care of rubber plants - Knowledgebase Question

oliver springs, Te
Avatar for jfs472
Question by jfs472
October 11, 2010
i have 2 rubber plants, that have started to lose their leaves. one is growing very tall, do i need to cut it back. the leaves just fall off and new sprouts are coming with baby leaves. i hope they are not dying i have them in the house whereas they where on the back porch.

Answer from NGA
October 11, 2010
The behavior you describe is not at all unusual for a rubber tree! Any change in location can cause them to drop their leaves. When they adjust, they'll develop healthy new leaves. Rubber trees (Ficus elastica) do best with little light and very little water. They don't like wet feet so be sure to let the soil dry out a little 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). 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. You can prune your too tall plant by simply cutting the stem down to the right height. Your plant will respond by developing two stems where there once was one. Good luck with your rubber tree!

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