I found this Rubber Tree out on the curb this morning - for ref, I’m in NYC and it’s 52F here today. I’m not sure if it was left out overnight but last night the temp got down to ~47F.

As you can see in the photos, the leaves on this plant are drooping - only had a few yellowing leaves when I found it. The soil was very dry and new leaf growth is curling up.

Does anything stand out as the most likely cause of leaf droop? Not sure if it’s from exposure to cold or if there’s a watering issue from the previous owner.

Any suggestions for care now considering the potential shock of a new environment? Potting/water/lighting recommendations for a rubber plant in this situation?

Thanks in advance!

full tree

yellow leaf stems and new growth

1 Answer 1


It does look pretty forlorn. I'd cut off the yellowing leaves with something very sharp (clean it with alcohol before and after), if you don't have a garden snip.

I'd suspect root rot which requires repotting the plant in fresh soil. Before you put it into new soil gently rinse the roots and snip off any that are black or soft - rotting.

Since repotting will be a shock to the plant, if you really think it's very dry see if there's a hole in the bottom of the pot and try watering it lightly from the bottom. If there's no hole in the bottom of the pot I more strongly suspect root rot.

Good luck in your recue.

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