You're adding a rubber tree to your houseplant collection and want to know how much water does it need, and how often it needs to be watered? We've checked in with our experts and gathered the answers for you here.
For your indoor rubber plant, you want to let it dry out between waterings, then water for evenly moist soil. This may take less time in the summer than in the winter. For outdoor rubber trees, the same is true. The soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings, but never for more than a couple of days before you hit it with water again.
Let's take a look at watering your rubber tree more closely. We'll also talk about how to know if it needs water, what happens if your leaves droop, turn yellow, or turn brown, and how often you may need to water your rubber tree in the winter.
How Much Water For A Rubber Tree And How Often
The right amount of hydration for your plants can be a life or death decision. Sounds pretty dire, doesn't it? Don't worry, your plant has ways of telling you if it's thirsty and it's not hard to get it right.
Outdoor Rubber Trees
Though rubber trees are typically houseplants, they are grown outdoors in certain zones. From zone 9-11, it is possible to grow these tropical plants outdoors. In zone 9, they may need some winter protection if the temperatures drop too low. Plant them in a wind-protected area with dappled sunlight.
As for water, your outdoor rubber tree likes well-drained soil and regular water. It doesn't like to have its roots soggy though, so don't plant in an area where water tends to pool or gather. Make sure your rubber tree dries out at the roots between rains or waterings. If you are in a period of drought, you'll need to check it and supplement its waterings.
Indoor Rubber Trees
As a houseplant, rubber trees are phenomenally popular. They are relatively easy to grow and do well in filtered sunlight which is perfect for an indoor plant. Once you get the right spot and temperature for them to be happy, the next thing is working out their watering needs.
Rubber trees will let you know with their leaves when they've had too much or too little water. But, if you don't want it to get to that stage, check your plant regularly. We suggest using a pencil or dowel to stick deep into the pot. If you pull it out and it's clean, then it's time to water. If soil is clinging to it, then there's still water in the pot for the plant. Let it dry out between waterings.
If you're someone who has a hard time remembering to water your houseplants in a timely fashion, there are some things that might help you.
Self-watering pots include a basin reservoir that sits the plant slightly above the water and allows water to soak up from the roots. This is a healthier and more surefire way to provide your plant with what it needs without overwatering. Watering from the top can cause uneven moisture, particularly if the soil is too densely packed.
Here's a larger 8" self-watering pot. It helps stop root rot and fungus and allows your plant to drink at the rate it's thirsty. The small feet lift the pot above your floor and help prevent any water staining.
There are all sorts of handy self-waterers available that are essentially some sort of reservoir that drains into a stake planted in the pot.
This one is hand-blown glass. One user suggested putting a cotton ball at the point where the water enters the tube to slow the drainage. This is a good idea if you're traveling and have no one to water your plants.
These self-watering spikes have a slow-release valve that allows you to adjust the amount of water flow. As long as you adjust the drip rate you need before inserting it into the soil, these plant watering spikes will water the plants for 2-15 days. That's super helpful for a busy lifestyle and houseplants.
How Do I Know If My Rubber Tree Needs Water?
A simple method for knowing if your rubber tree needs water is to test the soil with your finger. If it's dry more than an inch down into the soil, give that plant a drink. If you start to notice your leaves beginning to turn brown at the edges, then it's a good sign that it's been too long since your rubber tree has had a good deep soaking of water. Remember, your rubber tree likes moist soil.
Why are my rubber tree leaves drooping?
Rubber tree leaves droop for a couple of reasons. One of the main reasons for drooping leaves is too much water. Though you want to water it well, it shouldn't sit in water, so if you have an overflow saucer on your pot, empty it after watering. Be sure to let your rubber tree dry out between waterings.
Another cause could be old soil or lack of nutrition. House plants like to have their soil refreshed every couple of years. Rubber plants are no exception.
A potting mix like this one by Miracle-Gro provides lots of nutrients and plenty of aeration to give your rubber tree new life.
Why are my rubber tree leaves turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves are another sign of overwatering. It's like you're washing the green away in a flood of water and leaving only the yellow behind. If you get a pencil and stick it down into your pot, then pull it out and there's no moisture or soil, then your plant is dry. But if there is moisture or soil on the pencil, your plant doesn't need any more water.
Are brown leaves a sign of overwatering?
Brown leaves are more typically caused by sun scalding or lack of watering. But, if your leaves are brown and mushy and limp, overwatering could indeed be the cause. Typically they'll turn yellow first before getting brown and mushy though so you can help your plant before it gets to this place.
If the brown parts are crisp and crinkly, then the problem is more to do with lack of water or too much sun.
How often to water a rubber tree in winter?
The wintertime brings lower light levels from the sun and lower temperatures. It's the dormant time of year for plants and they're not expending a lot of energy growing. So does this mean you need to change your watering schedule for your rubber tree? It probably does.
Your rubber tree will need less frequent waterings. One thing that could change that is if you have very dry heat in your home from a wood stove or a thermostat turned quite high. Then you might need to keep up your watering. It's best to check your plant's soil at least once a week, but chances are you'll be able to go about two weeks between waterings.
Houseplants bring us so much joy. They fill our homes with the beauty of nature and bring calming energy to our interior spaces. They do require a bit of care, though and your gorgeous rubber plant is no exception. If you keep it watered properly, it will be with you for many years to come.
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