How to Repot a Rubber Plant?

The rubber plant is my favorite among all of my indoor plants as it grows faster and thrives in bright light. Their fast growth fascinates me, but they are also prone to be root bound every so often.

So once a year or once in two years, you better re-pot them.

To re-pot a rubber plant, you need to choose a bigger pot with soil that drains well. Then, gently place the plant, fill the soil well around the root ball, and water it.

Yes, it’s how you re-pot the rubber plant. However, it may not go well if you don’t plant them carefully with some precautions during the whole process.

rubber-plant(3)-potted
Healthy Rubber Plant (Source: Unsplash)

Therefore, it is always best to know your plant needs. Is my rubber plant root bound? Is it time to re-pot? And, if yes, How to re-pot a rubber plant?

Without further ado, let’s learn more about when and how to re-pot your rubber plant.

Reasons to Repot a Rubber Plant

Rubber plant grows on very thin soil layers and doesn’t root too deeply like other tree plants.

Thus we humans brought them to our living spaces as one of the most loved indoor plants.

With every growing season, their roots grow as well as the plant. So here are some of the reasons to re-pot your rubber plant.

1. If your Plant is Root Bound

No plants like being root-bound. It is one of the most important reasons to re-pot a rubber plant.

Once the pot has no space for the growing roots of your plant, it will start disliking the environment.

2. If you haven’t Changed the Pot for a Long Time

Some of us love the smaller rubber plants, so we don’t like their faster growth.

But the top layer dressing you have been doing, scraping off one or half-inch of soil and replacing with soil that has slow-releasing nutrients.

Well, now the plant may require proper nutrients and root- space to remain healthy. Let’s re-pot together!

3. If there is no Space for Growing Plant Roots

Often, the bottom leaves start turning yellow or brown. It can be due to other reasons such as over-watering, but it can also be the sign to re-pot.

After each growing season, the root needs more space. As a result, plant growth slows, and eventually, it stops growing and starts dying.

If the roots are coming to the surface or are clearly visible through the drain holes, it’s the best reason to re-pot the rubber plant.

You may sometimes forget to check on your plants! You may be a bit past due to provide a new pot to your plant if it starts lifting itself through the pot.

If so, re-pot it today!

4. Repotting Improves the Aesthetic of your Plant

Repotting the rubber plant can also provide you a chance to use a new pot that goes well with your room or the color of your walls.

This is your chance to get the pot that you have saved on your Instagram for a long time.

Home Decorated with Rubber Plants
Home Decorated with Rubber Plants (Source: Unsplash)

Best Time to Re-pot a Rubber Plant

Rubber plants grow well when they can receive enough sunlight. Thus springs help them bring new life when they are repotted during early summer or late winter.

Repotting is best done at the beginning of a hotter climate because rubber plants are not tolerant of cold.

If you repot the rubber plant at the beginning of the spring season, the plant roots will have enough time to fit in and grow in the new pot.

Even after knowing the best time to repot, we may not be clear on how often we should re-pot, or it is possible to re-pot on the same pot.

The repotting time span depends on the size of your plant pot and how well your plant is doing.

If the plant is healthy and has slow growth and enough space for its roots in the pot, you can wait for the next growing season to re-pot.

However, if the plant is growing fast, and there is a high chance of getting root bound in no time, it’s better to re-pot.

Generally, repotting is done once a year or once in 2- 3 years, depending on the plant’s growth and size of the pot.

What Size Pot does a Rubber Plant Need?

Rubber plants originated from Asian forests; thus, they are basically trees. With every growing season, the plant grows 24 inches or more in height.

They prefer to grow wide and free, so they hate smaller pots. So, using a bigger pot is preferred if you don’t want to re-pot them every once a year.

If your plant is small, use the pot relative to your plant.

If the plant is large, a larger pot is preferred. However, selecting the right size of the pot can get tricky!

Pick a pot that is 3 to 4 inches bigger than your current rubber plant pot, diameter-wise. Be careful not to pick an excessively larger one. Repotting to a huge pot may rot the roots as the soil may stay wet for too long.

Choose a pot with a heavier weight if your rubber plant has gained top growth. Also, you may want to prevent tipping over.

The generally preferred sizes of pots are between 1-gallon to 3- gallons, providing plenty of room for the roots.

However, the pot size should not exceed 1/3rd of the root ball of your rubber plant.

Along with the size of the pot, drain holes are equally important to look after. A freshly repotted rubber plant requires good drainage.

Thus, the sidewalls of your pot require 2 to 5 drain holes along with one hole at the bottom of the pot.

What Type of Soil does a Rubber Plant Need?

Rubber plants are often called low-maintenance plants because they grow well on almost all market-bought soils. However, you might want to be careful about some of the things!

Rubber plants prefer the soil that drains well, and rubber plants do not prefer growing on water and soil that provides plenty of aeration.

Proper drainage is important because roots may rot without it.

You can find many options on potting soil in the market. Honestly, most of them are sufficient as rubber plants are low maintenance. However, to remain on the safer side, you can mix some parts of pumice or perlite.

If you further have doubts, here are some of the options on soil choice for repotting rubber plants that drain well, allows good air circulation, and provide all the necessary nutrients to the plant:

  • 3/4 Smart Naturals organic potting soil and 1/4 coco chips & pumice : This soil mix provides enough necessary nutrients for the rubber plant and drains well. You can buy Smart Naturals organic potting soil from Amazon under the names like Miracle-Gro. Coco chips and pumice makes sure the soil drains well and prevents the root from rotting.
  • 3/4 potting soil, 1/4 pumice or perlite
  • 3/4 potting soil, 1/4 cactus & succulent mix

The amount of soil mix depends on the size of your pot. Soil mix 1 or 2 inches below the rim of your pot is preferred.

soil-mixture-preparation
Soil mixture preparation to re-pot (Source: Unsplash)

If you are rarely home or may not have enough time to water your rubber plant, you can add some coco fiber, too, because it retains moisture. In doing so, it does not require as much watering.

It can be a good idea if you are planning days of vacation.

How to Re-pot a Rubber Plant?

Knowing when and how to re-pot is all your rubber plant asks you to know in exchange for making your room aesthetic! And even if you don’t, there is always space to learn.

Materials Needed to Re-pot a Rubber Plant

  • Trowel
  • Gloves
  • A pair of scissor
  • A clean and sharp knife
  • Larger pot
  • Potting soil
  • Water

If your rubber plant is small in size and if you want to keep it that way, you can consider repotting in the same pot or the pot of the same size.

If your rubber plant is root-bound and has aerial roots, it needs a bigger pot for its roots and to grow well in a healthy environment. In such a case, you need a larger pot.

Quick Tip: Put on gloves before you begin repotting. Sometimes the stem or a leaf may break and release milky latex, which may cause skin irritation to some people. Taking precautions is always good.

Here are the steps on how to re-pot a rubber plant:

Step 1: Prepare the Plant for Repotting

Few days before repotting, you need to keep the plant properly hydrated and keep its soil moist. This helps to remove the plant gently from its old pot.

Pull out the rubber plant holding its stem with one hand and the pot with the other hand. Sometimes, a bit of rotational motion helps to pull up the plant.

You can use a clean and sharp knife or trowel to help remove the plant from its pot.

Step 2: Prune the Roots

You need to check the root ball. If the soil and root seem good, you can re-pot the plant without much change.

However, if the soil looks damaged and rotten, try to remove the part with the knife or trowel, whichever is easy to use for you.

If the plant is root bound, try to loosen the roots and cut the excess with the knife.

You can cut off all the aerial roots and rotten roots.

If you are repotting in the same pot, prune the roots with the scissors well. It’s better to keep only 1/4 of the roots if you want your plant to remain healthy and small.

Step 3: Prepare the Pot

Take a new pot with a suitable size for your rubber plant.

If you are repotting in the same pot, make sure to clean it well.

Select the soil that goes best for the plant.  If you are unsure your selected soil mix may not drain well, you can try putting gravel at the bottom of the pot.

Make sure the pot has numerous drain holes.

Now, carefully, place potting soil at the bottom up to 3-4 inches.

Step 4: Re-pot the Plant

For planting into the new pot, make sure you do this part with greater care. Place the plant along with its root ball in the pot.

Ensure the crown sits a bit lower than the rim of the pot, approximately 1 or 2 inches, to prevent overflow of soil while watering.

The Crown is the part where a plant’s trunk emerges from its roots. Surround the root ball with additional soil till it matches the crown’s level.

Step 5: Water the Plant

You need to water the plant till it drains from the drain holes at the bottom and make sure the soil is evenly moist.

You may notice the soil settling a bit. Make sure to add a bit of soil to make it even.

You can now move it to the desired location. First, however, make sure it receives enough but not direct sunlight.

Once you re-pot the rubber plant, the plant gets all the nutrients and the space for its growth. Plants will grow fleshy leaves, and you can prune them if you want.

 

Taking Care of Repotted Rubber Plant

Although rubber plants grow at ease, a bit of care is necessary after repotting, so the plant doesn’t go into transplant shock. You need to water the rubber plant well after repotting.

For a few weeks after repotting, do not let the soil dry out completely and check on the following:

1. Watering the Plant

While taking care of recently repotted rubber plants, the mind plays questions on loop. For example, am I watering it correctly?

What if I am overwatering, or am I watering less? Plant owners can relate the plant’s related dilemmas.

How often you water depends on the temperature, the volume depends on the size of the pot and the soil you used.

watering Plant
Watering Plant (Photo: Unsplash)

If you notice the top 2 inches of soil is dry, water the plant till water runs out from the drain holes.

Too dry or too wet can lead to falling off of leaves.

Knowing what is happening to your plant is very important. For example, droopy leaves indicate low watering, and yellowing of leaves indicates overwatering.

You can water them every 5-6 days during their growing season. You can water them once a week during winters.

Make sure you take care of how the plant behaves!

2. Wiping the Leaves

Watering once in 1-3 weeks is enough. Make sure you wipe their leaves with a moist cloth once in a while.

Wiping their leaves keeps the plant shiny and clean. It also lowers the risk of plant bugs.

3. Light Requirement

Rubber plants grow well in the light. This sentence may sometimes play with you. Does the plant need direct sunlight? Or am I supposed to keep it on the spot with enough light?

Yes, it confuses many people. However, the rubber plant indeed thrives on proper light.

However, direct sunlight scorches the leaves. So we generally say, like us, rubber plants get sunburned in direct sunlight.

Keep the plant away from direct sunlight by keeping it near the window with curtains.

4. Temperature and Humidity Requirement

Rubber plants thrive on temperatures of 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Along with the good temperature, rubber plants require good humidity. Rubber plant hates low humidity and becomes dry.

Rubber plants prefer regular room humidity, which is between 50 and 60 percent.

So, make sure your plant is in a good humid location!

5. Fertilizer Requirement

Every plant in a pot requires fertilizers now and then. Knowing when and how to fertilize your repotted plant is a must.

Waiting a month to fertilizer your rubber plant after repotting is suggested, generally.

After that, you need to fertilize every 4-6 weeks during their growing season.

Winter fertilization has a high chance of damaging soil’s heath, resulting in an unpleasant environment for rubber plants.

Any fertilizer with Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and potassium at the ratio 24:8:16 is considered best for rubber plants.

Make sure you keep the ratio right. Otherwise, you may over-fertilize and rot the roots.

Repotting a Large Rubber Plant

It would be best if you were extra careful while repotting large rubber plants.

At first, if the plant roots were growing on the pot’s surface, you need to cut off those aerial roots. However, aerial roots are not required for indoor plants.

For a large rubber plant, there is a high chance of leaves breakage.

The milky latex from the plant is very irritating to your skin and can leave rashes. So it’s better to tie the plant loosely at first.

For further protection, you can wrap plastic or a sheet around it.

This keeps both plant and your hands safe, and you can handle your plant better while repotting.

Is it Normal for the Rubber Plant to Wilt After Repotting?

Yes, it’s normal for rubber plants to wilt because repotting can be stressful to plant.

It takes time to adjust to the new environment for the plant, so you don’t have to panic if your newly repotted rubber plant starts wilting.

For the initial few days, you need to check on your plant regularly. Wilting can be a sign of insufficient watering.

The plant may not receive enough water because the roots may temporarily absorb the required water due to a change in the environment soon after repotting.

To prevent wilting after repotting, you need to water the rubber plant with enough quantity regularly for a few days before repotting.

If you notice the plant is wilting, make sure you keep the plant’s root moist and give the plant some days to recover from transplant shock.

Can a Rubber Plant Get Killed by Repotting?

It is normal for a plant to undergo some shock on repotting. So yes, the plant may wilt, or even worse, the leaves may turn yellow and fall off.

The rubber plant may fail to thrive for some time, but it can’t be killed by repotting.

If you repot the rubber plant at the beginning of spring, i.e., its growing season, it can overcome the shock in no time if you provide enough care to the plant.

To help the rubber plant overcome repotting shock, make sure on the following:

  • Proper drainage holes
  • Right temperature
  • Good humidity
  • Indirect sunlight
  • Proper watering

Have some patience and give some time to heal!

If you are worried a bit much, you can read more on How to Save your Dying Rubber Plant.

Conclusion

Rubber Plants are easily loved indoor plants because of the ease to care. However, knowing when and how to report a rubber plant is highly recommended.

Once the pot can’t hold the growing roots of the plant, it’s time to re-pot!

To ensure the roots are not suffocated and healthy, repot rubber plant once a year or once in two years.

Even if your plant is thriving, you will need to re-pot it eventually.

Repotting to a larger pot at the beginning of spring is good for the plant. After that, watering well and providing enough sunlight will do the trick.

Let’s give a new pot to your rubber plant!

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