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Beginner Houseplants: Trimming/Transplanting Ficus Rubber tree?

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Dhead97
Gulfport, MS
(Zone 8b)

July 10, 2007
2:32 PM

Post #3718621

Hello. New here so hopefully will "finally" learn something about plants. Well I have a rubber tree, common type you see in the stores I guess called a ficus. (Big green shiny rubbery looking leaves). It is now about 6 feet tall or so with shoots coming out at the base and several other parts of the main trunk and I believe really needs to go in a bigger pot. So I have a few questions.
Can I cut it back so it's not so tall and if so how?
The part I cut off, can I somehow grow it in another pot or get it to make roots so I can?
I live in zone 8b South Mississippi near the beach and was curious if I could plant one of these in the ground, like on the south side of my house a few feet away from it that way in the winter it would be blocked by any north wind and I could cover it if I needed. I read in other posts about it growing in the grown in zone 10 but was a little hopeful. It's just gotten so tall in the pot that I cannot adequately stake it so its now growing in a U shape... LOL :-)

Thanks
Dwayne
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

July 11, 2007
12:00 AM

Post #3720888

Hi Dwayne, I had the same prob as you with the rubber plant a few years ago, in fact, had to rehouse it at a friens who had higher ceilings than me, I did cut mine back and it grew again so this is how I did it with success. First look at the plant and see how much shorter you want it to be, then try find some part with a bit if root growing from the stem, cut the stem just below this root so that you have a rice root to plant in your new pot AND new soil, House plant compost with a feed added is prob best, it is best to wait till the milky sap stops dripping from the new cut stem and also wipe it from the origional stem, this sap dripping is natural (it is a rubber plant remember) I would support the new plant/cutting with a cane and tie the sten gently too the cane as it will prob droop a wee bit from shock at being cut from the parent plant, dont feed the new plant till you feel that it had stopped showing signs of stress, maybe a week or two, it should grow into the same plant as the one you removed it from, keep all the dust off the foliage and mist the leaves often as it will for a while be very vulnerable to dehydration as it has less roots to take up water, water the pot as often as you feel needed, just stick your finger into the soil and if dry, water, if damp/wet, dont, keep it out of strong sun, maybe in good light but not baking on a windowsill. Now the parent plant, this will look really sad and unkept for a wee while till it gets new shoots on it and starts to recover, to allow it to recover, get it into a new pot, larger than the one before as it sounds as if it has really outgrown the pot it is in, prob all roots and not a lot of soil, as before, clean away any sap that has dripped from the cut, it wont drip longer than about an hour or so, make sure the new pot is deep enough to enable the plant to make new roots and as you feel the plant has roots growing from above the soil, drop the deapth of the plant and let these roots go into the new soil, feed the plant as it will be shocked and will not have been fed for a while I would imagine, water it and dont let it sit in water in a dish, if it helps, put the whole pot into a sink/bucket of water and let the new soil draw up water till the soil turns darker with the water, lift it from the sink/bucket and let it drain till the water stops comming from the pot, place it in good light and not in full sun, mist the leaves and keep any dust off the foliage, feed about once every two weeks as it grows and stop for the winter, restart in spring, by then it should have made new growth and fresh new leaves, it would be a good idea to stake this plant also as these are really huge plants in their natural habitat, you may find the old plant will send out a couple of new branches rather than just the one stem as before, good idea to shine/wipe the leaves every now and again as it needs the air and light on the leaves to stay healthy. Good luck, WeeNel.
prost
IPSWICH
United Kingdom

July 14, 2007
3:04 PM

Post #3735130

This was one of the plants I wanted to get. I just read a book by Paul Williams about it. He says it prefers room temp 18-24deg C. It's called ficus elastica & it purifies the air. It can tolerate shade if it has to.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

July 14, 2007
7:33 PM

Post #3735879

Your right, it will tolerate shade, but some folks idea of shade can be darkened rooms , if too shaded, the leaves turn yellow, grow new ones that are very small like juvinile leaves and the plant will grow leggy. that is too big a space between the leaves, it will eventuall die from want of light, in a room with some shade from the scorching sun through a window is perfect kind of shade, as too strong a sun will cause the plant to wilt by being in a sort of golfish bowl, too hot and dry air, it is best to always mist the foliage and the airial roots when you water, this also helps keep the leaves dust free and allow air circulation to the foliage, hope this helps you out, good luck, Weenel.

chrissy100

chrissy100
Sydney
Australia

July 18, 2007
8:42 AM

Post #3749447

If planted outside...it will devour the neighbourhood...and yes they grow roots in water.In the 70's we wiped the leaves with milk
which worked a treat ...they are pretty tough critters. :)

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