The rubber plant is a popular houseplant that requires minimal care and thrives in the average household. At times, however, these plants can develop a condition known as legginess.
Legginess is the term used to describe when a rubber plant starts growing tall without any leaves on the lower part of its stem, while at times it may also grow with sparse foliage. In this blog post, we will discuss what leggy rubber plants are and how to fix them.
How to Fix a Leggy Rubber Plant?
Rubber plants become leggy when they are not receiving enough light from the sun, which happens when they are placed too far away from a window or in an area where the sun’s rays cannot reach.
As such, you can fix a leggy rubber plant by moving it as close to a sunny spot as possible and rotating it every month for even exposure.
Doing the above will get your rubber plant back to full health. I will now go more in-depth into how you can save a leggy rubber plant…
1) Prune the leggy rubber plant leaves
Pruning the leaves of a rubber plant will help the tree to focus its energy on new foliage production rather than trying to grow longer and longer stems.
To prune a leggy rubber plant, use sharp scissors and snip off long branches right below where there is dense growth. Make sure you are sterilizing all equipment to avoid spreading plant diseases.
The best time to prune a leggy rubber tree is in the springtime when it starts growing new foliage again. This is when it has the most energy and will be able to grow new stems with foliage on them.
Once you have pruned the rubber plant, it is important to fertilize your tree so that new foliage can grow quickly and fill in any gaps created by your trimming work.
2) Give your rubber plant more light
Leggy rubber plants are caused by a lack of light. If you move your tree closer to the window and rotate it every month, this should help improve its health within a few months’ time.
I recommend keeping your rubber tree in a sun-facing window that receives at least five hours of sunlight per day. Your plant will need even more light if you own a variegated rubber tree.
If you are not able to move your plant closer to the window, try using full-spectrum lighting (Amazon link to my favorite) instead if it is available in your area. Full-spectrum light simulates natural sun rays and will help give your rubber tree all the essential light it needs for proper growth patterns.
These lights are used by thousands of gardeners around the world, especially in the winter when plants need a boost to stay healthy and growing.
Leggy Rubber Plant FAQ
Rubber plants are popular plants, so it makes sense that a lot of people ask me about them. Here are some frequent questions I get about leggy rubber trees…
Should I repot a leggy rubber plant?
It’s a good idea to repot a rubber plant when it stops producing new leaves and growth is sparse. Leggy rubber plants tend to be large, so it’s a good idea to transplant it into a larger container so that it can continue growing and producing new leaves.
Where should I keep my rubber plant to avoid legginess?
If you want to prevent legginess in your rubber tree, it’s best to keep the plant in an area with at least five hours of sunlight per day. This will prevent the leaves from needing to stretch for light and in turn, stop the plant from growing leggy.
Should I cut my leggy rubber plant?
It’s best to cut off leggy stems just below the growing leaves on your rubber tree. This will allow new growth with dense foliage formation. It’s important not to cut more than a third of your plant’s leaves and branches, however.
How often do I need to water my leggy rubber plant?
You should only water a rubber tree when the top two inches of soil are dry or else you risk rotting its roots. As such, it is best to wait until the soil has dried out before watering your plant. More water won’t stop the legginess.
Will a leggy rubber plant recover?
Yes, your rubber tree will recover as long as you keep it in a sunny window and prune its leaves. It may take up to six months, but your rubber plant should start growing new foliage again after this time elapses.
In conclusion, rubber plants are popular houseplants that require a small amount of effort to fix if they become leggy. If you follow the above steps, your rubber tree will be back in full health and producing new growth within six months’ time at most!
My biggest tip is to use grow lights if you want to speed up the process of getting your rubber plant back in shape. You can purchase these special lights online or at a hardware store and they will help give your rubber tree all the light it needs without having direct access to sunlight.
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.