Ficus elastica Tineke spotting

nishanMay 13, 2012

Hi all,

I am (relatively) new to growing plants and I have a rubber plant I bought 3 months ago. About 1/2 of the leaves (starting from the base to mid-way up the plant) have brown spots on top of the leaves. They don't rub off. On two of the leaves the browning is spreading and they are getting holes. There is a yellowing leaf at the bottom that also has brown spots.

I read the thread on variegated plants and also the one on ficus trees but I am confused about what I should do. Is it overwatering or a disease? Should I just decrease my watering and the plant will be fine, or should I trim the roots and repot it in new soil?

I keep the plant on my west-facing windowsill. From rubber plant (more pictures at the link)

Thank you!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I looked at the other pictures and can see there is 'something' going on with your plant, but I don't know exactly what. There is a cultural condition your plant doesn't like, and the way it is telling you so can be seen in the shedding foliage. As plants prepare to shed foliage, the sap flow, which contains the bio-compounds that serve as the plants defense, is shut off by the abscission layer at the base of the leaf. This makes it easy for any number of fungi that cause rot or leaf spot diseases to get a hold, their presence being manifest in the symptoms you're seeing. The cultural condition I referred to, if we go only by the odds, is likely related to a decrease in the amount of light the plant is getting, or to over-watering. The over-watering may be caused by less than ideal watering habits or a poor soil. Most often, it's a combination of the two.

You can keep working on fixing the problem you have, or you can concentrate on learning how to supply better cultural conditions so the plant is better able to take care of itself, the later being the best path, by far. Look at it a little like preventative maintenance - the difference between changing your oil in your car or never changing it .... One way takes more effort, but the rewards are certainly worth it.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to get your watering under control after inspecting roots for rot and correcting if required. You're fortunate in that in about a month, the plant will be in the part of the growth cycle when the plant tolerates repotting best and recovery is fastest.

I'm not sure how interested you are in learning all this 'stuff', so I'll just see what you have to say about what you'd like to do.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:25AM
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hi Al!

thanks so much! I am interested in learning more about my plants. I wanted to clarify what you said though - are you saying that I should wait to inspect the roots for rot + repot in about a month, or can I inspect the roots now and I would do something more drastic in a months time? And if I should do it now, if there is rot, do I just cut it off? What do you mean by 'correcting'?

Thank you

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 2:29AM
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