Rubber Plant's Active Growing Season and other issues

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by marylou830, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. marylou830

    marylou830 Active Member

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    Hi. When is a rubber plant's active growing season? I've had the same problem for 3 years with my rubber plant. It's in a huge pot and well-drained, but has continued to drop leaves the whole time I've had it until about 3 months ago. I was watering it once a week and then stopped doing that and then the leaves quit falling off after I started neglecting it. I moved it outdoors to my partially-shaded porch, and here in Georgia the temp has been getting up to the 90s. Finally, new growth is on the top of the "branches" and they look like they're going to stick around, but the bare stems which are about 2 feet look terrible. I would like to cut each of them off and start from about an inch at the bottom, and save the top part in another pot, but I don't want to kill the whole thing by doing it at the wrong time. By the way, I also put an ivy plant in the pot because I learned from experience that they don't like much water at all, so I judge the watering times by how they look. Any input would be grateful. I don't know what air-layering is and I have no success at doing anything complicated with plants.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    If you're not willing to air layer then I guess that leaves cutting it down and starting it over from the stubs, without making new plants at the same time - unless the cut pieces can be made into cuttings. Check that out, maybe it is feasible for you. Probably have to do something like put them in pots with clear plastic over them, unless your current conditions are so humid that would be unnecessary or even undesirable to cover the cuttings.
     
  3. marylou830

    marylou830 Active Member

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    Thanks for the input. I read some other info. on google about getting the leaves to grow again on the branches. It said to cut a little slice into it just above the place where the old leaves fell off, but not too deeply. I tried that yesterday, so we'll see. What is air layering? Maybe I could give that a shot as well. I do hate to cut the whole thing down. It was a gift from my mom and I don't want it to die on me.
     
  4. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    you can easily top it off - leave one pair of leaves on each of the stems/stalks and the put the cut off pieces right into the soil in that pot - treat with root hormone first - and they'll root and make the other pieces look less scraggly.
     
  5. marylou830

    marylou830 Active Member

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    Thanks so much. That seems easy enough, so I'll try that next.
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    My guess is the plant is begging for more sun. Although florists sell various species of Ficus as "rubber trees", they grow huge in direct sunlight. There are many growers in South Florida who have stock trees that are quite large. All they do is cut off branches and pot them. They quickly root. In South Florida you can find them 50, 60 feet and higher all over the city, especially around Homestead.

    Rather than give it a shaded spot, slowly put it into the direct sunlight. I'd be willing to bet you'll see a reversal. Also, the plant needs to be potted in very fast draining soil. So add quite a bit of peat and Perliteā„¢ to your soil mix. I have a very large one in my atrium and we constantly have to trim back the branches to prevent the tree from growing out the roof. Mine receives water almost daily!
     
  7. marylou830

    marylou830 Active Member

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    Well that sounds pretty good, too. I'll move it slowly to the edge of my porch where the sun shines most.
     
  8. marylou830

    marylou830 Active Member

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    A quick update: my plant is doing great since I moved it into the sun. It's much happier! I've been too chicken to cut off the long stemmy pieces, but one got broken last week and I stuck it in the pot after putting root start on it, so that will be my starting point if it does well.
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Hope it continues to do very well. You'll find you can start (and give away) all the plants you want! I bought one from a nursery friend in Miami in 1998, the plant was 3 feet tall. Within 2 years it was well over 20 feet! When we decided to leave Florida I took a 2 foot cutting and potted it. That one is now 12 feet and would be much taller except for the fact I keep cutting it back. The ceiling of my atrium is only 15 feet and I don't want it bursting the roof! Hope both you and the plant stay happy!
     

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