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Revive A Dying Rubber Plant: 10 Proven Methods That Worked For Me!

If your Rubber plant seems weak and dying, you must understand the issue and take immediate action. All hope is not lost; you can still save it from dying. That’s what this article is about. 

Incorrect watering, inadequate sunlight, improper fertilization, cold drafts, pests, and diseases can kill your Rubber plant. Adjust watering, provide adequate lighting and nutrient support, prevent cold drafts, and address the infestation quickly to revive your dying Rubber plant.  

Are you a beginner and searching for ways to save your dying Rubber plant? This article has everything you need. From the reasons for dying to the ways to save a dying Rubber plant, we have got you covered. Let’s begin without further delay. 

Rubber Plant dying

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.

Please note: Simplify Plants is reader-supported. Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.

1. Saving a Rubber plant dying from overwatering and root rot 

Too much water deprives roots of oxygen, suffocates them, and blocks nutrient uptake, leading to yellowing, stunted growth, and leaf loss. 

In worse cases, fungi develop and damage the roots, causing root rot

At this stage, it’s tough to save the plant.  

My initial watering habits were terrible, but I improved over time by watching videos, reading articles, and experimenting. 

If your plant seems to be dying, check the soil. 

If it’s wet, stop watering and allow the soil to dry out. 

Besides that, let the plant have good indirect sunlight and airflow to aid in fast drying. 

The next watering session should be done when the top few inches have dried. 

Diagnosing root health and saving the dying plant from root rot: 

  • Remove the plant from the pot, remove maximum soil from the roots, and check them. 
  • The brown and mushy roots are rotten, while the white and firm roots are healthy. See if the damage level is below 50%. Only then can you save the plant. 
  • If all the roots are fine, you have only overwatered it. Put the plant back. If the roots are brown and mushy, move to the next step. 
  • Trim the rotten roots and spray some fungicide
  • Repot the plant in a new pot with a new soil mix. 
  • The pot should have drainage holes. The pot must be 1-2 inches bigger than the existing one. The soil must have good drainage and retention qualities. 
  • Plant the plant in the pot, water it, and place it near a location with bright indirect sunlight. Allow the top 2-3 inches to dry before watering.
  • Don’t feed right now. Fertilize when you witness new growth. 
  • Once you see new growth, you have successfully saved your plant from dying. If there is no response, cut some stem cuttings and propagate for more new plants. 

2. Saving a Rubber plant dying from underwatering 

Underwatering can also kill your plant, but the effects will be less than overwatering and root rot, and the chances of survival are higher. 

When you don’t water for too long, the roots remain dehydrated, the soil hardens, and the plant cannot absorb nutrients properly. 

If it continues, the plant will die. 

Signs of underwatering are yellowing, defoliation, wilting, dry leaves, and stunted growth. 

Once you notice these signs, check the soil. 

If it’s dry, start watering immediately. 

If the soil is hard, use a fork or a chopstick to make holes to allow the water to reach the roots and saturate the soil properly. 

You have saved your plant from dying if you see new growth after some weeks. 

Instead of following any watering schedule, check the soil daily and water the plant whenever the top few inches feel dry. 

3. Saving a dying Rubber plant by adjusting the light issues

Rubber Plant light requirement

Rubber plants thrive when they receive bright indirect sunlight for 6-8 hours daily. 

Low lights make the plant leggy as it grows towards the light source to receive some light. 

It also affects photosynthesis and chlorophyll production. 

Over time, your plant will die. 

Direct sunlight exposure for too long causes sunburn. 

The leaves burn, fall off, and your plant dies. 

Rubber plant sunlight requirements and adjustments  

If you identify the signs, you can identify the issue and take quick steps to save the plant. 

Yellowing, legginess, and stunted growth are signs of inadequate lights.

Shift it to a location with bright, indirect sunlight, or use artificial lights

Browning at the tips and edges is an evident sign of sunburn. 

Set up sheer curtains or Venetian blinds to filter the direct sunlight and save your plant.

Need suggestions about some good directions? Here’s my guide based on my living region: 

  • South-facing windows give direct sunlight throughout the day. 
  • West-facing windows give good indirect sunlight in the morning. But, the intensity increases at noon. 
  • An east-facing window can give perfect indirect sunlight. 
  • Northern directions give the least sunlight. While houseplants can tolerate it, they will suffer after some time. 

If you observe signs of sunburn despite the correct location, it means you have recently moved the plant to a spot with more light without allowing it to acclimate. 

In that case, move your plant further away from the light. Gradually, expose it to light.

4. Saving a dying Rubber plant by using the correct type of soil 

Soil is a home for the Rubber plants. 

The wrong type of soil can stress the plant and even kill it. 

For example, poorly drained soil cannot drain out excess water. 

When the water stays stagnant, the results will be like overwatering and root rot. 

On the contrary, soil with poor retention qualities can’t hold enough moisture and nutrients and drains before the plant can absorb them.

Some signs of using the wrong soil mix are yellowing, a weak plant, stunted growth, or defoliation. 

If you don’t change the soil, your plant will die after some time. 

You need a few soil adjustments to save your plant from dying. 

Soil management without soil replacement: 

  • Add some perlite or coarse sand to the soil mix for poor drainage. 
  • To improve retention qualities, add peat moss.
  • Adding some pine bark can help in improving drainage and aeration. 
  • The soil pH must be around 5.5 to 7. If the pH is high, you can add sulfur or iron sulfate to bring down the pH. To increase the pH, add lime to the soil. 

Once you see signs of new growth after adjusting the soil mix, you can stop worrying about your Rubber plant. 

If the soil adjustments don’t help, consider replacing it entirely with a new and correct mix, for example, equal parts of peat moss, composted pine bark, and perlite or garden loam. 

You can also use African violet potting mix for slightly acidic soil. 

5. Saving a dying Rubber plant by providing nutrient support and fertilizing correctly 

Fertilizing allows the plant to use the food it makes through photosynthesis and grow properly. 

Not feeding will restrict this and weaken your plant. 

Incorrect fertilization doesn’t necessarily kill the plant. 

Instead, the plant becomes weak and prone to other issues that can quickly kill it. 

There will be too many yellow leaves with green veins, and the plant will stop growing. 

On the other hand, over-fertilization accumulates salts in the soil and burns the roots. 

If roots are damaged, your plant will die slowly. 

But don’t worry, you can fix this. 

Besides yellowing and stunted growth, you will see browning at the tips and edges, indicating fertilizer burns. 

Fertilization guidelines for a dying plant 

If your plant seems weak and dying, recall the last time you have fertilized. 

It’s time to feed the plant if it’s been a year. 

Feed the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer (10-10-10 NPK) for a quick boost every 2-4 weeks. 

If you shift to a slow-release fertilizer after recovery, use it every 4-6 weeks. 

Fertilize only during the active months, i.e., spring and summer. 

If you have over-fertilized your plant, here’s what you can do: 

  • Stop fertilizing the plant, check the roots once, and remove the damaged (brown) roots. 
  • Water the plant thoroughly. As the water drains, the excess salt will drain out too. 
  • Let the soil dry out a bit, and then do it again 2-3 times until all the salt drains out and clean water comes out. 
  • Start feeding after signs of recovery and new growth. 
  • Dilute your fertilizer to half the recommended strength. It will reduce the chances of fertilizer burns. 

6. Saving a Rubber plant dying from temperature extremes  

Rubber plants’ temperature range should be around 65-85°F. 

Cold drafts are dangerous, especially if the plant is kept near an open window or balcony. 

Once the plant gets exposed to temperatures below 40-50°F, the cells and tissues get damaged, and the leaves start wilting and turning brown or black. 

It can happen in one night. If it continues, your plant will die. 

To save the plant that’s dying from cold drafts

  • Remove the affected leaves. If needed, check the roots, remove any brown or mushy roots, and pot it back. 
  • Keep it near a place with bright, indirect sunlight. 
  • You can also place your plant over heat maps or near heat lamps for warmth. 
  • Keep your plant in a room with a heating system set to average room temperature. Maintain a 10-15 feet distance between the plant and the unit. 
  • Add some mulch on the soil surface. It will trap the warmth and prevent cold from reaching the roots. 
  • Reduce the watering frequency. 

7. Saving a dying Rubber plant by addressing pest infestation 

Rubber Plant leaves cleaning (3)

Fortunately, the Rubber plants are not prone to too much pest infestation, but if pests have attacked it and your plant seems like dying, you can save it. 

The common pests that infest your Rubber plant are aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. 

They suck the plant sap and weaken the plant too much. 

Common signs are yellowing or browning, defoliation, distorted leaves, stunted growth, and sticky leaves causing black mold. 

Pest control for Rubber plants: 

  • Isolate your plant and remove the infected leaves. 
  • Apply neem oil to the affected areas
  • Use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to wipe infected spots. 
  • Pick up the scale insects using tweezers. 
  • Release natural predators like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. 
  • If natural remedies don’t work, use chemical pesticides to eliminate the bugs. 

After the treatment, keep an eye on the plant and check for signs of new growth. 

If you find any, your plant will recover soon and thrive like before. 

8. Saving a Rubber plant dying from improper humidity levels 

The Rubber plant’s humidity requirement is 50-60% indoors. 

Improper humidity levels don’t directly kill the plant. 

It weakens the plant and makes it susceptible to infestations. 

For example, low humidity levels increase moisture loss, making the leaves dry and brown from the tips and edges. 

Over time, these leaves fall off, causing the plant to be weak and prone to pests. 

High humidity levels with low airflow give rise to powdery mildew and other diseases.  

Adjusting humidity levels to save the plant: 

  • Start by using a hygrometer to measure the humidity around the plant. 
  • If it’s low, increase it by installing humidifiers, misting, putting the pot on pebble trays, or grouping multiple tropical plants. While grouping, don’t let the leaves touch each other, and maintain proper space for airflow. 
  • If the level is high, reduce the humidity by increasing airflow. For that, increase the distance between the plants and prune some leaves from the plant. You can also install a dehumidifier or turn on the AC for some time. 

If there is any pest infestation, follow the instructions I have shared earlier. For powdery mildew, use neem oil and fungicides. 

9. Saving a Rubber plant dying from excessive pruning 

Pruning the Rubber plant maintains good shape, encourages new leaf growth, and makes the plant bushy. 

But, excessive pruning will weaken and kill the plant. 

And this mistake is commonly made by beginners. 

Once, I received a message with the plant’s photo and asked for help as she couldn’t understand what happened. 

Since too many leaves were missing, I asked whether they had fallen off or she had pruned. 

She answered pruning, and I understood the reason. 

Prune carefully, removing only 30% of the leaves in one session every 1-2 months.  

There is nothing you can do except provide all the requirements correctly – sun, water, fertilizer, temperature, and humidity. 

Don’t stress by repotting for the time being. 

Once you notice new growth, your plant will return and survive. 

But if it’s still not responding, find some good stem cuttings and propagate for more new plants. 

10. Rescuing the Rubber plant from fungal diseases 

Rubber Plant pest & disease

You have made favorable conditions for fungal infections or pests and have carried them to your plant. 

In the case of the latter, the disease attacks your plant soon after you have had a recent pest infestation. 

Regardless of the situation, it’s crucial to identify and address the issue promptly to revive a dying Rubber plant. 

Common diseases are:

  • Leaf spot disease: Brown or water-soaked spots with yellow halo or reddish-brown rings, distorted and black leaves 
  • Powdery mildew: White spots resembling scattered powder, yellow leaves 
  • Anthracnose: Dark sunken lesions with concentric rings 
  • Fusarium wilt: Ruptured lesions releasing white latex 
  • Root rot: Yellow or brown leaves, mushy stems, brown and smelly roots 
  • Blights: Wilted leaves despite proper care, premature defoliation, and brown spots 

Rubber plant disease management:

  • Isolate your plant. 
  • Spray chemical fungicides to the infected areas. 
  • Apply systemic or copper-based fungicide to eliminate specific diseases like fusarium wilt. 
  • For mildew, you can try neem oil. If it doesn’t work, then go for the chemical fungicide. Improve airflow to reduce humidity levels, as high humidity is one reason for mildew. 
  • Need natural treatment? Make organic, homemade fungicide mixing 1 part baking soda with 9-10 parts water. Spray it on the infected parts of the plants. 

Remember that you are only suppressing the disease with these steps. 

If you make ideal conditions again, the disease will come back. 

Some diseases are untreatable. In that case, discard the plant. 

Control the pests first to avoid diseases as they carry some. 

Maintain proper hygiene to prevent diseases, improve air circulation, don’t overwater, and avoid overhead watering.  

Tips to keep the Rubber plant healthy and prevent it from dying 

  • Provide 6-8 hours of bright indirect sunlight. 
  • Water the plant once a week only when the top few inches have dried. Reduce frequency in winter. 
  • Use well-drained soil with 5.5 to 7 pH levels. 
  • Fertilize the plant once every 2-4 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer. |Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength. Stop feeding in winter
  • Save the plant from drafts and air vents. Keep the temperature around 65-85°F. 
  • Keep humidity levels at 50-60%
  • Prune only ⅓rd of the plant at a time every 1-2 months during the spring or summer. 
  • Repot the plant once every 1-2 years in the early spring or summer. 
  • Check out for infestations and take immediate action to prevent plant death. 
  • Spray neem oil every two weeks to keep bugs and fungal spores at bay.  

Final thoughts 

Identifying the correct cause and taking immediate steps to solve it is the only way to save and prevent your plant from dying. Common reasons are improper watering habits, root rot, inadequate light levels, lack of nutrients, fertilizer burns, cold drafts, high humidity, excessive pruning, pests, and diseases. 

Once you identify the signs and discover the issue, saving the plant from dying by providing the proper treatment becomes easier. You can only save your plant if the damage is below 50%. If it’s above 50%, the plant has gone beyond saving. 

In that case, find and cut some healthy cuttings and propagate them to grow more new Rubber plants. Follow the instructions I shared to save your plant from dying and the care tips to prevent your plant from dying or suffering. 

What should I do with the damaged leaves?

These leaves will not revive like your plant. Hence, cut them off. Once your plant recovers, it will focus on growing new leaves instead of wasting energy behind the damaged leaves.

What should I do with a dead plant?

Discard the plant in the garbage or burn it if it’s diseased. Please don’t use it for composting. Or, gather some healthy cuttings (if left) to propagate and grow new plants.

Reference: Rubber plant Wikipedia

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