Pruning a baby rubber plant?

eileen_plantsMay 23, 2007

Does anyone have any suggestions for pruning a baby rubber plant? Mine has grown like a weed and is now very top heavy and the stems are all tilting over. Or should I stake them? Can the cuttings be rooted if I prune? Will new growth begin where I make the cuts? Thanks for any help.

Eileen

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birdsnblooms

Eileen, do you know how to air layer? It's the best way to root RT. Let us know if you know how it's done.
What size pot is it in? I love big trees, especially if one has extra room. But of course this is up to you..
Is it the upper leaves that are leaning over? Are they getting appropriate light?
Your dilemma reminds me of a friend who had a beautiful RT..it grew up and over the ceiling..In summer she would carry it outside..(very heavy)
One summer, someone got in her yard and stole it..she was devestated..
But the object is, her tree was a beauty..Toni

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 1:28PM
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amany(MI / 6)

Hi.

I think Eileen is referring to baby rubber plant (peperomia obtusifolia), not rubber tree plant (ficus elastica). That always seems to cause confusion. :-)

If you have peperomia, yes the cuttings will root very easily. Make your cuts just above a node and stick your stem cuttings in moist soil and give them some bright (but not too hot) light. You can cover them with a clear plastic bag, but you don't need to. Keep the soil just a tad bit more moist than you would if they were an established plant. Just a bit. You'll probably have roots in 2 or 3 weeks. You could probably even get away with sticking the cuttings in the same pot as the mother plant. These peps have such a small root system that it shouldn't won't be too invasive.

If what you have is a ficus elastica, you can pretty much just follow the same instructions as above. I don't know if they'll root just as fast though. Air layering a ficus elastica is a better idea if it's a larger plant.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 3:21PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm assuming it's a multi-stemmed plant, sort of like a bush? You can prune stems back to as few as two leaves if you wish. New shoots,branches will emerge from existing leaf axils and in old axillary locations. Simply choose one of the new shoots that shows it wants to grow vertically, and train it to the upright position, than sever the stem a short distance above that shoot. You can use a stake, some string, wire, or any other contraption that helps a new shoot to grow vertically. This procedure also strengthens stems in relation to their height. If your plants are not self-supporting, they're not getting enough light.

This tree comes easily from tip and node cuttings, so air-layering is just going through unnecessary effort, unless you simply want the satisfaction of having reproduced a plant by this method. Simply take tip cuttings & stick in perlite and place in a warm, bright spot, out of full sun.

Al

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 4:46PM
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birdsnblooms

Thanks Amany..sorry about that Eileen..Toni

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 6:47PM
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eileen_plants

It is indeed a peperomia, but thanks anyway, Toni, so great to see you back! Al, I believe you are right about not enough sun, despite the fact that I have it in a south window - I think the tilting was because the stems were reaching for the sun, though now they are leaning every which way. Think I will take your advice, amany, and cut above a node and hope for the best. Those stems are so long, I can't stand to see them flopping all over...although I must say they are not simply leggy, they have leaves everywhere, no bare patches without them. Thanks so much to all of you for your advice, I don't know where I would be without gardenweb!!

Eileen

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 8:38PM
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