Rubber tree, one of the most popular houseplants, has been a favorite among plant lovers since the Victorian era. These robust plants with large, shiny leaves are highly preferred for their hardiness, and the ability to remove toxins from the air indoors. Not to mention the charm they add to the décor.
Rubber plants can thrive in a variety of conditions, provided all their requirements are met. One of the most essential requirements of a plant is moisture and humidity. And one of the most common questions we get to hear regarding this topic is- can I mist my rubber plant? Is it safe to mist rubber plants? In this article, we’ll discuss all the things related to misting of rubber plants.
Yes, you can mist your rubber plant every now and then, especially when the air has no moisture. Misting the rubber plant from time to time will also keep the foliage clean and leaves bright and pest-free. But even if you don’t do it, your rubber plant will stand tall as it is. If you’re misting your plant for improving the humidity levels, you might have to do a bit more, such as grouping the plants together or placing a humidifier in the room.
Table of Contents
Rubber Plant Info:
- Common Name: Rubber tree, rubber tree plant, rubber plant
- Latin Name: Ficus elastica
- Family: Moraceae
- Plant Type: Tree
- Origin: India and Malaya
- Temperature: 60-85°F (15-28°C)
- Humidity: Medium
- Height: 6-10′
- Color: Green
- Insects and Diseases: Mites, scales, aphids, whitefly, root rot
Rubber plant, as the name implies, produces sap that makes rubber. These plants take around 7 years to get harvested and go on to live for 100s of years. Rubber plants continue to produce sap for around 30 years after harvesting.
Rubber plants, native to India and Malaya can grow as long as over 1000 feet tall. But as a houseplant, they rarely grow beyond ten feet. Whenever you think your rubber plant is getting too tall, you can prune it to give the exact length you want.
During the growing season, you must keep the soil of your rubber plant moist by watering it deep. When it goes dormant, keep the soil slightly dry, though not completely. Just reduce the water supply by a couple of weeks and it shall do the needful.
Does Rubber Plant Like Humidity?
Simply put, rubber plants do require a stable humidity level for proper growth and development. Lack of humidity will prevent the plant from transpiring properly, which in turn will impact its growth.
Since rubber plants originate from a warm climate, the suggested indoor temperature for them is above 60°F or 15°C. However, they do not hold well in the cold draft that comes during winters. So avoid putting your rubber plant near the windows in winter.
Neither is it a good idea to place your rubber plant near the radiators just to provide it with some warmth. The hot air from the radiator will dry out the leaves a lot sooner than you can imagine, leaving your plant droopy.
Do Rubber Plants Like Being Misted?
Since rubber plants are native to tropical regions, they will not mind occasional misting to improve their humidity levels. But the catch is, rubber plants do not need a lot of humidity to survive. Just standard home humidity level would be more than enough for the plant. Neither do you need to mist it from time to time, as rubber plants perform perfectly fine without excess moisture. But if the region you live in is extremely dry, you can try misting.
Should I Mist My Rubber Plant?
As discussed above, misting is generally preferred to improve the humidity of a plant. Misting will come in handy especially during the cold days of winter. Try this method especially if your home is cold all year round. But the catch is, rubber plants do not need too much humidity and can do well in extreme temperatures as well. So if you’re thinking of misting your rubber plant just to improve its humidity level, you can give up the idea.
Other than that, you can try misting to stave off damaging insects such as mites that make their homes on the leaves.
Where And When Should You Mist Your Rubber Plant?
People are of the view that you should mist your plant when the air around feels dry. That isn’t really a great idea because when you mist plants in such an environment, the water, in turn, evaporates from leaves. So if the air around you feels a bit dry clean the leaves instead of misting the plant.
Misting is in fact beneficial for rubber plants if you’re living in colder regions. Humidity levels in colder places are very low, so misting can come in handy.
Placement plays an important while deciding when to mist your rubber plant. Rubber plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. So if you put it under direct light or near the southern window, you’ll have to mist it a bit more often. If you’ve placed your rubber plant in places that already have a high level of humidity, such as the kitchen, washroom and basement, then you can go easy with the misting.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Misting Rubber Plant
Misting is one of the most controversial topics pertaining to gardening. While some gardeners vouch for it, some are against it. Let’s go the neutral route and discuss both advantages and disadvantages of misting rubber plants.
Advantages Of Misting:
Maintains Humidity Level:
Several gardeners believe that misting plants regularly can improve the humidity level of a plant.
Cleans The Plant:
One of the drawbacks of the rubber tree is that it gets dirty easily. You do have the option of cleaning the leaves individually, but if you’re looking for a faster method, misting would be ideal. Apart from cleaning the leaves, misting also makes the foliage shiny and gives deeper variegation to the plant.
Prevents Pest Attack:
To keep the pests at bay, mix some neem oil with water and mist on the plant. This method is beneficial not just for rubber plants, but almost all plants.
Disadvantages Of Misting Rubber Plant:
It Can Damage The Plant:
If the humidity of the region is too high, the droplets of water will stay on the plant for a longer time, which in turn can damage the leaves. So if the place you’re living in has high levels of humidity, avoid misting your rubber plant, or any plant for that matter.
- May Invite Pest:
As contradictory as it may sound, it’s argued that misting invites pests and may spread leaf diseases. But this can be avoided if you add neem oil to the water before misting.
How To Measure Humidity Of The Room?
The humidity of any particular area, which includes indoor spaces such as rooms, depends on several factors such as season, and the temperature of the region you belong to. Furthermore, different places in the house have different humidity levels. The humidity level of washrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and basement is always higher than in bedrooms and living rooms.
These things can be a bit confusing for people, especially those who have just started their hands at gardening. Therefore, the simplest and best way to measure the humidity of the room is with a device called a hygrometer.
Ideal Humidity Level For Rubber Plants
The ideal humidity level for the rubber plant would be 40 to 50%. That’s not a lot to maintain though, but they do need to get their leaves cleaned as they get dirty very quickly. As mentioned earlier, you can either clean the leaves yourself or you can mist the plant.
Signs Your Rubber Plant Require More Humidity
If your rubber plant requires humidity, it will display through a few signs. Some of these include:
So if you notice any of these signs, take steps to correct the humidity levels right away. Also, these signs are generally seen in places with low humidity levels. So you can safely fix the issue by misting it.
Note: the above signs could be related to other issues as well, such as overwatering, under-watering, and even over-fertilization. So monitor the situation closely before taking any remedial steps.
How To Maintain Humidity Level Of A Rubber Plant?
As discussed above, rubber plants do not really require high levels of humidity to thrive and survive. But it’s always a good idea to maintain the ideal humidity level of a plant. While misting can definitely help, there are other measures also that you can undertake to fix the humidity level of a rubber plant. Below we will discuss some tried and tested methods of increasing the humidity level of a rubber plant.
Use A Humidifier
This is perhaps the easiest way to improve the overall humidity level indoors. Several gardeners, including me, have tried it and have found it extremely helpful. You can take a look at this humidifier we found on Amazon. It covers the entire area, not just the part where it’s placed at. Whenever you notice a dip in the humidity level, switch it on and this humidifier will do the needful.
Lower The Temperature Of Your Room
If you live in a region where the temperature is always on the higher side, we would recommend you lower it. Once you do it, the humidity level in the air will increase on its own. That doesn’t mean you can place your rubber plant near a heater or radiators, just to lower its temperature.
Try this method only if you’re living in a high-temperature region otherwise, it can backfire. If you try to reduce an already low temperature, it will affect the rubber plant adversely. Rubber plants do not like extremely low temperatures, especially cold drafts. So never expose your plant to extreme temperatures. A gradual increase would be way more favorable for their adaptability.
Group The Plants Together
This is another great method to increase the humidity level of a plant. Just group together the plants in a definite area and you’ll see the humidity level increasing in no time. This happens because when plants transpire, they release moisture, which in turn increases the humidity level.
Note: Ensure that all the plants you group together are free of pests because plants get infections from other plants easily. So you need to be extra careful while clubbing the plants together. Keep an eye on all the plants daily for as long as you’ve grouped them together.
Keep An Aquarium
This isn’t much known, but keeping an aquarium also increases the level of humidity in a room. Apart from increasing humidity, aquariums also provide nitrogen to the nearby areas.
Plus, you can use the water from the aquarium for watering your plant. This water is a natural fertilizer rich in nitrogen and fish emulsions.
The rubber plant is quite a strong plant and can handle itself quite well, provided you take care of all its needs and wants. Misting isn’t really required unless the temperature is extremely low or dry. Plus, misting can help keep pests away, provided you use it the correct way. If you follow the methods mentioned in the article, we’re positive that you’ll be able to maintain your rubber plant well.
Aiza Siddiqui is one of the content providers in Gardener’s Toolbox. From a very young age, Aiza has been passionate about gardening, which explains her choice of major in studies. She holds a BSc Degree in Botany from the University of Calcutta. Aiza is a green thumb through and through and owns more than 100 different types of plants. Every article that she contributes to Gardener’s Toolbox is written by doing extensive research and from her own experience with planting and gardening. Hoping that you will find her articles on different houseplants helpful.