How to Keep Your Rubber Plant Healthy and Leafy

Rubber plants have been a favorite houseplant for a long time. They can live for decades with proper care and are reasonably easy to maintain.

This beautiful ornamental plant is best known for its broad, glossy, oval leaves in shades of emerald and burgundy that have set them apart from other plants since the Victorian era. 

It is only natural to be concerned when you notice that your rubber plant is losing leaves. But not to worry, there is a solution to every plant problem, and falling leaves are no exception.

In this article, we are going to take a close look at these factors that can cause leaf drops in rubber plants and how to fix them.

What is Causing the Leaves to Fall Off My Rubber Plant?

Rubber Plant Leaves

Although rubber plants are not as sensitive as other houseplants, they can be susceptible to changes in temperature, light, water issues, soil conditions, and humidity. 

If any of these aspects (or more) are not balanced, your rubber plant might begin to drop leaves as a means of staying alive. Let us look deeper into these points.

Overwatering or Underwatering

Getting your watering right plays a huge role in keeping your plant healthy. Both overwatering and underwatering have damaging effects. 

Rubber plants are tropical, meaning they come from a place where water is in abundance. They like moist soil but not too wet, and they have a low drought tolerance.

Too much water will lead to root rot, and their leaves will turn yellow and mushy and drop like flies. 

If starved of water, the leaves would start to brown around the edges because of the lack of moisture, and if this goes on for longer, the leaves will begin to fall in the plant’s attempt to save energy.

Light Sensitivity

A rubber plant losing leaves can also be caused by its light condition. It can be affected by too much or too little light.

In as much as plants need the light for photosynthesis, the sun can prove too damaging for rubber plants. If the sunlight is too much, the leaves may get sunburned, turn brown, and fall off.

In the case of too little light, the leaves may start to yellow and fall off, and the plant will look stretched out in a bid to reach any available source of light.

Low Humidity

Rubber tree plants require a humid environment to thrive, seeing their natural habitats. The air in households can be dry, especially in the winter. This can cause your plant to start dropping leaves.


Don’t be surprised if you bring a new rubber plant home and it starts to drop leaves. 

Rubber plants react this way when their location or environmental conditions change. The stress from improper acclimatization makes them lose leaves.


Pests that attack the rubber plant include aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and spider mites. But they are mainly susceptible to scale. These pests dwell on the underside of the plant’s leaves.

They like to puncture the leaves and suck out the sap. That is why an attack of these tiny disasters causes the plant to lose its strength, making the leaves turn yellow and eventually fall. 

Temperature Fluctuation

Rubber plants need to be kept in a consistently warm place. The ideal temperature for rubber plants is from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If your plant is placed too close to a window or a door, the hot or cold drafts or air from the frequent opening and closing will cause the temperature to fluctuate.

This constant fluctuation will cause the leaves to drop. 

Even if your rubber plant is not experiencing this draft situation, if the temperature is too hot or too cold, the result remains the same.


It is good to show your plant a good time, but sometimes it can be too much to handle. Rubber plants can be killed by excessive kindness.

Excess fertilizing can burn the roots of your rubber plant, leading to leaf drop. The buildup of salts of residue fertilize can make the soil toxic, resulting in this issue.

Drainage Issues 

If you are watering your plant right and it is still losing leaves, and you have made sure you do not have issues with the other factors listed above, you might want to check up on your plants’ drainage.

Using a pot without drainage holes or poorly draining would have your plant’s roots sitting in all the excess water, and this is likely to cause many problems, not just leaf loss. 

Waterlogged soil gives off a damp smell, so every once in a while, get close to your plant to check for odors.

Overcrowded Roots 

If your rubber plant is losing leaves and you are sure it is not due to these reasons, your roots may be overcrowded.

If your plant has spent a long time in one pot, it may be that the roots have gotten damaged from being pressed together and cannot take up nutrients, so your rubber plant will start to drop leaves.

Natural Aging 

As your rubber plant matures, it will lose one or more lower leaves. This is to be expected, and you can’t do anything about it. It’s not even something to worry about.

Just track the leaves dropping and how often it occurs to be sure it is not due to an underlying cause.

How Can I Fix These Issues Affecting My Rubber Plant?

Rubber Plant Leaves

The right way to water a rubber plant is to let the top inch of the soil dry before giving your plant a proper drink. 

Water your plant deeply, allowing the water to run out through the drainage holes, then wait for it to dry again before repeating this action.

If your plant is already dropping leaves due to overwatering, withhold water for a few days to allow the soil dry before watering as directed above.

If root rot has set in, trim the damaged parts and repot.

Place your plants somewhere they can receive hours of bright but indirect light.

You can put it close to a window covered with a sheer curtain facing the west or south. An uncovered window facing east works as well. 

To solve the low humidity issue, you can use a humidifier or place your plant on a pebble tray. Make sure the drainage holes are above the water level. 

Misting with a spray bottle helps with increasing humidity, but wetting the leaves can lead to fungal infections.

If you are bringing a new rubber plant home, set it up in its permanent spot.

Let this be in an area that receives light and has a steady temperature. Water consistently and do not move around.

When changing the location of your plant, for instance, moving an outdoor rubber plant indoors, you can bring its pot inside at night and take it out during the day to help it get used to its new environment.

You can treat your pest-infested plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap. The most effective and straightforward method is to take a ball of cotton wool soaked with 70% alcohol and rub it all over your plant.

Whatever you choose, please use it regularly until they are completely gone.

Take your rubber plant to an area where it will not have to suffer extreme temperature changes. If it gets the right amount of warmth, your plant will recover quickly.

If you overfed your rubber plant, it might help to flush the soil out. Do this by watering the plant from the top until the water draining out runs clear. I will probably do this once more.

Rubber plants are not big eaters, so fertilizing once a year should be enough.

You can prune your plant’s leaves and branches to encourage new growth and delay natural progression.

To improve your plant’s drainage, change the soil to a better draining one. Also, use a bigger pot with many drainage holes so the excess water can run out freely. You can add some stones to the bottom of the pot.

If you find that your roots are overcrowded, it may be time for you to repot. Move your plant into a new pot slightly bigger than the old one. 

Use new nutrient-rich potting soil that drains well, and make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the new pot.

You do not want to deal with waterlogged soil as this can cause other issues. 

If you notice leaves dropping from your rubber plant, stay calm, assess the situation with a quiet head, and find out the problem.

Once the problem is taken care of, your plant will respond to care and resume its healthy growth. Do note that already damaged leaves cannot be saved.

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