rubber tree plant help
I have a rubber tree that is one branch or trunk and has remained so for over five years. It's about 30" tall with about ten leaves. It's in a 6" clay pot.
1) Is this plant going to sprout branches? Or continue to grow with the one skinny branch/trunk?
2) I'm wondering if it needs a bigger pot.
3) Due to its tall, lanky nature, it always needs to be propped up. What's the best way to do that?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
You can try just pruning it some, to force some branching. You can prune the main trunk, just above a node. What will happen is that just below where you cut, eventually two new shoots will grow out and become new branches. This article will help you: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/rubber-tree/prune-rubber-tree.htm
They hate to be repotted, but if the plant is showing signs of stress from being root bound, like yellow leaves, then repot it. Move it to a new container that is at least 2" larger than the current pot. Otherwise, you can simply leave it as is. It can stay root bound, but will grow faster if not. Here is an article on plants that are happy root bound: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/hpgen/should-you-repot-your-plant-happy-root-bound-house-plants.htm
@ Volcano, sorry to dispute, but rubber trees are commonly used as houseplants, and have been for over a hundred years. Of course in one sense, no plant is "meant" to be in a pot, meaning that no plant actually evolved in a pot. But the wonder of so many species is that they are adaptable enough to continue to live and thrive in such an unnatural environment as a pot in a house. Of course, the poster doesn't mention where they live, so they might be confused by the advice to plant outside, since these are tropical plants, and if you try to plant one outdoors in a temperate region, it will die over the winter.
To return to the original post, the first thing I noticed is that 6" pot for a 30" plant is way to small.
Rubber trees frequently spend many years in a 10, 12, or 14"pot, without repotting for many year. However, at this point, it really needs to be taken out of that tiny pot; repotting into an 8" pot at this point should help, then in a year or two, repotting into a 10" pot should be good for several more years. When you pull it out of the pot, you'll find a lot of large roots wrapped around in there. Common advice on repotting always says to be careful not to disturb the roots; however, if you consider bonsai, which people have been practicing for several hundred years, root pruning is an important part of keeping the trees healthy in very small pots for long periods of time. I mention this because your plant will probably benefit greatly from opening up the root area by pruning. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/hpgen/prune-roots.htm
I realize you're not doing bonsai on your rubber tree, but I think you'll find these detailed instructions useful: http://www.kew.org/discover/blogs/repotting-and-root-pruning-why-when-how
Tie it tightly to the tree i mean.
hope this helps
Trees like that don't do well in pots, its roots have probably taken up the whole pot and have nowhere else to go, if you move it to a bigger pot then it will eventually grow into that one and you will face the same problem. As rubber trees are not meant to be a houseplant then they are going to do better outside in the ground. Also if you do plant it in the ground, there is a chance of " shock".
The plant will look like it will die, lose some leaves, and not grow, it might actually die. When you plant it in the ground, try not to disturb the dirt the roots have, that will probably prevent shock. as for supporting it, take 4 poles and put them firmly into the ground on all 4 sides, attack string or rope to them and tie it tightly against the tree. make sure all ropes are firm and even and you should be fine.