The Q&A Archives: Pruning a Rubber Tree

Question: What is the proper way to prune an overgrown rubber plant? The plant is approximately 10 feet tall; I would like to trim it back because it is shading a window.

Answer: For starters, be sure to use clean, sharp pruners. Also keep some rubbing alcohol handy--you will need it to clean the pruners periodically.

Take a look at the plant and note that you will be removing 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant's branches. Do not remove more foliage than that because doing so could shock the plant. You'll notice that leaves on this plant grow alternately. When pruning, be sure to make cuts just above a leaf joint--not midway along a stem. You will eventually get new growth (basal sprouting) at this area. Your plant may look a bit sparse when you are finished, but don't think you have ruined it! This trim will result in a nice, full plant.

Note that rubber plants have a milky sap, which will probably leak and drip at the cut sites. (The sap also irritates some people's skin, so you may want to wear rubber gloves.)

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