Ficus Elastica Propagation Using Soil Or Water. [Rubber Plant/Rubber Tree]

Propagating Ficus Elastica is not complicated, once you understand the basics of the process. In this article, I would cover everything you need to know about Ficus Elastica propagation. Also known as rubber plants or rubber trees, they can be propagated by their stem or leaf. The process differs slightly based on your choice, but generally, this house plant is quite easy to propagate and grow, because they have a very high rate of survival.

Propagating Ficus Elastica Using Stem Cuttings.

There are three methods to getting this done successfully, but the first step in two of the processes is cutting the stem appropriately.

Carefully, cut in-between leaf stalk, target an approximate of 5-6 inches for your stem cutting. That way, you have a couple of leaves on your stem. It is important that you cut between stalks because this is where the new root will grow from. In preparing the stem, ensure you have few leaves on it, as an excessive amount of leaves on the stem would make it difficult for the cuttings to survive. Usually, 3-4 leaves are ideal.

Once you have successfully cut the stem, you have two main options:

Ficus Elastica Propagation In Water:

This is a very easy method that I prefer to use because it allows me to monitor the growth of the roots over time. Although some will argue that, it takes extra effort to transfer the plant into a soil pot in the future, but I think this is also part of the process. Which I enjoy.

  1. Get a sizeable container, that is able to support the newly cut stem. Ensure this container is open at the top, this will allow your plant to breathe appropriately.
  2. Fill the container with just about enough water (usually 1/3) of the container. Ensure that the leaf line in-between the leaf stalk is submerged into the water.
  3. Place the container with the plant in it, in a spot where there is easy access to sunlight.
  4. Then wait. Usually, I would allow the plant to shoot some root (this can take anywhere between three to four months)
  5. While waiting, it is important to change the water in the container every week. five days (5) interval is good enough. This is to ensure that the water remains clean, and your plant root does not get attacked by any form of pathogens.
  6. After three to four months, you can start making plans about transferring your Ficus Elastica into its permanent soil pot. I will cover the process of transferring in the latter part of this article.

Ficus Elastica Propagation In Soil and Rooting Hormones:

This process is very similar to propagating the stem cutting in water, the only difference being that you would be using rooting hormones and soil instead of water. I know of people that prefer this method because it takes away the transplanting part as compared to water propagation.

Just like I previously described, once you’re able to carefully cut the stem from the mother plant, follow the steps below to propagate your plant in the soil, using rooting hormone.

  1. Before cutting the stem, prepare your soil pot. Ensuring the soil is adequately moist to an extent that would support the root sprouting. I prefer tropical soil
  2. Place the carefully stem cutting in a rooting hormone and then into the pot.
  3. Wrap both the pot and the plant in a plastic bag. The purpose of this is to create some level of humidity for the plant and to adequately prevent the soil from drying out. A side note to placing the plant in a plastic bag; please avoid sealing the bag completely. This can result in plant death. Leave enough room for some oxygen.
  4. Place the plant in a sunny area!

Although I have never tried this method; but I have read about people that successfully used honey instead of rooting hormone, and the outcome was great. So if you’re a little bit adventurous, this is something you might want to test out.

Ficus Elastica Propagation Using Air Layering Method:

This method is quite complicated, and I have had very little success rate, mostly because of my lack of experience with it. But I would explain the basics of the process in this paragraph. The basic idea of Ficus Elastica propagation using the air layering method is to leverage the nutrient supply from the mother plant until a root grows from the stem, and then transfer the stem into its own pot.

As I said, this method is quite complicated, but i will list out the steps below.

  1. Carefully cut an outer back from the mother plant, and then add some soil in between the stalk and the main plant.
  2. Leaving it for a while would allow a root to grow, after which you can transfer the stem into a new pot.

The video below explains the process better, I would advise that you watch if this sounds like something you would like to give a try.


When To Propagate Ficus Elastica?

Like most plants in the Moraceae family, Ficus Elastica thrives in direct sunlight, and they have the tendency of becoming leggy when they do not have direct access to sunlight. As regards the time of the year, Augustus/September or early Spring is most suitable because it allows for the warmth of the season to aid the recovery and subsequent growth of the plant.

Two things to keep in mind; propagation of Ficus Elastica can be for the purpose of trimming, to ensure the continued healthy growth of the parent plant, or for the true purpose of increasing your plant count. Regardless of your reasons, following the steps discussed above, and choosing the appropriate time to get it done will ensure that the propagation is successful

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How To Successfully Transfer Ficus Elastica From Water To Soil

A lot of people get anxious about transferring the propagated plants from the water container to their permanent pot. The key thing to keep in mind during this process is that; the difficult part has been done. The translating process isn’t harmful to your plant in any way. As long as you use the right soil, and keep the soil moistened for the first two weeks following transplanting. Follow the steps below to transfer propagated Ficus Elastica from water to soil.

  1. Prepare the pot. Select the appropriate pot size based on the size of the plant. You want to avoid using a small pot that the plant will easily outgrow, also you don’t want to go overboard on the size.
  2. Prefill the pot about 1/3 and carefully place your plant and complete the pot filling. Typically, I try to fill the post to the level of the first leaf.
  3. Once this is done, water the soil appropriately, ensure it’s sufficiently moistened.

Some people do suggest that adding 1/4 of hydrogen peroxide in the water can help rid the potting mix of pathogens and ensure plant safety as it gets acclimatized to its new environment. I have never done this before, but I think it is worth trying.

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FAQ: Ficus Elastica Propagation

Q: Can you propagate a Ficus Elastica Leaf?

A: No. The purpose of plant propagation is to make a whole new plant from the mother plant. While a single leave will survive in water propagation, that is all you will get. A single leaf! If there is no stem, other leaves can sprout.

Q: How Long Does it take to propagate Ficus Elastica?

A: 2-3 months typically. Around the third month, the root should have grown enough for the new plant to be moved to its permanent pot.

Q: Will Rubber Plant Cuttings Root in Water?

A: Yes. The water propagation method is arguable the easiest method that I have tried so far.

That is all I have for you in this article on how to propagate Ficus Elastica.