Rubber Tree Plant
Question: My mother-in-law suffered a stroke and entered rehab. Her rubber tree plant was on the porch and growing beautifully. We had a cold snap before someone realized to take the rubber tree plant inside, so it did get frost bite. I now have the rubber tree plant. there are no leaves on top and new growth from the bottom. The rubber tree plant is in a 18″ pot and about 3 feet tall. Question:: do I prune the barren stems and how much?
Do I understand correctly that you do have healthy new growth at the base of the plant, but all the upper leaves are gone?
If that is the case, then the more exposed leaves on top were killed by the cold whereas the lower portion and the roots are okay. As long as the roots, which are insulated by the pot and soil, are still okay then your Rubber Tree has a future.
It is possible that new growth will emerge at the very top of the stem, but that will still leave you with a bare stem except at the very top. Thus, I do suggest that you do cut it back to a height of 12 to 18 inches. New growth will then emerge on that stem just below the pruning cut and grow upward from there.
Be careful not to over water because your recovering plant will use less water than it did before. Of course, keep it in a warm, sunny location indoors.