If your rubber plant leaves are drooping and you want to know the reason and treatment. Then you should read the below article.
Because today you will learn what causes droopy rubber plant leaves and how to revive your plant.
Unsuitable growing conditions trigger droopy leaves in rubber plants. The rubber plant is a tropical jungle plant. You need to mimic its natural growing conditions indoors. Drooping is the early warning sign of discomfort.
(a) Low Humidity
The rubber plant is a tropical plant and it needs high humidity to stay green and vibrant. Brown rubber plant leaves are the result of insufficient air moisture.
When the air does not have enough moisture than the water stored in the plant leaves moves into the air.
This makes the plant leaves dry and they start drooping.
To prevent this, you should maintain the humidity between 40 % to 50 %. Generally, this is the normal range of the home humidity.
Use a hygrometer to measure the room humidity where you put the plants.
Low Humidity Solution
The first solution is a pebble tray because you should not spray water on rubber plant leaves. This is the wrong care practice.
Take a pebble tray fill it with water and put your plant over it.
Do not allow the water level to touch the bottom hole of the plant pot. This will result in overwatering.
(b) Low Temperature
If you want to grow this tropical plant then you need to keep the room temperature between 60 to 80 degrees F. This is the ideal temperature range for rubber plants.
Temperature below 50 degrees F will cause drooping of leaves.
Therefore, you need a device to keep records of grow room temperature.
I am using a thermometer to keep eye on my grow room temperature. Because I have many tropical plants and they are temperature sensitive.
In some cases, we have found that the air in grow room is good for plants. But the floor on which you place the plant pot is too cold.
This makes the roots and potting soil cold than normal. This is another reason for rubber plant droopy leaves.
To prevent this problem, you should put a mat under the plant pot.
Some window sills get cold at night and this also makes the potting soil cold. Again, the result is drooping leaves.
The first step is, to maintain the correct temperature in your house. For this, you need to set the thermostat so that the temperature never drops below the belt.
If you are changing the location of your plant. Then make sure you first measure the temperature of the new location.
Do not place your plant near the air cooler or window, especially in the winter season.
(c) Lack of Nutrition
Rubber plants need a good amount of nitrogen and phosphorous for their good health. In the absence of these nutrients, the leaves of the rubber plants start drooping.
Tropical soil is naturally rich in NPK and other trace elements.
Therefore, mix some parts of compost in the potting soil to increase soil fertility.
You should fertilize your plant once in 30 days from spring to summer. Use a limited amount of fertilizer to avoid overfertilization.
Excessive use of fertilizers can burn the plant.
- Use liquid fertilizer that is made for houseplants.
- General-purpose liquid fertilizer is the best option and dilutes it before use.
- Stop fertilization in fall and winter. This is the dormancy time of plants. They do not need fertilizers to grow in cold months.
(d) Cold Air
Along with cold temperature, you need to block the circulation of cold air. Because once your plant comes in contact with cold air. It will drop its leaves and may drop off.
Cold air problem is common in poorly insulated houses or where the doors remain open for a long time.
Ensure that there is no circulation of cold air in the grow room.
But this does not mean air circulation is not important for the plant. Plants need a good airflow of fresh oxygen to stay healthy.
Instead of the direct flow of cold air. The indoor air is best for your plant in winter. No need to open the window to provide fresh air to your plant.
The air inside your home has enough oxygen and freshness for the plant. Moreover, for photosynthesis plants need carbon dioxide.
(e) Heat Stroke
Generally, topical plants like rubber plants can easily tolerate heat. But they cannot survive in high-heat environments.
Wiling is the early sign of a heat-stressed rubber plant.
Plants use a high amount of water in the respiration process. In high temperatures the evaporation of water gets quick and no water is left for proper respiration and transpiration.
This way the leaves do not get proper water from the roots. Hence the leaves of the rubber plant start drooping.
Common effects of high heat on rubber plant:
- Water Loss
- Slower Growth
- Weak Photosynthesis
- Weak Growth and Stressed plant
Immediately remove the plant from the high heat grow room and give it some filtered water.
It is best to change the location of the plant. Move it to a less bright place and away from direct sunlight.
(f) Too Much Air Moisture
Do not put your plant in high humid areas like the bathroom. High humidity will result in root rot and leaf rot.
When the air around the plant contains a high amount of moisture. Then plant stops absorbing water from the potting soil. It absorbs enough water from the air.
But the problem comes when your plant continues to stop absorbing water from the soil.
It became nutrient deficient in a few days. Due to weakness and lack of essential nutrients rubber plant start dropping its leaves.
Moreover, the water stays for longer in the soil and increases the chances of root rot.
Use a hygrometer to measure the air moisture.
40 % to 50% air humidity is enough for a rubber plant.
Drooping leaves with brown and crispy edges indicate insufficient water in potting soil. When you do not give sufficient water to your plant.
The leaves of rubber plant start wilting and for respiration your plant start using water that is stored in leaves.
Hence the leaves become dry and turn crispy brown.
Drooping is the early sign of dehydration of rubber plant.
Before watering your plant check the soil conditions. If the top 2 inches are dry then give water otherwise wait for the next day.
Rubber plants need more water in summer and in high-temperature environments.
Because in high heat half of the plant water gets evaporated. And it also starts using more water for respiration and transpiration.
This increases the dehydration level.
(h) Waterlogged Soil
In a general survey, we have found that more plants got killed by excessive use of water than underwatering.
Keep in mind that excessive use of water leads to root rot and leaf rot.
If your rubber plant has yellow and mushy leaves. This means your plant is already overwatered.
Rubber plant shows unique early warning signs of the first stage of overwatering. White spots on leaves are those signs.
Cut the Yellow and Brown Crispy leaves.
Check the root condition because once the soil gets waterlogged all the air pockets in the soil get closed. This reduces the movement of air in the root zone.
Hence the result is damaged roots.
In the absence of enough air to breathe the plant roots get infected by root fungus.
Repot your plant in new potting soil in the correct size plant pot.
Use well-draining potting soil and make sure the plant pot has some drainage holes to drain extra water out of the pot.
(i) Light Problems
Every plant needs a good amount of bright light to carry out photosynthesis. Stronger photosynthesis means good production of glucose.
But this does not mean that you expose your rubber plant to direct sunlight.
Arrange some shade for the plant and it will thrive happily.
Direct bright light will scorch the leaves and dehydrate your plants. Also, too little light is not good. It will result in a leggy rubber plant with small size few leaves.
To prevent light issues, you should place your plant in indirect bright light. Do not expose your plant to direct sunlight.
If your plant is growing outside then arrange some shade for it.
Install a sheer curtain on the sunny window before placing it over the sill. This way only filtered light will fall on its leaves.
(j) Root Bound
Potted plants often become root-bound. When roots grow large in size, they start coming out of the pot. This condition of roots is called root-bound.
Tightly packed roots are unable to absorb a good amount of moisture and nutrients from the soil. Hence your plant becomes nutrient deficient.
Due to weakness, rubber plant leaves are drooping and wilting.
Once you see the roots coming through the bottom hole. Immediately repot your plant to a new container. The new container must be slightly bigger and deeper than the current pot.
Use lightweight soil and tap gently around the plant.
Do not try to entangle the roots. Once you repot your plant in a big container. The roots will automatically entangle themselves on finding enough growing space.
(k) Repotting Shock
When the rubber plant is under transplant shock it shows its discomfort by shedding some leaves.
The good news is your rubber plant will regain its health in a few days after repotting. Place the new pot in indirect bright light and give it proper water.
Hydration is the success key to repotting plants.
Plant roots stop working to their full potential in repotting shock. This makes repotted plants weak for some time.
Gently handle the root ball, without damaging it.
Use a sterilized knife to cut the infected roots (just in case).
Do not repot your plant without any reason.
Use the best potting soil for your plants.
Give proper light and nutrition to your recently potted plant for its good health.
(L) Pest Infestation
Aphids, scales, and mealybugs are the common pests of rubber plants. These pests suck the glucose of your plants.
As a result, your plant becomes weak and unhealthy.
They also damage the internal leaf tissues by laying their eggs in them. Leaves with damaged tissues start drooping.
Pest infestation is a huge problem in houseplants. If you keep the plant and its surroundings clean. Then you will not face pest problems.
Pest infestations are common when you completely neglect your plant or move it to a dirty place.
Sometimes one infected plant infects all other healthy plants.
First of all, inspect your plant to check the number of pest colonies.
If the problem is in an early stage, then using rubbing alcohol to wipe them manually, this is the best option. After the treatment apply neem oil to your plant.
But if the pest infestation is in an advanced stage or you find aphids with scales or mealybugs on your rubber plant.
Then you should use insecticidal soap to rinse your plant.
First, rinse it with a strong jet stream then apply soap and wash your plant. keep it separate until it shows healthy growth.
If possible, once it starts growing again, change the potting soil. The new soil will give a nice health boost to your plant.
How You Can Prevent Rubber Plant Leaves from Drooping?
There are many things that you can do to prevent rubber plant leaves from drooping. Below are tried and tested techniques.
Supply proper water to your rubber plant to prevent overwatering and dehydration. You should learn the general watering rule of rubber plants.
It says, let the top 2 inches of the potting soil dry before watering it.
This way you are preventing the overwatering and underwatering issues.
The water should be free from unwanted substances like chlorine, copper, calcium, and fluorides. Water containing these substances is called hard water.
Hard water is damaging for houseplants.
Improve drainage by using well-draining soil and plant pot with some drainage holes. The combination of these two things will save your plant in overwatering situations
Well-draining potting soil allows extra water to go down to the bottom of the pot. The holes in the bottom allow extra water to go out of the pot.
This way your plants get protected from overwatering even if you accidentally give them lots of water.
Quality of Water
Use high-quality water that you use for drinking for watering plants. Because tap water in some parts of the country contains unwanted substances.
Chlorine, copper, and fluoride are not required by the plants to grow.
When using water that contains all these substances for watering. These chemicals get collected at the base of the plant.
They stick to the root ball and block the absorption of essential nutrients.
As a result, your plant becomes weak and this is the reason your rubber plant leaves are drooping.
By improving the humidity, you can reduce the chances of rubber plant drooping leaves by 95%.
Rubber plant leaves need a good amount of moisture to stay fresh and healthy. You cannot do this by supplying more water to your plant.
The air must have 40% moisture in it for growing thriving rubber plants.
The leaves of the rubber plant absorb some amount of moisture from the air.
Use the pebble tray technique or use a plant humidifier to improve air moisture. It all depends upon your budget.
I believe that a plant humidifier is a best one-time investment.
Light energy is required to produce proper food. In low light, plants cannot perform perfect photosynthesis.
They use light and water to make glucose which is plant food. They use this food to grow new leaves and maintain old ones.
Place your plant near the sunny window or use artificial grow lights in the dark corners of your home.
These man-made lights are specially designed to full fill the light needs of plants. These lights emit a light spectrum that is similar to the sunlight spectrum.
Plants cannot differentiate between grow light energy and sunlight energy. They just need proper light to convert water and nutrients into glucose.