I bought this plant about 4 months ago. I repotted it form its original nursery pot to a larger nursery pot around 2 weeks later. Sometime after that, the bottom leaves started to get brown on the edges, but they didn't fall. I watered every 6-7 days, checking the top 2 inches of soil first. Since I also started to get fly gnats in the house, I decided to repot the plant once again into the same nursery pot but loosening the roots of the plant (they looked fine to me, but I'm no expert) and changing the soil. The previous soil looked too damp, so I also added more drainage holes.

It's been 2 weeks since that, I've been watering every 7 days and it's near a window that provides bright indirect light. It's getting worse and it has lost a lot of the bottom leaves.

What should I do? Is there anything that can help to save it? Is this a watering issue or it can be a disease?

Thanks so much for your help!

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2 Answers 2


The issue is over-watering and too much re-potting.

As a general rule, allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry before watering.

You should never re-pot a plant until it becomes rootbound and then re-pot it into a pot that is no bigger than 2 inches than the previous pot it was in. Re-potting causes just about as much stress as a plant can get and it takes a long time for it to recover from being re-potted.

Set the plant where it will get bright, indirect sunlight, no cold drafts and follow the general watering rule. Then just leave it alone. Don't move it around, that will cause more stress. You can remove the leaves that are mostly brown and even trim the brown edges from the other leaves if you want to. Also you should keep checking the leaves for any signs of insects


In my experience, rubber plants don't need very much water at all compared to most houseplants. Some Aloes require less, but yeah. Watering them too much or too often can give them issues. If the roots stay wet on the bottom very long at all, the plant can visibly change fast.

Remember, rubber plants like acidic soil. So, if you gave it any alkaline soil amendments (such as rockdust, ashes, or calcium), that could be a problem. In fact, standard potting soil might even be somewhat too alkaline.

Rubber figs are said to like lots of bright indirect light (but not direct sun), but they'll generally survive on low light.

Remember, you can take leaf cuttings of rubber plants to get new plants (so if you want a backup plant, that's a way to do it). The leaf cuttings may or may not lose their variegation, and some people think that although they grow roots they don't grow leaves (but they do grow leaves at least some of the time, from videos I've seen).

Edit: I'm not sure that rubber plants really need long waits between watering so much as they need us to avoid giving them so much water at a time that it pools into the saucer (at all). I plan to experiment with more frequent waterings, with less water at a time. Also, keep in mind that although I have a decades old rubber plant, I don't consider myself an expert on their care.

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