Watching your houseplant lose its leaves can naturally be quite worrisome. In case your rubber plant has shed its leaves, you might be hoping that they will regrow in the future. After all, the beauty of a rubber plant lies in its foliage and a leggy rubber plant is unsightly.
Unfortunately, once a rubber plant loses a leaf, the chances of a new leaf regrowing at exactly the same spot are quite low. You can, however, take care of the plant to help it grow more leaves elsewhere.
A number of reasons could make your rubber plant lose its leaves. However, with proper care, you could prevent it from happening and maintain a healthy and thriving rubber plant. Although a rubber plant is hardy, inadequate conditions can cause it to develop problems, such as shedding leaves.
Will rubber plant leaves grow back?
Well, it’s quite challenging to make your rubber plant leaves grow back, but you can eventually do so.
Although it would have been great if your rubber plant could regrow its leaves, that is not the case. Rubber plants usually grow new leaves only at the top and not near the lower parts.
However, there is a way by which you could make new leaves grow near the same spot as the ones that have fallen. All you have to do is take a clean knife or shear and slash the node a bit. A new leaf can then sprout from the wound.
Why do rubber plants lose leaves?
Your rubber plant could be losing its leaves owing to a variety of reasons. While some of these involve factors that you can control, others might not. Here are a few common reasons why rubber plants lose leaves:
Overwatering happens to be a common issue for rubber plants, leading to the loss of leaves. Rubber plants do not really need a lot of water to survive. Watering them too much can cause problems, including making the leaf cells burst.
The leaves near the lower parts of the plant would start yellowing, and would eventually fall off. The same problem could also occur in case the pot gets waterlogged or the soil remains wet for too long.
While overwatering your rubber plant can make it lose leaves, so can underwatering. This is because, when the plant doesn’t receive adequate water, it gets rid of its leaves in order to retain whatever moisture it has.
However, you need not wait for your plant to lose its leaves before you can know that you aren’t watering it enough. Before the leaves fall off, they would first turn yellow, curl, or have burnt edges.
A rubber plant losing its leaves doesn’t always indicate that something is wrong. It could also be shedding leaves naturally because they have grown too old.
As the plant grows and new leaves emerge on the upper parts, it starts shedding the older leaves in the lower parts. This way, the plant can redirect its resources to the newly growing leaves instead. This natural process of losing leaves helps to keep the rubber plant healthy.
Pests can be a huge menace, causing major damage to your houseplants and potentially even killing them. Your rubber plant isn’t safe from pest attacks either, and they can feed on the leaves.
Once pests cause irreparable damage to a leaf, the plant would eventually discard it. You can, however, prevent this from happening if you notice the pest infestation early and treat your plant with the necessary insecticides.
A change in the environment
In case your rubber plant starts dropping leaves soon after you bring it home from the nursery, acclimation change is likely the reason behind it.
A sudden and major change in the levels of light, humidity, heat, and moisture conditions can shock the plant and make it shed leaves.
Moving the plant from a well-lit area to a relatively dark corner is one of the most common ways in which rubber plants lose leaves due to an acclimation change.
How do you get rubber tree leaves to grow back?
The fallen leaves wouldn’t regrow in the same spot naturally. However, you could make new leaves grow in approximately the same place as the old ones.
To do this, you would have to take a knife and make a shallow cut just above the node. After this, take good care of the rubber plant and water it adequately. New leaves would likely start growing from the area you slashed above the node.
What do you do when a rubber tree loses its leaves?
Whether you try out the method above to help the new leaves regrow or not, you would have to make sure that your rubber plant continues to grow healthily.
After all, if the plant is losing leaves because of major underlying problems, you need to reverse the damage and resolve the issue. Here is what you can do when your rubber tree loses its leaves:
Water the plant properly
As underwatering and overwatering are both potential causes behind leaf loss, you would have to make sure that you are making neither mistake.
Water your rubber plant regularly, but make sure that the water drains well. You might want to add some soil mix to the pot in case the soil seems to retain water for too long. Also, rather than sticking to a rigid watering schedule, check the wetness of the soil before you water the plant.
Keep the plant in a brightly-lit spot
While it is always inadvisable to leave your rubber plant exposed to direct sunlight, rubber plants do require sunlight in order to thrive.
To help your rubber plant recover faster, place it close to the window such that it stays away from the direct sunlight but still receives plenty of light. Favorable lighting conditions are crucial to the health and the survival of any plant, and the same goes for rubber plants too.
Provide adequate humidity
Rubber plants thrive the best in humid environments, as they draw a significant amount of moisture from the air. Not providing enough humidity can cause your rubber plant to stop growing healthily and developing new leaves.
In case the air in your home is too dry, consider misting your rubber plant. You could also cover it with a transparent glass or plastic container to create a miniature greenhouse that would help create a moist environment.
Maintain a warm temperature
Rubber plants are tropical and they thrive particularly well in warming climates. Hence, if you are trying to help your rubber plant recover, always try to give it a warmer environment.
Cold drafts of air can shock and harm the plant, so make sure to protect your rubber plant from them. Place your plant away from open windows and doorways in winter, except when trying to let it catch some sunlight.
Prune the plant in case of severe leaf loss
If you are already providing your rubber plant with optimal conditions but it continues to lose leaves, you wouldn’t have much of a choice except for pruning it.
By strategically pruning away the top part of the plant, you can encourage it to grow new leaves and develop laterally.
When the plant doesn’t have to direct many resources towards vertical growth and all the upper leaves, it would start developing leaves from cuts made near the lower part.
Do bear in mind that your rubber plant would need some time to grow new leaves after you prune it. You should do it only if the plant is losing leaves heavily and already too leggy.
If your rubber plant is losing leaves, try to figure out why. In most cases, you can fix this just by adjusting how you care for the plant.
Making simple adjustments should ensure the optimal environment for your rubber plant and help it stop losing leaves. As rubber plants do not lose too many leaves very quickly. Therefore, you should generally have enough time to save yours.