Ficus elastica – The title may imply little or no to most, however the second you point out its widespread title, the rubber plant, all of a sudden the room lights up. That’s as a result of this excellent houseplant is treasured for its shiny, darkish inexperienced foliage, full development behavior, and flexibility to develop as a tree or a bushy shrub.
That’s proper – rubber plant pruning fills a number of roles, making it an unbelievable addition to any residence.
Whether or not you’ve got the emerald inexperienced leaves of the mum or dad species, a variegated rubber plant cultivar, or desire the darkish crimson leaves of the burgundy rubber plant (Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’), you possibly can form the looks of those great vegetation to swimsuit any room setting.
So let’s take a look at how one can prune this superb plant to finest swimsuit your private home or backyard.
The Fundamentals Of Rubber Plant Pruning
Earlier than we get into particular pruning strategies, let’s go over some fundamentals, together with common pruning, pruning for form, and even propagation with pruning.
There’s so much to cowl no matter the kind of pruning you intend to pursue, so let’s get began!
The Finest Time To Prune Ficus Elastica
Ideally, the most effective time for any main pruning is spring into early summer season.
These vegetation can deal with a fairly aggressive pruning session throughout this era however received’t fare properly throughout their winter dormancy.
That’s to not say you possibly can’t do a bit of sunshine, strategic pruning of useless limbs or a diseased department, though stated cuts ought to be stored to a minimal.
One other good rule of thumb is to keep away from pruning your Ficus for just a few months after repotting.
Transplanting any plant may cause a whole lot of stress, and it’ll take some time for the roots to settle into their new soil.
Be affected person and hold your pruning cuts restricted to upkeep till you see some wholesome new development showing.
Each type of pruning has just a few issues in widespread: the small however important listing of kit wanted.
- Ficus elastica will get its title as a result of the sap incorporates pure latex, an allergen for many individuals.
- It could trigger some extent of pores and skin irritation on contact, even for these not allergic, and the sap may also trigger a sticky mess.
Because of this, we strongly recommend that protecting gloves are on the high of everybody’s listing.
You probably have a latex allergy, you may additionally want to add lengthy sleeves and probably goggles to the gear listing (the latter in case of splashing or unintended eye rubbing).
- Additionally, you will need sharp, clear pruning shears and isopropyl alcohol. A pointy pair of pruning shears will assist cut back the danger of splintering or damaging your rubber plant.
- The alcohol will assist guarantee your shears stay sterile between cuts, considerably decreasing the danger of spreading the illness if a portion of the plant harbors an unseen an infection.
Will Your Plant Be A Tree Or Shrub?
That is the place the true pruning journey begins!
Take a superb take a look at your Ficus and ask what it needs to be when it grows up.
Some might wish to be mighty bushes, striving to achieve the towering 100′ ft top of their natively grown siblings, though a home rubber plant will typically high out at 13′ ft tall open air and round 8′ ft indoors.
Or maybe they’d desire to be a bushy 4′ foot tall shrub with a 3′ foot unfold.
The excellent news is that you may all the time attempt one form and change issues up if it doesn’t work out.
Upkeep Trimming Your Rubber Plant
After all, shaping isn’t the one cause to prune your rubber plant.
It’s usually a good suggestion to seize some clear backyard shears and take away a useless department or any diseased leaves all year long.
Keep in mind that even in a greenhouse-like setting, it’s best to keep away from any heavy pruning within the fall or winter months.
Rubber Plant Cuttings Are Child Rubber Crops!
- Earlier than merely chopping off and tossing rubber tree cuttings, take a second to resolve if you wish to propagate the plant.
- Rubber vegetation could be propagated by way of air layering and stem cuttings.
- The large distinction between the 2 is that air layering permits a slicing to take root earlier than it’s faraway from the mom plant, whereas stem cuttings are rooted afterward.
- You’ll have an exquisite child rubber plant in each instances after only a few months.
Pruning A Rubber Shrub
Now that we’ve lined all of the fundamentals, let’s get artistic with a contented, bushy shrub.
Of the 2 main varieties, the shrub is less complicated to transform and makes for a terrific indoor and out of doors show. Not solely are you able to form the plant to suit smaller areas, however your rubber tree plant may also have a pleasant, full development.
Start by planning out your cuts. You’ll wish to make lateral cuts the place the leaves are sparse to encourage a bushier rubber plant.
Any decrease branches horizontally rising ought to be eliminated to forestall a leggy rubber plant.
Additionally, minimize away any branches rising at odd angles or in any other case ugly (this may be both a matter of private desire or performance).
As soon as the decrease a part of your Ficus plant seems to be good, it’s time to chop it all the way down to the specified top.
An excellent rule of thumb is all the time to chop the highest above a node reasonably than beneath, because the latter may cause your rubber plant to ship up extra vertical shoots.
4′ ft tall is a well-liked top for the shrub kind as a result of unfold not often passing 3′ ft throughout, though you can also make yours as tall or quick as you want.
To transform to tree kind, merely comply with the steps beneath.
Pruning A Rubber Tree
So let’s say you need a rubber tree as a substitute of a shrub.
If beginning with a shrub, you’ll wish to let it develop vertically to the specified top to make shaping simpler.
Verify your rubber plant’s stems and choose the largest, healthiest stem to function the primary trunk.
The opposite stems could also be minimize to floor degree.
When pruning any facet branches, minimize above the node so the plant doesn’t attempt to department out additional except it’s in an space the place you need a bushier look.
Solely behead the plant after it reaches your most popular top.
You may preserve a contented, wholesome tree kind by protecting any low branches pruned and trimming away any new vertical branches that sprout from the soul.
You may convert your tree to the bush kind by permitting vertical stalks to spring up and comply with the shaping steps because the plant begins to fill out.