The rubber plant is most typically found in southern parts of Asia, where it can grow as tall as 60 metres. It gets its name from the white latex coursing through its veins, which was once used to make rubber. Way back in 1400BC, the Mesoamerican people would mix latex from the rubber plant with juice from a Morning glory plant to make bouncy balls, which they used in a game called ollamaliztil. In English the game is known as pok-a-tok. Sadly, the rules are lost to history.
The rubber plant is not often used for its latex these days. It’s much more popular as a houseplant, loved for its thick, rubbery leaves. Those big leaves like a lot of light. Direct sun can be too harsh, but lots of indirect light will make this ex-sports star very happy. It will also appreciate a feed with liquid fertiliser once per month in spring and summer.Light:
- Falling leaves: indicate your Rubber Plant has suffered from low humidity levels. Try misting it more frequently to remedy that, or placing it on a pebble tray partly filled with water (ensure the soil is not touching the water).
- Browning, drooping leaves: indicates your plant has been overwatered. Ensure you let your plant’s soil completely dry out between waterings, and allow proper drainage.