White spots in your rubber plant might be there for several reasons like nutrient deficiency, over-fertilization, exposure to frost, pest infestation, excessive salt, etc.

White Spots on Rubber Plants

If you need help understanding which one of these reasons is causing the spots, our plant experts are here to help you! Read on as we throw light on each of the reasons one by one and help you find a way out. 

Why Does My Rubber Plant Have White Spots on It? 

You have white spots on rubber plants because of the following possible reasons: Edema, powdery mildew, pest infestation, frost damage, nutrient deficiency, excessive salt, or over-fertilizing. It is quite common, but we fail to comprehend what is causing them. 

Our rubber plant care guide will help you identify the causes and deal with them in a timely manner. These causes, if not dealt with efficiently, can be deadly for your plants. 

– Edema

It is often when container-grown plants, watered frequently, humidity and cool weather adding to the cause, suffer from a condition called edema. This condition causes plants that go through drastic soil moisture content to develop white spots on their leaves. 

At the onset of edema, these spots appear as a raised water spot resembling a blister, especially on the epidermis, but can also appear on the stems.

These blisters then pop and start turning brown, eventually changing into white spots on the rubber plant leaves. If the condition persists, then it is very likely that your leaves will turn yellow and ultimately fall off the stems. 

– Powdery Mildew

It is a common worldwide plant disease, and, as the name suggests, it causes “powdery” growth in plants. Like other plants, your plant can captivate the fungal pathogens that adversely affect your plant’s growth. 

When the fungus takes hold of your plant, you will soon notice a mildew layer, forming spores on the leaves and tops. These spores are contagious, meaning the remaining part of your plant and the other plants surrounding it will suffer. It can be divided into three stages:

  • First stage: The disease shows its appearance as a light-colored layer that starts from the leaf’s bottom surface and makes its way to the top. 
  • Second stage: It is not the existing leaves and stems that get affected; the incoming leaves and stems are equally affected.
  • Third stage: The last part of the disease that leads to root rot. You will see brown leaves out of nowhere curling and wilting as the root system dries up.  

– Pest Infestation

Like other household plants, Ficus Elastica, commonly known as rubber plant, rubber tree, or rubber tree plant,  is a great attraction for common household pests like spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scale. These pests usually strike the topmost, tender foliage and such nutrient-rich secretion. 

Pests like cottony cushion scales and mealybugs suck the plant sap are responsible for conditions like weakening the plant, reducing the plant’s growth rate, and creating white specks that appear like cotton on the leaves. 

– Frost Damage 

Frost is nothing but a disaster for your plants. The frozen water causes the plant to swell, leading to the opening of cells. Initially, the leaves seem wilting but then gradually turn to a black or brown shade and become crispy in the worst-case scenario, eventually leading to plant death. 

In the case of rubber plants, the frost damage manifests in the form of small white patches on the leaves. Frost-stricken plants are prone to diseases and pests, indicating that you must revive your affected plant as soon as possible. 

– Nutrient Deficiency

Lack of nutrition can pose a serious threat to your plants. When undergoing nutrient deficiency, plants can become incapable of producing essential molecules like proteins, chlorophyll, and lipids, to name a few. Your plant may be subjected to retarded growth and various diseases like chlorosis.

Causes White Spots on Rubber Plants

Young plants are more likely to suffer from chlorosis which causes the veins of the plant leaves to turn yellow, and with the progression of deficiency, the chlorosis turns white from yellow. In rare cases, the leaves lose their green color, indicating iron deficiency. 

You can tell your plant suffers from calcium deficiency if the new leaves emerging are fragile and irregularly shaped. Similarly, if your plant is turning pale and the leaf’s edges are turning yellow, it indicates magnesium deficiency. In such cases, yellow to purplish pigments may appear on the leaves. 

If you notice an abrupt and hampered growth change in your plant, it is most likely suffering from copper deficiency. The foliage turns dark green, and you will note the older leaves are wilting too. 

Your plant is lacking manganese if your plant’s parts are not growing up to their standard sizes. Similar to iron deficiency, the veins of the leaves start turning yellow. 

– Excess Salt 

Excess salt damages your plant in the long run. Clay soils have a higher tendency to absorb salts than sandy soils. Excessive salt absorbs and bonds with water leaving the roots deprived. 

Having extra salt in your plant promotes an environment favorable for fungus growth, and can cause root rot and contamination.

As the fungus progresses, it causes white patches or spots to appear on your plants. The salt likely pulls out water from the plant, creating a drought-like state.Furthermore, the excessiveness of salt can compromise the absorption of vital nutrients like calcium.

– Over-fertilizing 

People often add fertilizers beyond the plant’s requirement, thinking it will help their plants grow. But unfortunately, that is not the case.

Fertilizers often have adverse effects when used too much. Your plants don’t require much of it but would gladly accept it from time to time. 

All the big and glossy leaves you see are because their plants have been fed at the right time. However, not all plants react to fertilizers in the same way.

Over-fertilizing your rubber plants can damage their foliage and causes a build-up of salts, resulting in root damage. As a result of the salt build-up, the plants fail to absorb the essential nutrients and fall victim to stunted growth. White patches, or spots, often appear because of over-fertilization. 


What Are Easy Solutions to Cure the White Spots?

The easy solutions to cure the white spots and get your plant healthy again are all suitable for novice gardeners. Now that we have discussed a few of the common reasons that might be causing the spots, here are the solutions and care tips to keep your plant healthy again.

– How To Treat Edema

As edema usually occurs as a result of decreased transpiration on the leaves’ epidermis and an increased level of soil moisture, it is now time that you cut back on watering the plant, especially during the cool temperature in winter.

It is also essential to bring up the transpiration level by lowering the humidity content in the surrounding air. 

To achieve the desired results, separate your plant from the rest of the household plants, as having all the plants together promotes humidity. This act will also improve the airflow. Another way to improve air circulation is pruning your plant from time to time. 

To avoid edema in the future, avoid over-watering, and ensure that your plant receives a good amount of sunlight. You will soon see your plant come to life again when you provide it with favorable growing conditions. 

– Get Rid of Powdery Mildew

Spray fungicide on the infected parts. Some common fungicides are neem oil, sulfur, lime sulfur, and potassium bicarbonate. You can also spray a bicarbonate solution on your plant by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda in four cups of water. Ensure you thoroughly spray the affected parts so that the mixture comes in direct contact with the fungi. 

Eliminate White Spots on Rubber Plants

However, if your plant is infected to a greater extent, there’s nothing much left to do except to keep it far from the rest of your plants. Prune the infected parts and dispose of them properly; burning them would be the most effective option. 

– Say Goodbye to Pest Infestation

The best way to rid your plant of mites is by using a water hose. Other effective remedies include neem oil insecticidal soaps. Pests resistant to chemical pesticides, like the scale insects, need a more potent repellent like rubbing alcohol. Soak the cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol and wipe the scales off. 

For aphids, you can squish them with the help of your fingers or prune the infected areas. Another simple way of getting rid of them is by spraying liquid soap on the infested parts. 

Mealybugs are the easiest to get rid of. Shake the plant, knock them off, or spray water on them. 

To avoid dealing with such infestations, inspect your plant thoroughly before bringing it home. Please ensure that your plant stays isolated for a few days to ensure it is pest-free. This precautionary measure will help you in tackling infestations, if any, at an early stage. 

– Control Frost Damage

The first thing you would need to do with a frost-damaged plant is keep it away from direct sunlight, as it can cause more harm than good. Let your plant rest instead of pruning it immediately. Ensure its soil is not soggy, and avoid adding fertilizer until you notice active growth.

You can protect your plant from falling victim to frost by covering it with bed sheets, plastic sheets, and blankets. Use poles, or something similar, to prevent contact between the sheets and the leaves of your plant. 

– Overcome Nutrient Deficiency

To overcome iron deficiency, add iron chelates, organic molecules, to the soil or mix them with water and spray the plant’s surfaces. You can also add seaweed fertilizer to your plant. Lime is readily available in eggshells to overcome calcium deficiency, crush them and add them to your plant’s soil. 

Add dolomite fertilizer, a rich source of magnesium, to the plant’s soil to treat magnesium deficiency. Another option is to spray Epsom salt solution directly on the plant’s surface.

A quick and easy way to help your plant overcome copper deficiency is to add copper sulfate or copper oxide fertilizer to the soil.

Manganese deficiency can be easily treated by adding zinc chelates to the soil. For more zinc enrichment, add fertilizers containing zinc sulfate. 

– Treating Excessiveness of Salt 

Optimize irrigation to cut down surplus salt by using rain-harvested water, and ensure you do not over-irrigate. Adding organic matter and manure will help keep the moisture, reducing the need for irrigation. 

Restrain from heavy machinery so as not to transfer soil salts to the roots, which may cause salinization.  

To prevent such a condition in the first place, use cover crops or mulch to shield the ground surface. 

rubber plants get rid of white spots

– Avoid Over-fertilizing 

Carefully remove the extra fertilizer from the soil; you would also want to remove the damaged foliage. If you have already subjected your plant to overfertilization, rinse it properly, transfer it to new soil, and fertilize only when necessary or from time to time.


As we conclude the article, you must have figured out what is causing the spots.

Let’s sum up the key points we mentioned so that you are fully prepped to help your rubber plants get rid of those spots:

  • Pruning your plant leads to more air circulation.
  • A good amount of time in the sunlight is what will keep your plant alive. 
  • Over-fertilizing and over-watering will not help your plant grow. 
  • Always inspect your plant thoroughly to catch early-pest detection. 
  • Observing your plant’s behavior is important to know if it lacks nutrients. 

After going through our recommendations here, you can now know what is causing those spots and will be able to tackle the causes easily and timely.


  • https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/powdery-mildews-2-902/
  • https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/pest-control/how-to-prevent-pests/
  • https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/rubber-plant/
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