Not many people know that rubber plant leaves curling can happen, and it may affect the aesthetic appeal of your greenery. Rubber plant is a unique plant whose leaves are supposed to be flat and straight, so having curled rubber plant leaves can affect its appearance – and possibly, its value. What should you do when you spot the problem?
About the Rubber Plant
Known as Ficus Elastica, this plant is a distinctive one because of its unique appearance. It has glossy and thick (deep) green leaves with upright growing habit. It can grow well outdoor, especially in 10 and 11 hardiness zones. However, if you grow it indoor, it will survive most climates.
Because of its unique appearance, this plant can make bold statement as a houseplant. It is also attractive, with visually appealing nature. It’s easy to care, mostly because of its naturally hardy trait. It would be a perfect plant that delivers tropical theme and vibe.
Rubber Plant Leaves Curling? Is It Normal?
Rubber plant curled leaves on new, and growing, leaves is pretty normal. You don’t have to worry about anything because it means that you are witnessing a new stage in the plant’s development. When new and immature leaves grow, they would curl tightly. But as the leaves develop, they will automatically uncurl themselves.
So, if you observe the plant and you see that it forms new foliage, simply wait and watch its growth. You will then see it grows into a robust, glossy, and big leaves. When it happens, you should be proud of yourself because you did it!
What’s Not Normal if rubber plant Leaves curling?
If the curled leaves on new leaves are considered normal, then what’s not normal? When it happens to mature or ‘adult’ leaves. As it was mentioned before, adult leaves are supposed to be flat and straight out. When they are curled, it means something is wrong.
So, why are my rubber plant leaves curling? Well, there are different reasons why rubber plant leaves curling happens. Some of the most common (and also popular) causes are low humidity, pests, cold condition, excessive light, and improper watering habit. Of course, it’s also possible that there are also other reasons for it. It’s possible that one condition may cause the issue, but in most cases, there are several combinations of reasons. What you need to do is to examine the plant thoroughly and carefully. Find out the core issue and change your routine when necessary.
Some of the Most Common Causes
Water issue can be responsible for the rubber plant leaves curling. The symptoms for overwatering and underwatering would be different. Unfortunately, both of them cause the leaf to curl, so it can be a little complicated to really know the cause. But you should know that solutions would be different too, so be sure to really understand the core cause.
- Overwatering Problem
Most people think that all plants need tons of water, but that’s not always the case. In fact, Ficus Elastica doesn’t fancy a lot of water. You only need to water your plant once in a week. In some cases, you only need to water it once every two weeks – and it’s in summers. When it’s winter, you can water it once in a three week.
Overwatering plants may show these signs:
- Wet and soggy soil
- Brown stems
- Fragile leaves (they fall off easily)
- Mushy and yellow leaves
If you spot these signs, you will have to prune your plant and reduce the (watering) frequency. Make sure that the soil dries out before you can water it again. Water with room temperature would be ideal. If you want to be sure about it, insert the finger into the soil for around an inch. If it is still soggy or moist, don’t water it just yet. Wait until it completely dries off and you can water it.
Also keeps in mind that if you place the plant in shady area or cooler spot, you won’t need to water it as often as the plant placed in warmer (or hotter) area. Make sure that you place the pot in well-ventilated area with enough light and just enough warmth. Using ceramic or clay pots is more advisable than the plastic ones.
What if the soil feels super wet? You’d better change the pot instead of waiting it to dry off. Remove the plant, wash it out with water and a bit soap, and transfer it to a new pot with fresh soil. It should be a well-draining type, with orchid cark and perlite mix to improve drainage. If you see damage sign on the plant, you may have it cut it off. Don’t forget that this kind of plant would be dormant in winter months, which means that it doesn’t need a lot of water even more. Keep this in mind if you don’t want your rubber tree plant leaves curling.
- Underwatering Issue
Rubber plant leaves curlingissue can also happen because of underwatering situation, although this plant has bigger tolerance to underwatering than the overwatering causes. The most common signs are:
- Dry soil
- Droopy stems
- Brown and dry tips on the leaves
You want to water the plant until you see it leaks out from the drainage holes. It will ensure that you have soaked the entire soil, which is good to promote root growth. Also check where and how you place the plant. If you live in hotter climate and you place the plant in a bright area, you want to make sure that you water it more often.
Excessive Light Exposure
Check you plant. If you see that the color is light (to medium) color with both sides of the leaves curling upward, then it’s likely that your plant gets too much light. Even when you place the plant indoor, it’s still possible that it gets direct sunlight – and it’s too much.
One way to solve this rubber plant leaves curlingissue is to relocate the plant. Choose a spot that gets bright light, but position the pot within indirect light area. You can also consider placing it in a room having artificial light as it will improve the condition. You don’t want your plant to be lacking of light either because it may grow tall, but leggy. The key is to make sure that your plant gets enough light, but an indirect one. This ‘rule’ also applies to outdoor growth.
Dry air is responsible for leaves curling on rubber plant. This plant loves medium to high level of humidity. And how can you do that?
- Use a tray that is filled with water and also pebbles. Position the pot on the top area of the pebbles, so the bottom side doesn’t sink into the water. When the water evaporates, it would increase the humidity surrounding the plant.
- Put your plant in a room where it’s naturally humid, like the bathroom.
- It’s okay to use a spray bottle to mist the plant, but you need to do it quite often as it’s not very effective when compared to other ways.
- Use a humidifier and place it close to the plant. It helps to increase the moisture within the air.
- Make sure that the pot isn’t placed in an area with AC or fans. Those devices can make the air dry, which your plant won’t like.
This plant appreciates ideal temperature, set between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (or from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius). It won’t grow too well in extremely hot or cold temperature, leading to rubber plant leaves curling. When you have to move it around, and the it involves drastic temperature change, it can go into a shock mode. Besides the curled leaves, the shape may also change and it causes significant leaf drop.
The best thing to do is to place the pot in area where the temperature is ideal. If you keep it indoor, then make sure that it has the perfect room temperature. If you grow it outdoor, you should bring it inside before the temperature plummets below 12 degrees Celsius or 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t place it close to drafty windows or cold spots that don’t get any light at all.
Pests can also be responsible for the rubber plant leaves curling. Some of the most common pests are spider mites, scale, and mealybugs.
- Mealybugs may look like clumps of cotton-like masses, typically found along the stem and on the leaf crotches. They damage the plant by sucking the plant’s inner juices.
- Spider mites. If you spot fine webs o the entire plant, then there’s likely that you have spider mites. They also like to consume the juices. Sometimes spotting the mites can be difficult because they are very small.
- Scale. Scale is often found on outdoor setting, but it’s also possible that it gets indoor. They are oblong and very tiny with tough shell (with armor like design) as the outer coating. They can be found along the stem.
You need to check your plant regularly to avoid pests infestation. But if the infestation has happened, you can use neem oil (can be in a spray form) or insecticidal soap. To treat scale, use a specialized horticultural oil that can smother the pest. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Caring for a rubber plant can be simple and easy, but it takes regular inspection. When problem already happens, you need to identify the core issue and come up with solutions. Rubber plant leaves curlingis treatable, but only if you can do it right. Read article about Why Pilea Leaves Curling Problems Happen And How To Deal With Them and 10 Front Yard Landscaping Ideas With Rocks And Mulch in pandancreamery.com