Rubber plants are hardy and easy to care for, usually. But just because they are easy to care for doesn’t mean they won’t have problems. You can do everything you know to do, yet the leaves will either droop or curl. What is happening?
So what can you do when the leaves curl or point in any direction but out? Watering too much or too little, low humidity, and chemical exposure can all make the leaves droop or curl. Keeping the room humidity at an optimal level and giving the right amount of water will keep your plant healthy.
While a rubber plant is easy to care for, there are some things you need to keep in mind that will create optimal health for your plant. Keep reading for more.
Why Do the Leaves Droop or Curl?
Drooping or curling leaves on a rubber plant have several reasons. Luckily, however, you can fix each one quickly and easily.
When the leaves start drooping, it is an indication your plant needs more water. But be careful, as it is possible to over-water a rubber plant. You should have already provided good drainage for your plant, as the roots do not like to sit in water.
Rubber plant leaves hold a lot of water, so if the soil is too wet, the leaves are getting way too much water.
Another reason for droopy leaves is not getting enough sun. While they don’t need a lot of direct light, they do need consistent light. Try putting your plant by a window with a sheer curtain to allow it to get plenty of light without the direct sunlight, as the direct sun may burn your plant. Just remember that when out in nature, the rubber plant thrives in partial shade.
Curling leaves may be okay if they are brand new. Otherwise, it might be due to several problems.
- Whenever there is new growth, the new leaves will curl up until they are fully grown. Don’t worry, as this is entirely normal, and there is nothing for you to do but wait it out.
- Chemical exposure, such as gas fumes in the air, or pesticides, can cause leaves to curl up. Contaminants in the soil will also cause this to happen. You may need to replant in fresh soil.
- Too much or too little water can also cause curling leaves. Adjust your watering habits, and the leaves should get back to normal.
- A low humidity level contributes to leaf curl. You can either set up a humidifier in the room or mist the leaves with room temperature water.
A rubber plant is very hardy and can bounce back with the right amount of care. If your plant leaves droop, curl, or even get yellow or brown spots, it’s simple to bring them back with these simple fixes.
Sometimes the soil that the rubber plant is in can get contaminated with chemicals or pesticides, which will cause the leaves to curl or droop. In this case, you need to replant in fresh soil. But doing so may cause some trauma to your plant.
Try to keep the plant moist while you prepare the new soil in another pot to avoid this. All you need to do is put the plant in very wet soil for 20-30 minutes. When the fresh dirt is ready, carefully turn the potted rubber plant on its side and gently pull out the plant, roots and all, and place in the new soil. Brush the dirt off the roots before putting it into the fresh dirt.
If you’re outside, gently spray the rest of the dirt off the roots. Separate the roots a little bit, then put into the new soil. Water like you usually would.
Rubber plants don’t like soggy roots. In other words, roots that sit in water lead to root rot. If that happens, your plant will die.
The best way to avoid this problem is to put your plant in a pot with drainage holes on a planter plate. Then water from the bottom up; in other words, pour water into the dish, and the plant will draw up the water naturally through the roots, like in nature.
Or, you could wait for the soil to dry out to several inches down before watering it again. When watering, you want to soak the soil until it starts seeping out of the container. If you have a planting situation where the water just sits at the bottom of the pot, be sure to drain the water and put it back in its space.
Other drainage methods may include but are not limited to, adding peat moss, pebbles, or sand at the bottom of the pot before adding the soil. Doing this will add drainage, and keep the soil loose enough for the water to hydrate the plant.
Rubber plants consume soil, so when investigating the cause of curled or droopy leaves, check the soil level. Curling leaves may indicate that it needs more soil.
If the roots are starting to show a bit, add enough dirt to cover the roots and give it a little water.
Low humidity levels in your home not only affect you but your rubber plant as well. Droopy and curled up leaves signify that the air is too dry. Gently mist the leaves with room temp water or wipe with a damp cloth to help put moisture back into the plant. You can also try setting up a humidifier in the room to see if that helps bring your plant back to life.
Small pests like spider mites or aphids are attracted to rubber plants, which can cause leaves to curl. When inspecting the leaves for pests, lift the leaves and look towards where they meet the stems.
To eliminate these bugs, use an insecticidal soap spray, which you can make yourself. Simply combine one cup cooking oil and a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. (Be sure that it doesn’t have any degreaser agent in it.) Then, combine two teaspoons of this mixture with one cup of warm water in a spray bottle.
Use this spray whenever you find bugs on your plants, and then wipe up any dead bugs.
Like solar panels, rubber plant leaves soak up light to recharge it and keep it healthy. If there is a layer of dust on the leaves, it can’t get the sun, causing the leaves to droop.
Gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth, paper towel, or baby wipe. Or, if it is good weather outdoors, take it outside and lightly spray it down. If it were outside, the rain would do the same thing, so it should be okay. Let it dry, then bring back inside.
Just like that ant who thought he could move the rubber tree plant, you can also have high hopes that your plant will bounce back healthy and strong. Follow these tips, and your rubber plant should be as good as new in no time.
ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 21, 2020.
If you notice that your plant has a long thin base, it may be because it is not getting enough sunlight, and it stretched too fast, too soon in its search for sunlight. The leaves may then be too heavy for the stalk and will droop down. Try supporting the plant with bamboo sticks until the trunk gets thicker and can sustain itself.