Rubber Tree Issues

Cuyahoga Heights, OH(Zone 5a)

I just purchased a rubber tree off of craigslist yesterday and the top half of the three foot branches are covered in leaves but the bottom half is bare. Is there something wrong or is this normal? It doesn't seem like the other rubber plants I have seen, the were full and lush looking. Any tips or advice?

noonamah, Australia

A photo would probably help to see if there's a problem. But these are very easy to propagate from cuttings. Possibly someone used a small branch of a larger tree as a cutting and they're more bare of leaves lower down. A smaller cutting would fill out a bit more, but then you have a smaller plant and have to wait longer to have a larger bushier specimen.

Cuyahoga Heights, OH(Zone 5a)

Sorry, I should have thought to add a picture....

Thumbnail by hollysmamma
noonamah, Australia

(They call us "Down Under", but I guess you live on the side of the planet, LOL)

Looks like you have 6 stems there, probably 6 different cuttings. I'd guess they put lots of cuttings into a lot of pots and kept them crowded together so they only got light from above. That would cause the plants to grow up tall but leaves lower on the stems would have been in the dark and fallen off. Hence all the leaves higher up the stems.

Given more intense light all around you could get shoots start along the lower stems and slowly fill in. I think it's a matter of getting enough light to make that happen. You could start some small cuttings of your own and make sure they get a lot of light all around as they grow. Your plants look healthy enough so there's no problems in that department.

One Ficus which appears more bushy because of smaller leaves is Ficus benjamina. I think you can also get variegated ones. That might also be worth a try.

Cuyahoga Heights, OH(Zone 5a)

Well, the lady I bought it from said it was a true houseplant, i.e. never left the house. I am currently putting it outside for a few hours in part sun to get it used to more light, then I will gradually increase the light. I also gave it some foliage houseplant fertilizer. Heres to hoping it fills out :)

Thanks for the tips and advice!

noonamah, Australia

Most Ficus do well indoors, but the more light they get the better they look (provided it's not a sudden scorching). And also, they do get quite large. I've got a couple at home, the larger is about 6 or 7 metres tall. I know people who have much larger ones. Definitely a pruning job for long term growing in a pot. I'm certain you'll do well with yours.

Cuyahoga Heights, OH(Zone 5a)

Well I am excited! I have never seen a rubber tree that looks like this before, so...I just had to try it lol.

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