The pink rubber plant is one of the cutest-looking species you can grow at home. Not only does it add a certain funk to your overall living space, but it is also very easy to care for and propagate.
In this comprehensive rubber plant care guide, we bring you some time tested tips and tricks to make this plant thrive.
What Is Pink Rubber Plant?
The pink rubber plant is a variety of variegated rubber tree that is also known as the ficus elastica plant. It has beautiful pink leaves, and like all other variegated rubber trees, the pink variegated ficus produces a rubbery latex within its prominent veins as well.
Pink Rubber Plant Care
Your rubber plant needs bright indirect light, consistent watering when the top three inches of soil dries up, and temperatures in the range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Use perlite and bark pieces to loosen up the soil. Also, don’t forget to fertilize and prune the plant regularly.
Continue reading to find out everything in detail ahead.
– Water Requirements
Use distilled or filtered water to water this plant. When the top 3 inches of the soil dries up, then it is time to water your plant.
Learn more about this plant’s water needs here.
– How To Water
Water this plant when the top 3 inches of its soil dries up. You can insert a finger into the soil, and if it comes out dry, this means that it’s time to water the plant.
If you can spare the expense, try buying a moisture meter. It is a delicate instrument that accurately determines the amount of moisture left in the soil.
Water this plant slowly and steadily, and direct the water towards the soil. Allow the excess water to come out of the hole at the bottom of the pot.
Collect this water in a separate saucer.
– The Most Suitable Water
Don’t use water that is too cold, even during summertime. Use lukewarm water or room temperature water for this purpose. A warm temperature allows the harmful chlorine to evaporate better.
The safest water to use is either distilled or filtered water. It is free of toxins and salts present in normal tap water. If using tap water is your only option, then you can use it too, but have it checked from a lab to see that it is safe for your plant prior to watering.
– Light Requirements
The light needs of this plant include providing bright, indirect light. You can also use artificial grow lights.
– Growing Your Plant Under Natural Lights
The ficus elastica ruby plant needs to be grown indoors. It cannot tolerate direct sunlight because it leads to scorching of leaves. However, it still needs to be bathed in intense sunlight in an indirect manner. Otherwise, the growth of the plant will be affected and its leaves will turn yellow.
The best place to keep this plant is in a brightly lit room with multiple or large windows. You can keep it in any corner of the room where light reaches adequately. You can also place it near a window but cover it with a curtain or cover to decrease the intensity of light.
The only window that is safe for your plant is the north-facing window. This window doesn’t receive any direct sunshine at all during the day. This way, you can place the plant on the windowsill and it will continue to grow beautifully.
– Growing Your Plant Using Grow Lights
Artificial grow lights are an effective alternative in case of inadequate natural light indoors. You can buy either LED lights or fluorescent lights. Turn these lights on for at least 16 hours each day, but remember to provide some hours of darkness as well.
Fluorescent lights are more effective but they consume more energy, so you should also be ready for the mounting electricity bill.
– Soil Requirements
The number one requirement of an ideal soil mix for ficus elastica is that it should be well-draining. Take an ordinary potting mix, and then add substances that improve the drainage of the soil.
You can mix soil, perlite and even small-sized pebbles to improve the passage of water. The loose soil is also healthy for the roots. It allows them to grow freely and expand.
The pot you choose is also of importance. It is better to choose a clay pot over a plastic one. Moreover, there should be several large drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Your plant needs to be fertilized on a regular basis. We recommend fertilizing once a week during the growing season, which is from spring until late summer. We also recommend always watering the plant before giving it fertilizer.
A fertilizer rich in phosphorus is the best for this plant. It also keeps the pests and bugs away. A slow-release fertilizer is safer compared to a rapid-release one. It takes weeks to release its nutrients into the soil.
This fertilizer is easily available in the form of pellets that you can moisten and bury in the soil.
– Temperature Requirements
Around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature range for growing this plant. In fact, maintaining the right temperatures is a rather important aspect of rubber plant care. It cannot tolerate sudden changes in temperature. Under very cold temperatures, it will undergo cold shock and will stop growing.
Here are a few tips to prevent damage to your plant due to drastic temperature changes:
- Give this plant at least one month to acclimate to a new temperature and environment.
- Don’t keep it near open windows at night. The cold night air from outside might not be well-tolerated.
- A lot of us use air conditioning during summer. Make sure that the room temperature doesn’t fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you keep this plant outside on a patio, then it is best to move it indoors when temperatures start falling later in the day.
– Humidity Requirements
Around 40 to 50 percent humidity is the minimum requirement for the rubber tree. Don’t let the surrounding air get drier than this. There is no upper limit to how much humidity this plant needs. In fact, the higher the humidity, the merrier your plant will be.
Want to learn how to improve humidity around this plant easily? Read below as we give our finest tips:
- Move all your humidity-loving plants to a similar corner. Soon, the air in that corner will be richer in content than anywhere else in the house.
- Create a humidity tray at home. You can do this by filling a shallow tray with water and placing some large pebbles in it. Balance your rubber tree pot on top of these pebbles, making sure that it doesn’t touch the water below.
- Very lightly mist this plant to increase the surrounding humidity. We don’t recommend doing this very often as it can lead to the development of fungal infections.
- Buy a humidifier. This will maintain the most accurate levels of humidity without any effort from your side.
Removing the dead and yellow leaves from your pink rubber plant is important because it helps the plant conserve energy by focusing on new and healthy growths. It also makes the plant look healthier and neater by doing this. Make sure to prune your rubber plant above a leaf node, and don’t remove too much foliage.
The pink rubber plant can be propagated simply by using its stem. You can propagate either using water as a medium or soil.
Find out both methods in detail here.
– Stem Cuttings in Water
Propagate this plant by placing a properly cut stem in water. When new roots emerge, transfer to a pot. Learn the step-by-step process below.
– Select the Right Stem Cutting
Choose a healthy stem free of pests for the cutting. Use sharp and sterile scissors for cutting the stem. We always disinfect our gardening tools using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
Cut the stem right above a leaf node by making an oblique incision. The ideal length of the cutting needs to be between 3 to 5 inches in length. Your cutting should also have at least one leaf still attached.
– Place It in the Water
Take a jar or a tiny bucket an fill it only halfway with water. Now place your ficus ruby stem cutting in water. The one or two leaves remaining on the stem should be above the surface of the water.
Place this jar in a bright room with a warm temperature and high humidity. What better place to place it than in the kitchen or the washroom? Change the water in the jar every other week.
– Transfer to the Soil
When the new roots growing from the cutting become a couple of inches long, then it is time to transfer it to a pot. Take a small pot about 6 inches in diameter and fill it with fresh new soil.
Make a hole in the center of the soil. Carefully insert the stem cutting into this hole. You should keep the soil constantly moist for the first couple of weeks. In a few months, you will have a newly propagated plant in your hands.
– Stem Cutting in Potting Soil
Propagate the rubber tree plant in the soil by taking a healthy stem cutting and keeping it in the soil. Learn the step-by-step process below.
– Cut the Appropriate Stem
Cut several 8-to-10-inch-long portions of the stem. These parts will also contain leaves and leaf nodes. Always make an oblique cut to take a cutting.
Place this cutting on a piece of paper towel and allow it to dry for a couple of hours. Apply rooting hormone at the obliquely cut end.
– Place It in a Plastic Bag Containing Soil
Take a transparent plastic bag and fill it with potting soil. It should be the same soil as the pot of the parent plant. Bury the cutting lightly in it. Water generously and keep it moist.
Place the plastic bag in a moderately lit and warm area. When you see new roots growing on your stem cutting, transfer it to a pot. The pot size initially shouldn’t be more than 6 inches in diameter.
Common problems you might face with this plant are leaf yellowing, fungal diseases, and pest attacks.
Want to learn more about the problems that this plant can experience? Jump down below.
– Yellowing of Leaves
The leaves of your pink rubber indoor plant will turn yellow either due to overwatering or underlighting. Find out how to differentiate between the two conditions here.
Overwatering is the primary reason why a variegated rubber plant has yellow leaves most of the time. These leaves will also be swollen and mushy. Also, if you check the soil by inserting a finger in it, it will feel wet and runny. The pot will also feel heavier than usual.
What you need to do is to improve the watering regime for your plant. Never water unless the top three inches of the soil become dry. Also, improve the drainage of the soil and the pot. Repot the plant if both are lacking.
– Lack of Enough Light
Bright light provided indirectly is a basic need of the pink variegated rubber plants. The leaves will lose their classic pink color and their characteristic flexibility under insufficient light.
Immediately move them to a brighter location in the house, or provide artificial growth lights for them. Take note that as indoor plants, you cannot keep them outdoors under direct sun.
– Brown Edges
The pink leaves of the rubber plants sometimes start turning brown at the edges. This condition is mostly due to underwatering and displays a lack of proper plant care.
There are various ways of determining underwatering. The pot of the plant will feel lighter than usual. A stick inserted in the soil will come out dry all the way through. The leaves will also lose their flexibility and will appear wrinkly and crisp.
There is only one way to fix this problem. Improve your watering schedule. Don’t let the soil become dry all the way through, and always use a large amount of water each time.
Cercospora is a fungus that is very common in variegated rubber indoor plants. It begins in the form of small irregular spots on the leaves and the stem. These spots have irregular borders, and as it advances, large holes will start to develop on the plant parts.
Start treatment as soon as you notice this fungus developing on your plant. Use a strong fungicide to get rid of it.
– Root Rot
Root rot is a rather nasty fungal infection. It occurs when the plant is being overwatered. Poor drainage is another major cause.
Your plant will begin to exhibit yellow or brown rot spots. The leaves will appear swollen and drooping, and a fetid odor will begin to emanate from the plant.
You can get rid of root rot by removing the rotten plant from its soil. If it is not beyond salvage, then cut off all the diseased parts. Repot in fresh soil and a new pot, then use fungicide according to instructions on the label.
Spider Mites and thrips are the two most common pests of this plant. Spider mites are sap-sucking bugs that feed on your plant and weaken it. You can see them hiding under the leaves. They also leave puncture marks and yellow spots on the leaves.
Thrips are another type of bug that feeds on the sap, but they are more dangerous. Often, they lead to leaf yellowing and wilting. The plant can also die from a thrips infestation.
– How To Get Rid of Pests
Here are the steps to take in the case of a pest infestation:
- Wash the infested plant thoroughly using a good quality insecticide soap and water. Scrub off as many pests as you can.
- Apply neem oil to the colonies of insects under the leaves. Neem oil is a natural insecticide.
- Mix 20 percent household vinegar with 80 percent water. Spray this mixture on the plant to kill the pests.
Read this section to find a concise summary of this whole guide:
- The rubber tree of the pink variety makes for a very suitable houseplant. It has pink-colored leaves and produces rubber latex in its veins. This plant needs to grow in a brightly lit room without direct intense light.
- Water it with either filtered or distilled water. Allow the top three inches of the soil to dry out at least. Keep in a warm, humid location within the house.
- This plant needs 60 to 70 degrees temperatures at all times. It is sensitive to sudden changes in its environment so be careful with that.
- There are two ways to propagate the variegated rubber stem cuttings. One is by using water as the medium, and the second is by using soil from the parent plant.
The rubber plant is a gorgeous specimen. It can be a bit sensitive to sudden changes, but if you stick to regular light, watering, and temperature conditions, it should give you no problem at all!
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