Rubber plant (Ficus elastica): an indoor air purifying plant and health benefits

Rubber plant or botanically known as Ficus elastica Roxb. is a large or medium house plant with beautiful foliage. The plant is indigenous to India and propagates mainly by seeds, cuttings or layering. The plant has beautiful plastic-like leaves which gives the plant a unique appearance and adds up the aesthetic sense of the room.

Ficus elastica (Rubber plant) as an air purifier

Ficus elastica or rubber plant is one of the indoor plants which also helps in cleaning the indoor air by absorbing some harmful gases released from our common households. The leaves of rubber plants mainly absorb formaldehyde from the air (1). Formaldehyde is one the main indoor air pollutant which emits largely from paints, wooden polish and garage goods. Formaldehyde may cause respiratory-related disorders and irritation of eyes. Therefore rubber plant like other air purifying indoor plants helps in cleaning the air and makes the indoor environment more serene and healthier.

How to take care of a rubber plant

Rubber plants grow up to a height of 10 ft depending upon the type of space and type of care taken. Regular pruning helps in maintaining the height of the plant to a proper level and also helps in proper growth of the leaves.

  • Proper indirect sunlight is very important for the proper healthy growth of the plant. Therefore the plant should be preferably placed on the window side. Avoid direct sunlight as it leads to improper growth.
  • Watering the plant every 2 or 3 days is also important. Too much water may cause root rot. Therefore water whenever the topsoil of the pot becomes dry. Less water may cause leaf curl in rubber plants.
  • Normal liquid fertilizers (N, P, K) are enough for nourishing the rubber plant.
  • Potting of the plant should be done in well-drained and aerated soil with sand and moss.
  • Clean the leaves with dry soft cloths once every week for proper absorption of the harmful gases and emission of clean air.
  • Pruning of the plant should be done during the spring season.

Ficus elastica care


The sap of the plant is may irritate skin and causes stomach trouble. Therefore keep the plant away from pets and children.


Corneio, J. J. Munoz, M.a, C. Y. and Stewart, A. j. , ”Studies on the decontamination of air by Plants, Ecotoxicology, 1999, 8(4), pp 311 – 320.