Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:05 pm
Location: Olympia, WA

Leaves falling off my rubber plant!

I got a cut of a plant from a co-worker about a year and a half ago.. I had no clue what the plant was, so I couldn't look up how to care for it, but it seemed to be doing fine. It started off in a water-bottle, then I transferred it to a normal pot once it had grown some roots.

I just recently had someone identify it for me, so I looked it up online to see what this kind of plant eventually looks like. I know they can get pretty huge, but all the pictures I found showed rubber plants with thick foliage. Mine looks kinda scrawny on the bottom half because the lower leaves keep turning yellow and falling off.


For a long time, I would only water it when I remembered (every couple of weeks). I always thought it was fine because when it didn't get watered, it just sat there looking the same, and when it did get watered, it gave me a new leaf. I've been trying to water it more regularly lately (once a week), so I've been getting new leaves on a more regular basis.

Like I said, it continues to grow and give me new leaves, so I know that it will fill in eventually. But what can I do to keep leaves from falling off the bottom?

Many thanks in advance!

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

I've rescued several office plants, but no rubber plant yet.

I looked it up in Sunset for some hints (Ficus elastica) and found this illuminating sentence:

"Generally, they thrive on rich, steadily moist (not wet) soil, frequent light feedings, and bright, indirect light."

If you've been letting it go completely dry, then drenching it, and repeating this cycle, the plant may be defending itself by dropping leaves it cannot sustain. I personally would interpret "light feedings" as half-strength. Someone with more experience in rubber plants might have a different opinion, but I usually start with half-strength "houseplant" food and work my way up if needed.

Osmocote granules are my drug of choice for my monstera, philodendron, and pothos. I also used Osmocote on a HUGE corn plant (it grew to 8 feet tall after being a 3-foot, scraggly rescue several years ago) which I gave away to an elementary classroom teacher a year ago; she was thrilled.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

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