment.   It is known as a rubber plant because it does produce a latex sap.

A very good choice for any beginners to the world of indoor plants is the rubber plant.  

  • Care Instructions-- 
  • Prefers some direct sun but tolerates bright indirect light. 
  •  Let the top of the soil dry well and water thoroughly.  A plant in a 6" (15cm) diameter pot (shown above) should need about a pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water. 
  •  Fertilize regularly for best growth. 
  • The leaves will need dusting occasionally.  A good showering once or twice a year will help keep the leaves shiny and breathing freely.