Why does my inside rubber plant keep losing leaves? - Knowledgebase Question

Avatar for BECPETE40
Question by BECPETE40
August 26, 2009
I have it inside and have had it since June. It continually loses leaves. Would it do better outside in shade?

Answer from NGA
August 26, 2009
Photo by twistedted
A Rubber Plant can lose leaves for a number of reasons. If your plant has been losing leaves from the bottom up, it might be root related. Experienced growers 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. 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.

San Antonio, TX
Avatar for Pinkrabbit
A comment from Pinkrabbit
December 22, 2018
The rubber plant in the picture is in the direct sun and looks beautiful and hardy.

Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
A comment from WillC
December 23, 2018
There is no obvious connection between the loss of bottom leaves and problems with bottom roots. That may be true of Rubber Plants grown in nursery environments, but not for those grown in home environments. Typically, a reduction in light when a plant is moved from a greenhouse to a home will cause the plant to respond by dropping some of its leaves and it is the lower leaves that get sacrificed, regardless of the watering. Of course, improper watering can also cause additional lower leaf loss.

Indoor Rubber Plants are best kept close to a moderately sunny window. They are not sensitive to any normal range of household temps, drafts or heaters and they do just fine in low humidity. Keep your Rubber Plant in its plastic nursery pot and water it thoroughly, as described above, as soon as the top half-inch of soil feels dry.

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