How to repot a ficus tree

How to repot a ficus tree

Related Articles

  • How to Prune Pachira Aquatica Bonsai
  • What Is Best Way to Plant Ficus Trees in the Yard?
  • How to Grow Ficus Natalensis
  • How to Plant Alocasia
  • Bonsai Money Tree Care

There are over 800 species of ficus plants and the two most popular indoor species are the rubber tree (Ficus elastica) and the weeping fig (Ficus benjamina). Ficus plants are known for their shiny leather-like leaves that require little maintenance. The size of a ficus houseplant depends on the size of the pot in which it is grown. There are times when a ficus tree benefits from re-potting, possibly because of overcrowding or an insect infestation.

Growth Spurt

The most obvious time to repot a ficus houseplant is when it has a growth spurt. You’ll notice that the plant is filling out and no longer fitting comfortably in its original pot. A larger pot will allow the ficus tree to grow to its full potential. Generally, you can expect this to happen around spring time about once every two to three years.

Insect Infestation

Ficus plants are not immune to insect infestations. Common pests include mealybugs, thrips, ficus whiteflies and the fig wax scale. Whether you observe these pests on the plant or just the damage done by them, you’ll need to repot the ficus plant. Treatment with an insecticide labeled for use on ficus plants is important, but repotting the ficus plant also gets rid of any insects that may have remained in the soil. If you just bought the ficus plant, chances are the insects were already in the soil.

Root Troubles

Ficus trees that begin to slow in growth or require an unusual amount of water may be suffering from overcrowded roots. There may also be some roots that have become diseased or rotten. You’ll need to remove the ficus tree from its pot, prune away any excess or diseased roots and then repot the ficus in fresh soil.

Repotting Procedure

Turn your pot upside down while holding it over a trash can. Tap the bottom to loosen the soil around the edges of the plant. Gently lift the ficus out of the pot. Set the pot aside and shake the excess soil off of the roots. Rinse the rest of the soil off of the roots with a light stream of water. Clean the new pot that you plan on using with soap and water. The University of Missouri Extension recommends filling the pot with a sterilized mixture of three parts sphagnum peat, one part vermiculite and one part perlite. Work the soil around the root ball and then pat the soil down lightly. Water the ficus tree immediately after repotting.

By: Kimberly Sharpe

21 September, 2017

The ficus tree (Ficus benjamina) is a popular houseplant tree. There are 800 species of the plant available. Many ficus trees thrive for 10 years without being re-potted. Pot size often dictates the tree’s size. The larger the tree, the larger the pot. When re-potting a ficus expect the top growth to slow down as the tree focuses on its root system. Once the root system is established in the new pot, the tree will put its energy into top growth. The ficus prefers to have slightly root-bound roots. Re-potting should take place in the spring.

  • The ficus tree (Ficus benjamina) is a popular houseplant tree.
  • When re-potting a ficus expect the top growth to slow down as the tree focuses on its root system.

Choose a pot that is one size larger than the pot that the ficus is currently housed within. The ficus does not like to be in an extra large pot because it enjoys being slightly root bound.

Place a few inches of potting soil into the bottom of the new pot. The ficus is not picky about potting soil. Any soil that is well-draining will work.

Grasp the ficus tree at the base close to the soil level and gently lift from its current pot. If the tree refuses to budge then tap the sides of the existing pot or gently shake the tree loose.

  • Choose a pot that is one size larger than the pot that the ficus is currently housed within.
  • The ficus does not like to be in an extra large pot because it enjoys being slightly root bound.

Set the tree into the new pot. The ficus tree will need to have its new potting soil level with the old potting soil line. Gently add potting soil around the ficus tree. Tamp the soil down to remove any air pockets. Once the ficus is completely potted water the tree thoroughly.

Fertilize the newly potted ficus using a well-balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. Apply fertilizer every month until October and then cease fertilizing until March.

  • Set the tree into the new pot.
  • Gently add potting soil around the ficus tree.

Expect the ficus tree to drop its leaves heavily after re-potting.

Place the re-potted tree back into the same location it grew before to minimize the stress the plant will be enduring.

How to repot a ficus tree

Ficus benjamina is certainly one of the favorite plants all around, and deserves to be taken care of diligently.

Basic Ficus benjamina facts

NameFicus benjamina
FamilyMoraceae (mulberry family)
Type – indoor plant

Height – 10 feet (3 meters) indoors, 100 feet (30 meters) outdoors
Soil – indoor plant soil mix
Exposure – bright light but no direct sunlight

Foliage – evergreen

Here are our tips on growing a nice ficus tree and avoid diseases.

  • Read also:Ficus ginseng, the small bonsai ficus

Caring for Ficus benjamina

Once properly settled in and if it isn’t disturbed too often, the Ficus tree is a plant that is relatively easy to care for.

Ficus is only picky as regards its exposure, its watering and must be guarded against rapid changes in temperature.

  • It must be set in a luminous room but cannot be exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Watering is needed when the soil is dry, but without overwatering and always with water at room temperature.
  • Lastly, avoid moving it too often, since this tree needs time to adjust to its new setting.

Repotting a Ficus benjamina

After having purchased your ficus tree, it is often preferable to repot it immediately.

You’ll have to repot your ficus tree every 2 or 3 years when the pot grows too small. Here is a video on how to repot your ficus tree.

Diseases that impact Ficus benjamina trees

Ficus trees are vulnerable to mistakes made while growing it, and to certain insects and parasites. Here are the main mistakes that must be avoided and how to treat a diseased ficus tree.

Ficus losing its leaves

Quite common for ficus trees, this is normal as long as the loss is regular and not too many leaves are falling.

If your ficus lost its leaves, check that it is well watered, and eventually proceed to topdress the pot.

  • This may also be connected to a change of pots or of place (a mild form of transplant shock).
  • It may also lack light, in which case you must provide more light to it.
  • Increase moisture in the air, this will help the plant cope in dry indoor environments.
  • Finally, the ficus tree hates drafts and that may be enough to cause it to lose its leaves.

It should quickly bounce back more vigorous than ever.

Ficus benjamina leaves turn yellow

This is often caused by a mite attack.

  • Simply treat it with organic mite killer sold in horticulture stores.
  • Avoid other chemical products, especially for an indoor plant.

White blisters appear on leaves and get all sticky

This is usually due to mealybugs or scale insects. The ficus tree’s leaves are covered in sticky white blobs.

White flies invade the ficus tree

These are whiteflies. Shower off your ficus in the bathroom, that should solve the problem.

But if you can’t move your ficus around easily, spray water on the leaves once or twice a day until the whiteflies disappear.

Watering Ficus benjamina

How to repot a ficus treeIts preferable to wait for the soil to have dried up before watering again.
Consequently, water on average once a week.

If the air indoors is quite dry or if it is summertime, it’s possible to water more often, but always wait for the soil to have dried up in the surface layer.

Of course, in winter or if surrounding moisture levels are high, you may space the watering somewhat.

Feel free however to mist the leaves on a regular basis, this will increase leafage quality and keep the leaves from drying up.

Pruning Ficus benjamina

Many seem to say that Ficus trees hate pruning; actually, the opposite is true: ficus bears pruning very well. If it has grown too tall, or has invaded your living room, simply prune the ficus tree.

Reach for your hand pruner and follow our advice:

  • You can prune once a year in any particular season.
  • No need to cut the tree back severely, light pruning is enough.
  • It will help the foliage grow more dense and beautiful.

Learn more about Ficus benjamina

This Ficus is the most common indoor shrub.

It is appreciated for its aesthetic appeal but also for its highly adaptive survival traits that let it thrive in the most varied settings of our homes, apartments and offices.

The term Ficus means fig and there are over 800 different species that have evolved into different shapes. Some of them remain small shrubs, some of them turn into huge trees. Still others grow to something similar to vines!

Across the planet, about two dozen varieties are available for sale for indoor use. The most common and famous of these is Ficus benjamina. But also interesting is Ficus elastica, known under the name rubber ficus and also Ficus retusa, often grown as a small bonsai.

How to repot a ficus tree

Smart tip about Ficus

With a pot or garden box and regular topdressing, your Ficus benjamina can grow to reach a magnificent 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) tall!

How to repot a ficus tree

Ficus trees are a common plant in the home and office, mainly because they look like a typical tree with a single trunk and a spreading canopy. For all of their popularity though, ficus plants are finicky. However, if you know how to care for a ficus tree, you’ll be better equipped with keeping it healthy and happy in your home for years.

Learn About Ficus Houseplants

What is commonly referred to as a ficus is technically a weeping fig. It’s a member of the Ficus genus of plants, which also includes rubber trees and fig fruit trees, but when it comes to houseplants, most people refer to a weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) as simply a ficus.

Ficus trees can maintain their tree-like shape regardless of their size, so this makes them ideal for bonsais or for massive houseplants in large spaces. Their leaves can be either dark green or variegated. In recent years, some imaginative nurseries have started to take advantage of their pliable trunks to braid or twist the plants into different forms.

Growing Ficus Indoors

Most ficus trees enjoy bright indirect or filtered light with variegated varieties happily able to take medium light. Bright, direct light may result in scalding of the leaves and leaf loss.

Ficus trees also cannot tolerate low temperatures or drafts. They need to be kept in temperatures above 60 degrees F. (16 C.) and actually prefer temperatures above 70 degrees F. (21 C.). Cold drafts from windows or doors will harm them, so make sure to place them somewhere where drafts will not be an issue.

How to Care for a Ficus Tree

When growing ficus indoors, it’s important to maintain a relatively high humidity around the plant. Regular misting or setting the ficus tree on a pebble tray filled with water is a great way to increase their humidity, but keep in mind that while they like high humidity, they don’t like overly wet roots. Therefore, when watering, always check the top of the soil first. If the top of the soil is wet, don’t water as this means they have enough moisture. If the top of the soil feels dry to the touch, this indicates that they need water.

Also while caring for a ficus plant, be aware that they are rapid growers and require plenty of nutrients to grow well. Fertilize once a month in the spring and summer and once every two months in the fall and winter.

Common Problems When Caring for a Ficus Plant

Almost everyone who has owned a ficus tree has asked themselves at some point, “Why is my ficus tree dropping its leaves?” A ficus tree losing its leaves is the most common problem these plants have. Leaf drop is a ficus tree’s standard reaction to stress, whether it’s from any of the following:

  • Under or overwatering
  • Low humidity
  • Too little light
  • Relocation or repotting
  • Drafts
  • Change in temperature (too hot or cold)
  • Pests

If your ficus is losing its leaves, go through the checklist of proper ficus tree care and correct anything that you find wrong.

Ficus are also prone to pests such as mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. A healthy ficus tree will not see these problems, but a stressed ficus tree (likely losing leaves) will surely develop a pest problem quickly. “Sap” dripping from a ficus houseplant, which is actually honeydew from an invading pest, is a sure sign of an infestation. Treating the plant with neem oil is a good way to handle any of these pest issues.

Related Articles

Many species of ficus (Ficus spp.) make beautiful houseplants or container plants outdoors when they are potted and cared for properly. Select the best pot and choose the best soil for ficus Audrey (Ficus benghalensis) or other ficus species. Depending on the species and variety, ficus trees are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 to 12.

Select a Ficus Tree

Several species of ficus trees make excellent container plants both indoors and outdoors. Most species can get quite tall, but you can manage their size indoors with regular pruning. Ficus trees rarely bloom when they are grown indoors, but their evergreen leaves can brighten the room. One popular choice is ficus Audrey. This tree can grow up to 40 feet tall and is hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11, notes Dave’s Garden.

Although the rubber tree (Ficus elastica) can reach 100 feet tall, it is a popular houseplant with thick, leathery leaves. The weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) can reach 50 feet tall and has drooping branches and shiny leaves. Weeping figs adapt to a variety of conditions, making them a good choice if you can’t create ideal conditions for other species. The rubber tree is hardy in USDA zones 10 to 12, according to Missouri Botanical Garden, and the weeping fig is hardy to those zones as well, also per Missouri Botanical Garden.

Potting the Ficus

Whether you are potting a ficus you just got from the nursery or it’s time to repot a ficus that has been growing in your home for years, the first step is to choose a container or pot. Repotting an established ficus is usually best done in the late winter or spring. Aesthetics are important when selecting a container for your plant, but make sure it can provide the best conditions for the ficus tree to grow.

Drainage is critical, and soil that stays too wet can damage the roots of the plant. Be sure the pot you select has drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape. Select a pot that is one size larger than the pot in which the ficus currently grows, advises Fine Gardening. If you do not want your ficus to grow larger, you can repot it into the same container after removing some of the leaves and roots, advises Greenery Unlimited.

Place a paper towel or mesh screen at the bottom of the pot. This will keep the soil in the pot while still allowing water to drain. Add a couple of inches of soil-based potting mix to the bottom of the plant. Gently loosen the root ball of the ficus and place it in the pot. There should be approximately 1 inch between the top of the roots and the rim of the pot. Make sure it is centered and fill the pot with additional potting mix, leaving space at the top for water.

Potted Ficus Care

Select a warm location for the potted ficus, as they are not generally tolerant of cold. Be sure to keep them away from cold drafts and do not place them by an air conditioning vent. Most ficus trees will grow well in part shade, making them a great houseplant. Some species, such as the weeping fig, can grow in full sun, while others, such as the rubber tree, prefer part shade or bright, indirect sunlight.

Water the plant regularly throughout the growing season and give the plant less water in the late fall and winter. Misting the leaves is not required. Specific needs vary by species. For example, the weeping fig is drought tolerant, and you should allow the soil to dry before watering again. Ficus Audrey, on the other hand, requires much more moisture and can even be grown in water gardens or bogs outdoors.

Fertilize your ficus once per month during the growing season, advises Greenery Unlimited. Missouri Botanical Garden recommends using a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. Follow the package instructions for application. If you used a potting mix containing a slow-release fertilizer, you may not need to fertilize the tree for approximately six months.

Common Problems and Diseases

Ficus plants are not generally prone to diseases. Overwatering and poorly drained soil are common causes of potted ficus disease. Overwatering can contribute to compacted soil and is a common cause of leaf drop. Plants that are overwatered may also develop root rot, have brown spots on the leaves and take on a wilted appearance. If fungal rot develops, you may need to treat it with a fungicide and repot the plant in a sterile pot with clean soil.

Ficus leaves may also drop due to drought or a change in the environment. This may happen if you move the plant indoors for the winter or place it in a new room.

Insects are not generally a concern, especially for indoor potted ficus. However, be sure to look out for bugs, including spider mites, aphids, scale and mealybugs. If insects are attacking your plants, consider applying an insecticide, following all package warnings and instructions.

Tips and Considerations

Potted ficus trees, especially those kept indoors, need to be pruned to maintain a manageable size and desirable shape. Prune away any damaged or diseased branches and stems. If you prune back the tree significantly to reduce and control its growth, be sure to reduce the watering schedule, advises Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service.

Prior to pruning, be sure to disinfect your pruning shears. This prevents diseases from the garden from transferring to your tree. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply wipe down the blades with a disinfecting household cleaner, like Lysol, notes University of Florida IFAS Gardening Solutions. You can also use ethanol or isopropyl alcohol or soak the shears in a 10 percent bleach solution.

The trees may drip sap after pruning, so be sure to protect your floors. You can also place a small piece of paper over the cut stems to stop the sap from leaking out. Wear gloves when handling a ficus since the sap may cause dermatitis, notes the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Ficus plants may also be toxic to pets, so be sure your pets are not allowed to eat or chew on any part of the tree. If you want to grow new trees, ficus Audrey propagation is easily done by taking a softwood cutting, while weeping fig ficus can be propagated by air layering.

With the right conditions, your ficus should last many happy years.

How to repot a ficus tree

If your home is suffering from a sense of drab lifelessness, what it probably needs are a few plants. From adorable succulents to kitchen herbs, every home feels warmer and more welcoming with a few indoor plants.

One of the most popular living room plants for decades have been graceful ficuses or figs, with their glossy leaves and light gray trunks. Though they typically grow to about 10 feet tall indoors, in the wild, certain species can reach heights of 60 feet tall! Sometimes the trunks of ficus trees are twisted or braided or trained as a bonsai.

“If you give [a ficus] what it needs, it’s the closest you come to having a tree indoors,” says Barbara Pleasant, author of The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual. “With the right care, a ficus tree can live for about 20 years.”

Here’s how to care for a ficus tree, plus everything else you need to know about this popular (but somewhat finicky!) houseplant.

How much light does my ficus tree need?

As a tropical plant, a ficus tree, also called “weeping fig,” need lots of bright indirect light. Place it near your brightest windows, typically south- or west-facing, or give it supplemental light with a grow light. Once it’s situated, leave it be. It’s a little fussy and doesn’t respond well to changes. Ficus trees will sulk by dropping leaves anytime light levels or temperatures change. It also drops leaves seasonally, so be prepared with a good dustpan.

How to repot a ficus tree

How do I care for a ficus tree?

Typically, a new ficus will come in a black plastic pot with drain holes. Simply place it into a pretty, decorative clay planter. The plant shouldn’t need repotting for several years.

To water your ficus, simply give it a good soaking and let it dry out before watering again. If you overwater, the leaves will turn yellow and drop. If you underwater, the green leaves will begin to drop. A way to judge whether it’s time to water is to tip the pot and feel its weight; if it’s really light, it’s probably time to give it a drink, says Pleasant. You’ll get the hang of it after a few weeks. After watering, always dump out any water that gathers in the tray beneath the pot; no plant likes soggy feet.

To feed your ficus tree give it a liquid all-purpose fertilizer during its growing season from April to September.

The sticky sap may irritate tummies, so keep this plant away from curious pets who like to nibble on houseplants. Occasionally, dust or spray its leaves with a damp cloth or a gentle spray from the shower head.

How to repot a ficus tree

Can I take my ficus plant outdoors in summer?

You can, but it’s not the best idea, says Pleasant. For starters, it will likely drop leaves, being the diva that it is! It also can’t cook in hot sun, so you would need to find a shady spot. Finally, you’ll have to bring it indoors before the night temperatures drop into the 50s in the fall. Take it aside, and spray it with neem oil about a week before you bring it in to kill any hitchhikers such as aphids, scale, mealy bugs, or spider mites, that potentially could infest your other indoor plants. Also, expect it to drop leaves again when it comes inside until it readjusts to the light levels indoors.

Does the ficus tree have any particular problems?

Keep an eye out for an infestation of scale insects. These insects have a waxy exterior appearance, and you might see them attached to leaf surfaces. There’s also a sticky substance called honeydew, which you’ll find on your table or floor, that’s excreted by the scale when feeding. Try controlling a minor infestation by using a soft cloth dipped in warm, soapy water to wipe these insects away, says Pleasant. If that’s has too much work, treat an insecticidal soap or neem oil. Retreat in 10 days.

With spring in the air, I’ve received more plant inquiries than normal and one question in specific… you guys want to know how to repot a fiddle leaf fig tree. They really can be tricky plants and you don’t want to shock them (or worse, kill them).

How to repot a ficus tree

It just happens to be perfect timing because my tree is ready to be repotted, and I’m going to show you step-by-step photos of the process I use to upgrade planters. I’m moving this guy from the modernica pot to a larger basket.

Alright, let’s get to it! First of all, now is the time to replant… I’m giving you the green light. Remember this post: tips for healthy houseplants? I urged you not to repot your houseplants in the winter because they are in a dormant stage. Well, the best time to encourage growth is to replant in the spring during a plant’s natural growth cycle- that’s happening right now.

STEP ONE: find a planter. Be sure to buy a planter that is 2″ – 3″ larger in diameter than your existing pot. Drainage or no drainage… it truly doesn’t matter. I personally prefer no drainage hole because it’s less messy.

STEP TWO: if you’ve purchased a pot without drainage, fill your planter 1″ – 2″ full of rocks or gravel. Once the gravel is in place, top with soil.

How to repot a ficus tree

STEP THREE: What type of potting soil is best? You guys know I have a serious obsession with houseplants, so I have a lot of gardening supplies in my garage. I actually prefer to mix soils….

How to repot a ficus tree

I combined three Miracle Grow products: Cactus, Palm, & Citrus Potting Mix, Moisture Control Potting Mix, and Twice As Big Potting Mix. I used equal parts of each. You obviously don’t have to go to the trouble of combing a million different containers of dirt, but it’s what I had on hand and what works for my tree. If I had to choose just one, it’d probably be the Moisture Control.

STEP FOUR: Remove your tree from the existing pot. I’d recommend doing this outside; it definitely takes a lot of clean up later. Gently pull on the base of the trunk; if the tree is ready to be repotted, the entire rootball should come out, as shown below.

How to repot a ficus tree

STEP FIVE: Position the tree into the new planter. Center the trunk and make sure there are 2″ – 3″ of negative space around the root ball.

How to repot a ficus tree

STEP SIX: Backfill the edges with potting soil and gently press until firm. If the soil isn’t well compacted, once watering the tree, you might have to add additional soil around the outer edge as it settles.

How to repot a ficus tree

How to repot a ficus tree

STEP SEVEN: Prune any leaves that are yellowing. On my tree, these leaves are usually very small and located at the bottom… they pluck off very easily.

How to repot a ficus tree

STEP EIGHT: Clean the leaves with a damp sponge or towel. I usually use warm water and a dish towel- no soap required! Removing the dust will allow the plant to absorb more sunlight and promote growth.

How to repot a ficus tree

STEP NINE: Wait and water. I usually wait a day prior to watering my tree after repotting. This is a debated topic, it’s just what I’ve always done and what has worked for me. I know a lot of people like to water immediately after planting and that’s ok too! My friend Ashley posted a good guide on how to water a fiddle leaf fig tree. Whatever works for your plant. Most definitely wait a day before placing it back in direct sunlight because the sun can be harsh on a weakened plant.

How to repot a ficus tree

That’s all there is to it! For those of you wondering about the basket, I just bought a cheap plastic planter to sit inside it… they didn’t come together. I hope my detailed notes are helpful once you’re ready to repot your fiddle leaf fig. Isn’t it funny how this is the same tree, but it looks different in every photo? My tree definitely has a good side. Ha! I should probably spend more time rotating it.

The ficus lyrata remains a staple in design and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but I’ve been keeping an eye on other trendy interior plants (I’m looking at you, palms). Check out my pinterest board for more.

If you’re looking for cool planters, here’s a roundup of my favorites (of all prices)…

How to repot a ficus tree

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Ficus elastica, also known as the rubber plant, is an unusual-looking varietal native to the tropics of Southeast Asia. It boasts oversized, oval-shaped leaves that are a rich emerald hue, and can grow quickly, reaching up to 100 feet tall in its natural habitat. However, it’s more often grown indoors as a houseplant, where it can be planted and cared for year-round and its size kept more manageable.

When it comes to caring for a rubber plant, your job is pretty straight-forward. Simply give it enough light, water, and warmth (it is a tropical plant, after all), and you’ll be rewarded with an exotic addition to your indoor plant collection.

Botanical Name Ficus elastica
Common Name Rubber plant, rubber tree
Plant Type Evergreen tree
Mature Size 50–100 ft. tall (outdoors), 50–100 ft. wide (outdoors)
Sun Exposure Partial shade
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom Time Rarely blooms
Flower Color Rarely blooms
Hardiness Zone 10–12 (USDA)
Native Area Asia
Toxicity Toxic to dogs and cats

Watch Now: How to Grow a Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica) Indoors

How to repot a ficus tree

How to repot a ficus tree

Rubber Plant Care

While rubber plants are a pretty hardy varietal, they do have a few specific care requirements in order to find the right balance in their environment. That means providing lots of light, moist (but not soggy) soil, and enough fertilizer to keep it healthy.

The rubber plant has waxy-looking leaves that start out a pink-coral hue, eventually deepening to a dark rich green. As the rubber plant grows it will begin to droop, so it’s important that you help support them by using a long wooden dowel (or bamboo stalk) to help keep them upright.


Like most plants in their genus, rubber plants love lots of bright, diffused light. They can tolerate soft morning sunlight but should be moved out of the line of harsh direct rays in the afternoon as they can singe the leaves. Plants that do not receive sufficient light will become leggy, lose their lower leaves, and their leaf color will become dull instead of glossy and vibrant.

When it comes to their soil composition, rubber plants aren’t picky. Typically, any good, fast-draining potting soil will likely do—many indoor gardeners opt for a cactus mix. In addition, rubber plants prefer an acidic soil mixture. Like fiddle leaf fig trees (which many believe they resemble), they also “eat” their soil and will eventually have their roots exposed. When this happens, simply top your pot with additional soil and it will not be an issue.


Water your rubber plant frequently—they like to be kept steadily moist but not soaked. Rubber plants also are vulnerable to excessive dryness and don’t tolerate drought well. To check if its time for another watering, check the moisture levels in the first few inches of soil—if they’re dry and crumbly, it’s time to water your plant again.

Temperature and Humidity

Like other types of ficus trees, these plants are vulnerable to cool drafts. Unhealthy plants will become leggy, with stretching internodes, and the leaves might first turn yellow and then brown before dropping off entirely. Generally, rubber trees are best kept in moderate to warm temperatures between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with moderate humidity as well. If your home tends to be dry, invest in a space humidifier to increase the levels.


Feed the plant a weak liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season. They are relatively heavy feeders when healthy. Some experts recommend only lightly fertilizing indoor plants to prevent stretching and plants becoming root-bound because they grow too fast.

Propagating Rubber Plant

Rubber plants can be propagated from leaf-tip cuttings, but it is not particularly straight-forward and is probably easier to just buy a potted plant. If you take cuttings, use a rooting hormone and be vigilant about high humidity and plenty of warmth. Do not be discouraged if they do not propagate easily. It is an inexact science that takes some time.

Repotting Rubber Plant

Rubber plants grow fairly quickly under the right conditions and will need to be repotted every year until the plant reaches the height you want. Larger plants can be difficult to repot, so if you can’t move the container, scrape off a few inches of potting media and replace it with new potting soil.

Common Pests and Diseases

Rubber plants are vulnerable to a variety of pests that typically infest indoor houseplants, including aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, scale, and thrips. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat it with the least invasive option, like neem oil.