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rubber tree

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by DonnaG on October 19, 2005 12:48 AM
I acquired a rubber tree last year in the winter. It was probably 7 ft tall. It had a large stake to keep it straight. I had to replant it 1 time because it had outgrown the large pot. During the summer months I brought it outside. It is now almost 8 1/2ft tall with new shoots next to the main stem. I cannot get this into my home now. Can you cut the plant from the top, without killing it? It is a lovely plant. I was reading some of the pruning an overgrown rubber plant on this site.It has taken well to my home and I would like to care for it well. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
by loz on October 19, 2005 12:51 AM
Hi Donna and welcome to the forum!!! So glad you found us...

I have a rubber plant too, but I'm not sure about your question because I've never had to cut mine back yet.

I'll move your post to the houseplant section where you'll be sure to get more replies.

by Will Creed on October 19, 2005 07:13 AM
Hi Donna,

You can prune back a rubber tree at any point along the stem. New growth usually emerges a little below the point where you make the cut. So make your pruning cuts based on where you want to see new growth come in. Remember also that the more you prune off, the more room for new growth it will have in the future.

Tip cuttings - stems with only two to four leaves - will often root at the base of the pot. To root longer cuttings you will need to air-layer.
by DonnaG on October 20, 2005 02:04 AM
Thank you Will.
The weather is starting to turn and I want to bring it in.
So I can cut off the top 2 feet? or more?
This is all new to me. What is air-layer?
When I go to repot this, can I use the 2 feet I have cut off?
by Will Creed on October 20, 2005 09:18 AM
Yes, you can take off the top two feet...or more...or less.

Air layering typically takes 6 to 8 weeks, so I don't think that is an option for you. If you really want to know more about it, send me your email address in a Private Message and I will send you my article on propagation.

With the two foot (or more) top cutting, remove all of the lower leaves until only 2 - 4 are left at the top. Then reduce the bare portion of the stem to about 6 inches. Place the remaining cutting in a small pot filled with a porous potting mix. Keep it damp and in moderately bright light. With a little luck it will root and you will have a new rubber plant.
by Jiffymouse on October 20, 2005 10:49 AM
or, follow will's instructions (they are good) and then put the cutting in the pot with the mother plant to make a bushier looking plant. i like the multistemed ones myself. they can always be divided or propagated more later!
by DonnaG on November 01, 2005 04:14 AM
Will and Jiffymouse,
It has been a week since I cut the rubber tree. I moved it inside as the temperature has dropped. The top I replanted in a larger pot and the bottom (roots with additional new sprouts) now has more room. It looks well, so far. I planted them in rich new soil with miracle grow. I hope they adjust. But I just wanted to say thank you so much for guidance!
by Jiffymouse on November 01, 2005 04:22 AM
[thumb] so glad you are successful with it. the only thing i should have warned you about was that sometimes you will lose a few leaves when you move them. change of light and all that.

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