PRO TIP: It is important to keep your rubber plant clean. The large, ovate leaves collect dust, which interferes with the plant’s ability to photosynthesize.
Regularly wipe down the leaves, on both sides, with a soft, damp cloth. Keeping the plant clean will not only allow the leaves to shine and keep the plant healthy, it will also help prevent potential pests.
The Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) is a type of ficus that can grow up to 200 feet in its native habitat, which ranges from India and southern China through to the South Pacific.
Rubber plants require a good deal of moisture, but do not like to sit in soggy or waterlogged soil. Do not place your plant in an area where it will lose moisture quickly, such as by a drafty window/vent, next to a heater or in direct sunlight. Bright, indirect sunlight is ideal, but the plant will generally tolerate slightly lower light conditions. It is commonly recommended to place rubber plants by south facing windows with sheer curtains that light can filter through.
If you are unsure of the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.
Though the plant likes high levels of humidity, it is capable of being overwatered. Dropping of yellow leaves may be a sign the plant is being overwatered, however older leaves will also yellow and fall off as a part of their natural life cycle. Pay attention to which leaves are fading, keeping your care routine in mind. Changes in location effecting light and temperature may also cause the plant stress, resulting in leaf drop.
There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. All these factors play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.
Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole have been set up with a built in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir and retain any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.
For plants with a drainage hole, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.
Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it. Your rubber tree should be watered regularly, but not excessively. Once the top soil is dry to the touch, saturate the soil so water runs out the drainage holes. In the warmer, growing months your rubber plant will require more watering than in the dormant, winter months when the soil should only be kept lightly moist.
The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important, because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks until the reservoir is ready to be tested.
TEST: After four weeks, fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the plant starts drinking from the reservoir.
RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Ficus Audrey need to dry out between waterings only slightly, so once the reservoir is empty wait a few days before you refill. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after the drying out period, be sure to fill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.
From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.
Step 1: Top water for two weeks. The indicator will look empty, like the picture above.
Step 2: Fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line.
Step 3: Watch the indicator over the next day or two. If it goes down on its own, it means the roots of the plant have grown into the reservoir. From here on out, ONLY water in the reservoir.
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