How to Root a Rubber Plant in Water


The rubber tree has no special requirements, but it is best in rich soil with plentiful water and bright indirect light. So when you want to propagate more plants from your existing rubber trees, try rooting them in the water! In this article, I will discuss how to root a rubber plant in water. So let us get started.

It is a tree cultivated for its thick, rubbery leaves and used as an indoor plant. A mature rubber plant can grow to be about six feet tall. The best temperature range for the rubber tree is between 60 and 70 Fahrenheit or 15 to 21 Celsius.

How to Root a Rubber Plant in Water

Stepwise Guide on How to Root a Rubber Plant in Water

Step 1:

Find a glass container that is large enough to hold the entire Rubber Plant without touching the sides of the container. A fishbowl works well because it’s deep and wide enough, but you can also use plastic bowls or Tupperware. Just make sure that the container is clean before using it.

Step 2:

Take the Rubber Plant out of its pot and examine its roots; you will need to replicate this pattern when re-potting your Rubber Plant in water. Cut off any brown or dead roots that look like they will never produce healthy new leaves.

Step 3:

Use a fishing line (or thread) and a small weight (a piece of metal works well) to create a ‘U’ shape at the bottom of your glass container by tying one end of your line to one side and making a loop on the other side.

Create a 'u' Shape at the Bottom

This will ensure that the plant has space for plenty of root growth by keeping it up and away from the bottom of the glass container.

Step 4:

Fill the glass container with water until it is approximately 1/3 full (the fishing line will be underwater at this point). Place your Rubber Plant into the fishbowl and weigh it down by placing rocks over its roots; you want to make sure that the plant is kept straight and true.

Place your Rubber Plant on a sunny window sill or outdoors during spring and summer if there is sufficient sun in your area. If you live in a dark apartment, you might have to supply artificial light for up to 12 hours a day for your new plant baby.

Only use grow lights that produce red and blue wavelengths as these are best absorbed by plants as they can provide the energy needed for growth.

 Step 5:

Change the water every two to three days to prevent any bacteria from growing there.

Change the Water Every Two Days

Step 6:

You should start to notice new leaves growing after about a month; however, keep an eye out for roots coming from the drainage holes of your Rubber Plant’s root ball and fill up the glass container with water if needed.

This is also a good time to re-pot your plant into a larger pot until the height of your Rubber Plant reaches between 70cm and 1m tall (2’4″-3’3″). Remember that it will get taller and bushier than when you first started!

Step 7:

If you keep your Rubber Plant at a sunny window or under grow lights for 12 hours a day, you should see flowers blooming after about two months. Congratulations! You have successfully made baby plants, and now all you have to do is pluck them off and replant them in their pots.

You will know when it’s time to re-pot your Rubber Plant into a larger container as the roots will be coming out of the drainage holes of the plant’s root ball. While some people use regular potting soil, I find that growing mediums explicitly designed for rubber plants work best as they can retain more moisture without becoming overly saturated with water.

Precautions While Performing How to Root a Rubber Plant in Water:

Precautions While Performing How to Root a Rubber Plant in Water

1. The Rubber Plant rooting process should occur in a warm area with indirect sunlight, away from chilling drafts.

NOTE: Chilling can kill the plant tissue that has not yet developed roots.

2. A Rubber Plant’s root system is sensitive to touch while rooting in water, which could cause it to break off at the stem. If you mishandle your Rubber Plant during this time, it will lose its leaves or flowers before its new roots can support them once again.

Therefore, keep your rubber plant pruned so that there are no leaves or flowers located below where you have cut the stem for rooting in water.

3. For best results, use only distilled water when rooting a rubber plant. This is because tap water contains chemicals and substances that can cause the new roots to turn yellow. When this happens, you must dispose of the soil and replace it with fresh potting mix. NOTE: this is not the case when rooting a rubber plant in water.

4. Make sure that your Rubber Plant’s stem has been cut off at least 1″-2″ above the soil line before you begin the rubber plant rooting process in water. When trimming, make sure you leave two or three buds intact on the bottom portion of the stem for future growth.

Leave Two or Three Buds

NOTE: Do not let any leaves below where you have cut grow during this time because they are likely to die if left exposed to air currents.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Are The Disadvantages of Rooting a Rubber Plant in Water?

  • The roots might rot off before they can be planted into the soil
  • Rooting in water takes much longer than rooting with soil, depending on how fast the taproot forms.
  • If the rubber plant is not transplanted into soil, it will eventually dry up and die. (This is because there are no nutrients or minerals for the rubber plant to draw from the water)
  • Rubber plants grown in water tend to grow long vines rather than having many branches growing out of each node. (the reason why I’m doing this project, I like vines!)

What Are The Advantages of Rooting a Rubber Plant in Water?

  • You don’t need any special equipment like a rooting hormone; you simply use the parent plant to create new plants!
  • It’s cheap; you need nothing more than the rubber plant and water.
  • Rubber plants grown from cuttings will branch out earlier than those grown from seeds. However, even if you develop a cutting from a new clone, it still needs to flower before new shoots appear, so don’t expect new growth anytime soon.
  • You get more new plants than you would from seeds.

How Long Can You Leave Propagating Plants in Water?

Many plants can be propagated by rooting cuttings in water, such as African violets and jade plants. Likewise, other plants can be embedded in soil or another medium.

But while some people root their plants in water, others worry about the length of time they should leave them in there. Since different types of plant leaves contain different amounts of air and gas bubbles, the timing will vary from plant to plant.

For example, a plant leaf with very few air bubbles may need less time than one with many bubbles. Because this is true for all plants, no definite amount of time can be given; it all depends on the type of plant you’re trying to propagate and its specific leaf structure (or lack thereof).

How Long Does It Take for Rubber Tree Cuttings to Root?

The amount of time needed for rubber plant cuttings in water to take root varies, depending on the cutting taken and the conditions provided. Generally, however, most types of rubber tree cuttings will root within six months to a year.

Rubber Tree Cuttings Root in Six Months

Can You Put Cuttings Straight Into Soil?

It is possible to plant cuttings straight into the soil, but it’s not the best method. A better approach would be to put your cutting in a glass of water on some moist paper towel at least for the first four weeks while roots are forming.

When putting cuttings directly into the soil, you’re likely to end up with some rotting problems and fungal diseases that could cause root abnormalities or even kill off new plants entirely.

While taking cuttings in water isn’t fool-proof either, it reduces the chances of rot happening and gives you a bit more time to identify if there are any issues developing before things get out of hand.

In addition, rooting mediums have been specifically designed for optimal rooting environment concerns such as air pruning, water holding capacity, and other elements that will help your new plants flourish.

What Are The Disadvantages of Rooting a Rubber Plant in Water

Aeroponics Rooting Environment Issues:

In addition to the problems which can arise from putting cuttings directly into the soil, aeroponic rooting has its own set of potential issues as well including:

1) Root exposure to air leads to oxygen deprivation. Aeroponic systems rely on atomized hydroponic solutions for root exposure.

In this situation, there is no (or very minimal) direct contact between roots and a liquid nutrient reservoir that is overflowing with a highly oxygenated solution at all times. Potentially, these conditions can lead to anaerobic bacteria proliferation, root rot, or even hydroponic fertilizer burn which ultimately kills the plant itself;

2) Root exposure to air leads to root damage. By its very nature, aeroponic systems rely on oxygenated nutrient solution as a medium for roots to receive water and essential nutrients from. In the absence of a solid root barrier (medium), there is a risk that fine roots can be damaged or even ripped off completely if they are exposed to direct spray from the atomizer nozzles for too long;

3) Oxygen deprivation leads to slow growth rates. To compensate for lack of oxygen, plants shift into less demanding anaerobic respiration which ultimately slows down plant growth rates as well as reduces overall metabolic activity by as much as 70%;

4) Root rot issues due to soggy conditions. If you’re using a reservoir or some type of static liquid nutrient solution, you risk root rot from the soggy conditions that could lead to anaerobic bacteria proliferation and water-born pathogens.

In summary, both soil-based rooting and hydroponic aeroponics have their own unique set of problems that can arise when a new cutting is stuck directly into a growing medium without going through some intermediate steps such as taking cuttings in a glass of water on a moist paper towel.


I hope this article has offered you all the necessary information regarding how to root a rubber plant in water, Thank you and have a nice day!

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