Do Rubber Plants Like To Be Root Bound? (Details)

Rubber plants are one of the most popular plants to decorate any space. The advantage of this plant is that it grows very quickly and adapts to many different conditions. Rubber plants can be 6 to 8 feet tall and thrive in the right conditions.

The root system of this plant tends to grow very healthy and fast. After a while, the roots of the rubber plants will curl together in the shape of the pot. However, have you ever wondered if this is good for the health of rubber plants? Do rubber plants like to be root bound? Let’s find out more details in the article below.

Do Rubber Plants Like To Be Root Bound?

The roots grow rapidly and there is not enough space in the soil to continue to grow (Root bound). Usually, when growing indoors, we often grow rubber plants in pots to save space and easily move to different locations. The size of these pots is usually not too large. So, compared to the root growth rate of this plant, the pot size is not enough.

After a while, when the roots cannot grow and spread around, they will tend to curl together and form a fixed mass. This block is usually shaped according to the shape and size of the pot. This is because the root system does not have enough space to grow and they are forced to jostle each other in search of nutrients and water.

This situation will happen if you do not check the root size and replace it with a new pot that is larger than the root system. When you lift the plant out of the pot, you will find the roots curled together and there is no space to breathe and exchange air.

Rubber plants do not like this situation at all and they tend to be slow growing and stunted. When the root system does not have enough space to grow and absorb nutrients, rubber plants will face many health problems. Some common signs like stunted growth, drooping leaves, lack of oxygen, and lack of soil and nutrients for healthy growth.

Related post: Does ZZ Plant Like to Be Root Bound?

Signs To Identify Rubber Plants With Curled Roots

do rubber plants like to be root bound

The health of the root system is also the health of the plant because when the roots transport enough water and nutrients to other parts, the plant will grow healthy. When the root system of rubber plants is curled, it will be difficult for them to absorb the surrounding water and nutrients because most of the soil has been pushed out.

If the soil does not fully cover the roots, then the water tends to flow very quickly and escape. You will find that the surface of the soil dries very quickly despite constant watering. Water draining too quickly also prevents the roots from transporting enough water to other parts of the body. Therefore, rubber plants will face many health problems. Here are some basic signs that the roots of rubber plants have curled roots.

Slow And Stunted Growth

Because the roots cannot absorb enough water and nutrients in the soil to transport up the whole plant. The space inside the pot has been completely taken up by the roots. So, the soil will be pushed out when you water it. Since then, the amount of soil is not enough to cover the entire root system of rubber plants.

Yellow And Brown Leaves Appear In Mass

Due to the lack of water and moisture in the soil, the leaves of plants begin to dry, wilt and turn yellow. Besides, if you place the pot in an area with direct sunlight, the leaves can scorch and turn brown. If there is a lack of water for a long time, a series of leaves will fall off after turning yellow or brown. Because the cells have been completely broken, dry and cause the leaves to deform and not have enough energy to stick to the stem.

Roots Begin To Emerge From The Ground Or Drainage Holes

Due to the size of the root system growing too quickly, there is not enough space inside the pot for them. They will grow anywhere there are gaps and emerge above ground to grow. In addition, roots can also grow outward from the drainage hole in search of space. So this is also the most important sign that you can tell that the space is too tight for the roots of rubber plants.

The pot is deformed or has cracks. If you grow a rubber plant in a plastic pot with a flexible or soft material, it can become deformed by excessive root growth. Or if you plant in pots made of soil material, cracks may appear. The reason is that it cannot withstand too much pressure from the strongly developing root system.

Can Rubber Plants Die From Being Root Bound?

Rubber plants will not die immediately when the roots are curled, but they will have serious health problems. Here are some health problems you may be aware of.

Soil dries quickly: When the roots have taken up all of the space, the soil will be displaced to the outside. So, there is not enough to cover the roots. Soil is not able to hold moisture and dries quickly, so the surface of the soil always dries very quickly after each time you water.

Nutrition: As you know, soil and water are two important factors for plant growth. When the roots grow too strong, the soil is not enough leading to the plants not being able to absorb enough nutrients in the soil. Besides, the soil also does not hold the right moisture to supplement the nutrients needed by plants.

Damaged root system: When the roots of rubber plants get tightly packed together they can rot or turn brown. The fact that the root branches are tightly coiled and pressed against each other will make them susceptible to root rot. Long-term root rot will kill your plants without being able to recover.

How Often Should You Replace A New Pot For Rubber Plants?

To avoid root system overgrowth for your size, you should regularly check for root growth. Or change a new one every 2-3 years depending on the growth rate of the rubber plants. This plant will usually tend to grow very fast and be healthy after three years.

You shouldn’t change the pot as often because constantly changing habitat puts stress on the root system. Roots need to be attached to the soil to absorb water and nutrients for a long time. Therefore, the constant need for roots to adapt to new environments puts the plant under undue stress.

You should have a rubber plant in a 1-3 gallon pot for best plant growth. As a rule of thumb, you need to use a new pot 2-3 inches larger than the old one to make room for the soil. You should also not plant rubber plants in a pot that is too large. Because the plants will also have problems with waterlogging, pests, or improper watering.

How To Change A New Pot For Rubber Plants?

When you notice that the size of the roots is too large for the size of the pot, you should proceed with a new repotting. Follow the steps below to help plants quickly adapt to their new environment.

  • Gently remove the plant from the pot and avoid damaging the root system.
  • Prune 25-30% of the leaves and only 15-20% of the root branches to avoid undue stress on the plants at a time.
  • Use a fresh soil mix that is full of nutrients and well-drained to avoid waterlogging.
  • Use organic fertilizers or slow-release fertilizers to fertilize the soil.
  • Water is enough to keep the soil moist.
  • Move the pot to an area with good light and air circulation.


Rubber plants don’t like being rolled together in a tight space. Their roots will intertwine and from there the soil will be pushed away or fall out when you water it. When the root system does not have enough soil to cover and absorb nutrients, plants will experience many stress problems.

Some signs of stress include leaves turning yellow or brown, slow and stunted plant growth, rotting root systems, and other serious health problems. To avoid this situation, you should use a new pot for rubber plants about every 2-3 years. As a rule, the old pot should be 2-3 inches larger than the old pot.

Leave a Comment