Rubber Plant

Why Are My Ficus Leaves Curling? Causes & How To Fix It

Why Are My Ficus Leaves Curling? Ficus is a large genus of tropical plants with about 850 different species, many of which are successfully grown as popular houseplants.

The diverse world of ficus includes plants of various sizes or leaf shapes and growing forms, from big or small trees to hanging and creeping species.

Despite this diversity, for numerous houseplants lovers, the word ficus is most often associated with Ficus elastica or Rubber plant – a large and powerful plant with characteristic oval, flat, leathery, shiny dark green (or variegated) leaves.

The decorative Rubber ficus has been one of the most beloved houseplants for decades.

Ficuses are easy to maintain plants, but unsuitable care or conditions can cause some problems, including leaves curling.

The most common reasons why ficus leaves curl are improper watering regimen (too much water or underwatering), insufficient light, too much direct light, low humidity, cold conditions, and pests.

Fortunately, each of these causes can be remedied easily, especially if you notice the signs early on.

So inspect your rubber plant frequently and see below for the solution to why your ficus leaves are curling.

Ficus Leaves Curling Caused By Cold Temperature

The Ficus Leaf-Rolling Psyllid: A New Pest of Ficus microcarpa - Pests in  the Urban Landscape - ANR Blogs

Another reason why the ficus plant’s leaves are curling is due to cold temperatures.

As a typical representative of the tropics, ficus plants do not tolerate temperatures lower than 50F. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures will cool the substrate which is what heat-loving ficus’ cannot stand.

Solution: Keep the ficus in a room where the temperature never drops below 55F and is not higher than 85F all year round.

When you chose the position for your plant, avoid the spots near windows or doors that frequently open. Air drafts will stress the plant regardless if it’s cold or hot air drafts.

Ficus Leaves Curling Due To Pests

Scab infestations are one of the most common causes of curling and deforming leaves.

Fortunately, these unwanted guests are easy to spot.

Mealybugs and scales will create cotton-like clumps on the leaves, and spider mites will weave a fine network between the leaves.

Solution: You can remove adult insects using a paper towel or a cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol.

The common treatment for most indoor pests is to create a warm soapy water spray that can be applied directly onto the bugs and plants. This homemade insecticidal spray is safe to use on plants and safe to spray around kids and plants.

Heavy Compacted Soil Can Cause The Rubber Plant Leaves To Curl

Ficus is a plant with fast growth, rapidly consuming nutrients from the substrate. Therefore you should repot a ficus plant at least every two years.

When you transplant or repot a ficus for the first time, try to make the new substrate have a similar structure to the one in which it was previously grown.

Heavy, compacted soils that are poorly permeable to water can cause curling and yellowing of leaves or plant stagnation.

Solution: the substrate in which you grow ficus must be nutritious and loose.

In better-equipped garden centers, you can get a particular substrate intended for ficus. However, if you add 1/5 of sand or vermiculite to the standard commercial substrate for houseplants, you will get a mixture tailored to the ficus needs.

Heavy Compacted Soil Can Cause The Rubber Plant Leaves To Curl

The Ficus Leaf-Rolling Psyllid: A New Pest of Ficus microcarpa - Pests in  the Urban Landscape - ANR Blogs

Ficus is a plant with fast growth, rapidly consuming nutrients from the substrate. Therefore you should repot a ficus plant at least every two years.

When you transplant or repot a ficus for the first time, try to make the new substrate have a similar structure to the one in which it was previously grown.

Heavy, compacted soils that are poorly permeable to water can cause curling and yellowing of leaves or plant stagnation.

Solution: the substrate in which you grow ficus must be nutritious and loose.

In better-equipped garden centers, you can get a particular substrate intended for ficus. However, if you add 1/5 of sand or vermiculite to the standard commercial substrate for houseplants, you will get a mixture tailored to the ficus needs.

Ficus Leaves Curl Due To Overwatering

Like most tropical plants, ficus thrives best in relatively moist but never soggy soil.

Not only will constantly wet soil cause the leaves to curl, but long term wet or moist soil will lead to root rot. Root rot is a serious issue that can only be resolved by removing the rotted parts of the plants and repotting in new soil.

So try to avoid overwatering a ficus plant.

When To Water Rubber Plant

During the time of active growth and development from spring to autumn, water the rubber plant twice a week.

During the dormant period, water the plant less often, but do not allow the substrate to dry completely.

Follow these steps in order to determine when to water a ficus plant:

  1. Insert your index finger into the soil 1 to 2 inches deep
  2. Feel for moisture
  3. Water if the soil is dry
  4. Do not water if the soil is wet or moist

Low Humidity Can Cause Ficus Leaves To Curl

Ficus elastica — Will its leaves uncurl? - Gardening & Landscaping Stack  Exchange

Dry and warm air in the room, especially during the winter when the heater is on, will adversely affect the plant.

In nature ficus plants grow in an environment of high humidity, so with a few simple tricks, you can simulate similar conditions.

Solutions:

Regularly, at least several times during the week, mist ficus leaves with room temperature water.

Place other potted plants around your rubber plant  to create a mini jungle-like environment with increased humidity. Having multiple plants near each other will create a more tropical/humid environment.

Place the ficus pot on a tray filled with gravel and water. Gradual evaporation of water from the tray will increase the humidity in the environment.

Room humidifier is another helpful solution to prevent dry air.

Ficus Leaves Curling Due To Underwatering

Underwatering a ficus will cause a disturbance in the metabolism of the plant, which can beseen by the fragile lifeless leaves that twist downwards.

Solution: Do not forget to water your ficus regularly. The plant will not perish if you miss one or two waterings but be careful not to let the plant dry out. Completely dried and brown leaves will not come back to life.

Follow these steps in order to determine when to water a ficus plant:

  1. Insert your index finger into the soil 1 to 2 inches deep
  2. Feel for moisture
  3. Water if the soil is dry
  4. Do not water if the soil is wet or moist

Too Much Light Causes Ficus Leaves To Curl

In the shady rainforests from which the evergreen ficus originates, it is never exposed to direct sunlight.

Its thick leathery leaves begin to fade and curl if the plant is in a place where a lot of direct sunlight reaches for hours.

Solution: Place the plant in a spot where it will get a lot of diffused, indirect sunlight. Avoid keeping it next to the western windows.

The ficus plant can tolerate shady position and even space with artificial light, but in this case, it grows more slowly and may appear less lush.

Conclusion On Why Are My Ficus Leaves Curling?

Ficus elastica or rubber plant is a popular houseplants since these plants have beautifully lush leaves.

A big reason for the ficus plant’s popularity is due to its impeccable appearance and simple growing conditions. In optimal conditions, the plant will grow 24 inches or more per year and will quickly become a dominant point of any room.

With proper care your ficus plant’s leave will uncurl and greet you with its beautiful green leaves for many years to come!

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