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Baby Rubber Plant Care — Basic Guide for Indoor Gardeners

Baby Rubber Plant Care — Basic Guide for Indoor Gardeners

The Baby Rubber plant belongs to the South American rainforests (Florida and Caribbean). This plant is also sold as Peperomia Obtusifolia or Peperomia Green. 

This plant is named as Baby Rubber plant because of the ovate, thick leaves that are glossy but have a rubbery texture. This plant also looks like a mini version of the Rubber plant. 

The word Obtusifolia means blunt leaves, and it points out the cupped leaves of this Peperomia

The leathery foliage and blooms on this variety grow in a twisting pattern to add a decorative appeal. 

 

Baby Rubber Plant Care

The Baby Rubber plant needs soil with orchid bark and perlite. You should keep it under filtered sunlight and water it once a week. This Peperomia variety likes growing in temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 23.8 degrees Celsius). Keep humidity around 40-50%.

 

Soil

One important criterion for potting soil of the Baby Rubber plant is drainage. You cannot ignore this feature, your soil should be well-draining, and the pot should also have drainage holes

The leaves are fleshy and succulent, so dry soils are best for growing this plant. 

You can create a loose soil for the Baby Rubber plant using the following ingredients:

  • Perlite – 1 part 
  • Orchid Bark – 1 part 
  • Potting Mix or soil – 2 parts

 

Water

I water my Baby Rubber plant once or twice a week depending on the soil condition. The simplest method to check the soil moisture is by inserting your fingers in the top layers of soil. 

There are fancy methods like getting a moisture meter, but that might not fit everyone’s budget. 

The only precaution is to let the potting soil for the Baby Rubber plant dry out in between watering sessions. 

This plant rarely struggles with underwatering. The most common issue is overwatering. 

This is because the leaves can easily store water for dry periods, so adding more water when the plant still has moisture definitely leads to root rot

 

Light

This plant was not made for the full sun or intense direct sunlight, so you have to grow it under bright filtered sunlight. 

Most gardening experts recommend medium-level light, but luckily this plant can also tolerate low levels of filtered sunlight. 

This means you will not have any trouble growing it a houseplant if your house does not receive bright sunlight. 

Light requirements will change based on the variety of Baby Rubber plant you are growing. The solid green variety can tolerate low levels of light. However, the variegated variety needs more bright light.

If you grow the variegated Baby Rubber plant in low sunlight, it will start losing its variegation. 

I would recommend growing the variegated version under grow lights so that you can maintain accurate light conditions.  

 

Temperature

This is a gorgeous-looking plant that has average needs. You do not need any special temperatures to help it thrive indoors. 

However, it still belongs to a warm climate, so it will happily grow in household temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 23.8 degrees Celsius). 

If the leaf tips or edges have turned brown, the temperature is too cold for the Baby Rubber plant. Keeping your plant close to an air conditioner or drafty window can also cause browning. 

 

Humidity

Unlike some other tropical houseplants, this one is not fussy about humidity. Average household humidity (40-50%) is recommended for this Peperomia variety.  

This plant can tolerate a dry atmosphere, so it’s perfect for someone who struggles with maintaining high humidity or dislikes a humid atmosphere. 

 

Fertilizer

This Peperomia variety does not have a large root system, and it grows well on its own. However, light feeding in the growing season will revive the nutrient content of the soil

If your plant shows signs of weak growth or the potting mixture lacks nutrients, you can feed it every four weeks in the growing months. 

I would recommend going for balanced fertilizer designed for indoor potted plants. 

This plant is highly susceptible to over-fertilization because it’s a light feeder. 

 

Repotting

Repotting is usually performed when the roots for the Baby Rubber plant start growing from the drainage hole at the bottom. The Baby Rubber is not a fan of root-bound growing conditions. 

Gather all your materials before you begin the repotting process. You’ll need a new pot that’s larger in terms of size than the one you used previously. 

Pruning shears are also needed to get rid of any diseased areas on the plants. 

Gently tug on the plant from its plant while teasing its roots. You should trim any mushy black roots that look diseased. 

Your plant is ready to be moved to the new pot after the root pruning. 

 If your plant is top-heavy, you can add sand to the potting mixture so that it can hold the plant upright. 

I prefer reusing my old pots while repotting. This way, I won’t have to spend extra money buying new pots and containers. 

But if you are using an old pot, make sure you sanitize all the pot surfaces to avoid spreading any bacteria or fungus that might be hiding in the pores of your terracotta pot. 

 

Pruning

This Peperomia is a fast grower, so you will need to trim the foliage regularly to maintain the compact size of the plant. 

Pruning also includes pinching the leaves to grow a bushier plant. You can easily get rid of any wonky or floppy foliage using pruning shears. 

You do not need any special training to prune this plant but remember to sterilize your gardening equipment before and after pruning. 

 

Propagation

I would recommend taking multiple cuttings from the Baby Rubber plant because there isn’t a 100% guarantee that each cutting will root. 

I like experimenting with my houseplants, so I tried propagating this plant in soil and water. Luckily both methods worked, so I’m sharing the instructions below. 

Locate a healthy-looking green stem on the original plant and, using clean scissors or pruning shears, trim this stem below the leaf node. 

Your cutting should have few healthy leaves as well. Even one leaf is enough.

The leaf node is an important element in plant propagation because this is where new growth emerges. If you have trouble locating the leaf node on your plant, look for bumpy spots. 

Now bury the cutting you’ve made in a soil mixture that’s moist. Create the mixture with the ingredients mentioned in the soil section. 

The leaf node should be below the soil surface and the leaves above. Now let the cutting grow under filtered sunlight. 

Ensure the soil’s not overly wet else, the propagation will fail. 

Some gardeners recommend covering the cutting with a bag for humidity, but I believe that’s not necessary for this plant as it thrives in average humidity. 

For the second method or water propagation, you will follow the same procedure. Instead of burying the leaf in soil, submerge it in water. The water should be replaced every week. 

 

Blooms

This plant produces tiny greenish-white flowers at the end of the season. 

The flowers are 5 inches long. 

 

Growth

This Peperomia variety has big succulent–like leaves and thick stems. The succulent nature of the leaves allows them to store water. 

So when the leaves look plumped and full, they have plenty of water, whereas if the leaves are shriveled, there is a lack of water. 

The standard version of this plant has dark green leaves, but you will also come across varieties that have variegated foliage in shades of yellow and white. The variegation is in a marble pattern. 

This is a compact plant, so it won’t take over the growing space. The average maximum size is 1 ft or 0.3m. The leaves are 6 inches in length. 

There is a variegated version of the Baby Rubber plant known as Peperomia Obtusifolia Variegata. This variety has speckled leaves. 

And they are not solid green; instead, the leaves are light green and creamy white. 

 

Common Problems for Baby Rubber Plant

 

Pests

This plant needs minimal maintenance in terms of diseases or pests. Mealybugs and spider mites love feeding on the thick, fleshy foliage of the baby rubber plant. 

If you find any signs of the pests mentioned previously, immediately spray the plant with horticulture oil or wipe down the foliage with isopropyl alcohol. 

Neem oil is a top recommendation for treating pests. 

The following are some symptoms of pests infestation on Baby Rubber plant:

  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Sticky residue
  • Holes on foliage
  • Tiny eggs on the top and bottom surface of the leaves

 

Tips for Growing Baby Rubber Plant Care

  • The number of times your Baby Rubber plant needs water per week depends on the light intensity. If your plant is growing under bright light, it will need water more frequently than when grown under low light.
  • If you want to keep the Baby Rubber plant small and compact, you should replace the top half-inch of potting soil with a fresh soil mixture. 
  • If you leave this plant sitting in intense light, the leaves will burn. 
  • Avoid using excessively large pots while repotting else, your plant stays wet for a long period and becomes susceptible to root rot
  • The thick fleshy leaves look gorgeous, but they are also prone to collecting more dust. I would recommend cleaning the leaves regularly else your Peperomia will struggle with photosynthesis. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Baby Rubber Plant Care

 

Why are the succulent leaves on your Baby Rubber plant wilted?

One of the major benefits of growing houseplants with succulent leaves is that the appearance of the foliage tells you whether your plant is happy or not. Wilted leaves are caused by a lack of moisture, which is easily fixed by watering your plant right away. If you are a forgetful garden and often miss watering sessions, I would recommend setting an alarm to remind you about watering the Baby Rubber plant. 

 

What causes the beautiful green leaves on your Baby Rubber plant to become dull and faded?

Leaf coloring is usually related to light levels. Whenever your houseplant starts losing the green color, the culprit is direct sun exposure. I would suggest relocating the Baby Rubber plant to a new place with filtered or low sunlight.

 

What causes stunted growth on the Baby Rubber plant?

The growth of this plant depends on multiple factors, soil type, light conditions, and watering. So focus on these three to prevent your plant from having stunted growth. I would recommend growing this plant in bright filtered light with well-draining but moist soil to have a healthy-looking plant. 

 

Should you mist the Baby Rubber plant every day?

This plant likes average or low humidity, so there is no need for misting it every day. You can mist it after 2-3 days to fulfill the humidity requirements. Excessive misting can result in fungal growth or rotting of leaves, so it should be avoided. 

 

Is the Baby Rubber plant toxic?

This plant is non-toxic. But you shouldn’t allow your pets to chew on its leaves. It’s best to keep the Baby Rubber plant away from your pets. 

 

My Baby Rubber plant has suddenly lost so many leaves; what is wrong?

Sudden leaf loss for the Baby Rubber plant is caused by a change in light levels or excessively low humidity. If you have recently relocated the plant, allow it to adjust to the new lighting conditions. For humidity, you can mist the leaves more frequently or keep a pebble tray with water. 

 

What happens if the Baby Rubber plant stays root bound for too long?

Your plant will have stunted growth with droopy foliage. Being root bound is a disastrous situation for this plant. 

 

What is the best season to repot the Baby Rubber plant?

Summer and spring are the growing seasons for this plant, so I would recommend repotting in these two. 

 

Is the Baby Rubber plant succulent?

This plant might have succulent-looking leaves, but it’s not succulent. 

 

How can you ensure even growth for the Baby Rubber plant?

Rotate this plant regularly to avoid leggy growth towards the light source. Rotating it ensures all parts receive sunlight. 

 

Conclusion

This plant has dark green, lime green, and variegated varieties, so you have so many options to try as a houseplant. 

The main feature is the foliage that grows in a bushy and twisting pattern making it an unusual plant. 

This plant also blooms and produces spikey flowers in spring and summer. It looks gorgeous in greenhouses and window boxes receiving plenty of sunlight.