Anyone looking to propagate a rubber tree has several methods to choose from. We explain the individual steps.
The desire to propagate a rubber tree is becoming more and more common. The advantages of the evergreen houseplant cannot be dismissed out of hand: With its large leaves, Ficus elastica looks very decorative, and the green roommate is extremely easy to care for.
Since fresh, germinable seeds are only very rarely available, the propagation of the rubber tree by sowing is usually not practicable. Other propagation methods can also be used by hobby gardeners. Regardless of whether by cuttings or by so-called mossing: The best time to multiply the rubber tree is usually spring.
How can you propagate a rubber tree?
- Cut off the head cuttings just below a leaf attachment point and let them root in a pot with potting soil or a glass with water
- As knot or eye cuttings, cut off woody shoot pieces with a well-trained eye and let them root
- To remove moss, cut into the trunk of the rubber tree horizontally and wrap a damp ball of moss around the cut
Method 1: Propagate rubber tree by cuttings from the head
A rubber tree can be propagated particularly easily by cuttings from the head. To do this, cut off healthy, soft shoot tips that are five to ten centimeters long. Use a sharp knife to cut the cuttings and make the cut at an angle and just below a point where the leaves are attached. Now remove all the lower leaves – only the top one remains. To stop the milky juice from escaping, you can dab the interfaces with a cloth or put them in a glass of warm water.
Anyone who propagates a rubber tree by cuttings from the head can use glass as protection against evaporation
For rooting, the cuttings are placed in a pot with fresh, slightly moistened potting soil. The challenge: Due to the large leaf areas, the rubber tree evaporates a lot of moisture. To limit evaporation, roll up the leaf and fix it with raffia or a rubber ring to a wooden stick that you also put in the pot.
Then cover the cutting with a foil, plastic cover, plastic bag, or glass – this measure also serves as protection against evaporation and helps to prevent the cutting from drying out so quickly. However, to ventilate it, you should remove the protection every few days.
The cutting is placed in a bright, warm place in the room (at least 25 degrees Celsius in the air and ground), but without direct sunlight.
Alternatively, you can place the cuttings in a narrow glass of water to root them before they are potted. Just remember to change the water every few days.
Whether in soil or water: The cuttings should have developed enough roots within four to eight weeks. When cuttings that have been planted in soil sprout, it is a sign that strong roots have been developed.
Method 2: Propagate rubber tree by knot cuttings
For large-leaved ficus species such as the rubber tree, propagation using a knot or eye cuttings is also recommended. A leafy, woody sprout piece with a well-developed eye, about two to three centimeters long, serves as a cutting. Place the cutting in a single pot with potting soil and protect it – as described above – from drying out until the roots have taken root.
Method 3: Propagate rubber tree by mossing
Mossing has proven itself as a method of propagation for large-leaved plants such as the rubber tree
Mossing is another method of propagation that is particularly beneficial for large-leaved plants such as rubber trees or indoor aralia. The method is primarily used to obtain two smaller plants from a very large plant.
To moss an older rubber tree, the trunk is cut horizontally about below the third or fourth leaf base – the cut should be inclined upwards and up to a maximum of half of the trunk.
For faster rooting, you can also dust the cut surface with rooting powder. In addition, a match or a small wedge is clamped into the notch to prevent the interface from growing together.
The interface is wrapped in a bag or sleeve made of dark plastic film. Tie this underneath the notch, fill the foil with damp moss and tie it to the trunk above. Alternatively, you can put a soaked moss ball around the wound, wrap it with cling film and tie it above and below the cut.
If roots have formed after about six weeks, the rubber tree has successfully reproduced: You can remove the rooted upper part and plant it in soil rich in humus. But be careful: so that the still tender roots do not tear off, you should always remove the foil very carefully after the roots have formed. Leaves usually sprout again from the remaining lower part.