I bought this ficus a week ago. Already one leaf has dropped and another has these weird spots – but at the same time one new leaf has come through green and another looks to be on its way.

Are the weird spots sign of a fingus or something else terrible?

  • It was dusty, so I washed the leaves (plant-based eco washing up
    liquid I figured would be ok).
  • It's still in the pot from the shop, and the soil seems to be just as damp as it was seven days ago.
  • It's about three metres from a big window, the light isn't intense at all.

Never owned a rubber before so maybe I panic too soon?

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  • I think the soil still contains water in it (eventhough the surface looks dry. You might want water it less frequently. You can also try to create several tiny holes (deep enough) around it by using some pencil-like sticks to allow more oxygen enter the soil. Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 5:29
  • 1
    Thanks for the input, I'll give this a go – the soil might look dry but is actually pretty damp, and the pot feels just very heavy.
    – a1652
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


Well hopefully the leaves you've had a problem with which are showing discoloration are the lowest leaves and it's just normal leaf loss. The only slight worry is that there is obvious liverwort or lichen growth on the soil, which indicates this plant has been in its pot for some significant time period prior to being sold, and has likely been kept too wet, which might mean a fungal issue. It might also indicate the soil its in is not particularly free draining, assuming there are drainage holes in the pot, but more likely the plant may need potting up into a larger container. Otherwise, the plant looks pretty healthy, though you might want to remove the liverwort - just pick it out with your fingers. In future though, do not use washing up liquid, whether its eco or not, to clean the plant - a soft paintbrush or make up brush will take off dust, and you can then use just plain water and a soft cloth.

Don't water until the surface of the soil in the pot feels dry to the touch, but not so dry it's shrunk from the sides of the pot. When you water, water thoroughly, allow it to drain down freely and empty out any outer pot or tray 30 minutes later, and again if necesssary 30 minutes after that if more has drained. Assuming you are in the northern hemisphere, this plant won't be doing much more growing until spring, so if possible, it's better to wait till spring, around May, to pot up into something larger (using new potting soil), though if you can see lots of coiled roots hanging out of the bottom of the pot, it will need to be done now. It requires bright daylight, but without direct sun, and keep it away from heat sources. Further care info here https://www.houseplantsexpert.com/rubber-plant.html

  • Hey, thanks – "normal leaf loss" is a relief. I'll pick out the liverwort/lichen. The topsoil might look a little dry but is actually still pretty damp – the pot is very heavy like it's soaked; there are drainage holes but I'll make more, or, as it's a particularly warm, bright October here in London, maybe it's ok to re-pot. No roots bursting out but new leaves are still coming through.
    – a1652
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 10:57
  • I had other advice that it should be kept warm, so it's next to a radiator (which we've not had to use yet this year) – the link you provided also suggests it "looks great standing next to a fireplace" so I'm not sure if the spot is good or bad for the long term.
    – a1652
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 10:58
  • When it says 'warm' it just means normal room temperature and not near a draughty window in winter - no plant likes to be stood near a heat source, though off to one side of a fireplace is fine, but only then if there is sufficient good daylight.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 12:35

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