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rubber plant? not sure that is what I have

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Ms Sarah on May 18, 2006 03:23 AM
I bought a plant about a year ago from Home Depot and after looking up pictures and descriptions, I think it may be a rubber plant. the leaves look wet and are sticky. the plant's stem's look like mini bark(the best way I can describe it)
the leaves are always falling off the the tree and there are just 2 branches sticking up with over half the bottom bare. I have this sitting next to some peace lillies by a window that is always closed. i water it weekly but the leaves just seem to fall off constantly and the new leaves that come in fall off too.
the leaves are still a healthy green but I wanted to know if i should replant it with fresh soil, move the plant or what? i am pretty sure it's a rubber plant because of the sticky leaves on it.

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by joclyn on May 18, 2006 03:37 AM
could you post a picture? that would really be best since you're not quite sure what it is.

if it IS a rubber plant (mine does not have sticky leaves) even though you are watering it weekly, it may not be a deep enough watering - in other words, it's not getting enough water. are the leaves turning brown before they fall off or are they falling off while still green?

what kind of sunlight is the plant getting?
by loz on May 18, 2006 04:33 AM
Does your rubber plant look like this?


That's mine. It doesn't have sticky leaves joclyn mentioned a picture would really be helpful.

If it is a rubber plant they are very touchy.....they can drop leaves from not getting enough light, or from overwatering....I only water mine once every week and a half or so....

rubber plant

Oh, and I move mine outside in the summer in a shaded spot and it grows like crazy! Then I'm watering it almost everyday.
by joclyn on May 18, 2006 06:58 AM
hey, loz! thanks for posting a pic - that's what mine looks like (i don't have a dig-cam).

yes, these type are touchy! i only water about every ten days or so.

i've never put mine outside - don't really have a shaded spot other than the front porch and i live on a busy street and don't want to see it disappear 'cuz it's in a really nice planter...

is morning sun okay? i'd really like to put it out for the summer - my neighbor does and her's has grown tremendously (we got them at the same time and mine looks puny compared to hers). the only place i could safely put it is the back porch which is morning sun.
by loz on May 18, 2006 08:58 AM
I would imagine that morning sun is fine, you just don't want it to burn. Actually the spot I put mine at outside does get some morning's the afternoon sun that you want to avoid.....

If you move it outside just keep a close eye on it....if it starts to burn move it right away, but I'm thinking it'll be okay.

I was amazed this winter because it didn't drop one leaf all year......the year before I lost so many leaves I thought it was going to die. But in the picture you can see it's near 2 windows and they get the most light in the entire house! [thumb]
by joclyn on May 18, 2006 09:01 AM
sarah, that's the other thing. what kind of light is your plant getting?? obviously, from what loz is saying (thanks, loz!), too much or too bright can do damage.

i normally keep mine in a north facing window...not directly in front of it either.
by Ms Sarah on May 18, 2006 01:29 PM

Thanks for the help with this plant! I posted a couple of pictures of it to hopefully show what the plant looks like. It's right by my back dining room window where the blinds are always closed and light in the back isn't that strong. It's not as full as the other picture I saw, is this the same kind of plant? and if so, how do I get mine to look as good as the other pic?
Thanks again for all of the help! [Smile]

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by joclyn on May 18, 2006 02:00 PM
ahh, that's not a rubber plant. it's an umbrella tree/plant.

Schefflera farinosa, it seems, since it's got the yellow on the green leaves.

it needs good light, well drained soil should be kept kind of dry. they do tend to lose their leaves, too. especially if you water too much or too little or if the light isn't right - try opening those blinds a bit [Smile]
by Ms Sarah on May 19, 2006 02:14 AM
thanks for clearing this up for me! i was wondering why my leaves weren't as big as the ones in other pics.
this helps a lot! [Wink]

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by joclyn on May 19, 2006 07:48 AM
there are a few different varieties...some very large, some mid-sized and even minatures - which is what i have. i'm going to bonsai it...
by Ms Sarah on May 21, 2006 06:40 PM
can i ask how you "bonsai" it? i just replanted it with fresh soil and the leaves wouldn't stop falling off! but it still looks healthy.

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by joclyn on May 21, 2006 07:44 PM
it's going to need some time to recover and get used to the new pot. make sure you maintain it's water level consistantly. and keep the sunlight level consistant too. it should bounce back just fine...they're pretty hardy, all in all. that leaf-drop can be annoying tho!

i've had a couple of the bonsai trees before - bought them as well established plants and managed to keep them going for a while. those pine trees, that are usually used, are hard to maintain, tho [dunno] and i never saw anything but them offered when i was looking to purchase one.

i've seen azalea and a couple of different fruit trees done as well. saw some really nice specimens at the flower show in march! and one of the vendors had minature plants that are perfect for bonsai, so i got a few...the mini umbrella and 3 varieties of mini roses (actually they're serissa). 4 for $10 couldn't be walked away from !! [Big Grin]

a plant as large as yours is now could probably still be used. i'm not sure as i've never started one from scratch - i've also never had one long enough to have to transplant it and do any maintanence on the roots.

i don't know if it would be a good idea to start this plant as bonsai - you've just repotted it. might want to get some other kind of plant or tree to work with.

the thing with bonsai is curtailing root-growth as well as shaping the limbs into a certain designs. originally, the plants/trees that were used were small plants taken from nature. that didn't work too well when bonsai was introduced to the western world and became very popular.

so, they started using full-size specimens and stunting the growth by cutting the roots and putting the plants/trees in small containers. wire is used to form the limbs. light (or lack of) can also be used to help the limbs grow in the direction you want.

check the bonsai site for more info.

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