The Q&A Archives: indoor plants

Question: my rubber tree has white spots on he leaves. the plant itself looks very healthy, but i have had the plant for some time now and i don't want to take any chances. are these spots topical or does the plant have a disease of some sort?

Answer: Unfortunately, based on your description I am not able to tell you what is happening to your Ficus elastica. Some cultivars have a natural variegation pattern which could be white -- although that should have been present all along unless you have suddenly changed the amount of light it receives. Other possible causes of white spots could be for example a mealy bug infestation, scale insects, or thrip damage as well as southern blight infection. I would suggest you consult with your local county extension to get a specific identification of the spots and based on knowing that, decide what to do next. If it is something that requires a chemical control, they will have the most up to date recommendations on what to use and how/when is best to apply it for maximum results. They may appreciate photos of the overall plant as well as close-ups of the spots or possibly a fresh leaf sample enclosed in a clear plastic bag and kept cool so it stays fresh. Ask them what they need. Good luck with your plant!

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