I like to grow the rubber plant as part of my container garden because they are beautiful and hardy. But sometimes they can get problems and start drooping.

Your rubber plant is drooping because it’s not getting the required moisture from the soil. This happens because of underwatering or overwatering that leads to lack of moisture and nutrients. The rubber plant may be drooping due to lack of sunlight, nutrients, or pests and diseases.

The rubber plant is resilient but it can still face drooping and I’ve written details below that will help you narrow down the cause. Most of the time the issue can be fixed by just some simple changes.

1. Underwatering

For anybody new to the plant world, giving your plants just the right amount of water can be, more or less, challenging.

Whether it is because you underestimated the amount of water your rubber plant needs or you forgot to water it for long periods of time, the leaves of the plant may turn brown and start drooping, losing their rigid form.

This means that the plant does not have sufficient water levels in its system to sustain itself and it does not have sufficient resources to keep itself fully upright.

How can you tell if your rubber plant is under-watered? There are a few things you should look out for. Not only will it droop, but a rubber plant that is underwatered looks lifeless, in that, its leaves have faded color.

You may also see that the soil lacks any form of moisture, usually turning into a light-brown color as well.

So, what can you do to help save the plant? Well, you probably guessed it right. Water your rubber plant. The trick here, however, is to ensure that it isn’t overwatered instead.

Water your rubber plant until the soil is moist; this is usually sufficient for the plant. You may also consider misting the plant, which helps improve the health of its leaves.

Remember to water your rubber plant once every 5 days to one week. If you want your plant to stay healthy, you should also be aware of the changing seasons.

Oftentimes, your plant will be drier in the summer months, meaning that it will need more water intake to thrive! 

2. Overwatering

The opposite of underwatering, overwatering occurs when you provide too much water to your rubber plant, either because you supplied too much water to it at one time or you water your rubber plant much too frequently.

This means that the plant is taking in too much water, which means that it is drowning. Don’t worry! This is not as severe as you may think drowning would be. It just means that it cannot absorb water at the rate at which you supply water.

So, how can you tell if your rubber plant is being overwatered? There are a few symptoms you may spot when examining your rubber plant, aside from the drooping you may see.

You may realize that your rubber plant’s leaves are slowly turning yellow, rather than sustaining their usual vibrant, green color. On some occasions, you may even see more pests or insects than usual hovering around the plant. You may see that your plant is developing oedema, a physiological disorder that occurs when your plant absorbs too much water.     

What can you do to save your overwatered plant? Unless the plant’s stems and branches are rotting, a rescue is completely possible. However, if the former is the case, there may not be anything to be done.

You must remove the plant from its pot, use clippers or pruners to remove any rotting roots, dry its stems and roots from excess water, dry the plant’s pot, untangle the roots and return the plant to the soil. If done correctly, your plant should happily regrow.

3. Lack of Sunlight

In order for your rubber plant to grow well and grow strong, it needs to be placed in an area with bright, but indirect light. Drooping leaves may be a sign that your rubber plant is receiving too little light on a daily basis. Rubber plants usually prefer a moderate amount of light, perhaps in a well-lit room, but away from direct sunlight.

How can you tell if your rubber plant is lacking sunlight? There are two main symptoms you can usually spot on your plant aside from droopy leaves.

Like being overwatered, its leaves may turn a brown or yellow color. In some cases, your rubber plant’s stalks may also become very slim rather than maintaining a fuller structure.

So, what can you do to save your sunlight deficient rubber plant? The simple answer is obviously to move it somewhere brighter. But, where? The best way to find a good spot for your rubber plant is to first locate the brightest room in the house; these plants love bright light.

Then, place it in a corner or side of that specific room, where it is not under direct sunlight. Another option is to place it near a window that has translucent curtains. This should let enough light through that the plant stays healthy.

On a normal day, it should be able to receive a significant amount of sunlight, even in the “darker” corner of the room. Monitor your plant at different times of the day to ensure that it receives the right amount of sunlight.

4. Lack of Nutrients

Like any human, a healthy plant requires sufficient nutrients for it to thrive. However, this can sometimes be confusing. What nutrients do you need to supply to a plant?

Usually, by providing a plant with the necessary amount of water and sunlight, it should do fine. However, in some cases, your plant may need more than that in order for it to sustain itself, especially if you want it to grow larger or taller.

How can you tell that your plant is lacking the necessary nutrients? Most commonly, a rubber plant may exhibit weak and slim stems, shoots, and branches. These areas may also seem more pale than normal. Sometimes, its leaves may also start to fade or start paling as well.

So, what can you do to give your rubber plant its necessary nutrients? It is recommended that you regularly fertilize your rubber plant. This will give it more nutrients to support its system.

You should do this approximately once every three months using 10-10-10 fertilizer, which means that the substance contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which are necessary nutrients for plant growth.

5. Lack of Growing Space

While this can also be a possible cause of droopy leaves, this is much less common. In fact, some people actually purposely restrict a rubber plant’s growing space to keep its small size.

However, sometimes, leaving your plant in a restricted, small area can not only disrupt its growth but can also stunt its health, which can be seen through drooping leaves. 

So, how can you tell that your rubber plant does not have enough growing space? The most common sign can be seen from its new leaves.

New leaves that sprout from the plant are smaller. You may also notice that your rubber plant wilts easily and that its leaves fall often. Sometimes, you may even see that its roots are protruding from the pot.

How can you give your plant more growing space? Well, this one is simple. Repot your plant into a bigger pot. That’s it. It is as simple as that. If the surrounding space is too small, you may also want to move it elsewhere

6. Pests

In the plant world, pests are a very common annoyance and destroyer of houseplants. Rubber plants tend to become infected with pests like spider mites, mealybugs, thrips, and other small insects.

These pests can severely damage a plant’s health by destroying its stems, leaves, and roots. Some pests even pierce various places around the plant to feed on its flesh and nutrients.

So, how can you tell if your rubber plant is infested by pests? The most obvious symptom is dotted leaves. These leaves usually suggest that a certain pest has secured itself to the plant.

You may also notice that your plant leaves are changing in color (not necessarily to a brown or a yellow) or your rubber plant’s leaves may fall off frequently.

What can you do to protect your rubber plant from pests? The easiest way to do so is by using neem oil or insecticides on the plant. Not only do these kill the pests, but they also prevent future infestations.

organic neem oil
Organic neem oil I use on my plants

If the infestation is severe, you may want to prune off certain parts of the plant to prevent further damage. It is recommended that you apply these substances occasionally until the infestation is gone.

7. Diseases

Luckily, diseases are actually quite rare with the rubber plant. However, there are a few to keep in mind. Fungal diseases can cause your rubber plant’s root to rot or even decay. Foliar nematodes can infect your rubber plant’s leaves, causing them to fade and eventually, die.

How do you tell if your rubber plant is infected by disease? Because there are many possible diseases out there, there are also many possible symptoms you may notice. This includes, stunted growth, dying or yellowing leaves, black spots on the plant, mushy or gooey roots, and abnormally slow growth.

What can you do to help your diseased plant? Firstly, you need to remove your rubber plant from its pot and prune off any dying leaves and roots. Then you need to clean the pot, preferably with alcohol, add a new, unused potting mix back into the pot. Although slow, your plant should make a full recovery in a few weeks to a month.

Final Thoughts

While the rubber plant is generally considered an easy plant to take care of and a strong plant on its own, you may inevitably run into some droopy leaves along its lifetime.

But by taking the right precautions and following the proper steps to overcome these issues, your plant will live a long, healthy life. Just remember to take action early, never wait until your plant’s leaves are wilting or dying. Be observant of your rubber plant!

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