An underwatered rubber plant is an often-occurring incidence that many home plant owners face, but you need not worry because the water requirements of this plant are very straightforward.
Read our expert comprehensive guide below to find out the right way and correct frequency of watering this exotic plant.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- How Often To Water a Rubber Plant
- Factors That Affect Watering of Rubber Plant
- Underwatered Rubber Plant: Signs Your Rubber Plant Is Dehydrated
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Often To Water a Rubber Plant
Your rubber plant needs to be watered every five to seven days on a regular basis. However, the water requirements of this plant are prone to changes depending on its surrounding conditions. Always water a rubber plant according to the factors given below.
– Is It Okay to Slightly Underwater a Rubber Plant?
The rubber plant is not exactly a drought-resistant plant, but it can tolerate less water pretty well. You don’t need to water it every day or very often. In fact, it will survive even if you water it only once a week. It will continue to live even if you forget to water it and it stays dry for some time, so you don’t need to worry.
However, underwatering a rubber plant is not really a recommended practice and you should definitely stick to a watering schedule with this plant.
Factors That Affect Watering of Rubber Plant
– Size of the Plant
The average size of a rubber plant might range from between 5 to 10 feet, but you might also own a plant that is larger or smaller than these measurements. Depending on the size of the plant, its water requirements are also varied.
- A plant within the range of 5 to 10 feet might not need too much watering. This is because these plants have developed larger stems and leaves for enough moisture retention. Even if you water such plants only once every week, it should be enough for them.
- For smaller-sized plants that are shorter than 4 feet in height, you will need to water them more frequently. Give water at least twice per week. Smaller plants don’t have adequate water retention ability to survive long periods without it.
The temperature of the surroundings also impacts the rubber plant watering schedule. Your plant needs a different watering regime when it shifts from one season to another. Learn all about it in this section.
– Temperatures Below 65 Degrees Fahrenheit
During winters, your rubber plant will continue to grow and thrive even when the temperature falls up to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you should take care to maintain adequate humidity and water levels.
Water your rubber plant only once every week during such low temperatures. If the humidity levels are enough, you can skip watering for up to two weeks.
– Temperatures Above 65 Degrees Fahrenheit
When the temperatures rise above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you should increase the frequency of watering your plant. Water the rubber plant every three to four days to prevent it from developing dry and wilting leaves.
The rubber plant is native to rainforests where it grows under very high humidity conditions. In your room and garden, there might not be enough moisture in the air to mimic the same conditions. That’s why you should always water your plant according to the surrounding humidity levels of the air.
It is always a good investment to buy a hygrometer to constantly check the humidity levels around your plant. In high humidity conditions above 50 percent, watering the plant more than once a week should be sufficient. However, in low humidity conditions below 50 percent, you should water the rubber plant every three to four days.
How To Increase Humidity Around Your Rubber Plants
- Mist your plants regularly, especially in the afternoon.
- Make a pebble tray, fill it with water and place it under your plant pot.
- Simply buy a good-quality humidifier and adjust it to adequate levels.
– Type of Pot
Apart from the other things that we mentioned, the type of pot that you choose to grow your plant in is also very important. Continue reading to find out how this affects your plant.
– Ceramic Pot Versus Concrete Pot
We always choose ceramic pots to grow our rubber plants in. You will find that watering rubber plant potted in ceramic pots is not only easier but less frequent as well. This is because these types of pots are less porous and tend to retain moisture in the soil for longer periods.
On the other hand, concrete pots are much more porous. Water loss through its surface is higher as compared to a ceramic pot. You will need to water your plant at least two times every week if you are growing it in a concrete pot.
– Your Soil Is Dry
Dry soil is usually the first indication that your rubber plant is not being watered enough. You should always keep a very close eye on the condition of your soil. Find out how to do this below.
– How Do You Check if the Soil Is Dry?
The simplest method to do this is to simply stick your finger down the soil. You can also use a pencil or a tiny stick if you are not comfortable using your finger. Alternatively, you can spend some money and buy a moisture meter to receive more accurate results.
The rule of the thumb is that you should let the top one to two inches of your soil become dry before watering the plant again. If the top of the soil appears dry, then checking the moisture levels of the bottom layers using the methods we explained earlier will tell you whether it’s time to water again or not.
If the finger, pencil or moisture meter comes out dry with crumbly soil, then your rubber plant is definitely being underwatered. It’s time to water your plant as soon as possible. If it comes out with moist soil stuck to it, then you can hold off from watering for the time being.
– Why the Soil Might Be Dry
The most probable reason the soil is dry is that you might not be watering your rubber plant enough. Soil with poor composition often does not retain moisture well, so make sure you improve your soil with appropriate organic and inorganic matter.
The drainage holes at the bottom of the pan should not be too large as well.
Underwatered Rubber Plant: Signs Your Rubber Plant Is Dehydrated
The rubber plant is a moderate plant when it comes to its watering needs. It neither needs much nor is it completely drought-hardy. In this section, we have compiled a list of signs that will tell you when your plant is being underwatered. We have also given you practical solutions to help revive rubber plant in case of dehydration.
– The Rubber Plant Appears To Droop
Normally, a rubber plant should have stiff, fresh leaves jutting out from the stem. If your rubber plant leaves are beginning to droop, this is a sign that it is dehydrated and you need to amp up its water supply.
The reason why this happens is that water allows the nutrients to flow through the leaves. As the water flow is disturbed, the areas that are nutrient-deficient then begin to droop. This starts with the leaf tips first. If the whole leaf is drooping from its node, you need to be alarmed as this indicates a very severe water deficiency.
– The Leaves Turn Yellow
The leaves of your rubber plant may turn yellow as a result of both over and underwatering. If you want to know how to differentiate if the yellowing is caused by underwatering or overwatering, the best way is to check the moisture of the leaves.
Leaves that turn yellow due to dehydration will appear wilted and droopy in appearance. They will also crack and crumble upon touching. Leaves that turn yellow due to overwatering will appear mushy and swollen.
In order to save a dying rubber plant from dehydration, immediately improve its watering schedule. Water is important for your plant as it also transports nutrients through it. A lack of water will lead to severe nutrient deficiency.
– Brown Plant Tips Start Appearing
The rubber plant leaf often turns brown due to a lack of adequate sunshine, but sometimes, you might notice one or two leaves turning brown even in the presence of proper sunlight. This often happens in case of water loss. Your plant sacrifices one or two older leaves in order to distribute the scarce water among the remainder of the plant. Take a good look at these brown leaves as they will appear dry and wrinkly.
Remove these dry and dead leaves from your plant and use them as compost instead. Instantly improve the water supply to your plant. Also, it would be best to adjust the levels of humidity around it.
– Leaf Edges Will Be Dry and Brown
Oftentimes, rubber plant carers notice that their leaf edges are turning brown and dry even when the water requirements of the plant are being correctly fulfilled. What could be the reason behind this?
This situation arises when the soil is not retaining moisture despite being correctly watered. Here are some reasons why this might be happening.
- Soil with too much organic matter often leads to much quicker drainage of water from it. Add more inorganic matter to your soil and try covering the top of the soil with a moderately thick layer of mulch to prevent excessive loss of water.
- Sometimes when kept indoors, people tend to increase the room temperature far above the tolerance level of the soil. All the water that you pour on the plant ends up evaporating.
- Your pot could be causing brown leaf edges too. If your pot is made up of porous material or has too big a drainage hole in it, then it’s time to transplant the rubber plant to a different, more suitable pot.
– Dry, Brown Spots Appear on the Leaves
This is another situation that arises from both over and underwatering. You might notice tiny brown spots developing on the leaves of your rubber plant. These spots will appear on both the upper and lower surface of the leaf, and the leaf will have a dried-out, wilted appearance as well.
Again, the solution is simple and straightforward: start watering your plant more. There is no better advice to save a dying rubber plant than this one!
– The Roots Turn Brittle
Sometimes when the humidity levels around the rubber plant are high enough, the plant might not show signs of being dehydrated until it is too late. It is only when gardeners uproot the plant from its pot for transplanting or for a soil change that they realize how brittle the roots have become due to prolonged water deficiency. In fact, these roots might not even survive an attempt at transplanting the plant.
– The Rubber Plant Leaves Curl Up
The leaves of your rubber plant curling are a sign that you are being inconsistent with its watering needs. You might be watering the plant regularly enough but not giving it the same amount of water each time.
Sometimes you allow the soil to soak all the way through. Other times, only the top portion is moisturized whereas the deeper parts remain dry. You could also be watering only the soil and not the stem and leaves.
You need to fix these inconsistent watering patterns in order to stop the leaves from curling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read below to find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked queries regarding the watering of the rubber plant.
What Type of Water Should I Give My Rubber Plant?
The best type of water for any plant is obviously clean, filtered water. If you can somehow obtain it on a regular basis, we are strongly in favor of using reverse-osmosis or distilled water for watering our rubber plants. This is the safest, healthiest water for them.
If your area experiences clean, non-toxic rain on a regular basis, then you can also collect this rainwater and use it to water your plants. Ordinary tap water should be fine too, although we do suggest you get it checked in a laboratory to see if it is safe enough for your plants.
What Is the Right Method To Water the Rubber Plant?
The following is a guide on how to water the rubber plant the right way.
- Water according to a set schedule.
- Use copious amounts of water each time.
- Pour the water slowly as this gives the soil enough time to soak it all up.
- Pour most of the water at the base of the plant near the soil.
- Allow the excess water to drain out of the drainage hole at the bottom of your pot.
- Remove the water collection tray at the bottom of the pot once it fills up. You don’t want your pot to sit on this water and develop root rot.
Is an Underwatered Rubber Plant at an Increased Risk of Diseases?
Yes, underwatering your rubber plant predisposes it to infections and diseases. This is because nutrient transport takes place with the water present inside the plant. A plant that lacks enough water becomes deficient in nutrients as well.
Consequently, a dehydrated plant becomes weakened and more prone to diseases. It also loses the ability to fight against fungal and pest attacks.
We have extensively covered the watering needs and schedules of the rubber plant in this helpful guide. Let us quickly recap all that we have learned below.
- How often to water a rubber plant usually depends upon a number of factors.
- If the size of your plant is larger than 4 feet in height, you should water it once a week. If the plant is shorter than 4 feet, you should water it two or three times each week as smaller plants have lower water retention capabilities.
- In case of temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, water your plant three to four times per week. In colder months when temperatures fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, decrease the frequency of watering to only once per week.
- Rubber plants need high humidity levels. If your house humidity levels are below 50 percent, you need to increase the frequency of watering your plant.
- We prefer using a ceramic pot over a concrete one. Water loss through concrete pots is more prevalent than in ceramic ones, and you will also need to water your plant more.
- If your soil is dry below the top two inches, then it is definitely time to water your rubber plant.
- Insert a finger, pencil or moisture meter to gauge the moisture level of the soil.
- A soil with poor composition should be improved by adding more inorganic matter to it.
- The best type of water to give your plant is reverse-osmosis filtered or distilled water. Have your tap water checked in a laboratory before using it to water your plants.
- You can tell that your plant is being underwatered if its leaves become yellow, dry and wilted.
- Sometimes, leaves of dehydrated plants turn brown at the edges or brown spots appear on them. They might also turn droopy or curl up.
- Always use abundant water when watering these plants. Pour water slowly and allow the soil to become thoroughly soaked.
In short, an underwatered rubber plant is super easy to identify. It is also equally simple to revive a dying rubber plant by fixing its water needs, so using the information given in this article, you should have no problem raising a healthy, glowing rubber plant at home.