Houseplants forum→Wrinkly ficus elastica leaves? Leaf curling? Yellowing?

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SANTA BARBARA, CA
chlc95
Jun 15, 2021 3:34 PM CST
Hi all, I'm a newbie, first question on a plant forum!! I've been struggling with my rubber plant for a little while. It's doing ok, but is giving mixed signals, I keep trying to slowly experiment, and it stays not-totally-happy. Can anyone advise??

I was keeping it indoors in a probably-too-low-light area (the brightest I have indoors -- I live in a cave haha), and it stopped growing & had a few leaves start to curl, and was slightly root-bound. I'd been doing some experimentation with watering, since I couldn't tell if I was under or over watering.

But, there was also some mold starting to grow at the top of the soil, so I repotted and in the process removed all the soil (maybe was slightly too rough with this) to try to stop root rot (though I didn't see any?), repotted in a slightly larger pot with better-draining potting mix (mix of perlite & succulent mix), and waited a week to water and didn't water very much. Several weeks later the leaves started to wrinkle and the plant lost a leaf and a few other leaves started to droop.

I decided it didn't have enough light and moved it outdoors, in a bright light area (a little direct light but not much). It's been in this location since about a month, and since the move, the leaves of 2/3 plants in the pot have undrooped. I live in a pretty dry area, but the soil doesn't seem to dry out very quickly so I water once a week with about a cup of tap water (recently started switching to soaking it in a tray, then pouring some water no top, once a week-ish).

Here's the status:
--> One plant has a new leaf beginning to grow and I'm not noticing any unhealthy signs.
--> The other large plant (whose leaves undrooped) has not started to grow, its top leaves are still somewhat curled, and its leaves are progressively starting to get more wrinkly. There is also a single browning spot that looks like its drying out at the side of a single leaf (has been there for several months and very slowly growing).
--> The third, smallest, baby plant has only gotten worse. It's main large leaf is still drooping, and has recently turned yellow. Its tiny, tiny leaf has now started to wrinkle. It shows no signs of growth.

I haven't noticed any bugs that I can tell. I try to brush the dust off the leaves by hand once a week.

I am very confused, because there are signs of both over and underwatering?! Also, I have never seen information about wrinkly (but not curled) ficus elastica leaves online?
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 16, 2021 10:12 AM CST
Welcome! It is hard to determine the status of your three plants without a photo of each one that shows the entire plant and its pot.

Does the history you described apply to all three of the plants? Are all three now in the same outdoor location? About how many hours of direct sun do they get? How do you determine soil moisture?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Omie
New York state (Zone 5b)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
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Omie
Jun 16, 2021 12:36 PM CST
2WillC , I think she's referring to all three 'plants' that are separate stems in the same pot.
SANTA BARBARA, CA
chlc95
Jun 16, 2021 2:50 PM CST
Yes, all 3 plants in the same pot. I think they get maybe an hour of direct sun or a few morning hours, and the rest is in the shade. I'm attaching a photo of the whole pot (the yellow leaf fell of the small plant this morning).

I also keep noticing this particular bug (shown in photo) that I repeatedly brush off the plant.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 16, 2021 5:26 PM CST
Thnaks for the clarification, Omie.

Overall, the plant appears to be doing pretty well. The growing tip of the stem on the right appears to be turning black. That may be a result of the root damage that occurred when you replaced the soil. The soil replacement is also likely inhibiting the water use. I suggest protecting it from any outdoor direct sun. Let the top inch of soil feel dry to to your finger probe and then water thoroughly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
SANTA BARBARA, CA
chlc95
Jun 17, 2021 4:57 AM CST
Thank you!

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