Ask a Question forum: My rubber tree..

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Name: Aidan Wiggins
North East, Maryland
Love llamas
Llamaa
Jan 4, 2016 9:12 PM CST
So I have a rubber tree that's 11 years old but is small compared to its age, and is very dear to me. One day I decided to take out, but then it got over watered and the leaves quickly whitened then fell off. It now has no leaves on the tree whatsoever and I don't know what to do..
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 4, 2016 10:42 PM CST
Hi, and welcome Welcome!

It's pretty hard to kill a rubber tree, as you certainly know from growing this one for 11 years. I'm not clear on exactly what happened. Do you mean you took the plant out of the pot and re-potted it? Or did you take it outside where it got too much rain? If the overwatering happened after re-potting, check that the drainage hole is open, not clogged, and tell us what kind of potting soil you used.

In any case, all you can do is let it dry out, then wait. If the soil is still wet, you can help to wick some of the water out of the pot by setting it on a thick, folded cotton towel (use an old one, right?). As long as the pot has a drain hole and the soil is right at the bottom of the pot, the dry cotton will draw water out of that pot like a wick.

Don't water it at all any more until you see signs of new growth. A plant can't use water unless it is growing. Keep it warm and in good, indirect light. If you see new leaves starting, water very lightly at first. You really don't want to drown any new roots that are growing.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 5, 2016 5:34 PM CST
Hello Aidan, normally I would say if there is still some green left, there is a good chance..but since it has no leaves..try to feel the trunk of the tree, does it still feel solid and firm to your touch? So for now, just try to keep it warm as suggested already, and wait if it will bounce back when better conditions return. I have found rubber trees really thirsty plants if the ambient temps are warm to hot. Not knowing at what temps your plant got overwatered or if it was also exposed to too much cold, then that will be a different situation.

Hope your plant recovers, good luck Smiling
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jan 5, 2016 5:45 PM CST
Welcome! Aidan.

If you don't mind, would you re-state your problem but this time, really go into detail? I grow a lot of rubber trees and have for decades. I should be able to help you with your problem, or at least explain what's going on, but I need a lot more information. From the time you changed your plant's routine to now, tell me everything that you did, that Mother Nature did, and that you saw along the way. Tell me exactly what you observe now, even if it is only a trunk and branches. There should be a time-frame here as well as conditions during that time-frame. I don't guess you have any pictures of those leaves before they exfoliated? Good, close-up pictures of the remaining trunk and particularly the branch tips might be helpful.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Aidan Wiggins
North East, Maryland
Love llamas
Llamaa
Jan 6, 2016 8:21 PM CST
drdawg said: Welcome! Aidan.

If you don't mind, would you re-state your problem but this time, really go into detail? I grow a lot of rubber trees and have for decades. I should be able to help you with your problem, or at least explain what's going on, but I need a lot more information. From the time you changed your plant's routine to now, tell me everything that you did, that Mother Nature did, and that you saw along the way. Tell me exactly what you observe now, even if it is only a trunk and branches. There should be a time-frame here as well as conditions during that time-frame. I don't guess you have any pictures of those leaves before they exfoliated? Good, close-up pictures of the remaining trunk and particularly the branch tips might be helpful.


Well first I just thought it could get some outside time, the plant was healthy before I did, I left it out for a day and it was over watered from the rain. I immediately took it in after the rain, the soil was saturated of water and it was sitting on top. Every leaf on the plant was starting to fade white (pictures below). I kept it inside for about a month and let the water drain. So then dumb old me took it out again and the process happened over again. Then all the leaves fell off one by one, sad to see it. Then about a month ago there were only three leaves and it's been inside since. Now there are no leaves at all its just a bit moist. Sighing!
Thumb of 2016-01-07/Llamaa/83d107
Thumb of 2016-01-07/Llamaa/37c430
Thumb of 2016-01-07/Llamaa/a55836

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 6, 2016 9:09 PM CST
OK, I am flying blind here since I have never seen this leaf pattern. My first thought is that the leaves got sunburned and is not related to water. But that's only a guess on my part.

Since there are no leaves at all, the plant can no longer utilize water and certainly not fertilizer. I would remove the plant from the pot, rinse off all the soil from the roots, and re-pot it in fresh, slightly moist potting soil. Do not water it at all until you see new growth. Without leaf formation, the plant is basically dead as a door-nail. If you don't have growth, you might as well ditch the plant. You can always purchase a new rubber tree. It won't mean quite the same to you but it can still become part of your family.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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[Last edited by drdawg - Jan 7, 2016 6:20 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 6, 2016 10:21 PM CST
I agree That does look more like sunburn to me too, Ken. If it was from over watering, I think they would look yellow first.

Aidan, if it were my plant, I'd just put it back where you've always grown it, and leave it alone for while. IF the roots have rotted from all the rain, then it will die. If it just got sunburnt leaves, it will probably recover. But it may take until spring for it to forgive you . . Rolling my eyes.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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