Rubber plants are an indoor plant that is hardy in nature. But sometimes they may die or start dying. You will find leaves are turning yellow or black spots appearing on leaves, soil having a foul odor, leaves falling off, and many more. But is there a way out? How can you save your dying rubber plant? Let’s find out!
Begin with identifying the cause and fix it immediately to save your rubber plant. Droopy leaves are usually due to overwatering the plant. A foul odor may be due to root rot. Other reasons include excess light or not enough light, poor soil health, temperature fluctuation, or some diseases.
If you are not sure what your rubber plant is telling you and how you can solve the issue, we have an in-depth guide for you. So keep reading till the end, and we shall ensure you got it right.
Can I save my rubber plant?
Yes, you can save a dying rubber plant if you identify the cause of the problem early enough and take necessary action to resolve the problem.
But before that you need to understand the signs of a dying rubber plant.
If you know the signs beforehand and can diagnose the problem in the early stage then chances of survival for your plants are pretty high.
Signs your rubber plant is dying
Many possible signs can be indicating that your rubber plant may be struggling to survive. Some of the most common ones are as follows:
- Older leaves usually larger leaves at the bottom droops
- Yellow or brown leaves
- Soil may become saturated
- Foul odor from soil
- Leaves losing shine and luster
- Stunted growth
- Black spots
- Leaf Blight
Also read: 7 signs of a dying rubber plant(+What to do)
How to revive a rubber plant?
Reviving a rubber plant is a two step process. The first step is to identify the problem and the second step is to fix it so that we can save our dying plant.
Let us begin by understanding the 7 common causes and how to fix it.
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Overwatered rubber plant
Possible problem: Overwatering a rubber plant is usually a big NO. Herewith the rubber plant, there are few problems we face due to overwatering such as follows:
- The leaves turn yellow
- Leaves start shedding
- Attract pests
- Root rot
Solution: Just when you realized that your plant needs less water and more space to breathe, do as follows :
- Stop watering it for some time until the soil is dry up to 1 inch
- Cut the dead leaves
- Let it breathe
Prevention: Now, you should also keep essential points in mind to prevent a future problem. These include:
- Over caring is a NO for rubber plant.
- Water the plant without drowning the soil
- Water thoroughly i.e., drain the water from the drainage holes entirely so that no excess water remains in the soil.
- Watering according to the season is essential.
- More water required during summer as it the growing season
- Misting the leaves help them to stay moist
- Keep the soil dry (not too dry though) in winter, which is the dormant season
A Quick Tip: Check the soil by sticking a skewer or your finger in the soil and see if the top 2 inches have dried or not. And there you go, easy-breezy to understand the need for water for the lovely plant.
Underwatered rubber plant
Underwatering a plant means starving yourself every 3rd day. You can save your rubber plant from dying by educating yourself with possible solutions:
Possible problems: To know if your rubber plant is underwatered, see if:
- The leaves look lifeless
- Soil is pulling away or dried out
- Faded leaves
- The plant has a very slow growth
Solution: Now, you know that your plant is starving. Feed! And do as follow:
- Start watering the plant
- Keep the draining of water method in mind while watering
- Misting helps too
- No drowning of soil, just keep the soil moist
Prevention: If you know the right way, there are least chances of going wrong. So points to keep in mind after your plant has been rescued are:
- Water the plant every 4-5 days
- Don’t overwater though, just water to drench the soil
- Water when the soil dries out
- 2cups of water for 2-3ft tall and 3 cups for 3-6ft tall ones
- Keep in mind the season
- Keep it healthy by listening to it what it needs
BALANCING IS THE KEY!
Rubber plant prefers indirect bright light. The light should neither be too much nor too little.
That says it all. Adequate light is essential. Though it needs a lot of light but few things you should keep in mind.
Let us learn more about it:
Possible problems: To understand if your plant is unhappy with the amount of sunlight it is getting, you will see:
|Too Much Light||Low Light|
|Leaves are droopy||Leaves turn brown and droopy|
|Leaves may burn||Stalks become very thin and long|
Yes, you read it right in both the above cases, leaves may get droopy. If there’s too much light plus underwatering and if the plant is not getting enough light plus overwatered (higher chances), the leaves become droopy.
Solution: So, you have to keep the plant in such a place where it gets indirect bright light. This plant likes bright areas. To find a corner for your plant so that neither it gets too much sunshine nor significantly less. Mist the plant to save it from drying.
Prevention: Now what you need to rectify to provide your plant the right amount of sun is very simple and effective :
- Find a spot where it gets early morning sun and late afternoon sun.
- The noon sun will burn the leaves and also dry out the soil very fast..
- West facing balcony is excellent too.
- Another perfect spot is near a window with beautiful sheer curtains to filter the direct sunlight.
- If kept outdoor, then provide shade over the plant.
Also read: How much light does rubber plant need?
Root rot can harm the plants. It can happen even to the most experienced ones. So don’t panic we have your back.
Possible problems: When your plant starts acting weird, there’s something wrong with it. If these are the few things happening to your rubber plant, they are in trouble. Let us see the signs:
- Stunted growth
- Leaves are losing their shine and luster
- Yellow leaves
- Leaves developing black spots
- Soft and brown roots
- Mushy roots
- Leaves wilting and shedding
- Slow growth
- Curled leave
- Severe damage to the roots, the plant may die within ten days
Anything like the above happening to your plant indicates a root rot!
Here are some simple steps you can follow:
- Early detection and treatment are crucial.
- Inspect if the entire root is already gone mushy and brown, then it is too late to regain it back.
- But we can get back our plant’s life if some healthy, firm, and white root still exists.
- First and foremost, chop and remove dark, brown, and mushy roots ( Alert! It’s got a foul odor and are very slimy squishy when you touch them).
- Remove all the soil so that any chance of the mold getting back is completely eliminated.
- Now clean roots under running water. You can also use some soap (any soap) to clean the roots as it helps kill bacteria and fungus (highly recommended).
- Let the weak roots fall off.
- After pruning and cleaning, let the root air dry naturally to eliminate all the bacteria for at least 24 hours.
- You can wrap the roots with a moist paper towel if you are very sensitive that the roots may dry.
- Use a dish under the plant lined with pebbles to keep the roots from sitting in the water by catching excess water.
- Line pebbles or pumice stones on the pot and then add soil.
- Terracotta pots will be great for repotting as it is very porous and lets out more moisture.
- Now replant in healthy soil, ensuring a proper drainage system.
- Add fertilizer or compost to regulate the growth of the plant.
- Water it, but don’t drown the soil and let it be.
Prevention: Well done! We have got our plant happy and healthy. Now it’s time you know what to keep in mind the next time to save yourself from such pain and your plant from dying.
- Provide the soil with a healthy environment in which your plants can thrive.
- The ideal soil mixture for rubber plants would be a mix of 60% garden soil, with 20% perlite and 20% cocopeat(helps retain moisture for a very long time).
- Thorough detection of roots.
- Inspect roots when you feel your plant is acting weird.
- A sound drainage system is a must.
- Cut the stem of the plant from the top to increase growth.
A Quick Tip: Sterilize the scissor with a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts of water to avoid fungus spreading to other plants or soil. Prune the stem of the plant from the top to increase growth.
The rubber plant is susceptible to many typical pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects, thrips, etc. let’s find out what happens to the plant and how to save it:
Here are some possible signs that your rubber plants are infested by pests:
- Some of these pests pierce plant tissue and feed on cell sap
- Speckled leaves
- Unattractive leaves
- Leaves fall off
- Leaf blight
Fixing a pest infestation can be a pain for most of us. However here are few steps you can take:
- You can simply spray neem oil on the plant.
- Use insecticides
- Pruning of badly affected parts is essential to save the plant.
- You can also pick the visible bugs (use gloves, preferably).
- Another way is by making a solution one and a half teaspoon of neem oil with a teaspoon of mild dish soap (not containing bleach) and mix with 1lt of water and Spray all over the plant.
- You can also prepare the solution by mixing half part Isopropyl alcohol and half part water and can add a splash of neem oil.
- Take a cotton ball and lather in alcohol first and apply directly to any visible bugs on your plant.
- Now Spray the solution all over the leaves and other parts thoroughly.
- Please do it for a few weeks and find a safe spot to isolate the plant for a few days.
- For spider mites, it is visible mostly when the condition gets severe.
- Quarantine the plant and cut off any branches and leaves that are already infected by spider mites (you may need to get rid of the plant too if in very severe condition).
- Spray neem oil (the only best solution for spider mites).
Here are few steps to prevent future pest problems:
- Fertilize every month during summer with some nitrogen-rich fertilizer like seaweed.
- You can just add compost twice a month is also enough.
- Spray neem oil every month merely to save from pests.
A Quick Tip: Spray the solution, preferably in the evening or at night as in the day time, the plant is disturbed in performing its daily activities and also might kill the plant. The other day before noon wash the plant with plain water thoroughly for a few days.
Rubber plants grow in areas where the humidity and temperature are constant. The inappropriate temperature may cause the plant to suffer. The right balance of sun water and temperature is ideal for this plant’s growth.
Here are some common signs that your plant is affected by temperature fluctuation:
- Discolored/Disfigured leaves
- Puckering of young leaves
- Brown blotches in mature leaves
- Shrunken leaves
Fixing the temperature shock is pretty straightforward. Here is what you need to do:
- Cut the leaves if badly affected.
- Place in an area where the temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Don’t let direct sunlight pour on the plant anymore.
- If the plant is affected due to lower temperatures, a wood-burning stove or furnace will do wonders in providing the plant with ideal temperature.
Here are some preventive measures to prevent temperature fluctuation damage:
- The ideal temperature for the plant is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit
- Although it may tolerate indoor temperatures as low as 39 degrees Fahrenheit
- If the temperature goes beyond 80 degrees Fahrenheit, its time to move the plant in the ideal temperature environment
- Place in a soft light near the window from September to March
- Move to the east or west window the rest of the year
- In colder regions, burn woods to provide the ideal temperature
- Keep the plant away from direct or too much heat to maintain the temperature.
Also read: Where to keep rubber plant?
As we understand by now, these plants with shiny and rubbery appearing leaves need constant humidity to stay healthy and happy. Let us find out more about the same:
- Dried Leaves
- Normal room humidity
- Misting leaves
- Move to a safe spot where indirect light pours on the plant
- During winters, try to change the plant’s position to a more humid place as the moisture is low during this time.
- Find a place where the plants will be happy to live all year round with stable humidity.
- Plants may suffer from a sudden change in humidity. Avoid that.
- If it’s difficult for you to maintain moisture, feel free to use a humidifier.
Also read: Should i mist my rubber plant?
Rubber plants are easy to care for. As we know, Prevention is better than cure. But in case you are in trouble, don’t worry; we are here to your rescue.
Just by knowing the solutions to their fundamental problems, we can keep them glowing and growing.
Also, keep rotating the plant every month or two for even growth. It likes being a rebound, so don’t keep repotting.
Regular cleaning of the leaves is also recommended (use a wet cloth or rainwater over the plant).
Just provide the balance of all above given points and needs of the plant with a touch of love!
Source: Rubber plant disease diagnosis, Major problem in a rubber plant, Pest problem in a rubber plant, Stress Generation In Aerial Roots Of Ficus Elastica, Growth of rubber plants, Ficus Elastica care