Ask a Question forum→Huge Ficus Elastica Looking Sadder By The Day

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Perth, Scotland
shelleyjeffrey
May 4, 2020 1:42 PM CST
Hi folks 🙂 i would really appreciate some help saving my rubber tree before it loses any leaves. There's still new growth but lots of it's leaves are getting spotty brown patches. It stays by a big south facing window and on top of a pebble tray and has been in that spot for 4 years and has doubled in size.
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Really there could be a number of factors that have stressed it out. I was away for months with my family watering it sporadically. I just topped up the pot with 2 inches of compost. I watered it heavily once, potentially overwatered that time. I just turned the pot around so a different side is facing the sun. I misted it every day for about 5 days then read that's not necessary and stopped. I open the windows to get fresh air in. I watered it with the liquid i soaked dried beans in (not sure if that is bad or neutral). It also hasn't been repotted in years because i don't have a bigger pot.
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All i can think to do is let it dry out completely, maybe move it away from the window in case it's sun burn and hope for the best. I've since trimmed off the really crispy bits so it looks less alarming. Any ideas please?
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 4, 2020 2:19 PM CST
Welcome! The spots on the leaves are due to the irregular watering it has experienced. Unfortunately, those spots are permanent. But close attention to watering in the future will prevent additional spots from forming.

Remove the compost that you added on top. That will cause some of the roots to suffocate if left in place.

Then resume the watering that you did prior to going away.

Never give it anything other than clear water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Perth, Scotland
shelleyjeffrey
May 5, 2020 1:32 AM CST
@WillC thank you for the advice. I'm worried it's been in that pot for too long, perhaps 3 years, and might not have much nutrients or space to grow. It's potted in compost. When it's no longer stressed would it be okay to lift it out of the pot, put the 2 inches of soil underneath and place the undisturbed ball of roots back on top of it?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 5, 2020 9:02 AM CST
Rather than disturbing the roots and adding compost, it is much easier to simply use some fertilizer at half strength once per month. Plants use nutrients in very minute quantities and nutrient deficiency is rarely a problem for indoor plants.

When repotting, new compost should be added underneath the rootball, but never on top.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Perth, Scotland
shelleyjeffrey
May 8, 2020 3:26 AM CST
@WillC i found this in my shed. Would it work?
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 8, 2020 7:39 AM CST
That should be okay. It is very high in nitrogen so I suggest that you dilute it to one-quarter tsp per liter.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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