Ah, falling leaves. While we all love to see it happen outside our homes on windy autumn days, it isn’t something any plant parents would appreciate seeing affecting one of their indoor greeneries.
This is particularly true when it comes to the Rubber Plant, whose unique value proposition is its profusion of high shine, glossy leaves in shades of burgundy and emerald. Its foliage is also the stuff of legend.
With that in mind, if you’ve spent the last God knows how long wondering “why is my rubber plant dropping leaves,” I understand why you’re concerned.
Now that you’re here, though, you can stop worrying. There are solutions to any plant problems, and falling leaves on rubber plants are no exception. The answer to your question lies in this detailed guide.
Why is My Rubber Plant Dropping Leaves?
Keep reading to learn some of the most common reasons foliage might be falling off your Rubber Plant, as well as how you can effectively and quickly rectify the problem.
1. Unstable Humidity and Temperature Levels
I’ve mentioned this point countless times on this platform, and it bears repeating: like all other indoor plants, the Rubber Plant doesn’t like cold drafts. They do not appreciate gusts of hot air either as they cause it stress.
What these plants love is a stable climate with a stable level of light and humidity. With that in mind, if you notice that your rubber plant has started dropping its leaves, the first thing you’ll need to do is assess its current location and ensure it’s not near an appliance or building feature that causes fluctuations or drafts in temperatures.
Things that can cause temperature fluctuations that might affect a Rubber Plant’s foliage to fall include heaters, vents, A.Cs, and doors that frequently get opened and closed.
If you find any of these and decide to move the Rubber Plant, do not forget to pick a spot that also fulfills its need for light as well. Areas in your home with bright but indirect light are perfect.
While fertilizing the soil your rubber plant is planted on, be careful not to add excess fertilizer, as this may also cause the rubber plant’s leaves to start falling. Remember, fertilizers help plants by acting as their metabolism catalyst; but forcing metabolism can also cause drooping.
Regarding the best time to fertilize your rubber plant, only do it during early summer and the spring. Never fertilize the tree in winter since that’s the period the plant is usually dormant.
Also worth noting, a small amount of any regular home plants fertilizer should be okay for your rubber plant. The ideal practice is to add small amounts of fertilizers every 45 – 50 days to ensure the plant remain’s thriving.
3. Insect Infestation and Diseases
Unlike most house plants, rubber plants are incredibly versatile and can tolerate most growing conditions. That said, also like most house plants, they do have their weaknesses, which include certain diseases and insects that can cause your rubber plant to start dropping leaves.
Let’s start with the pests. The common houseplant pests you should expect to affect your rubber plant include Aphids, Spiders, Mealybugs, and more. If you find out that your rubber plant is pest infested, I suggest using any natural pest repellent to get rid of them.
Employing all other tips we’ve shared in this guide should also keep your rubber plant free from any diseases.
4. Poor Drained Soil
Ensure your rubber plant is in a pot that is adequate to house a 6-foot tall tree. Also, repeatedly inspect the bottom side of the pot to ensure the rubber plant’s roots haven’t grown too long and blocked them, as this may result in root rot.
That said, you’ll need to start by ensuring the soil your rubber plant has been planted on has the ideal moisture, nutrition, and excellent drainage quality required for the plant to flourish. The best way to confirm the soil will drain well is to ensure it’s not soggy when wet.
In my experience, the perfect soil mixture for a rubber plant would be an amalgamation of 30 percent cocopeat, 20 percent perlite, and 50 percent garden soil. Feel free to add a layer of pebbles or rocks at the bottom of the pot to aid with drainage.
5. Poor Watering Habits
All plants need water to survive, and rubber plants are no different.
However, most new plant parents make a simple mistake with their rubber plant, i.e., they either do not care for it enough or care too much. Thus enters under-watering and over-watering complications.
Both over-and under-watering your rubber plant will result in its leaves dropping. However, to ascertain which of the two could be ailing your plant, you’ll need to complement your findings with more symptoms.
Common symptoms of a rubber plant suffering from over-watering include signs of edema on top of the plant’s leaves, root rot, pests in the damp soil, yellowing leaves, and brown edges or tips on the leaves.
Additional symptoms of a rubber plant ailing from under-watering include a shallow root system, discolored leaves, slow growth, dried out soil, and leaves getting dry and crunchy.
Regarding how often you should water your rubber plant, the general rule of thumb is 4 to 5 days if the tree is planted in good soil. While the rubber plant can go up to 7 days without water, it’s essential to avoid pushing it too far, as this will cause stress to the plant.
Another essential tip worth noting is that you should only water your rubber plant using water at room temperature. If it’s too cold or hot, it could shock your plant and result in dropping leaves.
In case you follow this guide to the latter but your Rubber Plant’s condition doesn’t improve, or you simply don’t feel confident in your ability to determine what could be causing your tree’s issues, feel free to reach out to a local nursery and experts for additional advice.