Rubber tree plant

rilescrFebruary 18, 2013

Hi I've had a rubber tree plant for about 7 months it recently lost all of its leaves and now I just have two branches....will it come back or is it pretty much dead

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stewartsjon

I'll no doubt get flamed for this but I'd go for the "kill or cure" approach if it's that far gone.

If the old branches don't have much foliage on them they are never going to get it except at the ends anyway so it'll look long and leggy.

So cut the branches back to a few inches from where they branch and see what happens.

Also rub a bit of compost from the pot on the wounds, this will stop them weeping so much.

You'll either end up with a bushy plant or a dead plant.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 5:55AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Riles, unless you figure out what made your plant do this, you'll never get it to come back. Over or under watering, crappy potting medium, very poor light quality, on and on and on.

Do some research on growing houseplants in general and Ficus elastica in particular.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:02AM
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christine1950

I agree cut it way back and it will grow back, a friend of mine was going to throw her's out and I took it to try & save it, and I did. I cut it back hard and it's doing awesome. So cut away it will only hurt for a minute !!!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:04AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi Rilescr, welcome to Gardenweb!

If your plant only has a few leaves, cutting them off would leave the plant with no way to manufacture "food" for itself. If you could add a pic to this discussion, it would be a lot easier to advise, not just guess.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:42AM
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rilescr

I think it was do to low light ...I will add a picture

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:51PM
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rilescr

Here's a pic

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Wow you meant every single leaf. Not sure that's still alive. If you scratch it near the tip with your fingernail, is it greenish white inside? That looks like a pot of just peat or some kind of very fine particles with no air spaces between them, but it's kind of fuzzy. What do you think about the soil? That pot sure is pretty!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:22PM
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rilescr

No nothing came out...it's miracle gro potting soil

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 7:41PM
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rilescr

I decided to just get a new one....when I tried to cut the branches back they just broke it was def dead....thank you for the input...I hope I have better luck!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

That plant is SO dead! There's not any outer green tissue left on the canes.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Getting a new one sounds like a great idea to me, but I fear it may suffer the same fate if put in the same soil in the same light. Luck is definitely good, but relying on that alone will probably lead to the same ending if the same things are done. The death of this plant was, I believe, not totally your fault or the result of bad luck.

Insufficient light combined with lack of air pockets throughout the soil can be a death sentence for some plants, especially if water is applied too often, and the temps are lower. When the soil is all tiny, fine particles, they fit together so closely that the roots can't breathe, and this can cause the soil to stay too wet for extended periods. These conditions can cause roots to rot.

I would encourage you to investigate what you might mix with the potting soil to make it more porous and chunky, or pursue one of the "recipes" for mixing up one's own. If you don't have a spot with more light, rubber tree may not be the best plant. If you'd like some direction investigating the soil thing, or suggestions for plants that will grow better in less light, I'm sure you'll get plenty of help, just say the word.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:29AM
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rilescr

I would def like to know what to mix with the soil...also I moved my new rubber tree to a spot with more light....but I am now trying to find a plant to go in the spot where my old rubber tree was that will not get alot of light....any ideas??

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:27PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you can make a little time for some reading, I think these links will help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls encountered by hobbyists still looking for greater rewards for their efforts.

This one is a general overview of growing houseplants in containers.

This one is specifically growing Ficus in containers.

Pay particular attention to the parts that reference soils - that's where you're most likely to take the largest steps forward and where you'll find significant increase in your margin for error.

Al

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:46PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I killed every plant in my greenhouse one winter using Miracle Gro potting soil. I does not drain well. They all rotted. They ended up looking just like your Ficus which is very dead...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:59PM
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stewartsjon

Yep, that's dead, lol.

Still my advice wouldn't have made it deader!

@purpleinopp - we've done experiments with radical pruning of Ficus species (among others) and we're pretty sure you can prune them as much as you like and they will bounce back - the only ones that don't have health problems already. I've cut lollipop Ficuses down with a saw across the trunk and they've bounced back, albeit in some odd shapes at times!

However I am coming from an interior landscaping angle where unsightly plants are as good as dead ones so this kind of thing is usually the only viable alternative to the bin!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:57AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Rilescr, this discussion is about low light plants. Does that give you some ideas?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:34AM
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rilescr

Yes purpleinopp it did help.....I always liked the snake plant but I saw them at a home deploy by me the tag said they need a lot of light....will they do good in a little light??

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:05PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Snake plant (Sansevieria) will stay alive in very little light, as long as you let it stay mostly dry, but just won't grow much. If you buy one of a size you like, not a baby plant, that would be the most satisfying. Rotate it halfway once a month or so, so it doesn't develop a lean toward the light.

There are different Sans, the one I'm talking about is pictured below. If the yellow-striped ones are not as happy in extended periods of low light as this kind, I'm sure someone who's had that kind around forever will jump in and tell us.

The plant below has been stuck in dark corners for years at times, and 5 years in a room where the blinds were never opened and a tree covered the whole building on that side.

The cool thing is about Sans is that if you move, it will then be happy in LOTS of light. Truly a plant that can go anywhere with you, and outlive you.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Nita14

Hi I had this bushy plant since few months indoor near window with fair amount of light. its leaves drooped suddenly. I tried putting more water, kept it outside for more sunlight but it has not improved.
Can someone advise what should be done. I have lost one rubber plant like this already. Is it due to some disease?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Kathy.D

Nita14, mine is doing the same thing! The only thing I can think of is that mine definitely needs repotting, plus I just ordered some MiracleGro tomato food and am going to try that. I had mine outside all summer and then when I brought it inside, the leaves started to droop and a lot of them are turning yellow and falling off. My plant is over 20 years old, and this is the first time I'm having this problem. I'll probably wait till Spring to repot, but I'm going to try the fertilizer as soon as it arrives..will let you know if this makes any difference!
KathyD

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 6:51PM
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Kathy.D

Nita14,
Mine is doing the same thing! The only thing I can think of is that mine definitely needs repotting, plus I just ordered some MiracleGro tomato food and am going to try that. I had mine outside all summer and then when I brought it inside, the leaves started to droop and a lot of them are turning yellow and falling off. My plant is over 20 years old, and this is the first time I'm having this problem. I'll probably wait till Spring to repot, but I'm going to try the fertilizer as soon as it arrives..will let you know if this makes any difference!
KathyD

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 6:54PM
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