We always come across a point when we find specific problems with the plant. Maybe they are not healthy and need some repotting; perhaps you have not taken care of the plant for a long time, and it is dying, or it may be an insect infestation. Propagation is the last chance to save the generation of your plant.
It is also a best-guided way for the multiplication of your indoor houseplant without investing in a new plant.
In today’s guide, we will see the various techniques used for the propagation of the Rubber plant.
As we know, the rubber plant does not require direct sunlight and loves indirect bright light and lots of humidity, things might get bumpy, but you need not worry as we are here for your help.
We will try to cover all the steps used for the propagation and the benefits of each level. So, sit back and relax and continue reading.
Table Of Contents
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Best time to propagate rubber plant
The suggested time of propagating your Rubber plant will be during the early sprigs to late summer. The reason behind this is that the plants need enough indirect sun for constant growth.
In most indoor plants, we propagate when we face problems. Sometimes it might be the last chance for saving the plant. Thus, even if the season is not right, there is no harm in giving it a try.
However, it is always suggested to propagate a healthy plant as they will develop sooner and flourish to be bushier.
Plants show complications if they are stressed while growing. Propagation during stress is not suggested.
Firstly, we try to revive the plant and bring it back to life and then propagate. This way, we get a healthy new plant.
Multiplication is another reason for the propagation. So, if you want to see your plants grow bushier, it will require a good pruning and proper propagation.
What supplies do we need to propagate a rubber plant?
For the propagation of the plant, we will need to prepare certain items and keep them handy.
Scissors: The first thing we need is a good pair of snippers/pruners/scissors. It is suggested to use garden shears for the rubber plant because the stem that has to be cut for the rubber plant is thick.
Disinfectant: Secondly, we will need some rubbing alcohol and cotton rounds. The items will be used to disinfect the shears before we begin the pruning and after we have completed the pruning.
The disinfectant is used to avoid any disease that might be on the shears or from outside, and the cotton round will be used to clean the cut rubber stem because the rubber plant oozes out milky substance, also called sap.
Jar of Water: Finally, we will need a pot filled with water. We are choosing water propagation.
Pot and Soil: If we go for the soil propagation, then we will need a small pot, also some garden soil and perlite. Lastly, we will need a zip lock bag for this process.
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Propagating a rubber plant
Usually, there are two common methods of propagating a rubber plant. These include:
- Soil Propagation
- Water Propagation
Both the method works great and can be learned with ease. We will look at these two steps individually and discuss each topic.
How to propagate rubber plant in soil
Before we begin with the process, please pick up a clean spot for the propagation as it might get messy because of the sap. Now, it’s the time to disinfect the shears.
If we want the pruning to be safe, we should disinfect out shears to prevent the spread of diseases among plants.
Now, let us learn how to propagate a rubber plant in soil in six easy steps:
1) Pick the right stem you want to propagate
While choosing the stem, make sure that the stem is healthy. A healthier stem is likely to grow better and flourish. A beautiful long stem that can grow roots will be the best choice of the stem.
Also, make sure the stem you choose is not too big as larger stems might not fit into the ziplock bag which we will need in the later stage.
2) Clip the stem at the right spot
While cutting, we should always make the cut nice and clean, as clean as we can get it.
Things to consider while cutting is that we will need a stem with leaves growing. So, while cutting, it should be around half to one inch below the foliage.
As we know, the rubber plant produces a sap also known as latex, it will ooze out once cut, so it is better to a table cloth handy to reduce the messiness.
The plant needs enough room to branch out, so pruning it right below the node is necessary.
3) Move the mother plant to the right spot
After your pruning, sometimes we might get scared about how the rubber plant is looking now; also, nothing is left of the plant. That’s not the case. If we continue to water the plant and provide the right humidity and light, the plant will grow again.
Pruning is, in one way, better and healthy for the plant. That is how the plant grows. It helps in branching out and makes the plant look fuller.
I know that the next question is, what are we supposed to do with the clipping?
4) Pot the clipping into the container with soil
You need not worry here; this step is pretty straightforward. Just take the clipping and plant the cutting in the smaller pot that we had kept. The soil that we use should be a well-draining soil, and we will add perlite to the soil mixture.
Add water to the soil and make sure not to overwater the soil. The soil should be moist and well-drained.
5) Use a ziplock bag to cover the container
After the cutting is planted on the pot, we need to use the zip lock back and cover the cutting along with the container. Thus, it was suggested to use smaller cuttings.
The zip lock bag acts as a smaller greenhouse effect for the plant. The sole purpose of the zip lock bag is to help the plant not escape the water.
6) Place the new pot in a bright spot
Next comes the placement of the pot. We will need to keep the little greenhouse in the bright indirect sunlight.
Once the plant is positioned at the right spot, we will see small roots coming out of the drainage holes.
Once the plant develops roots, it shows that it is ready for a repot.
Benefits of soil propagation:
The benefit of the soil propagation technique using the plant’s cutting is that it is less shocking to the plant than the water propagation technique.
Things to be taken care of in this process are keeping the soil moist and the plant’s placement. Soil propagation is always better than water propagation in the case of the rubber plant.
How to propagate rubber plant in water
Water propagating a rubber plant is pretty easy and straightforward. There isn’t much as this is the simplest way to propagate your indoor plant.
All we need is a glass jar and water for this process. So, let’s get right into the steps:
1) Clip the right stem from the mother plant
In this process also we will cut the mother plant. Remember to prune the branch right above the leaves as it will help develop the roots.
2) Submerge the clipping into the pot of water
When we cut the plant, we will again see the sap ooze out, which should be wiped. Now submerge the trimmed branch in water because that’s where the roots will develop.
3) Place the pot into a bright spot
Now, it’s the time for placement. We will keep the jar in a place where it gets bright indirect sunlight. South-facing windows are always suggested; however, an east or west window should also do fine.
The water should be topped up to the branch because that is where the roots will develop. Make sure to change the water frequently.
4) Speed up the process by adding pothos in the jar
We can also speed up the process if we have pothos in the jar. In one method that we had tried, the pothos had helped the rubber plant develop the root system quickly.
5) Check the development of the root in every few weeks
In a few weeks, we will see tiny roots growing on the branches, and in about a month, the roots should be healthy enough for repotting.
6) Repot the plant into a pot with soil once the roots get developed
Before repotting the plant, we need to ensure that the roots have grown up to 1-2 inches long. This ensures that the plant will thrive when it is repotted in the soil.
How to air layer a rubber plant?
Air layering is an advanced technique of propagating a rubber plant.
This process is used when our rubber plant has grown very big. It is also used in case you want the plant to grow upright and not sideways.
Once again, an important point to note is that the plant should be healthy and not stressed during the process. Always and always go for healthy plants.
The idle time for the air layering is during the mid-spring to late summer. This period maintains the growth cycle of the rubber plant.
Supplies needed for air layering a rubber plant
Here are some basic supplies you need to air layer a rubber plant successfully:
- Sphagnum Moss or peat moss
- A sharp knife or pruners
- Alcohol for disinfectant
- Some Zip ties or Velcro Ties
- A rag for cleaning the sap that will ooze out
- Rooting Hormone (You may choose to add this)
The rooting hormone helps facilitate the roots and makes sure that the roots are more robust. You may want to add this or even carry out the process without the hormone.
Steps for air layering rubber plant
Air layering a rubber plant is a complicated process. We will try to make it simple and explain every step in detail. So let’s get right into it:
1) Choosing the right stem from your rubber plant
We will first need to feel the stem in the soft and tender area and remove some of the leaves by pruning them. The removal of the leaves is to make room for the air layering.
2) Prune the leaves in the stem you choose
Begin the process by pruning the leaves. Now, when we prune the leaves, the rubber plant will produce the sap.
This is where we use the rag and wrap it around the pruned area for about 40-50 seconds.
Do not get the sap on your face or anywhere near your eyes.
3) Make a cut above the node
After removing the leaves from the node, we will need to make a cut right about a quarter inch from the node.
We will now pick up the disinfected knife and cut. Do not go through the stem, because you are just trying to take off the outer bark. The process should be done gently. Do not apply much pressure while cutting.
We need another ring right above another node from where the leaf was removed. Make a gentle ring around another node. During the process, keep cleaning the latex.
4) Remove the bark from the ring area
For the next part, we will need to remove the bark from the ring area. Remember not to go very deep and just remove the bark. All we require is to remove the hard-outer part from the stem.
If we damage the stem, then the plant will face difficulty in bringing the nutrients to the top of the plant.
5) Leave the plant alone so it can dry out
Once the bark is removed, we should let the plant air dry for about thirty minutes as the bark will be wet when we cut.
6) Apply the rooting hormone on the plant
After the plant is dried up, it is totally up to you whether you choose to apply the rooting hormone at the area we made the cut. We can also follow the process without the rooting hormone.
7) Use the moss to cover the area
It comes the time for the moss. Using the utterly wet moss, we will make a ball around the cut area. Cover the area with the moss and take a plastic bag and cover the moss with it.
Make sure that the moss is wrapped up with plastic, and it should be airtight. The reason behind making it airtight is that the moss should stay nice and wet.
To hold the plastic bags, use your zip ties or the Velcro ties around the plastic bag. We get back with the placement again.
The plastic should be removed every week so that we can keep the moss moist. We will need to tie the plastic back again to keep the covering airtight if you think that it is not that airtight, feel free to use double layering for the plastic covering.
8) Place the rubber plant at a bright spot
Place your rubber plant in the indirect bright sunlight. South-facing windows or even east windows should be elegant.
Keep watering the plant in average conditions that are neither too wet and nor too dry. The best way for this is the golden rule of Felling the Soil. Never forget the golden rule.
9) Remove the plastic and moss and clip the plant
After about 3-4 weeks, we should white gentle roots formed around the moss. Just keep the roots moist. Remove the plastic, spray on the roots to make it moist. Not too much.
Once it is time, after about eight weeks, the plant should be ready to be chopped off the mother plant.
10) Plant the clipping into a pot
Once you slip the mother plant’s cutting, you can carefully plant the new plant in a separate pot. Once done, move the pot to a bright spot and take good care of the plant.
With this, we come to an end for the air layering—so many beautiful ways to propagate your plant.
If you haven’t tried propagation yet, I would always suggest to try and get your hands on this. Once you have achieved your first propagation, you will love to try it out again.
Can you propagate a rubber plant in water?
Yes, you can definitely propagate a rubber plant in water. In fact, water propagation is one of the easiest and common practice while propagating them.
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Can you propagate a rubber plant from a leaf?
Yes, you can propagate a rubber plant from a leaf. You need to clip the limb near the node and dip the stem into water. You can follow the typical water propagation method to propagate it this way.
How long does it take to propagate rubber plant?
Propagating a rubber plant can take anywhere between two to three months. The rate of growth of the root depends upon the area you keep the pot, the season you are propagating it, and a lot of other factors. It also depends upon the method of propagation.
Source: Stem cut propagation method research, Research in propagation, Ex-Vitro propagation technique, Somatic Embryogenesis, Ficus elastica datasheet.
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