How To Propagate Rubber Plant In Water

propagate rubber plant in water

We love propagating plants! It’s one of the best things about growing and learning about your houseplants. Propagation is a fun way to create your indoor jungle, share plants with friends and family, or make a little extra money. The rubber tree plant also know as ficus elastica, is one of our personal favorites for it’s ease of propagation. There are many different techniques that you can use to propagate rubber tree including air layering, water propagation, sphagnum moss, or soil. We prefer propagate rubber plant in water because it’s easy, doesn’t require any special equipment, and it’s just so much fun to watch the roots grow.

Step-By-Step: Propagating Rubber Plant In Water

1. Gather Your Supplies

For this project you will only need a couple of items and you most likely already have them.

  • Garden Snips – these should be sharp and always sterilized before and after using.
  • Propagation container (preferably glass since it is easy to clean) – this can be pretty much any glass jar or cup you have around the house. Old spaghetti sauce jars are perfect!

2. Take Your Cuttings

water propagate rubber tree

In order to propagate rubber plants in water, you need to take stem cuttings. This means that just simply cutting a leaf off and putting it in water will NOT yield a new rubber plant. It may grow roots and stay healthy looking for a long time but it’s not going to grow into a tree.

When water propagating rubber trees, we like for our cuttings to be about six inches long with a few leaves. This allows you to have enough of a stem to submerge in the water and enough leaves to increase the cutting’s chance of survival.

Your cutting should be healthy with no signs of pest or disease.

3. Place Cuttings In Water and Wait

You can now place your rubber plant cuttings in your propagation vessel and fill with water. The water should cover about 3 inches of the stem. If there are leaves in the way, you can trim off the bottom leaf or two without worrying about harming your cutting.

The water needs to be changed at least weekly to prevent algae from growing or any potential bad smells. Rubber trees can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months to root so be patient.

4. Transfer To Soil

propagate rubber plant in water

Once you have roots that are at least a couple inches long, you can transfer your water propagations to soil.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy for the first month. Sometimes it can be quite a shock for a plant when you move it from water to soil so it can be helpful to keep newly potted rubber plants covered with a clear plastic bag during this adjustment time. This helps them adjust to the change and retain moisture. As soon as your rubber tree starts to put out new growth, you can remove the bag.

We find propagating rubber plant in water is fun, easy, and very rewarding! If you enjoyed propagating rubber plant and want to try more propagation projects, check out our post on how to propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.

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