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House Plants/Rubber Tree Plant


I have had a rubber tree plant for about 22 years as an indoor plant.  It has only been repotted once in that time...I know...long time and it needs it again badly.  It is presently in a 12" pot. It is about 8 feet tall..and has just been moved from Maryland to a beach in South Carolina. .I want to repot and prune it back so it fills out....most of it's leaves are at the very top.....what and how do I need to do.  Thank you for your expert advise....Massie

Hi Massie,

The notion that potted plants need to be repotted every so often has been discredited. Most potted plants reach a maximum pot size and never need to be repotted again. A plant's height, age, and presence of roots out of the pot are not reliable indicators of a plant's needing repotting.

The only reliable guide is as follows: if the plant needs water again 3 days or less after a thorough watering, then it may need to be moved up one pot size. Otherwise, leave it alone. In addition, unhealthy plants and recently relocated should never be repotted.

Your Rubber Tree is probably badly in need of pruning. It is regular pruning (not repotting) that keeps a plant full and compact. Rubber trees are more likely to branch if stems are pruned when they are relatively young. Older stems or pruning back to older portions of stems is not a successful. Without a photo, it is hard for me to advise you on just how to prune. Just remember, that new growth emerges just below the point on the stems where you make the pruning cuts. Pruning can be done at any time of the year.

Finally, light is the key factor in a Rubber Tree's overall health and growth rate. Keep it immediately in front of your sunniest uncovered window for best results.

I have written detailed articles on repotting, pruning and on Rubber Tree care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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