Rubber Tree Plants

About Pruning My Rubber Tree Plant

jan611 added on December 10, 2012 | Answered

My rubber tree plant has 6 limbs growing out of the soil. Am I suppose to trim them back to where I only have 2 or 3 limbs growing? I have tried to grow these plants before with no luck. I am just not sure how to prune or trim them back to make them healthier. Help! lol

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on December 11, 2012
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Answered on December 18, 2012

As an interior horticulturist for 30 years, I have cared for many many rubber trees. The first problem to address is soil moisture/aeration. You'll need to let the soil aerate to the point that it feels only slightly damp to almost dry, all the way to the bottom of the pot. You will need to use a probe to get all the way down. You can use a kebob skewer, or a wooden dowel if the pot is larger. Use it as if you were testing a cake - when you pull up the probe, it should have almost no soil sticking to it, and should feel almost dry between your fingers.

As for the number of stems growing, let this be determined by the shape you want the tree to take as it grows. You can keep it as a bush - let all the stems grow - or form it as a tree by cutting all but 1 or 2 stems back to the soil level. If you do that, you can try rooting the cuttings. Whatever stems you decide to let grow, you can prune as desired - you can't hurt a plant by pruning it, unless you cut it back to the soil, and even then they often grow back. Cut the stem just past a leaf, as the articles indicate.

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Answered on December 11, 2012

If you've experienced difficulty growing these plants, I would suggest that pruning isn't the immediate issue. When you've grown the plant to the point it takes over, then it's time to fine tune pruning. This article should help:
There are related links listed tothe left of the above article.

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