The rubber plant or by its scientific name Ficus Elastica is an indoor plant par excellence. First of all, its beautiful leaves are able to decorate any space, matching various types of decoration. On the other hand, and something very sought after by novice gardeners, the care of this plant is super simple, so you have to spend very little time on it. If you are thinking of having one at home, do not hesitate, I assure you that you will love it. But in this post we will not talk about general care, or its ability to decorate, but we will see what is the best soil for rubber plant.
I recommend that you read this post to the end, because we will not only analyze the soil. We will also see what are the best pots for the rubber plant. A detail that many gardeners neglect. But for plants like these it is a fundamental point so that it can grow and develop correctly.
1. What characteristics should the soil have for a rubber plant?
This plant, as with many of the indoor plants that we have analyzed on this website, is not very demanding in terms of soil. It doesn’t need soil that’s too rich in nutrients, nor will it need you to supply large amounts of fertilizer to thrive. In any case, there are certain key points when looking for a soil for cacuho plants.
The Ficus Elastica is native to northeastern India, western Indonesia, places that are characterized by being tropical, that is, very rainy. But since this plant does not like very wet or waterlogged soil, it needs good drainage capacity.
Ideally, it should be a light soil, but at the same time have enough volume to be able to support the root ball. Although it should drain easily, it should retain a certain percentage of water.
If the holding capacity is close to zero, your plant will probably dry out, or you will have to water too often. With these soils, irrigation will be easy, you just have to wait for the first centimeters of soil to dry and then apply the irrigation.
If you don’t use a light, well-draining mix and opt for a dense mix, it will retain more water than necessary. What this can bring is the appearance of fungus on the roots of the rubber plant. A very serious and difficult problem to solve, especially if you do not take it on time. It will also make it harder for you to absorb nutrients, so you won’t be able to feed properly.
2. Best soil for rubber plant
As we will see in the following sections, obtaining a soil mix that is useful for rubber plants is not difficult at all. Usually at this point you have two options, purchase soil mixes or prepare the mix yourself.
The first option is the simplest, you just have to go to a nursery and buy a mixture suitable for cacuho plants. Preparing the mixture yourself will take some time, but it will save you some money. 😉
2.1 Store-bought Soil
If you choose to spend some money and buy a potting mix for your rubber plant, keep in mind that almost any potting mix will work. Although before buying it, make sure that among the components that the mixture has, there are some or more of the following:
- Pumice stone: this is one of my favorite ingredients because it not only improves drainage in any type of soil, but at the same time its porosity retains excess moisture. In other words, it drains but at the same time retains a small percentage, just what we are looking for for the rubber plant.
- Perlite: mixtures with perlite are favored due to its porous texture and light weight to improve aeration, it also makes caking difficult. In this way the drainage will be much better and the roots will have easy access to oxygen.
- Peat: this ingredient has a good water retention capacity, allows good air circulation and facilitates the absorption of water by the roots of the plants.
- Pine bark: similar to pumice stone, pine bark is good for improving drainage, but it also retains a certain percentage of water. So it is very good ingredients for plants such as rubber.
- Sand: a component such as sand will always improve the drainage of any soil. Depending on the thickness of the sand and the percentage with respect to the total soil, it will be the drainage capacity of the mixture.
If among the ingredients of the mixture you read any of these ingredients, it is most likely that it will work for your rubber plant. If you do not want to complicate your life too much reading the components of the package, you can choose to buy soil mixtures for cacti and succulents, these will work very well for you.
Other plants that have similar soil requirements to the rubber plant, and to which we have already devoted an article, are jade plants and anthuriums. Click on the links that I just left you and there you will find all the information. Or you can continue reading this post. 😉
2.2 Homemade soil mix for rubber plant
We have just analyzed the easiest one, that is, going to buy the soil mix at the store. In reality you do not need to go anywhere, from your computer you can enter stores like Amazon and there you will find dozens of different soil mixtures that can be useful in this case.
But I think you may be one of the gardeners who prefer to make the soil mixes for their plants by themselves. Which is perfect, and with a little practice (trial and error) you can have much better mixes than the ones you bought.
While creating a soil mix often ends in trial and error, it’s always good to have a base recipe to start with. It is safer what you are looking for. If this is not the first blog you have come across, but you have already read several posts on the subject, you may have come across many different recipes.
That there are many recipes can be a bit confusing, but with so many ingredients available it is logical that this happens. Here is a recipe for a soil mix that will work well on rubber plants. But you are free to modify it, as long as the mixture you obtain has the characteristics that we analyzed in the previous section.
- Soil mix for rubber plant: 20% vermicompost or compost, 30% perlite or sand, 30% coarse vegetable bark, 20% peat or coconut fiber.
With the compost or vermicompost you provide some nutrients, which are useful for all plants. With the perlite or sand you increase the drainage capacity as with the vegetable bark. Peat or coco fiber will retain a small percentage of moisture.
3. Best pot for rubber plant
As we said before, knowing how to correctly select the pot for your indoor plant is an important point, and for this we must analyze the following points; Material and size of the pot.
3.1 Pot material
There are many potting materials available, let’s look at the five most common and which one is best suited for a rubber plant.
- Terracotta pots: they are characterized by being aesthetically very beautiful, being a natural material it has good porosity, something that allows a certain percentage of water to evaporate. It is ideal for plants that do not support excess water in their roots.
- Plastic pots: they are light pots with zero porosity, that is, the water will only come out through their holes. Being lightweight, they are good for plants that need to be moved frequently.
- Glass pots: like plastic, glass does not allow water to evaporate, being a fragile material it is not good for plants that must be moved frequently.
- Wooden pots: again being a natural material, it has a certain degree of porosity that allows a percentage of water to evaporate. They are usually heavy pots so it is not good for plants that have to be moved frequently.
- Concrete pots: these pots are the most resistant as well as the heaviest. Its close to zero porosity makes evaporation through its walls impossible. They are highly sought after for plants that you won’t need to move for a long time.
You can use any of the materials mentioned above, although you should keep in mind that the amount of watering should vary depending on the material. The less porous the potting material, the less the amount of water should be.
In the first years of the plant, when it is small and you can move it from one place to another, it is better to use light materials such as plastic. Whereas when your rubber plant is quite large it may be an option to use more resistant materials such as concrete or terracotta.
3.2 Pot size for rubber plant
Rubber plants, like many tropical plants, are characterized by a fairly high growth rate. This is something important when we grow it as an indoor plant, especially since we will have to transplant it quite frequently.
Keep in mind that if you do not select the correct size of the pot, you can seriously harm the plant:
- Pots that are too small: they will not allow proper growth, causing strangulation of the roots. On the other hand, the small amount of land will not allow it to retain the necessary amount of water. You must increase the frequency of watering or else your plant will be stressed by the lack of water.
- Pots that are too big: when this happens, the excess soil causes water retention to be much higher than necessary. If you have changed to a very large pot and you continue to water with the same frequency, surely the plant will not be able to absorb the water between watering and watering, so the soil will be more moist than necessary. This can cause waterlogging of the soil and possible appearance of fungi.
To avoid problems like the above, every time you change your pot, look for one that is only 1/3 larger than the root ball of the plant.
In case you do not want to increase the size of the pot, you will have to do a root pruning. This way you can reuse the same pot since you will have given more space for the roots to spread.
- RUBBER TREE (Ficus elastica) – plantshed.com.
- Rubber Tree general information – edis.ifas.ufl.edu.