White spots on your rubber plant can be an unappealing sight for any plant lover. There can be numerous causes of white spots in our plant. But what went wrong with your rubber plant that lead to white spots? Let’s find out!
White molds and pest infestation are two root causes of white spots in the rubber plant. The white molds may appear as a white powdery coat all over the leaves and shoots. Mealybugs and spider mites can also cause a white spot in the rubber plant. With adequate care, the plant can quickly recover from the problem.
There are a lot of ways you can deal with the problem. But first, we need to identify the cause so we can take appropriate action. Let us dive deeper into the topic to understand the problem and fix it quickly.
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What causes white spots in rubber plant?
There can be a number of causes of white spots in rubber plants. Some of the common causes are discussed below:
White mold on rubber plant
The white mold on your rubber plant, a common indoor plant, isn’t in danger of dying but makes the plant look unsightly.
The saprophytic fungus causes white mold, warning you that the growing conditions are not suitable and can lead to more severe plant problems if left untreated. The culprit may be an insect, disease, or cultural issues.
Every problem has a solution. So we are here to help you out with the common causes and fix for the white molds appearing on your rubber plant. Let’s read further to find out.
Preventing mold on rubber plants
Thank god white molds are harmless and can be treated by easy and effective methods. They are prone to living in houseplants that are consistently damp and moist.
Making sure proper drenching of soil while watering should become your habit.
By adequate exposure to light and providing ventilation to the plant and sterile soil, you can easily prevent your plant from being contaminated with pests.
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Excess salt in the water can cause white spots on rubber plant
Excess salt in the water can create root rot and contaminate the roots and soil easily with pest infestation.
It will harm your plants in the long run. Tap water could be different everywhere, depending on your city or municipality.
If excess salt in the water is the reason you urgently need to look for the solution.
Extra salt means giving birth to fungus by providing them the environment they love in the soil.
What you can do is you can use rainwater (great for your plant), or you can use distilled water, or you can fill a bucket with water and leave it overnight (it will help evaporate chlorine or fluoride) and use it the next day to water your plant.
A pest infestation can lead to white spots on rubber plant
The rubber plant, like other houseplants, is susceptible to pests. Even though you provide your plant good care and time, the problems can still attack out of nowhere.
The pests suck the sap out of the plant, which weakens the plant, leads to white spots, stunts growth, and many other problems.
Sap to plant is like blood to animals. A pest infestation can even kill the plant if left untreated or ignored. We need to identify the problem and solve it accordingly.
Mealy bugs on rubber plants
Mealybugs have soft body sucking insects. They slowly suck the sap out of the plant; they move slower and can be found on every part of the plant, even roots. You can use any of the following methods to treat the plant:
- Mix 1tablespoon mild dish soap with one tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 cup water.
- Mix ¼ cup rubbing alcohol with 1 cup water and dab or spray it on.
- Take some rice and mix water (2cups or more), shake well, and keep for ten days.
- Now, after ten days, you will see the rice gets fermented and converted into ethyl alcohol. Take a spray bottle and pour it by staining the liquid part into the bottle.
- Spay over the infected area. Wash the plant after 10-15 minutes with plain water.
- Now, you can use any pesticide over your plant to get rid of the mealybug quickly (do this step if your plant is badly affected)
- You can also prepare biopesticide at home by using neem leaves.
- Mix water to make a thick paste.
- Now add more water and mix it and strain it using a piece of clothing. Take the strained water in a spray and spray it all over the plant, finally getting rid of mealybug.
Mealybugs have a wax coat on their body, making it difficult for any pesticide to penetrate mealybug, making it difficult to kill them. But ethyl alcohol melts the wax layer of mealybug and helps to get rid of it.
Spider mites on rubber plants
They are soft and tiny bodied sucking insects and are a bit hard to identify.
Spider mites can be identified by keeping a piece of paper under the leaf. You can tap slowly and will find specks falling on the paper, signaling the presence of spider mites in your plant.
You will see leaves yellowing, mottling, white molds, etc. They feed on leaves, creating white molds that begin beneath the leaves and alongside leaves.
- Spider mites give tough times to control. To get rid of it what you can do is
- Rinse the infected plant thoroughly, after which using horticulture oil will help treat the plant entirely with few uses.
- Rubbing alcohol helps, but if the invaders became established, you need to do more.
- Release predators like ladybugs in your garden as a method of control (though not the very great solution every time) look for other solutions.
- Insecticidal soaps can likewise control them while sticky traps attract them and help to reduce the population. It is another safe and gentle treatment; this works by smothering the pests. It must be thoroughly applied.
- Hydrogen peroxide with water treats molds on your plant too.
Preventing pest attack on rubber plants
To reduce the pain, you can prevent your plant from pest invaders.
Checking regularly, especially under the leaves, is the best way to catch an infestation before it sets in.
This way, you will immediately know if the plant is infested with pests, which will help you cure the infestation very easily and rapidly.
By giving your plant more exposure to sunlight will simply improve the performance of your plant.
All you need to do is keep wiping the leaves down, checking for bugs. You want to make sure that your spacing time may be once every two weeks.
Simple isn’t it!
Horticulture oils treat scale infection
Horticulture oil is a petroleum-based oil (mixed in such a way that it will mix with water).
Scale infection looks like little bumps on your plant and is commonly found on your branches, stems, undersides of the leaves, and can be treated using horticulture oil.
You can easily find in the market a good horticulture oil.
Instructions: All you need to do is follow the instructions given on the bottle. And repeat the treatment. But before that, don’t forget to wash your plant with plain water thoroughly and then treat with horticulture oil. Spray all over the plant, sparing no parts.
During winter, the dormant season, the oil concentration should be more compared to the summer season.
It can be used as a prevention method to keep scale and other pests infestation away from your plant.
How to identify the cause of white spots in rubber plants?
The plant might look healthy from above, but you need to keep checking every part of the plant every few days.
Some signs your plant is trying to tell something’s wrong are:
- Foul smell from soil indicates root rot is the issue.
- Infected stems may appear to have tan brown lesions on them, which means watering issues.
- The plant is too bushy and very dull, then pruning and lighting care need to be looked after.
- Fertilizing could be the issue if everything is going right but still having white molds.
Preventing white spots on rubber plants
Here are some common things you need to keep in mind to ensure your rubber plant keeps thriving.
Rubber plants love light, and white mold loves dark, damp places.
You know what you need to do, though your plant doesn’t demand a large space for perfect light exposure, bright indirect light is the key to keep them happy and away from any fungal infection.
Though some full sun can be tolerated, don’t roast in the west window face during the afternoon’s most challenging hours.
They work well with a range of conditions. By providing the proper light, you can prevent them from pests infestation as it will not offer the pests the right environment to attack.
Summer: North face window will not provide enough light to the plant. So you need to place it in a spot where it can get early morning light and late afternoon light easily, saving it from scorching noon light. South is a great winter option, and East facing may be the best exposure for your plant.
Winter: During winters, move away from the window’s glass as it might freeze the plant. Keep rotating your plant every week for even growth and even exposure to light on every part of your plant.
Also Read: How Much Light Do Rubber Plants Need?
Fertilizing helps to provide the plant with required nutrients promoting growth.
As long as the plant is healthy and has sufficient nutrients, the pests cannot attack them that easily.
It doesn’t mean a lot of fertilizer is needed.
Regular Dosage: A liquid solution feeds the entire roots. You can use half diluted houseplant fertilizer and organic fertilizers every four weeks; otherwise, they could experience leaf burn quickly and harm your plant. Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended dosage. A little goes a long way!
Seasonal dosage: Now, if you want to keep your plant healthy throughout the year, you want to feed your plant during spring and summer, as it will help your plant produce those new leaves (apple to your eyes).
And here’s the catch, by following this, you can keep your plant beautiful throughout spring and summer.
When the winter season arrives, the plant will stay strong and healthy even without fertilizer being fed and hold onto its leaves easily.
So, keep it on the light side. It is easy and economical. Great deal!
Also Red: Does Rubber Plant Need Fertilizer?
If your soil is infected, remove as much soil you can and replace it with clean soil.
Through repotting, you can save your plant from being attacked by pests.
To reduce the transfer of mold or insects, ensure that the old contaminated soil is entirely replaced by sterile, fresh soil and let the soil dry out before moving the plant.
After transfer, please wait for a week to water it to ensure proper root holding.
Know-when: Repotting is essential but shouldn’t be done frequently.
- Ideally, you should report when you see the roots coming out of your pot’s drainage holes, or you can take the plant out of the pot a little bit, and you see the vastness of the roots.
- The best time to repot is spring and summer being the growing season, so your plants are already energized and are very much ready to produce more and have the energy to do so.
- Some plants go dormant during that time, so it’s always the best time in spring and summer.
Know-how: They like a little bit confinement in their roots, so keep the roots neither too compact nor too big.
- Better to increase the container by one size or up to 2 inches in diameter.
- Don’t put extra soil over the roots that emerge from the surface. This will allow ventilation in the roots and soil and will not provide pests their required environment to invade and grow.
- Also, spray the plant with mild fungicide before repotting it.
If you see the soil at the top layer is dry, but at the lower part, it is consistently wet, this signals you to repot your plant because the soil is probably too heavy.
A Quick tip: After you take out the plant, trim the roots if you don’t like the look. If you want to keep the plants in the same pot, prune the roots. Make sure you cut off the brown and mushy roots completely.
Rubber plant, an indoor plant, can become overgrown, developing thick foliage, which then blocks air circulation and light.
If not pruned timely, the dead and dying sections can also encourage pest infection or disease.
If it has severe areas of old, diseased, or awkwardly positioned growth, you can safely prune it off. Take a look at your plant and trim dead and dying branches and leaves as required.
Pruning further can prevent your plant from being troubled and will signal you if your care routine needs a change.
You can trim them whenever you feel like it needs to be shaped or eliminate the undesired parts, but recover more quickly or early summer. Let’s learn how to prune them correctly.
Use a sharp pair of scissors, preferably sterilized with isopropyl alcohol or any other effective means (they are fragile, so you don’t want to go roughhousing it).
Wearing gloves, as the sticky and toxic sap they create when you cut the stem, it would make a milky substance that would be a real irritant on the skin (wash immediately with soap and water as it may cause a rash) and toxic.
For maintenance, use your fingers, a pair of scissors, and pinch off the stem right above a set of leaves or nodes.
Keep pinching the edges off the remaining stems and side shoots, as it helps create a bushier plant as the new growth gets started.
If you cut 3mm approx above a bud or leaf of the desired section, pruning can be further facilitated.
If you are pruning for a bushier plant, start with the leggy branches, not more than 10% to 20% at once.
But you need to continue to shed off after a few weeks again the more branches while cutting, keep in mind you don’t want to leave the plant completely bare. So prune accordingly.
Ensure good care after pruning to promote rapid recovery.
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Rubber plants will continue to take in water until the leaf cells are overfull and burst to cause white spots.
To prevent further disease spread, reduce humidity, and improve ventilation to allow the plant leaves to dry.
Watering with cold water or splashing cold water may cause harmless white spots on leaves.
You need to maintain moisture consistently in soil without making it soggy to provide adequate care.
Your watering schedule can determine how vulnerable your plant is to mild contamination.
When to water: The thumb rule to find out when to water is when the top inch of soil is dry or completely dry is when you need to water your plant.
- To check, stick a finger right into the dirt, and when you pull your finger out, if the soil falls off its time to water it.
- If the soil is sticking to your finger, making finger muddy, that means you give it some time.
Drench thoroughly: Now, when you are watering, what you won’t do is that you water it through, making sure that the water comes out of the drainage holes.
- Always use room temperature water as not to shock the roots.
- During winter and autumn, water less often as the soil dries slower.
- Now in cases, you don’t have a drainage hole; it’s going to be a bit harder to tell for you exactly when you have given enough water. So we suggest you have drainage holes.
Note: If the soil is taking more than a week to dry, you need to check your drainage system to make sure water is draining sufficiently.
Also Read: How Much Water Do Rubber Plants Need?
Tips to keep your rubber plants thriving
The rubber plant’s needs are not very hard to stay healthy and growing. Here are some tips to keep your plant thriving.
- Add a natural anti-fungal to your rubber plant as a preventive measure.
- Pruning when the plant gets bushier and uneven, removing damaged leaves.
- Repot your plant every 2-3 years.
- Natural anti-fungal options include cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda
- Don’t keep the potting soil for more than 1-2 years.
- Use a damp cloth to clean the leaves every 2-3 days as you prefer.
Source: Rubber plant disease diagnosis, Major problem in a rubber plant, Pest problem in a rubber plant.
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