Ask a Question forum: Rubber Tree dropping leaves

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Apr 13, 2017 8:52 PM CST
I am now on my second rubber tree because the last one I had ended up dropping all it's leaves and dying. Now this time I tried my hardest to make sure I'm not over-watering it, and am giving it indirect light, and keeping it away from drafts, but again, the leaves are dropping after only about two months of owning it.

I noticed with my last one, and this current one, that the soil takes forever to dry. It always feels a little damp when I stick my finger down into the dirt, but I have it in a well draining pot and I did not pack the soil when I planted it.

I am not sure what I'm doing wrong. I planted the tree in Miracle Grow soil that was full of perlite and pete moss, and even added some extra perlite to help with drainage. I even tried misting it today to see if that would help but leaves still fell. The ones falling even seem like they're slightly yellowing. But I thought that was a sign of under watering, and if the soil is not fully dry, how can I be?

My plant is situated about 10 feet from a large window - sun lights up the room a lot for about two hours in the morning. It's not hot in my apartment, it's about 75 degrees during the day this time of year. Any tips?
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Apr 15, 2017 7:41 AM CST
HI & welcome! Are you able to add pics?

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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Apr 15, 2017 9:34 AM CST
I suspect that your Rubber Plant is struggling because of the repotting, which is usually not necessary and often not done correctly. Soil around the roots need to dry out about every 7-10 days so that the roots can get oxygen as well as water. Repotting can damage tiny roothairs if soil is removed. Using a pot that is too large and a soil that retains moisture for too long will prevent the soil from drying out soon enough and cause root rot.

If you recently repotted and the original rootball is still intact, then you can undo the repotting and move it back into its nursery pot. Otherwise, remove all the soil you added to the top of the original rootball so the soil below dries out sooner. After the soil has dried out properly, add just enough water so that it dries out again in a week.

Ten feet is too far from the window even for a low light plant as light intensity drops off dramatically with every foot of distance from the window. I suggest that you move it as close to window as possible and no more than 3-4 feet away.

Misting will not help.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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