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How to Help a Rubber Tree Plant That Is Losing Leaves

Rubber tree plants, or Ficus elasticas, are a common houseplant. In nature the tree can soar up to 50 feet tall. It has dark green and oblong leaves that look glossy. Rubber tree plants are best potted up with regular potting soil with a touch of sand in the mix. They usually require minimal care. If you notice that your rubber tree plant is losing leaves, check carefully how you are caring for your plant and make a few adjustments.

Acclimate your rubber tree plant to light change slowly. If you place your plant outdoors in the summer, place a few plant lights over it after you bring it inside for the winter months. This will help with the shock of the light change.

Water your rubber tree plant regularly during the summer. Deep, infrequent waterings are better than shallow, frequent waterings. Allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again. In winter, water less frequently as growth slows.

Mist the rubber tree plant daily. Rubber tree plants do not like the low humidity levels of winter. Also try setting the pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water.

Position your rubber tree plant so it is not near any cold drafts. Drafts from doors or windows can shock the plant and promote leaf drop.

Fertilize sparingly. Rubber tree plants, as well as other house plants, are often "killed with kindness" from overfertilizing.

Rubber Tree Plant That Is Losing Leaves

Although it is normal for a few leaves to fall off rubber tree plants during the seasonal change from summer to fall, excessive leaf loss indicates a problem. If your rubber tree plant seems to be losing lots of leaves for no apparent reason, you need to investigate and address potential issues with light, temperature, moisture, pests and fertilizer. Provide your rubber tree plant with stable light. If you bring it indoors, provide it with shaded sunlight or, as suggested by, use plant lights to help with the transition. Because rubber tree plants prefer steady warmth, suggests keeping the plant in an environment of 70 to 85 degrees F during daytime hours and between 65 to 75 degrees F during the night. Keep your plant away from drafts or areas exposed to heat. Get your moisture levels right. Rubber tree plants prefer humid climates. Resist the desire to over-fertilize your rubber tree plant.


Leaves can fall off due to overwatering and underwatering, but with overwatering they typically turn yellow first. Underwatering will cause them to dry up and fall off without turning yellow.

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