Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

The rubber tree (botanically Ficus elastica, often just called Ficus) is very popular as a houseplant. The species belongs to the genus of figs and occurs naturally in the tropics and subtropics. Accordingly, the plants love a warm location with high humidity. If the ficus does not get the best care, it shows this on its leaves: they turn yellow. Sometimes there are other symptoms as well.

Yellow leaves on the rubber tree

Causes & Measures

A healthy rubber tree is characterized by dark green, beautifully shiny leaves. Yellow leaves can be the result of various mistakes in care or an indication of disease or pest infestation. If your ficus is turning its leaves yellow, you should act quickly, because yellowing is usually followed by leaf dropping. Sometimes they turn brown in an intermediate step.
If your ficus has yellow leaves, there are a number of factors you should consider when it comes to caring for it. These include:

  • humidity
  • incidence of light at the location
  • fertilizer behaviour
  • irrigation
  • soil / substrate

The correct irrigation method

A rubber tree needs a lot of water, especially in spring and summer, while it is content with a little less in autumn and winter. When watering, however, you should use the Ficus carefully being. Waterlogging is considered one of the most common factors that can lead to unsightly yellowing of the leaves.
To avoid waterlogging, the so-called immersion method sensible. Instead of watering, hold the pot under water for just as long, until no more air bubbles rise. Then quickly remove the pot and allow excess moisture to drain. You can then put the pot back in its place. This method is particularly suitable for smaller rubber trees. If your rubber tree is no longer manageable enough for this procedure, it is advisable to wait until the substrate is dry to the touch before watering it - even if it has been a few weeks since the last watering.

Regular repotting

Young rubber trees should be repotted regularly, for example once a year. If your ficus is older, you should treat it to a new pot about every three years. If your plant shows yellow leaves outside of this rhythm, it is also worth repotting the ficus. Because here you can also inspect the roots of your plant. If the plants are exposed to waterlogging over a longer period of time, the roots begin to rot. However, your rubber tree is not lost if you discover rotten spots when repotting. Carefully remove the spots and adjust your grooming behavior accordingly.

drainage layer

A drainage layer will also help keep your rubber tree healthy and prevent yellowing of the leaves. A drainage layer is used to quickly drain excess water. The basic requirement for this is a pot with holes at the bottom. A coarse-grained material should be chosen as the bottom layer, which creates cavities so that the water can escape downwards. Gravel, pumice stone or expanded clay, for example, are offered in specialist shops. It is advisable to lay air- and water-permeable drainage fleece over this layer and only then fill in the soil. Should you accidentally water your ficus, this drainage layer will allow the water to drain away.

The ideal location

If you notice that your rubber tree suddenly turns yellow after moving, it may not like it so much in its new location. You should therefore consider the following aspects when choosing a location:

  • Airy location, but without drafts
  • Avoid temperatures below 15 degrees
  • Partly shaded to sunny location, but without direct sunlight

mineral deficiency

You should provide a rubber tree with liquid fertilizer about every four to six weeks. In this way you prevent the unsightly discoloration of the leaves. If the substrate is too low in magnesium, a pale yellowish discoloration occurs particularly frequently. This is the so-called chlorosis owed: Due to the lack of magnesium, the production of chlorophyll (leaf green) is reduced. Appropriate preparations can be found in specialist shops that can quickly remedy the problem. Complete fertilizers usually also contain magnesium, but are not sufficient in the case of a magnesium deficiency. However, a special magnesium fertilizer, which is usually based on magnesium sulfate, is recommended. These mineral fertilizers are known under the name "Epsom salt“ (e.g. from Beckmann, NortemBio or Dehner).

Leaves turn brown

The browning of leaves can also have different reasons. Sometimes a brown color follows the initially yellowish leaf color. The main cause here is often too much water. But a lack of light or drafts are also possible. If your ficus has turned brown after being exposed to direct sunlight, it has a type of sunburn. Be sure to protect your rubber tree from the blazing midday sun.

Leaves curl

If the leaves curl up in addition to or independently of a yellow colouration, there is probably a lack of moisture. Plant leaves usually curl up to reduce their surface area. By doing this, you give off less moisture to your surroundings. However, the rolling of the leaves is often not due to insufficient watering. Rather, the humidity too low. The remedy is to spray the plant regularly with water. You can also consider installing a humidifier in the room.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!