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Rubber plants are a great addition to your living room and bedroom, where you need a tall plant to fill up space and make it aesthetically pleasing. However, did you know a tall rubber plant will likely lean towards their side if they are not cared for from an early stage? But why do rubber plants lean, and how can we fix it? Let’s find out!
Inadequate watering, low lighting, and lack of nutrients often lead to the leaning of the rubber plant. Some rubber plants also start leaning as they grow taller, so we need to support their stems to keep them upright. Moving them to a bright spot, watering, and fertilizing them on time can help prevent leaning.
The rubber plant is not self-supporting, so they are likely going to lean as they grow.
However, negligence in their care routine can also make them lean during an early stage.
Let’s learn in detail about what makes the rubber plant lean and how we can fix it.
Also read: 7 Signs your rubber plant is dying?
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My rubber plant is leaning
There can be multiple reasons for your rubber plant to lean. Let’s have a brief look at the same, and then we shall go into the depth of each of their problems.
|Under-watering||Plant weakening >>Leaning plant body|
|Overwatering||Root rot >> Weak plant >>Leaning plant body|
|Excessive sunlight exposure||Leaf and stem damage >>Leaning|
|Over-fertilizing||Sudden plant growth >>Insufficient roots system to supply sufficient water >>Weak plant >>Leaning plant body|
|Under fertilizing||Inadequate nutrients >>Weak plant >>Leaning|
|Not repotting||Rootbound >>No growth >>Weak foliage >>Leaning|
Let’s dive into the details.
Inadequate lighting conditions
Sunlight plays a major role in photosynthesis, and rubber plants require a lot of it.
Intense sunlight can burn the leaves, while insufficient light conditions cause weak stems causing the rubber plant to lean.
If the rubber plant starts becoming leggy, leaves start losing their luster, and lower leaves start falling off, these are the symptoms of insufficient light.
Also read: Where to keep your rubber plants?
Your rubber plant is root bounded
Check your rubber plant container and see if it’s big enough for further growth of the plant or not.
It is necessary to repot the rubber plant once every two years. However, the timeframe may vary depending upon how fast the plant is growing.
Check at the bottom of your rubber plant if it’s showing roots getting out of the drainage hole, then it’s time to repot.
A root-bound rubber plant often starts drooping and leaning.
Also read: Does rubber plant likes to be root bounded?
Sometimes you may notice improper growth in your rubber plant. This improper growth becomes a significant reason for the leaning of the rubber plant.
Leaning sometimes occurs because the plant is growing under stressed circumstances, and the stress can be due to the insufficient nutrients available in the soil.
That mainly happens because the soil keeps losing nutrients overtime. Thus, we need to keep fertilizing our rubber plant to ensure healthy and balanced growth.
Most new hobbyist ends up overwatering or underwatering their houseplants. As a result, their rubber plant becomes weak and starts leaning.
Both overwatering and underwatering can lead to a droopy and leaning rubber plant.
While we underwater the rubber plant, the plant uses its water reserves from the stems and leaves, leading to the plant’s leaning.
When we overwater the plant, it leads to root rot as the plant cannot absorb enough nutrients and water leading to leaning on one side.
How to fix a leaning rubber plant?
To fix your rubber plant and prevent leaning, we need to take care of the lighting, fertilization, and watering schedule in the first place. Let’s dive into the details of each of these.
Provide bright indirect lighting
Rubber plants like to be placed in a bright area and simultaneously need to be protected from direct sunlight.
Hence it is suggested to keep your rubber plant near the east or west-facing window under the early morning sun or the evening sun.
You can also keep it near a south-facing window but make sure you have a sheer curtain to filter the light so that it keeps getting light. That will ensure that your plant gets enough light, yet it doesn’t get damaged by intense direct sunlight.
A medium-bright light spot filtered by a sheer curtain is often the perfect place to keep the rubber plant as it provides the plant with indirect, bright, and natural light.
If you have placed your rubber plant at a spot where you cannot provide enough natural light to the rubber plant, then artificial light can be used as an alternative source for supplementing the natural lighting.
The best thing about artificial light is that you can control the light according to the plant’s requirements. I personally love this versatile grow light for my plants that I got from Amazon.
Also read: How much light do rubber plants need?
Watering the plant right
Rubber plants can sometimes tolerate underwatering. Even during the summer and spring season, which is the growing season, they need more water than the rest of the year, yet watering the rubber plant once a week is good enough to make the plant happy.
It’s a good thing that your rubber plant won’t die for a long time in your absence whenever you are on a trip or are out of your house for any work.
And for fall and winter seasons, watering the rubber plant once every two weeks works fine as the growth slows down. Anything more may lead to various problems due to overwatering.
However, you should not follow a fixed regime for watering as the water needs may vary. It is recommended to feel the soil and water your rubber plant only when the soil feels dry.
You don’t want the soil to get completely dried out, but it shouldn’t be wet either. You can also use a moisture meter to understand the moisture level in the soil. Water the plant when the dial gets to the red mark.
And remember, whenever watering the rubber plant, water it thoroughly.
That means wait for the water to seep from the bottom of the pot while watering. It ensures that all the roots of your plant get their fair share of water and nutrients.
To fulfill the nutrient requirements of the rubber plant, we use fertilizer. There are varieties of fertilizer available in the market, and it can be mind-boggling for a new owner.
I have a straightforward recommendation for you all. If you want to go the synthetic fertilizer route, then a no-brainer choice would be Jack’s Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer.
However, if you are an organic person like me, you might consider using Espoma Indoor Liquid Plant Food.
How frequently do I fertilize my rubber plant?
The frequency of fertilizing shall depend upon what type of fertilizer you use, and most importantly, it depends on the plant’s growth.
Almost every houseplant, including the rubber plant, goes through two growth phases every year. i.e., The growing phase and the dormant phase.
The growing season occurs during the summer and spring seasons when the plant grows significantly in size.
So, fertilizing the rubber plant once a month or even once every alternate month is enough for the growing season.
The dormant period starts in fall and remains throughout the winter. As the plant shows no significant growth, we don’t need to supplement the rubber plant with too many fertilizers.
Please note: Always read the direction of the use label in your fertilizer. A pro tip would be to start with 1/3rd of the recommended dosage and gradually increase it by understanding how well your rubber plant responds to it.
Repotting your rubber plant
It is crucial to repot your rubber plant every other year. A root-bound plant can suffer from slow growth leading to a weak and leaning plant.
The best time to repot the rubber plant in spring and early summers so that the plant could settle down in its new home before winter.
Tips to consider before repotting
Whenever you think of repotting the plant, make sure to water it a day before repotting to make the soil and plant ready.
For satisfying the plant, the ideal pot size is considered to be one size bigger than the previous one. The pot must have enough drainage holes in it to ensure the excellent drainage of extra water.
Purchase some potting soil instead of using your local garden soil as garden soil is not suitable for your houseplants. I personally use Miracle grow potting soil, which is readily available on amazon.
How do I keep my rubber plant upright?
Long Rubber plants can’t stay standing by themselves, as they are not a self-supporting plant.
When we grow rubber plants indoors, their stems are not as sturdy as those big rubber trees that are grown outdoors.
It’s a fact that the taller they grow, the droopier they get. So, it is typical for a rubber plant to start leaning as they grow taller.
But you can quickly fix this problem.
Generally, it’s the natural behavior of the rubber plant to lean down once it grows taller. Most of us have two choices to make at this point:
- Prune the rubber plant from the top and encourage side growth
- Support the tall plant using a wooden dowel.
Gardner often clips the rubber plants from the plant’s tip to regenerate the stem stronger the earlier and prevent it from leaning.
Late spring or early summer is the growing season for houseplants and the time when the rubber plant also responds better to pruning as they heal faster during that time.
The growth of your rubber plant slows down during winters; hence it’s quite stressful for the plant if you decide to prune them at that time.
Now, here’s how this pruning thing is done. Just cut the top part of the plant, and it’s done. Unlike other plants, rubber plants grow from the tip.
At first, it may feel painful to see your lovely plant clipped off, but later your plant will grow perfectly healthy.
In case your plant is not too tall and mature right now, and you want to limit pruning your plant, then here’s what to do now so that your plant doesn’t lean in the future.
When your rubber plant is about 2 feet tall, dig some garden stakes up to 2-3 inches deeper in the pot of your rubber plant to support your plant.
Make sure to take the best care of your plant to grow them vertically stronger and never cut them down in the future.
However, there’s a lot of science behind the effect of pruning.
But that’s a different topic so that we won’t go much deeper into it, but pruning is always beneficial for the rubber plant, and it eventually helps the plant improve its growth by strengthening its stem.
So, I would recommend pruning your plant from an early stage and supporting them as well when they grow taller.
A few quick tips to remember and follow to keep your plant even in better condition:
- Keep the rubber plant away from room heaters and AC hot air.
- Provide the plant some fertilizer during the growing season.
- Rubber plants are resistant to pests and diseases if grown in well-lit areas.
- Spray the plant with pest oil solution and wipe it with a cotton ball. It will protect the plant from pests attack.
- Keep cleaning the plant leaf to clear the dust from the leaf surface, which will help the plant in breathing.
- Moist the plant frequently. It helps in boosting the humidity in a very effective way.