How To Propagate Rubber Plants In Water? (Steps Explained)

The Rubber plant is a gorgeous, tough, and uniformly large plant. It is formally called Ficus elastica. You can easily grow them as beautiful, full-length, or medium-sized indoor house plants.

However, at some point, the plant may start dying or get infested by insects, or you may want multiple plants. This is when you can propagate the Rubber plant. 

Propagation is an effective way to multiply your household plants without buying new ones. 

Propagating Rubber plants in water is an undemanding and effortless process of having many baby plants.

Follow these simple steps to propagate your Rubber plants in water-

  1. Cut a branch from the mother tree.
  2. Wipe off the oozing sap.
  3. Submerge the cutting in a jar filled with water.
  4. Place the jar in indirect sunlight.
  5. After a few weeks, tiny roots start emerging.
  6. Re-pot the cutting in the soil when you notice 1-2 inches long roots.

Thus you can multiply your Rubber plants easily and quickly by following these simple steps.

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Propagating Rubber Plants In Water

Here is a detailed guide for water propagating the Rubber plant. You will learn all the practical aspects of propagating Rubber trees in the water. 

The risks and challenges involved, the tools you require, when and how you can successfully multiply your Rubber plants, all the topics are covered in this blogpost. 

Best Time For Propagation 

The best time to propagate Rubber plants is in early springs till late summer. Since the plants need indirect sunlight for their constant growth, this period is best for them to multiply.

Why Should You Propagate?

Indoor gardening x
Indoor gardening

There can be multiple reasons for propagating the Rubber plants. 

  • The plant is dying, and this is the only way of saving it. 
  • The other reason is multiplication. You may want more baby plants from the mother plant.
  • Pests infested the plant, and you are now wanting a pest and disease-free plant. Propagation is the only way to achieve this. (Or else you can buy a new plant)
  • Your plant has overgrown, and you want all the plants of equal size.

Is Water-Propagation Difficult?

It’s effortless to water-propagate a Rubber plant because this plant has prolific growth. It just needs pruning and repotting, and the roots start growing at will. 

Suitable Conditions For Propagation

Water propagation of Rubber plants is hassle-free and you do not require any complex tools. You just require a few plant cuttings, water jars, etc.

Moreover, the plant doesn’t need special conditions to thrive except for indirect sunlight and humidity. It means the plant will grow well if taken proper care of it.

Preparing Your Rubber Cutting For Water Propagation

There are a few tips to remember while preparing your cuttings-

  • Always take many cuttings because if one fails to grow, you have other cuttings to use.
  • Select a healthy mother plant to reduce the risk of failed propagation. If you take a sick or dying plant or are pest-infested, there are increased chances of propagation failure. 
  • Another tip is to select a relatively new cutting compared to older ones. 
  • Furthermore, you should prefer a stem that is not too hard or woody. A woody, tough stem is hard to propagate. 

Materials Required For Propagation

We need the following items in hand-

1. Scissors

The first and the foremost item we require is a sharp pair of scissors or pruners. However, Using garden shears can help cut the thick stem easily. 

2. Disinfectant

A disinfectant like rubbing alcohol is required to disinfect the garden shears before and after propagation.

3. Cotton

Cotton is required to clean the stem. It is because the stem will ooze out milky substance when you cut it.

4. A Jar Filled With Water

Since we are water-propagating the Rubber plant, we need a jar of water.

5. Keep A Rag Handy

You need a rag to collect the oozing sap and bring the Rubber plant outdoors. You can place the plants and all other items on a repotting mat to protect your furniture and other surfaces from getting dirty or stained. 

Water Propagation Methods-

There are not many tools and equipment required for propagating plants in water. You just need a glass jar filled with water to begin the process. Here are the steps-

  1. Select a healthy stem from your mother Rubber plant. Cut a small portion of the stem having a leaf.
  2. When you are cutting the stem, you will see the white-colored sap oozing out. Wipe the sap and make it clean. Now the healthy, clean stem cuttings are ready to be placed in the water.
  3. You can also apply some rooting hormone at this time(rooting hormone is not necessary). Just dip the cuttings in the rooting hormone and then keep them inside a jar filled with water.
  4. If you are not applying rooting hormone, then you can directly dip the cuttings inside a jar of water.
  5. Keep your water jar at a place that gets bright but indirect sunlight.
  6. Remember to keep the water level up to the stem. Keep changing the water every week. 
  7. To accelerate the process, you can add pothos to your jar. It helps in the rapid development of roots.
  8. After a few weeks, you will notice roots emerging from the branches. Wait for two months, so that the roots are healthy enough for transferring into the pot. Repot only when the roots have grown at least two inches in length. 
  9. Plant the rooted cuttings in a new pot with well-drained potting soil.
  10. Keep the pot in a place that is getting bright but indirect sunlight.
  11. New stem and leaves will start to emerge in 2-3 months, and eventually, your new plant will start to grow.

How Much Time Does It Take For Propagation?

Generally, Rubber plants grow fast, but this method of propagation of Rubber plants takes some time. It is the only disadvantage of the water propagation of the Rubber plant is that it take a long time to grow new leaves and stems.

You may expect the roots to emerge within 1-2 months. And your cuttings will be fit for transplantation within 2-3 months. 

An ideal rule is to transplant when the roots have grown approximately two inches in length. Longer roots can quickly establish themselves in soil. However, make sure that the soil you are using is the best quality soil

And after that, the plant will take another 2-3 months to start new stem and leaf growth.

Possible Risks In Water Propagation

While propagation is simple yet sometimes things don’t go well with plants. to avoid any possible problems, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Ensure that the stem cutting is submerged well in water. 
  • Check if the water is smelly; if yes, promptly change it. Ideally, you should change the water every week.
  • Remove all the leaves under the waterline because they can rot, causing microbial growth in water. 
  • Too much direct sunlight can scorch your Rubber plant. And the plant may eventually die. So, ensure an appropriate amount of indirect sunlight to your plant. 
  • Too little or no sunlight can turn the plant pale. If you notice your plant becoming pale and spindly, move it closer to the light source, for example, a window. 
  • The newly grown stems are thin and the leaves are small, so you might break them easily. So, you need to handle them carefully.

Other Methods Of Propagation

Common Rubber Plants

There are different varieties of Rubber plants available. However, three of them are more popular.

  • F. elasticia ‘Robusta.’
  • F. elastica ‘Decora.’
  • F. elastica ‘Burgundy.’

Benefits Of Rubber Plant

  • Purifies Air– Rubber trees remove formaldehyde from surrounding air along with cleansing molds and bacterias. 
  • Requires Low Maintenance– They require low maintenance thus are a great choice if you can’t dedicate much time to your gardening hobby. 
  • Oxygen Production– They produce a more significant amount of oxygen than other plants, thus replenishing our indoor air. 
  • Easy Propagation– You can conveniently propagate them from cuttings taken from the mother plant. It means you can easily have many plant babies for every corner of your home. 
  • Drought Resistant– Though they love moisture, they can still survive in low moisture conditions.
  • Ornamental Value– The large and glossy leaves of Rubber plants add beauty to the empty corners of our home. 
  • Possess Anti-Inflammatory Properties– When grown as indoor plants, they don’t bloom and produce pollen. So they can aggravate respiratory allergies. 
  • Therapeutic Value– Caring for low-maintenance plants like Rubber plants is a significant relief and helps reduce stress. 
  • Improves Homes’ Acoustics– These plants have large leaves that help absorb the surrounding noise and thus help in improving the acoustics of your home. 

Conclusion

The graceful and vibrant Rubber plants are easy to propagate in-house. If you follow the appropriate steps, you will surely get fruitful results. You can take proper plant cuttings or follow air layering methods for successful propagation. 

You have to find out which propagation method works best for you. Then there would be no reason to fail to create multiple new Rubber trees. You can easily have plants for every corner of your home or for gifting them to your friends. 

Happy Planting! 

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