What Causes Yellow Leaves On Rubber Plants?

Rubber plants, also known as Ficus elastica, are popular houseplants valued for their attractive foliage and ease of care. However, most plant owners start to notice yellow leaves on rubber plants, which can cause concern. 

Yellowing leaves can be due to various factors, such as overwatering, under-watering, poor lighting, pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or diseases. If left untreated, the yellowing of leaves can spread and result in the plant’s decline. 

Join me as we discuss the causes of yellow leaves on rubber plants and the methods you can use to prevent that from killing your plant. 

What are the reasons for yellow leaves on rubber plants?


Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for yellowing leaves in rubber plants. When the plant roots sit in too much water, they can become waterlogged, leading to root rot, which can cause the plant’s leaves to turn yellow. 

You can fix overwatering by reducing the watering frequency and ensuring the soil has good drainage. You can test the moisture content in the soil by using a moisture meter or a finger test. Either of the tests will tell you whether the soil is too wet or dry. Or you can allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. 


Another problem is underwatering. It involves giving the plant less water and letting the soil dry. If it continues for a period, it can also cause yellow leaves in rubber plants. When the plant doesn’t receive enough water, its leaves can dry out and become yellow. 

To fix this, water your plant regularly and ensure the soil doesn’t completely dry out. Check the soil’s moisture level by sticking your finger an inch deep into it; if it feels dry, it’s time to water. 

Poor lighting

Rubber plants require bright but indirect light to thrive. If the plant is not getting enough light or is exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves can turn yellow. 

Place the plant in a spot that receives bright but indirect light, or use sheer curtains to filter the sunlight. You can use artificial lighting to regulate the amount the plant gets.  

Sudden temperature change.

A sudden temperature change can cause yellow leaves on a rubber plant because it can shock its system, making it difficult to adjust to the new conditions. If the temperature suddenly drops, the plant’s growth can slow down, and its leaves may turn yellow.

The change in temperature can also affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and water, resulting in nutrient deficiencies and yellowing leaves. A sudden temperature change can also make the plant more susceptible to pest infestations and diseases.

To prevent a sudden temperature change from affecting your rubber plant, you should keep the plant in a stable environment with consistent temperature and humidity levels. Avoid placing the plant near drafts or vents that could cause rapid temperature fluctuations. If the temperature does drop suddenly, try to provide extra warmth to the plant by moving it to a warmer location or using a heating mat.

Pest infestations

Pest infestations such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can damage the plant’s leaves, causing them to turn yellow. 

It’s easy to kill pests once they attack your plant. You can use a gentle insecticidal soap or neem oil spray to remove the pests. Also, to avoid pests from invading your plant, maintain the environment around the plant. 

Nutrient deficiencies

When a plant lacks nutrients, it can become stressed, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Rubber plants require specific nutrients to grow and remain healthy. A lack of nutrients like nitrogen, iron, or magnesium can cause yellow leaves. 

Nitrogen is necessary for chlorophyll production, giving leaves their green color. A nitrogen deficiency can result in yellowing leaves and stunted growth. Magnesium plays a role in chlorophyll production. Without enough magnesium, the leaves can turn yellow, and the plant may experience stunted growth. Iron deficiency can also cause yellowing of leaves, as iron is essential for producing chlorophyll.

Always use a fertilizer rich in nutrients the plant requires to grow. You can also amend the soil with compost to provide additional nutrients to the plant. Follow the fertilizer instructions carefully, as over-fertilization can also cause yellowing leaves.


Fungal and bacterial infections can also cause yellow leaves on rubber plants. These infections can occur when the plant is exposed to too much moisture, causing the leaves to become weak and susceptible to disease.

This issue can be challenging to diagnose and treat, but removing any infected leaves, improving air circulation, and ensuring the plant is not sitting in water can help revive your plant.