House Plants/rubber plant


My rubber plant is about 2 1/2 years old. The lower part of the stem looks like it's dying it looks like tree bark but the upper part is green. Is it dying? We just repotted it about 3 weeks ago.

Hi Anita,

It is a normal part of the aging process for lower stems to develop bark as they age. Newer stems are green but will also develop bark over time. Nothing to worry about.

However, your decision to repot is worrisome. Unnecessary repotting is the single most common cause of plant failure. Plants do best when kept moderately potbound. Many things can go wrong when a plant is repotted. The pot may be too big and hold too much soil. The tiny roothairs may get damaged and they do most of the work. It is important to match the new potting mix with the existing potting soil. It is never a good idea to add "drainage material" to the bottom of the pot. Few people know how to repot properly, so there is a good chance you have not done it correctly.

Repotting is bit complicated for me to go into here, but you should be aware that any problems you have over the course of the next several months can probably be attributed to the repotting you did.

I am sorry that I may have relieved you of one problem, but introduced you to another one.

I have written detailed articles on pruning and on Rubber Plant care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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