The Rubber plant(Ficus elastica) is a popular indoor house plant. They are easy to take care of and can thrive even in some harsh conditions. However, a lot of times, we struggle to keep them thriving. You will notice the leaves are turning yellow and are dropping down. And you don’t have the foggiest idea of what is happening and why is your rubber plant drooping?
Don’t worry if you are also one of us who is struggling to keep their rubber plant thriving, then we have got you covered. With years of experience, we have somewhat mastered the art of keeping them alive. So, without further delay, let’s get right into it.
The primary cause of droopy leaves in the rubber plant is either overwatering or under-watering. Wilting of leaves is usually due to overwatering the plant. Other reasons include too much light or not enough light, poor soil health, temperature fluctuation, or some diseases.
By learning essential care tips and understanding what your plants need, you can get your plant thriving back again. Here we will help you know what could be the potential problems with your plant and what steps you need to take. So, let’s get right into it.
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1. Watering problems
Water is an essential need for any plant, and the rubber plant is no different.
However, most of us make a simple mistake with our plant, i.e., either we care for them too much or don’t care for them enough.
Now both of these situations can be potentially bad for our plants. Let us learn more about it in detail.
Overwatering/Underwatering a rubber plant
Over and under-watering overall show comparable reactions (contracting/shrinking).
It might be a bit confusing to attest to the symptoms caused by overwatering or underwatering. However, we will simplify the symptoms.
|Leaves getting dry and Drooping leaves||Brown tips or edges of leaves|
|Pulling away of soil or Dried out soil||Drooping and Yellowing leaves|
|Slow growth||Attracts pest as soil is damp|
|Leaves getting discolored||Root rot|
|Shallow root system||Signs of Edema on top leaves|
How much should one water the plant?
You need to water your rubber plant every 4-5 days. Although a rubber plant can go without water for 7 days, it is crucial to avoid such stress to the plant. Hence, watering them frequently is essential.
The watering need for rubber plant might vary depending on the situation. One should always use an abundant amount of water.
You need to drain the soil with water. The nutrients needed by our plants come from the water and it is not always present in the soil. Hence if the plant is flushed with less water, lesser nutrients will reach the plant.
However, overwatering can hurt your plant as well. That is the explanation you ought to have a superb drainage structure.
The drainage holes in the pot will help with sifting through the excess water. The excess water will also leach out the salt in the soil which in result balances it out.
Make an effort not to follow this technique if your plant pot doesn’t have enough drainage holes.
Stick a wood dowel post (around 2 inches) into the soil. Watch the shaft and see if it remains dry or gets wet. This essential test will help you in deciding whether your plants need the water or not.
Another important tip you need to keep in mind is always to use water that is at room temperature.
If you tap water is cold or hot, then using that water can shock your plant. It could also be a potential cause of droopy leaves.
Let the water sit in a watering can for 6-8 hours to come to room temperature and use the same to water the plants.
If the soil is dry and your rubber plant goes limp and becomes overpowering in the wake of watering, the purpose behind leaves drooping is under-watering.
If the soil is wet or saturated and plant leaves drooping, the explanation is overwatering. Yellow and hearty shaded tones in like manner show the overwatering.
One can tell that a rubber plant is getting a ton of water by looking at it circumspectly.
Natural shaded, hanging leaves show the plant is being over-watered. The leaves may get delicate and mushy. The soil may become drenched when the plant can’t hold any more water.
The soil may similarly have a moist, bad smell if root rot has assaulted the plant. Exactly when you see these symptoms, the rubber plant needs help.
Fixing the Problem
If you’ve understood the rubber plant is getting an abundance of water, it’s a perfect chance to save the plant.
Immediately quit watering the plant and allow the soil to dry. Make an effort not to water the plant again until the soil is dry to a significance of 1 inch.
In case you assume root rot has set in, oust the plant from the pot and its soil.
To get rid of the discoloration, trim any brown-hued or black roots back with scissors.
The roots should be white and firm. Repot the plant in new soil and another pot.
However, if you think the problems are underwatering, get in a schedule to water your rubber plant every 4-5 days so that they can start thriving again.
2. Light needs of Rubber plant
Rubber plants like bright light and a lot of it, but not direct sunlight. A brilliant spot ensured by a sheer window decoration is perfect for rubber plants.
Direct sunlight can cause damage and leaf burns. However, if your window receives a rising or setting sun, then it would be a perfect spot for a rubber plant.
You can tell if your rubber plant needs more light if it gets leggy, its leaves lose their brilliance, and lower leaves tumble off.
It is altogether expected to droop and shedding its leaves as climate changes.
However, if you want to change the placement of your rubber plant or move it from outdoors to indoors then you need to help your plant acclimate quickly.
Adding a grow light could help in easy transitioning. These don’t require a great deal of light but they do exceptionally well in bright, deviant light.
Some of us keep their rubber plants near a window where they receive partial light which is filtered through curtains and blinds.
Sometimes you will notice that your rubber plant is tilting towards the light source or more leaves are coming out from one side only.
Under such circumstances, rotating the pot would be ideal for the steady growth of your rubber plant.
3. Poorly drained soil can cause your rubber plant to droop
The rubber plant should be potted in an adequately sized to grow a 6-foot tall tree.
You can start with a container that is anywhere between 1-2 gallons. Ensure that your pot has enough drainage else you might risk root rot.
Adding a small layer of rocks or pebbles in the bottom aids with the drainage.
The ideal soil mixture for rubber plant would be a mix of 50% garden soil, with 20% perlite and 30% cocopeat.
This combination will provide adequate nutrition from the soil, good drainage, and ideal moisture for the plant.
It will also make sure that the soil is not soggy as rubber plants enjoy a well-drained soiled.
4. Insect infestation can lead to drooping leaves in rubber plants
The rubber plant is a robust plant that can tolerate most of the growing conditions.
However, like the other houseplants, some certain insects and diseases can cause the drooping leaves of a rubber plant.
We will discuss some cases of pests and diseases that are common with rubber plants.
The standard houseplant pests such as Mealybugs, spiders, Aphids, etc can affect the rubber plant.
It would be great if you can use some natural pest repellent to get rid of the pest. Even if all of them don’t go away, you can still clear most of them.
Rubber plants are immune to most diseases; however, overwatering is the cause for most of the illnesses in rubber plants. Hence do not overwater your rubber plant.
Certain home remedies for controlling the pests and diseases will be by spraying your rubber plant with garlic/neem spray
How to use garlic/neem spray?
- Blend 1 tsp of neem oil/liquid concentrate of garlic with 1-1.5 liters of water.
- Empty the arrangement into a spray bottle.
- Shower on the rubber plant once every week until the creepy crawlies vanish effectively.
5. Change in temperature can lead to drooping leaves in rubber plants
While considering the maximum temperature, the rubber plants grow in indirect sun and are sensibly dry season receptive. However, high temperatures can lead to leaf burn in them.
Perfect rubber plant temperature ranges anywhere between 75 to 80°F. The radiant heat made by sunshine moreover impacts temperature.
If you are keeping your rubber plants in your patio and temperature goes beyond 80°F, then you need to move them in the shade or indoors.
Inside, plants kept in windows should live in east or north windows – or south windows with a sheer covering – for spread from the glow of the afternoon sun.
If your rubber plants are kept near the window, make sure they are placed on east or north-facing windows. Avoid south-facing windows as too much light can raise the temperature and cause problems in them.
If you live in colder regions where the temperature goes below average, you might need to take some additional steps to ensure that your plants remain healthy.
As the mercury level drops below 40°F, the leaves of your rubber plant will start losing moisture and hydration.
And if the temperature drops below that, the leaves may die out completely.
Thus, it is crucial to maintain the ideal temperature in your home. A wood-burning stove or furnace could do wonders in such situations.
The best night’s temperature lies in the scope of 60-65°F.
6. Overfertilization can lead to drooping of rubber plants
One must be really careful not to add an excess of fertilizer in their rubber plants. That might also be the cause of drooping of the rubber plants.
Fertilizers act as a catalyst for metabolism, and forcing metabolism might cause drooping. Rubber plants should be fertilized during the spring and early summer, and not in the winter when it is dormant.
The house plant fertilizer should do okay for rubber plants. The key to remember is that these plants need small feeding.
It is ideal to add a small amount of fertilizer every 40-50 days to keep the plant thriving.
You can either scrape off a small layer from topsoil and top it up with vermicompost or other good compost to fertilize it.
Any other household chemical fertilizer will also do the trick. However, make sure you don’t add a lot of manure.
7. The low humidity level can lead to drooping leaves of rubber plant
Rubber plants love humidity as you have certainly understood that winter has low humidity that causes leaves drooping and falling.
We need to find a way of increasing the moisture for the plants in the winter season. You can do that in various ways, for instance:
- Sprinkle on your plant with some mist water. Don’t mix any chemicals in with the water.
- Stand plants on plate rock that heap up with water but not so much. Must use a large plate or shallow ceramic bowl.
- Place your rubber plant in a wet and moist spot. You can also use a humidifier to keep the humidity level adequate.
However, you must note that if the soil is soggy, it can lead to root rot. So, keep that in mind while watering the plant.
Few Tips about the Rubber Plant (Know before you grow)
|Common Name||Rubber Plant or Rubber Tree|
|Latin Name||Ficus elastica|
|Color||Dark Green, Maroon and Yellow, cream edges|
|Insects and Diseases||Mealybugs, Scales insects, Aphids, White fly, Root rot|
- Rubber Plants are not self-supporting; the more they build up, the droopier they get. You can keep your rubber plant standing up by using bamboo or dowels.
- Rubber Plants are quick growers, creating as much as 24″ in a season.
- Rubber plants are harmful. They produce a smooth sap when their leaves or stems are broken. This sap contains latex and can be unsafe for animals and individuals.
- Rubber Plants use a lot of nutrients from their soil, so keep some fertilizer in stock for when things get low!
- Try to put your rubber plant at a temperature of 10°C (50°F) to 29°C (85°F). Rubber plants can persevere through 2 or 3 days in the dark but not at low temperatures. One should consider this option in case they travel a lot for long days.
- Remember, the rubber plant likes indirect sunlight hence put aside your plant from the direct light.
- The rubber plant should be grown in an adequate sized pot as they grow a lot in height.
- As discussed above, one should spray neem oil or garlic on their rubber plant. This helps in keeping the pests away.
- Trimming is always required for the healthy growth of a plant. For this, one should get away the yellow leaves as we can’t save the yellow leaves.
- Move your rubber plant to a good bright spot. In any case, never place the plant near the open window in the frost during the winters.