How To Propagate Rubber Plants In Water: 11 Easy Tips

Rubber trees are loved by most as they bring luck into a house, so people love propagating them. In this blog, learn how to propagate rubber plants in water and much more.

According to Feng Shui, a Ficus elastica variety can bring you prosperity, success, and good fortune.

This domestic good luck tree is also known as an Indian rubber shrub, fig, or bush. The rounded leaves of Ficus Elastica are a representation of money and wealth. One of the top ten strongest indoor plants is Ficus Elastica.

Propagating rubber plants (Ficus elastica) is a rewarding and straightforward process that allows you to multiply your collection and share these lush plants with friends and family. Water propagation is a popular method due to its simplicity and the joy of watching roots develop in real-time.

Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of propagating rubber plants in water.

Rubber Plant Water Propagation Tips
  1. Select a healthy rubber plant stem with at least two leaves and a visible node.
  2. Cut a 6-inch section from the stem just below the node with clean, sharp shears.
  3. Strip off the lower leaves to ensure no leaves are submerged when placed in water.
  4. Place the cutting in a clear glass filled with room-temperature water, submerging the node.
  5. Set the glass in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight to encourage root growth.
  6. Change the water in the glass every few days to keep it clean and clear.
  7. Wait for roots to emerge from the node, typically taking 3-4 weeks.
  8. When roots are a few inches long, prepare to transplant the cutting into soil.
  9. Fill a small pot with well-draining potting mix and plant the rooted cutting.
  10. Water the new plant thoroughly and place it in bright, indirect light to establish.

The History of Rubber Trees

In USDA areas 9b through 11, they can be grown outdoors, where they can grow to be 100-foot-tall trees with widely-spreading twigs and aerial roots that fall from the tree’s trunk in addition to branches.

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Many trees have developed buttress roots, also known as anchoring roots, as a result of living in unfavorable and rocky terrain where they are unable to penetrate the dirt deeply.

In order to form a robust network that supports the entire forest, a tree’s roots spread outward in all directions and intertwine successfully with the roots of trees nearby.

Why Propagate Rubber Plants?

Propagation can rejuvenate an older plant, create new plants for other areas of your home, or allow you to share with friends and family. It’s also cost-effective, reducing the need to buy new plants.

The Science of Propagation

Rubber plants are propagated through cuttings that, when placed in water, grow roots due to a natural process called adventitious rooting. This process is where new roots sprout from the stem of the plant, which is not their usual place of growth.

Benefits of Water Propagation

Water propagation has several advantages over other methods, like soil propagation. It’s cleaner, allows for close monitoring of root development, and can be more successful in some cases because the roots that grow in water are often more robust in the early stages of development.

Direct ObservationWatching the roots grow gives you direct insight into the plant’s health and progress.
SimplicityIt requires only a container, water, and a plant cutting—no soil or special tools are needed.
CleanlinessWater propagation is less messy than soil propagation, making it ideal for indoor gardening.
Root HealthThe roots grown in water are often more vigorous and can be less susceptible to transplant shock when moved to soil.

Preparing for Propagation

Successful propagation begins with the right preparation. You’ll need to select a healthy cutting method and gather a few simple tools.

Selecting the Right Cutting

For the best chance of success, choose a cutting that is healthy, vigorous, and has at least two sets of leaves.

Tools You’ll Need

Gathering the right tools before you start will make the process smoother and increase the likelihood of success.

Pruning ShearsUsed for taking a clean and precise cut from the parent plant.
ContainerA transparent vessel to hold the cutting and water, allowing for easy monitoring.
WaterSoft water like rainwater or distilled water is best for encouraging root growth without the risk of mineral buildup.

How To Propagate Rubber Plants in Water?

Follow the steps below to know how to properly replicate a Ficus Elastica.

Get the Land Area Neat

Rubber tree reproduction can be untidy since they ooze a sticky, latex-rich white fluid once the branches are broken.

Take caution to protect the surface. To stop the disease from spreading, thoroughly sweep the area to get rid of any leftover dirt or plant debris.

When collecting rubber tree cuttings, it is highly advised to wear safety gloves because the sap could irritate the skin if it comes into touch with it. Make absolutely sure to have all of the important equipment and materials before starting to propagate.

Choose the location for the cutting. Go over your plant to see where pruning would be beneficial.

Search for areas with uneven development or places where you want to see development completed. Cuttings from twigs or long, lanky stalks are also a great option. Choose a branch that has healthy, clean leaves. Find each leaf node along the stem prior to making any cuts because it’s here that your future roots will develop. Furthermore, Ficus cuttings should be around 6 inches long (or 15 cm) and have five or even more nodes for the best chance of success.

Make the Cuts

Take a healthy cutting of rubber plant

Decide where you want to cut the rubber tree, then use a sharp blade or trimming shears to cut a rapid, clean edge just above a node and an inch underneath a node. If the cutting is somehow releasing sap, lightly massage the cut end of the stalk with a paper towel until the sap stops.

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How to Make the Perfect Cut

The perfect cut will improve the chances of your rubber plant cutting developing roots.

  1. Identify a Healthy Section: Look for a part of the plant with vibrant foliage and no signs of disease or damage.
  2. Make a Clean Cut: Using your pruning shears, make a cut just below a node. The node is a small, raised area on the stem where leaves or branches will grow.

Prepare the Cutting: Remove any leaves that will be below the waterline to

Plunge Underwater

Rubber plants are also capable of being propagated in water. Water might not be the best medium for growing rubber plants, yet it may nevertheless work.

Make sure the terminals of the pruned stem are buried inside the water in a container or jar so that roots can develop there.

Prepare and Watch

Put the water-filled container in a location that will receive bright, diffused sunshine. The ideal light is one that faces south, although any window that receives sufficient sunshine would do. Be certain that you change its water periodically.

Every Several Days, Examine the Roots

Although water-based propagation takes a little longer than soil-based propagation, within several days, you may start to notice roots forming on the stems. These roots ought to be strong enough to be used for repotting after just a month.

Repot the Clippings with New Roots

Repot in an appropriate container. Repot your plants in a container of the soil because once roots have expanded somewhere between one and two inches, guaranteeing that now the plant will flourish once it is in the soil.

The propagated seedlings ought to develop a solid root system within a few months, regardless of the technique you employ.

After propagating the rubber plant, it is time to care for it. Below are easy steps to care for a rubber plant at home.

Aftercare for Propagated Rubber Plants

Once you’ve successfully propagated your rubber plant cutting, it’s crucial to provide the right aftercare to ensure it continues to thrive.

StepCare Instructions
WateringMaintain a balance—water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
LightKeep your plant in bright, indirect light away from direct sun exposure.
FeedingBegin a half-strength fertilizer regimen once the plant has new growth.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with careful attention, you might encounter issues. Here’s how to handle them.

Root Rot in Water

Root rot can occur if the water is not changed regularly or if the cutting is in poor health.

Slimy or Black RootsTrim the affected roots and refresh the water more frequently.

Slow Root Development

Sometimes, roots take a while to appear. Here’s what to do if you notice slow growth.

No Roots After Several WeeksEnsure the cutting is in optimal conditions, and be patient—some cuttings take longer than others.


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Water propagation is an accessible and enjoyable way to expand your rubber plant collection. It allows gardeners of all skill levels to engage actively with the growth process. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can expect to see new rubber plants taking root and growing into healthy, mature specimens.


Is Rubber Plant Good for Indoor Plants?

Rubber trees, also known as Ficus Elastica, can be enjoyed as low-maintenance houseplants or grown into magnificent room accents. If you have the patience to grow your own trees, they will gradually adjust to indoor living compared to buying trees that start off smaller.

How Are Rubber Trees Maintained?

Rubber trees are often a tolerant species. Simply ensure it doesn’t have crop pests like scales or aphids and give it the proper amount of sunlight and water. Take prompt action by periodically wiping down the shrub and spraying it with Neem oil.

What is The Easiest Method to Water a Rubber Tree?

Until the surplus moisture runs out of the openings in the bottom, fully refresh a rubber tree. It also nullifies any salts that have developed as a result of fertilizing in addition to watering the roots. After each soak, allow the top few cm of soil to air dry.

Are Animals Safe Around Rubber Trees?

Owing to its white sap, this species is not recommended as a houseplant for pets because it is hazardous. If eaten, it is lethal to humans and pets. Always keeping these plants out of young kids’ and animals’ range is the recommended strategy.

How To Keep the Bugs at Bay from Rubber Plants?

Some typical insects that could settle in the rubber tree include mealy bugs, mites, aphids, and scales. If discovered early, one can still get rid of these insects by cleaning them down with either a pesticidal solution or warm water with soap.

Is Repotting the Rubber Tree Required?

Rubber trees require minimal work, but plants must be routinely replanted since they grow so quickly. A person might need to repot the tree every year, according to their location.

How Can a Rubber Tree That Is Dying Be Spotted?

Root decay is one of the most frequent reasons for indoor plant death and should be treated immediately.

If the lower leaflets begin to turn brown or yellow, you have already been waterlogging the rubber tree. Analyze the soil’s level of water and adjust watering as required.

Q: How long does it take for rubber plant cuttings to root in water?

It typically takes about a month for rubber plant cuttings to develop significant roots in water.

Q: Can you propagate a rubber plant in tap water?

Yes, you can use tap water, but it’s best to let it sit for a day before use to allow chlorine to evaporate.

Q: How often should I change the water during propagation?

Change the water once a week to keep it fresh and oxygenated, which is essential for healthy root growth.

Q: When is the best time to propagate a rubber plant?

The best time to propagate is during the growing season, which is spring through early summer.

Q: Can I propagate a rubber plant cutting without leaves?

It’s possible, but cuttings with leaves tend to root better and faster due to the photosynthesis that feeds root growth.

Q: How do I know when it’s time to transplant my rubber plant cutting from water to soil?

When the roots are about 1-2 inches long, your cutting is ready to be potted in soil.

By following this guide, you’ll be able to successfully propagate and nurture your very own rubber plant. Remember, propagation is not just about growing new plants—it’s about enjoying the process of nurturing life. Happy planting!

Conclusion: Propagate Rubber Plants in Water

To propagate rubber plants in water, a proper care and supervision schedule is necessary. Although root development is slow in the water propagation method, it is nevertheless a choice available.

With proper maintenance, it is easy to grow a rubber plant.  We hope that this data will aid you in growing rubber trees in your backyard.