How to Trim a Rubber Tree Plant

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As members of the ficus family, rubber tree plants grow quite large, especially with proper indoor care. Due to their quick vertical growing, the rubber tree plant can often cause damage to itself, as the branches break under their own weight. Therefore, regular trimming is recommended as a way to keep the plant healthy and beautiful. With the proper tools and a late spring trimming schedule, you can easily care for your rubber tree plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears or small tree trimmers
  • Garden gloves

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Step back from your tree and look at it from a distance. Doing this before you start to prune will give you a visual guide of where you want to trim.

Cut one leaf at a time using your gardening shears. It’s better to try to make your cuts right where the leaf meets the stem, but you can also trim right above a leaf scar.

Prune entire branches that are pulling the plant in one direction or are in danger of breaking from their own weight. While rubber tree plants grow vertically, heavier branches can drag horizontally. Trimming those branches will help the overall structure of the plant.

Don’t remove more than 1/3 of healthy branches. While the rubber tree plant is an aggressive grower, removing too many branches at one time may damage the plant’s overall health.

Tips & Warnings

  • While best to trim a rubber tree plant in late spring or early summer, you should trim dead leaves throughout the year. This will promote healthy growth during the rest of the year.
  • The sap from rubber tree plants can irritate the skin, so it’s best to wear gloves during the process.


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