Rubber plant stopped growing – House Plant Journal

Rubber plant stopped growing

Plant: Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)

How long have you had the plant? 1 to 2 years


My plant was thriving and growing so fast in this spot and suddenly stopped growing cold turkey after I poked holes in the soil with a pencil to aerate it. No leaves falling, no change, absolute stillness. How can I revive it?

Light Situation: It gets over 3 hours of direct sun.

Darryl: this is EXCELLENT light

How do you determine WHEN to water: I wait for the soil to become completely dry.

Describe HOW you water: I pour a small amount of water.

What fertilizer do you use? I have never used fertilizer.

When was the last time you repotted? I have never repotted.

Darryl’s Analysis

A huge window like this means your plants will grow exceptionally well with good care efforts.

Pouring a small amount of water will leave dry pockets where roots can die off – it’s better to evenly and fully moisten all parts of the soil and let the excess water drain away.

With such good light, your plant is using up the soil moisture and nutrients quickly.  It needs to be repotted and you should use fertilizer going forward.

Aerating has nothing to do with why your plant seems to have stopped growing – it’s the depletion of soil nutrients and poor structure (from prolonged patchy watering).

Plants push out leaves in spurts – it will not be constantly putting up new growth.  That being said, with your excellent light, once you repot and start using fertilizer, your plant should continue to grow nicely.

Get a solid foundation in houseplant care through my book or my online course.

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