I grew up playing with rubber plant sap. I would break their leaves and pretend the white goo was glue, trying to stick my hands together, not realizing that they were actually dying.
Now that I am an adult, I realize that I was actually slowly killing the poor plant. So when my tiny indoor rubber tree started to die, I thought it was only fair to nurse it back.
It was back-breaking labor, but I diligently brought the poor buddy back to life.
You can revive your dying rubber plant by transferring the older plant to a new pot and propagate it. Trim the leaves so the roots can heal. Use this as an opportunity to feed and water the plant.
Of course, as it is with life, this is easier said than done. First of all, it is tricky even to know that your rubber plant is dying in the first place. They’ll seem excellent one second and fall apart in the next minute.
So, if you want to know everything about the rubber plant revival, then read on, my friend.
Table of Contents
- Can I Save a Dying Rubber Plant?
- Is your Rubber Plant Dying?
- What’s Going on with my Rubber Plant, and How do I Save it?
- 1. Are you Overwatering your Rubber Plant?
- 2. Underwatered Rubber Plant: How Much Water is Enough?
- 3. How Much Light is your Rubber Plant Getting?
- 4. Is your Rubber Plant Dying of Root Rot?
- 5. Are Pests Bothering your Rubber Plant?
- 6. Are you Placing your Plant Under Appropriate Temperature?
- 7. Is your Plant Getting Proper Humidity?
- Tips to Take Care of your Rubber Plant
- Some Propagation Tips to Explore
Can I Save a Dying Rubber Plant?
Yes! You CAN save your dying rubber plant. The only catch is you have to recognize the problem at the nip before it is too late.
With a little bit of effort and care, your rubber plant will thrive in no time.
But you will have to sacrifice some pretty leaves and might even have to leave them looking bare for a while in some extreme cases.
Is your Rubber Plant Dying?
It will be tricky to save your rubber plant if you don’t even know it needs saving. So look carefully at your rubber plant and compare the following;
- Yellow/Pale Leaves
- Brown or browning leaves
- Leaves wilting from bottom up
- White spots or goo-like thread on the main stem
- Spotty leaves
- Rotting roots
- Dull leaves
What’s Going on with my Rubber Plant, and How do I Save it?
Once you realize your rubber plant needs reviving and that it is indeed not too late, you can start figuring out the right methods to do so.
But it is important to understand the cause of the damage in your rubber plant, just as it is important to revive it.
1. Are you Overwatering your Rubber Plant?
When I got my first plant, I almost killed it because I couldn’t help myself. I watered the plant every day! What a nightmare.
Rubber plant leaves will start to pale if you overwater them. This is because the leaves started shedding, and overwatered roots even attract pests.
- The easiest thing to do as a solution is to control your impulse.
- Let the soil dry.
- Water every few days.
- Get rid of the pale leaves.
- Do keep the seasons in mind.
- Keep a chill watch at the moisture level of the soil.
- You might need to increase the gap during the rainy season and decrease it during the drier summer or winter.
Quick Tip: Check the soil by poking it with a stick or your finger to see if the top 2 inches have dried. And there you have it: an easy-to-understand explanation of the plant’s requirement for water.
2. Underwatered Rubber Plant: How Much Water is Enough?
Usually, rubber plants are difficult to kill with underwatering. They can survive with watering as far apart as once a month. However, the soil becomes too dry, and the growth of plants will be slower if underwatered.
An alarm should go off in your head if you start seeing drooping rubber plant leaves.
- You should water your plant once every week
- Try and check the soil to gauge its dryness
- Mist the leaves regularly during dry seasons
- Track your watering schedule
- Keep notes of the days and quantity you used to water
- If you have a smaller rubber plant, you should consider dipping the pot for an ultimate wash.
3. How Much Light is your Rubber Plant Getting?
Your Rubber Plant will start to die if it is getting a lot of light. Leaves exposed to bright lights will get sunburn and eventually die.
On the flip side, the rubber plant will start to wither from the bottom up if you’ve placed it in a dark spot.
- Place the rubber plant by a southern facing window
- Use sheer curtains for the bright light to filter through.
- Mist your plant to save it from overdrying.
- Let the new rubber plant grow in the shade
- Low light will ensure growth at greater speed
- Provide shade if you want to keep your plant outdoor.
4. Is your Rubber Plant Dying of Root Rot?
You will know your rubber plant is dying of root rot if the leaves start to discolor.
Due to the rotten root, the plant will not absorb the necessary nutrients from the water and the soil.
Root rot will cause the slow growth of plants. The sheen and brilliance of the leaves start to fade.
Roots become mushy, and plants may even die within 10 days if severely damaged. Black dots appear on the leaves.
- Trim the dying leaves
- Transfer the plant to a new pot
- Trim the roots where it is rotting
- Clean the roots under streaming water
- Use Insecticidal soap to clean the roots
- Use fungicide dip for the roots to heal
- Add compost to regulate the growth of the plant
- Check up on your rubber plant regularly
- Use an ideal soil mixture (60% garden soil, 20% perlite, 20% cocopeat)
- Look at the rubber plant roots and signs of rot
- Check the drainage
- To promote growth, cut the plant’s stem from the top.
To minimize fungus spreading to other plants or soil, sterilize the scissor in a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. To encourage further growth, cut the plant’s stem from the top.
5. Are Pests Bothering your Rubber Plant?
Your rubber plant can attract bugs like fungus gnats, spider mites, and mealybugs. If you find bugs, eggs, small holes, or sticky goo on your plant, it could be a pest problem.
The infestation will attack the sap and kill the rubber plant from the stem.
Pests pierce plant tissue and feed on the sap. As a result, leaves tend to fall off.
- Isolate the plants for few weeks.
- Use Neem Oil
- Insecticidal soap sprays
- Horticultural oils
- Pruning affected areas of leaves
- Check up on your rubber plant regularly
- Look for breeding on the underside of the plant leaves
6. Are you Placing your Plant Under Appropriate Temperature?
Your rubber plant will love and thrive at 60 to 65 °F at night and 75 to 80 °F during the day.
Anything lower than 55° F and cold drafts will make the rubber plant quit its healthy glow.
It won’t look dead immediately, but the foliage will start to die from inside out. Leaves get brown and discolored.
- Close off the draft holes in your room
- Place your rubber plant in a warm room or by a window with indirect lights
- The plant should get a temperature above 55 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep one eye at the temperature and be wary of sudden cold temperature
- Check for the weakening of the leaves
- Don’t place your plant where the temperature is below 55 Degrees and above 80 Degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Is your Plant Getting Proper Humidity?
These plants with slick, rubbery-looking leaves, as we all know, require regular humidity to grow healthy and happy. Your rubber plant becomes dry if kept under low humidity.
- Humidity in the room should be normal.
- Misting the leaves
- Move to a safe location where the plant will receive indirect light.
- Your rubber plants need special care during winter, try to move the plant to a more humid location because moisture levels are low.
- Find a location where the plants will be happy all year with consistent humidity.
- An abrupt change in humidity might harm plants. That is something you should avoid.
- If maintaining moisture is challenging for you, consider using a humidifier.
Tips to Take Care of your Rubber Plant
Even though we covered many problems, they’re mostly wise old-wives tales when it comes to rubber plants.
During your growing journey of the rubber plant, it is more than likely that it will be an easy sail. Your rubber plant, with enough love and care, will take care of your green itch.
But here are a few additional tips to some inevitable exceptional days to come with your rubber plants.
- Keep the soil moist but not drowning.
- Wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth to keep them moist and help your plant absorb more sunlight.
- Misting the leaves when you cannot wipe them
- Keep the soil dry but not too dry.
- Let the top surface of the soil be dry in between waterings
- Rubber plant sap can irritate your skin.
- Don’t consume your plant. Try and keep your pets away from the rubber plant. It can cause stomach problems like diarrhea and indigestion.
Some Propagation Tips to Explore
One rubber plant is just as good as the next rubber plant if you are anything like me. Once you are sure your rubber plant is good to grow, you will immediately want to grow a new one.
So here are a few tips for repotting rubber plants:
- First, take a small branch from a healthy rubber plant and let it root in soil or water.
- Let the sap from the stem dry first.
- Air layering is another, a bit more complicated option.
- Stick a toothpick in the cut you’ve made at the stem of the plant.
- Wrap it in damp moss and then wrap plastic wrap around the moss.
- Cut it off and plant the stem in new soil.
- Do this every few years or every year.
- Don’t repot your rubber plant if you’d like to keep it at the size of your preference.
In reality, rubber plant problems are really exceptions to the rule. However, the rule is a wonderful plant friend by your side.
You only need to keep an eye on your plant and honor its deficient maintenance needs.
But if you’re having a hero moment saving plants from your collection.