The Q&A Archives: rubber plants

Question: my rubber plant leaves turn brownish/black then fall off. the top leaves keep growing and do not turn colors or fall off. we replanted it about 3weeks ago, but they began to fall before then. when i first bought it they did not fall, also when is the dormant and growing season for the rubber plant

Answer: The behavior you describe is not at all natural for a rubber tree! Rubber trees (Ficus elastica) do best with little light and very little water. They don't like wet feet. Let the soil dry out between waterings. They do best when slightly pot-bound and should only be repotted every 2-3 years. You can use regular potting soil but a soil mix for cactus would be a good choice as well (because it will drain well). You might try it in a different location, one that's less bright - maybe it's getting a little too much hot sun. Finally, if your water is extremely high in salts, it can build up in the soil quickly and destroy plant roots. Always flush plants with a slow and deep watering at least once a month to "leach" out these salts past the root zone. Let the water run out of the pot for several minutes. As with all houseplants, your rubber tree will grow more during the spring and summer months; less in the fall and winter months. Good luck with your rubber tree!

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