Rubber plant - Knowledgebase Question

Stonington, Co
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Question by tumalo
January 3, 2011
I have a rubber plant that was doing beautifully in my house. I had to move it to a room with more light and heat to make room for our Christmas Tree. It is now loosing fifty percent of its leaves. The top of the stems all have new growth. What should I be doing. JWK

Answer from NGA
January 3, 2011
I think your rubber tree plant is reacting to being moved, but losing leaves at this time of year is reasonably normal. So, the combination of being moved and the time of the year for natural leaf shed is probably what you're observing.

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 moving it back to where it was before - a place that's less bright. 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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