Ailing rubber plant - Knowledgebase Question

Hiram, Ge
Question by archiedog1
February 10, 2008
I received a rubber tree plant last March. It did great outdoors. Since I have had it indoors it is losing its lower leaves rapidly. What do I do?

Answer from NGA
February 10, 2008


A rubber plant can lose leaves for a number of reasons. I am going to assume your problem is the most common (very common) one. You have probably been losing leaves from the bottom up. Experienced growers used to say "problems with bottom leaves means a problem with bottom roots". It could be too much or too little water but is nearly always too little water on the bottom roots. This happens because the plant may get water frequently but never gets enough water to soak the bottom roots. Roots always grow downward so it is not critical what the top of the soil is like but it is very important to get water down to the bottom of the pot. The plant should be in a pot that has a hole in the bottom. When you water you should give the plant LOTS of water. Even leave the pot in water to soak up water for maybe half an hour then drain off all extra water. Too much water is as bad, or worse, than too little. In a day the limp leaves should stop hanging. No more leaves should turn yellow and drop off. However, any leaves with any yellow in them now will continue to turn yellow and drop off. Leave the plant until it is quite dry on the top of the soil before you water again. Rubber plants like bright light, but never hot sun. When your new leaves are emerging, even less light is advisable, as this will promote larger leaves. Rubber plants are very susceptible to changes in environment, such as warm to a cool room. Keep them out of drafts, and away from heat sources. Good luck with your rubber plant.

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