13 Reasons Why Rubber Plant Leaves are Drooping & How to Fix Them


Drooping leaves in Rubber Plant may be due to many reasons which include overwatering, underwatering, root-rot, pests, poor lighting, high temperatures among others.

Rubber Plants are easy-care plants which easily adapt to indoor growing conditions. However, if the right growing conditions are not provided, the plants can develop some problems.

Wilting and droopy leaves may happen in Rubber Plant where the leaves lose their turgidy (stiffness), wilt and droop downwards. The reasons for Rubber Plant droopy leaves are many and varied.

We have herebelow discussed 13 reasons why Rubber Plant leaves may droop and how to fix them.

Rubber Plant, Ficus elastica

Reasons why Rubber Plant leaves are drooping with Solutions

1. Overwatering

Overwatering Rubber Plant results in excess water in the soil (soggy soil). Too much water in the soil reduces the oxygen concentration in rootzone which can cause the roots to die.

When roots die, they cannot take up water to the upper parts of the plant including the stems and leaves. These parts lose their turgidy (firmness), therefore, the leaves wilt and droop downwards.

Solutions

To avoid getting soggy soil, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is loose and free-draining.

In addition, decrease watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist as growth is minimal at this time.

2. Underwatering

Underwatering Rubber Plant implies that there is too little moisture in the soil. As such, there is no water in the soil for the plant to take up to the leaves and other parts.

Therefore, water lost by the leaves cannot be replaced. Thus, the leaves lose their turgity, become floopy and droopy.

Solutions

Thoroughly water the plant immediately and it should perk up.

Thereafter, water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Cut down on watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

3. Extremely Hot Temperatures

Rubber Plant require average room temperatures within the range of 15-280C inorder to thrive.

Extremely hot temperatures (above the upper range) will cause excessive loss of water from the plant leaves which leads to wilting and droopy leaves.

Solutions

Keep the Rubber Fig away from hot draughts (drafts) like hot surfaces, hot vents and other hot areas to prevent extremely high temperatures.

Maintain an average room temperature within the range of 15-280C. Usually, a room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for the plant.

Rubber Plant, Ficus elastica

4. Low Humidity

Rubber Plant will grow in ordinary room humidity but a humid environment is necessary for lush growth especially where the temperatures are very high.

Too low humidity (little air moisture) for the plant causes dehydration of the leaves which causes the leaves to lose their turgidity and therefore wilt and droop.

Solutions

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to increase humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow the Rubber Fig in the moist areas in the home like the bathroom and laundy area if the lighting is adequate.

5. Too Little Light

Rubber Plant requires adequate light to make food that is required for energy and growth.

Insufficient light implies that the plant cannot make enough food for energy and growth.

In an attempt to save energy, the leaves begin to die and this begins with wilting and drooping leaves.

This way, the energy available is saved for the plant's vital functions inorder to keep alive.

Solutions

Cut back the stems to rejuvenate growth and move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with some direct sunlight or instal grow lights if you do not have adequate lighting in your home. Take a look at these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp wiping with a soft cloth to ensure that it absorbs enough light for photosynthesis.

6. Overfeeding

Overfeeding Rubber Plant will cause the roots to die due to fertilizer burn. When the roots die, they cannot take up water to the leaves.

Since the leaves water loss is greater that the replacement, the leaves wilt and droop.

Solutions

Take care not to overfeed the plant. Feed Rubber Fig monthly during the growing period with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer and follow the instructions on the label of the plant food to avoid overfeeding.

Occasionally flush out the salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until it comes out through the drainage holes and repeat the process several times.

Rubber Plant, Ficus elastica

7. Accumulation of Salts in the Soil

Excess soluble salts in the soil from the water or excess feeding will prevent the Rubber Plant roots from taking up water due to the high concentration of salts.

Plant roots absorb water by osmosis, therefore the high concentration in the soil prevents water from moving from the soil into the plant system.

As such, since the leaves water loss is greater than the replacement, they lose their firmness, wilt and droop.

Solutions

Flush out the salts from the soil regularly by running a stream of water through the soil until it comes out through the drainage holes and repeat the process several times.

8. Underfeeding

Underfeeding Rubber implies that the plant is not getting the nutrients need for growth and energy.

Inadequate nutrients in the actively growing tips causes nutrients to be withdrawn from the older lower leaves which begin to wilt and droop.

Solutions

Feed Rubber Fig at least once monthly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer for lush growth. Take care not to underfeed and follow the instructions on the label of the plant food.

9. Root-rot Disease

Rubber Plant is prone to root-rot disease. Root-rot disease is brought about by soggy soil.

The disease is characterized by wilted, discolored leaves, corky swellings under the leaves, drooping leaves which eventually drop.

When the soil is soggy, the oxygen concentration in the soil is reduced which causes the roots to die.

Once the roots die, they cannot take up water to the leaves. The leaves begin to wilt, droop and eventually drop.

Solutions

Take out the Rubber Plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Brown-black mushy roots indicate root-rot, trim them off and treat the healthy roots with a fungicidal solution.

Disinfect the pot or use a fresh pot to repot the plant in fresh free-draining soil.

Do not water the plant and keep it dry for some time before resuming watering. Read more on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.

Rubber Plant, Ficus elastica

10. Pest Infestations

Rubber Plant is prone to Aphids, Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. These pests attack the new growth from where they suck the plant sap.

This causes the plant to become dehydrated and results in wilting and drooping leaves.

Solutions

Regularly inspect Rubber Fig for the pests and take timely control measures.

Treat the plant appropriately for the pests with appropriate products like neem oil or insecticidal soap among others.

To discourage pests infestation, regularly clean the leaves by damp wiping with a soft cloth and keep it properly pruned.

Also, raise humidity to discourage pest infestaions, by setting the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

11. Root Bound Plant

If a plant is root bound, the roots have filled the pot and there is very little soil to hold water when you water the Rubber Plant.

Therefore, there is no water for the plant to take up to the leaves. The leaves loss their stiffness and they wilt and droop.

Solutions

Check the bottom of the pot for roots growing through the drainage hole.

Repot the plant into a pot one size larger than the current one.

12. Poor Quality Soil

Poor quality soil does not drain easily and therefore it easily becomes compacted or soggy which can negatively impact the growth of the plant.

Rubber Plant requires loose, free-draining soil that does not hold excessive amounts of water as soggy soil can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.

Solutions

Pot the Rubber Fig in good quality soil that is loose, free-draining and rich in organic matter like this quality potting mix available at Amazon which is perfect for general purpose use.

13. Repotting Shock

Repotting Rubber Plant will cause it some shock which may lead to some leaves wilting and drooping before it can adjust the new growing conditions.

Solutions

To minimize repotting shock, water the plant thoroughly one day before repotting as a well hydrated plant experiences less shock and is easier to divide.

Do not make too many changes at once. For instance, after repotting, maintain the plant in the same location until it is well established before moving it to a new location.

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