Rubber Tree Plant Question

Colleen_55July 20, 2014

I have a rubber tree plant that my son started in his college horticulture class (air layering) at least 5 years ago. The plant is a single trunk at this point and around 4 feet tall. This summer a small shoot has sprung out just above the soil line. I am not sure how to care for that. Should I leave it alone or cut it off and root it?
I would also like to encourage some "bushy" growth rather than the single trunk.

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If you want it bushy then leave it. But make sure you give it plenty of light. If the upper leaves block out too much light then you'll end up with a couple of spindly stems and few leaves.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:45AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

By bushy, I would guess you mean side branches along the main trunk? A few things should help you guide the growth. The usual result of removing a growth tip is bifurcation. The usual result of removing a leaf is to inspire a new branch to form at that node. Cutting part of a leaf is a great way to send that signal while leaving some leaf there to continue the photosynthesis process.

I might recommend getting 2-3 Coleus plants to conduct experiments, if still out there in stores nearby. They respond in the classic way to pruning, but grow much more rapidly than something like a rubber tree. You can see the whole thing happen in a few weeks with Coleus. Do two different kinds of pruning to them, watch what happens.

There are also millions of pics out there if you use an image search to study pics of pruning, rubber tree in particular. That may show you what you need to know to get a feel for what to do/expect to get the results, eventual appearance that you want.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:29PM
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MsGreenFinger GW(8 Ireland)

I never knew that cutting part of a leaf helps branching at that node. Definitely have to try! I always learn something on this forum :)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:11PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

It's very fun to guide the growth of plants through selective pruning! Hope you have as much fun with it as I do. If you are able to add a pic of the tree to this discussion, you may get more interesting and useful feedback/suggestions.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:08AM
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