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Rubber Plant Light Requirements: Low Light? Direct Sun? & More!

Before buying Rubber plants, you need to understand their optimal growth conditions. Knowing the right light conditions for the Rubber plants is crucial for their development. So, let’s dive deep into finding the right balance of light for them. 

Rubber plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight for 5 to 8 hours. It can also tolerate low lights but hates direct sunlight. If exposed to direct sun, use curtains to filter the light. In case of low lights, use Grow lights to correct the light conditions. 

There is much more to learn about the ideal light conditions for Rubber plants. In this article, I will emphasize the correct light requirements for Rubber plants and how to adjust the light conditions during an imbalance. 

Rubber Plant direct sun
Medium Light Spot

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.


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Rubber plant light requirements 

Rubber plants are native to tropical rainforest regions and thrive in warm, sunny conditions. 

One unusual thing about Rubber plants is that they can endure direct sunlight. 

Rubber plants thrive under moderate to bright light but indirect sunlight. 

I receive lots of complaints about Rubber plants not growing correctly, leaves yellowing, stems being tall and leggy, leaves turning brown, and many such complaints. 

After extensive discussions, I discovered that their Rubber plants are not receiving adequate light, and their caregivers are often unsure about suitable light conditions. 

If you want to learn about the right light conditions for the Rubber plants, here are some guidelines for all my fellow readers:  

Bright indirect sunlight 

Rubber Plant light requirement

In their natural habitat, the Rubber plants thrive under bright indirect sunlight

While growing them indoors, you must mimic this requirement so that the Rubber plant feels like it is in its own environment. 

Along with sunlight, you need to consider the temperature. 

The ideal temperature ranges between 60-80°F. 

Rubber plants will suffer when they are under sunlight that is warmer than 85°F. 

Bright sunlight makes the Rubber plants healthy, but it should be filtered through sheer curtains or window glass. 

That’s how it can match the ideal temperature, i.e., lower than 85°F but higher than 65°F. 

If the concept of indirect or filtered sunlight is unclear to you, let me provide an example. 

Suppose your Rubber plant is kept near a window with a glass or curtain. 

The glass or the curtain works as a medium for indirect light. 

When sunlight falls on the window, it passes through the glass or curtain, filters the light, reduces the intensity, and becomes perfect for the Rubber plants. 

Please avoid full or direct sunlight. It will scorch the leaves and hinder the plant’s growth.

Low light tolerance 

Rubber Plant low light

Rubber plants can also survive low light conditions. 

Thus, you can keep them in offices and rooms with limited natural light. 

However, placing the Rubber plant under extremely low light for a long time will hinder its appearance. 

The leaves may lose color, especially the variegated varieties, and the plant may start growing leggy. 

At times, try to provide them with some natural light or use supplementary Grow lights. 

Table summarizing different light conditions and ideal exposure timing for Rubber plants. 

Light ConditionsIdeal light exposure
Bright indirect sunlight (filtered sunlight)6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily
Direct sunlight (intense sunlight hitting the plant)Use sheer curtains. For direct exposure, consider early morning or evening exposure  
Low light (minimal natural sunlight4-6 hours per day

The intensity of light is the level of light, usually measured in Lux, which can differ from full sun to full shade. Let us understand more about it with a simple table of data:

Types of lightLight IntensityLocation/Placement
Full Sun(Direct)32,000–100,000-North-facing window with no-direct sunlight
-East facing window and 5-6 feet from a window
Partial Sun(Indirect)10,000–25,000The sun shines for a few hours from the window
-3 to 4 Feet from the East/West/South window
-Behind a sheer curtain
Medium Light500-1000-No direct sun but still brightly lit
-5 Feet from a window
Partially Shaded(Low)100-500-North-facing window with no-direct sunlight
-East-facing window and 5-6 feet from a window
Completely Shaded(Little)<100-Staircase, Bathroom, Hallways
-Room with no windows
-Basements
-Window shaded by a tree
Source: University of Missouri

Signs of light imbalance 

Now that you know the ideal light conditions and ways to create a perfect balance of light conditions for the Rubber plants, it is time to know what happens during wrong light exposure. 

Both direct sun exposure and excessive low lights can harm the Rubber plants. 

Signs of too much light for Rubber plants 

Rubber Plant dropping leaves
  • Leaf burns: Direct sunlight on the leaves can burn the leaves and create scorching marks. You can identify the burns by yellowing or brown margins and tips. 
  • Wilting or drooping:  Excessive sunlight can dry the soil faster and dehydrate the plant. As a result, the plant will droop or wilt.  
  • Stunted growth: Excessive sunlight can stress the plant, besides fast moisture loss. Over time, you will notice stunted growth. 
  • Leaves becoming crispy and dry: The excessive sunlight intensity increases the moisture loss from the leaves and turns them crispy and dry. 

If your Rubber plants are exposed to direct sunlight and are suffering, move them immediately away from the window, around 2-4 feet, or transfer them to a place with dappled sun.

Increase watering a bit to reduce the sunburn shock. 

If the leaves are badly scorched, remove them from the plant. 

It will help the plant to focus on growing new leaves. 

Signs of too little light for Rubber plants 

Rubber Plant leaning
  • Thin and leggy stems are the most common signs as the stems constantly grow towards the light source. 
  • Defoliation of the lower leaves to redirect the energy towards the new growth at the top of the plant. 
  • Yellow leaves because lack of sunlight hinders photosynthesis and chlorophyll needed for leaf color. 
  • Stunted growth because without light, it can’t develop well. 
  • Proper light aids in the proper drying of the soil. Under excessive low light, the soil takes a long time to dry out, which might result in overwatering
  • Leaves grow smaller than the usual size. 
  • Variegated leaves look pale as they start losing their color. 

If the plant is not receiving enough sunlight, move it to a place with filtered or dappled sunlight, not direct. 

Make sure to acclimate by gradually exposing it to filtered sunlight. 

Transitioning becomes smoother, and the plant doesn’t receive any shock. 

You can also use Grow lights if you don’t have any sunny locations. 

Keep caring for the plant, and it will revive soon. 

Finding the right light balance and adjusting lighting conditions indoors 

You are now well-acquainted with the light needs of the Rubber plants, the effects of improper light conditions, and how to fix them.

Now, you need to learn how you can provide or create adequate lighting conditions for the indoor Rubber plants. 

As I said earlier, I received complaints about the Rubber plant’s growth issues. 

Although growers manage to understand the light conditions, they are unaware of how to create ideal light conditions. 

To help you with it, I would like to share with you some steps or tips that I follow to ensure that my Rubber plants receive the correct light in my house: 

Finding the right spot 

Rubber Plant tall and healthy

Finding the right spot in your house for the Rubber plants is the most important thing. 

Though you can adjust the light conditions and get the right light balance, finding the right spot makes it easier to provide light without any adjustments. 

South-facing windows 

South-facing windows provide the maximum sunlight, depending on your zone. 

In a temperate climate in the spring and fall, you can place the Rubber plant in the south-facing window. 

But in a warmer climate, especially during the summer, south-facing windows give extremely high-intensity sunlight. 

Placing the plant here can burn the leaves. 

Here, you need to adjust it by putting up sheer curtains or Venetian blinds or keeping the plant 2-4 feet away from the window. 

A few of my Rubber plants are kept near a large window that receives direct sunlight throughout the day. 

To filter the light, I use these sheer curtains in the windows. (NICETOWN Sheer Curtain Panels Bedroom ). 

The filter ensures that the plant is exposed to bright light without exposure to direct sunbeams. 

However, when the sun intensity reduces during the winter, south-facing windows are ideal in the morning. 

Be careful of the cold drafts, though. 

East and west-facing windows 

These directions work better for the Rubber plants throughout the spring and summer, especially the east-facing windows. 

Sometimes, the west-facing windows also receive direct sunlight. 

But you can keep it when the intensity reduces. 

In both directions, the plant will get plenty of natural light and stay protected from the harsh midday sun. 

Seasonal changes and adjustments 

Spring and summer is the time when the Rubber plant grows actively and need sufficient requirements to thrive. 

They benefit from brighter locations. 

At the same time, the sun’s intensity is also at its peak. 

So, I move my plants close to the window that provides bright but indirect sunlight. 

I also use artificial lights to compensate for their increased light requirements during their actively growing seasons. 

During the fall and winter, the sun intensity reduces, and so does the Rubber plant’s active growth. 

In such seasons, I remove my plants from the windows to avoid cod drafts. Use supplementary lights like LED or fluorescent Grow lights to keep them warm. 

Calculating light intensity to determine the right light conditions  

Rubber Plant indirect sunlight

If you don’t know which spot would suit best for the Rubber plants, check and note the rooms and areas receiving sunlight. 

Next, calculate and understand the sunlight intensity. 

Rubber plants love indirect sunlight. 

It is recommended to provide the Rubber plants with 6000 to 8000 Lux light intensity throughout the spring and summer. 

It can also tolerate up to 10K Lux. 

If the plant is under low lights, the intensity should be 500-1500 Lux

Below 500, you will notice leggy growth, stunted growth, and defoliation. 

To calculate the intensity, you can use a light meter device. 50-250FC (foot candles) means low light, and 250-1000 FC means medium light. 

Another way to understand is by exposing your hand. 

If it feels too hot and the shadow of your hand appears sharp, it means the light is too intense for Rubber plants. 

On the contrary, if the heat feels soft and the shadow is also soft, Rubber plants can stay under such light conditions. 

Artificial lighting 

If you don’t have any bright spots, use artificial Grow lights for the Rubber plants. Which one can suit the best is also vital. 

I use a full-spectrum LED Grow light. An LED light can emit light similar to the sunlight. 

It can help in photosynthesis. Besides, it is readily available and affordable. 

You can also choose Fluorescent lights. 

They emit enough sunlight but no heat. 

Since the Rubber plants don’t enjoy heat, it can be a perfect choice for the Rubber plants. 

Set up the light above the Rubber plants. Put it about 6-12 inches away from the plant. 

Rubber plant lighting duration 

Rubber plants grow best when they receive around 5 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. 

While caring for the Rubber plants indoors, keep them beside a window in the early hours. 

Make sure the window receives at least 5-8 hours of sunlight. 

If you are using Grow lights, remember that just like light, darkness is equally essential. 

Let the Rubber plants have 12-14 hours of bright light, followed by 10-12 hours of darkness. 

That will be the best for them. 

Rotating the Rubber plant 

Maintaining the right light conditions for your plant isn’t the only consideration. 

The plant’s orientation also plays a role in its overall development. 

If one side receives more sunlight than the other, the former will grow well, but the latter will become leggy in search of light. 

To avoid this, I rotate your plant every few weeks for an even light distribution. 

It will prevent irregular legginess. 

Monitoring the leaf color and growth 

Regularly observe your plant. 

Early identification and intervention can prevent several issues in your plant. 

Pay close attention to the leaves, as they are the first to exhibit signs of distress. 

Adjust the light conditions and placements accordingly to make an optimal growth condition for the Rubber plants. 

Final thoughts 

Rubber plants enjoy moderate to bright indirect sunlight for 5-8 hours. The plants can also low lights to some extent, but that shouldn’t be for extended periods.

Finding the right balance is significant. If your Rubber plants get too much sunlight, use sheer curtains to filter the light. For low lights, use supplementary artificial lights. 

Keep the Rubber plants at least 2 feet away from the windows, especially those receiving direct sunlight.

Your Rubber plant will display signs indicating the plant is not getting proper sunlight. Observe the signs to adjust the light conditions and make it ideal for the plant. 

Find the right spot in your house, rotate the plant occasionally, use full-spectrum LED or Fluorescent lights designed for indoor plants, and monitor the leaf color and growth. 

Can a Rubber plant take full sun?

Rubber plants cannot tolerate full sun or direct sunlight. It can damage and scorch the leaves and affect the plant’s growth and development. Keep the plants under bright, filtered sunlight. 

Will the light conditions vary based on the plant’s size or maturity?

Bright, indirect sunlight is ideal. Younger plants may require some protection from excessive brightness, but as they grow, you can adapt to more brightness. Indirect sunlight is constant for all growth stages.

Reference: Rubber Plant Wikipedia 


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