Rubber plants are easy to care for and aesthetically pleasing, which makes them popular among houseplant enthusiasts.
Sometimes your rubber plant looks sorry during the winter, and that is because you end up following the same care routine during the summer and winter.
Rubber plants have different care requirements during the winters. And in this article, we shall discuss all about how to care for rubber plants in winter.
During the winter, move the rubber plant to a spot with a bright indirect light, stable temperature, and appropriate humidity levels to keep them healthy. You must only water the plant when the topsoil feels dry. Also, make sure to stop fertilizing your rubber plant during the winter months.
Many factors change with the season, and we must take everything into account when building a care routine for your rubber plants.
The rubber plant’s care routine will differ as the winter months approaches, and we need to make necessary changes to ensure our plants remain healthy.
Moving further, I shall discuss all the factors that need to be kept in mind while designing a care routine for your rubber plant during the winter months.
Also read: 7 Signs your rubber plant is dying?
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Rubber plant winter care
Rubber plants love the warm temperature and get affected by cold conditions. They need little care and some daily routine to take care of them.
Some of the common problems that you can see in rubber plant during the winter season are:
- Wilting of rubber plant
- Root rot
- Curling of leaves
- Discoloration of leaves
- Leaves start to turn yellow or brown.
- Brown spots on the leaves and foliage
- White spots around the foliage
- Spindly growth
- Pests flying around
Your plant will let you know when they are facing any problems. These are the signs that your plant is suffering and needs your help.
Most beginners make the mistake of caring for their houseplants the same as they did during the summers. However, the requirements of your rubber plant are different during the winters than in summer.
So, In this article, we shall discuss all possible ways to take care of your rubber plant in winter.
1) Maintain Appropriate Light conditions during winter
Rubber plants love bright areas with indirect lights. It requires a lot of light, but intense or direct sunlight can burn it. However, plant growth is likely to suffer if there is not enough light in the area.
During winters, the intensity and duration of sunlight go down significantly. As a result, your rubber plant may not get enough light even if they did well at the same spot during the summer months.
A lack of adequate lighting can lead to various problems in the rubber plant. These problems include root rot, stunted growth, pest problems, leggy plant, etc.
You have to solve this problem by exposing your rubber plants to an area with medium-light or providing artificial light.
A spot 5-10 feet away from the southern window or near an eastern or western window is preferred during the winters.
Exposure to morning or evening sun for a couple of hours can be beneficial for your rubber plant. So, make sure you adjust the placement of your rubber plant during the winters.
If you decide to keep the plants indoor, the best place is to keep them in your living room as there is medium-light exposure or provide a source of artificial lighting to your plants.
Also read: Where to keep your rubber plants?
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2) Adequate Watering keeps the rubber plant healthy
Both overwatering and underwatering can be bad for your rubber plant.
By looking at the rubber plant’s condition, one needs to identify whether it’s due to underwatering or over-watering.
During the winter season, the rubber plants don’t require much water as the soil remains wet due to the low temperature outside.
Thus, make sure you limit the plant’s water supply, else your rubber plant is likely to suffer. You also need to ensure to use water at room temperature as cold water can shock the plant.
Over-Watering during Winters
Rubber plants need to be watered thoroughly for healthy growth, but that doesn’t mean we need to keep them soaked in water at all times.
Your rubber plant is likely to face the problem of pests, root rot, and leaves turning yellow and brown if you keep overwatering them.
During winters, the rubber plants require less water and more light exposure because the water takes longer to evaporate.
Thus, if you overwater the plant during winter, the water will remain in the soil for a longer duration, leading to root rot problems and eventually making your rubber plant wilt.
Solution: Make sure you water the plant only when the soil gets dry. Also, you can repot the plant with well-draining soil if you have already overwatered the plant. Also, check for drainage holes and make sure they are not clogged up. Else your plant will likely get overwatered.
Under-Watering during winters
Under-watering during winters doesn’t have any severe effects on rubber plants. By that, I don’t mean you should water your plants once in a blue moon.
Rubber plants somewhat tolerate underwatering, by which I mean that watering them once every other week during winter will work well for them.
Even if you end up missing the watering schedule for 15-20 days during the winter, there is still a possibility that your plant will get healthy if you hydrate them correctly.
However, please don’t leave them dry for more than three weeks as the plant will start suffering after that.
Solution: You must water the rubber plant once every two weeks during winters. While watering, make sure you water it thoroughly, which means water till it seeps from the bottom of your pot to ensure every root of your plant has received the water.
3) Maintain appropriate humidity
Even if the rubber plant is a true-blue tropical plant, it seems unbothered when humidity levels fluctuate.
Generally, if the rubber plants get enough bright, indirect light and temperature doesn’t fall too low, they remain healthy and beautiful.
Generally, during winters, the air cannot hold enough humidity due to low temperatures.
Humidity levels rise during summers and drop in the winter as cold air enters the house and gets heated up, lowering the area’s humidity level.
Although rubber plants can survive through low humidity levels, if the humidity goes below 40%, they might start showing some problems.
Solution: Rubber plants can tolerate fluctuation in humidity which gives us some margin to play with. You can place it near a bathroom as this area offers better humidity levels.
You can also use a humidifier to maintain the humidity levels. Also, make sure you keep them away from furnaces and heat radiators as the area around them holds the least humidity.
Also read: Should I mist my rubber plant? How often?
4) Maintain appropriate temperature indoor
Rubber plants come from tropical climates and love warmer temperatures. They usually prefer temperature levels between 65°F to 85°F. Although they can survive up to 45°F, it is something you should avoid altogether.
Anything below 55°F will start affecting the overall health of the plant.
During the winter season, the temperature of the surrounding falls below the appropriate level. Thus, it is critical to take care of your rubber plants during the winter; else they will start taking cold damage.
Rubber plants prefer stable temperature levels. The plant’s foliage is sensitive to temperature changes so, avoid placing them near a window or radiators during cold climates as cold or hot drafts can lead to wilting of leaves.
- Place the rubber plant indoors during the winter seasons and maintain a stable temperature inside your home.
- Avoid placing them near windows or doors where cold drafts can damage their foliage.
- Keep them away from furnaces and fireplaces.
- Also, try to maintain the temperature between 65°F to 85°F to keep them healthy.
5) Avoid fertilizing during winters
Rubber plants go through a dormant phase during the colder months. Thus, you do not need to feed them with fertilizers or other nutrients during these cold months as the plants are not growing.
Rubber plants only need to be fertilized during spring and summer when they grow exponentially. It would be best if you cut the feed during the fall and winter. Feeding them during the winter months can lead to excess salt buildup, resulting in root burn. Thus, avoid feeding your rubber plant in winter.
Using your choice of fertilizer, feed them after every month during the growing season- spring and summer. Young plants need more nutrients during this phase rather than matured ones.
- Feed the rubber plants during the growing season only.
- Do not feed during winter, as it may harm your rubber plant’s health.
- If you have already overfertilized them, make sure you repot them using a fresh pot and soil.
6) Avoid Propagating during winters
You can propagate rubber plants, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Thus, if you are a beginner, you shouldn’t try propagating your rubber plant that too in winters.
During the winter season, the rubber plants are in a dormant stage, so propagating in a colder climate can be a bad idea!
Thus, it would be best if you did not attempt to propagate your rubber plant, especially during winters.
Solution: Propagate the rubber plant in the summer or spring season when they are in the growing stage. The propagation during the summer and autumn seasons will boost the healthy growth of your rubber plant. Propagation during winter can stress your rubber plant and may result in wilting.
Also read: All about propagating rubber plants
7) Keep pests at bay
Rubber plants are one of the easiest plants to grow indoors, but they can suffer from pest problems if not taken care of.
Rubber plants are generally affected by the pests like white mealybugs, spider mites, and scales.
In a rare case, insect problems can persist if you do not care for them at an early stage.
During the winter, we often end up overwatering the plant, which attracts bugs and insects.
Solution: Cleaning the leaves regularly will help your rubber plant to remain free from pests & insects. Use warm water with a soap mixture to mist your rubber plant to eliminate any insect or pest.
Alternatively, using neem oil with water and misting your plant with the same can also help.
Also, keep checking the rubber plant regularly to lowers the chances of damage to your plant due to pests and insects.
8) Clean your rubber plant leaves
Due to the large surface area, rubber plants can become dirty and dusty very quickly. It makes your rubber plant look very bad and also hinders healthy growth.
A simple solution is to mist and wipe your rubber plants’ leaves monthly to make them look bold and attractive.
It also prevents stunted growth and helps with the humidity a little bit.
Tips for healthy growth during the winter season
- Make sure to maintain the temperature indoor to be between 65°F to 85°F.
- Use a humidifier to ensure humidity is maintained.
- Place your rubber plant in a location where it gets decent indirect sunlight or use artificial light.
- Avoid propagation of rubber plants in the winter season as it’s a dormant season.
- Avoid feeding your rubber plants during the winter season; instead, feed them in their growing stage.
- Spend some time with your rubber plant because love and caring enhance their growth.