When there is a problem, fiddle leaf figs can communicate very effectively. The most typical indications that your Fiddle Leaf needs assistance are as follows:
Brown spots are a sign that there is watering stress at play. Spots can develop as a result of excessive watering or inadequate drainage, which can also result in fungi such root rot.
Yellowing Leaves: This symptom is caused by a few different things. Yellowing leaves are typically caused by inadequate light, a lack of nutrients, excessive fertilization, and an imbalance of water. Check out our more detailed guidance on how to recognize and treat yellowing leaves if you’re not sure why your plant’s leaves are yellow and you’re not sure why.
Leaf Drop: This symptom can be caused by a variety of factors, but for Fiddle Leaf Figs, temperature and light fluctuations as well as irregular watering schedules are the main causes. Visit our page on how to prevent leaf drop to find out more about leaf drop problems with other houseplants.
Why do fiddle leaf figs have brown spots?
Overwatering-induced root rot is arguably the most frequent cause of brown patches in fiddle leaf figs.
Root rot is a fungal infection that develops when roots are left in water for an extended period of time with inadequate drainage.
Particularly fiddle leaf fig roots require quick-draining soil with lots of drainage. You should take prompt action if you notice brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig caused by root rot. To stop your infection from spreading, try our Root Rot Treatment. You may also apply our Houseplant Leaf Armor to shield your fiddle leaf fig against bacteria, fungi, and insects.
The following are warning indicators of root rot:
- patches that are very dark brown or black and spread over the leaf over a period of days or weeks
- Your leaf has dark brown blotches at the base.
- the plant’s leaves that are falling off
How frequently should a fiddle leaf fig be watered?
Overwatering or failing to provide adequate drainage are the two most common ways to destroy a fiddle leaf fig. About once every 10 days or once a week, water your plant. As we just discussed, FLFs are accustomed to receiving a massive amount of water with intermittent dry spells because they are native to a rainforest-like habitat. Therefore, it’s recommended to water indoor plants until the soil is barely dripping before letting the soil dry fully in between applications.
There are two ways to accomplish this. Bring the plant inside after watering it and letting it drip for an hour or two outside or in the bathtub. Place your FLF on a plant stand above a drip tray if you don’t want to carry it back and forth to be watered. Make sure the roots don’t spend a long period sitting in extra water, whichever method you pick.
Watering a Fiddle Leaf Fig
Overwatering or failing to provide adequate drainage are the two most common ways to destroy a fiddle leaf fig. About once every 10 days or once a week, water your plant. As we just discussed, FLFs are accustomed to receiving a massive amount of water with intermittent dry spells because they are native to a rainforest-like habitat. Therefore, it’s recommended to water indoor plants until the soil is barely dripping before letting the soil dry fully in between applications. There are two ways to accomplish this. Bring the plant inside after watering it and letting it drip for an hour or two outside or in the bathtub. Place your FLF on a plant stand above a drip tray if you don’t want to carry it back and forth to be watered. Make sure the roots don’t spend a long period sitting in extra water, whichever method you pick.
Not sure of the next time to water? Simply press your finger into the soil’s top 2 inches. If it’s still wet, don’t touch it. Don’t believe in yourself? Purchase a cheap soil moisture meter, and water when it indicates that the soil is practically dry.
Having trouble deciding when to water your fiddle leaf fig? Simply press your finger into the soil’s top 2 inches. If it’s still wet, don’t touch it. Don’t believe in yourself? Purchase a cheap soil moisture meter, and water when it indicates that the soil is practically dry.
Should I prune my fiddle leaf fig’s dark leaves?
Like grooming your dog or cat, pruning your plant is crucial to keeping it healthy and attractive. Pruning your fiddle leaf fig prevents weed growth and maintains its health. You should prune your plant for a number of reasons.
Remove Damaged Leaves and Stems
To promote the general health of your plant, you can safely remove any leaves with significant brown spots or holes. A damaged or ill leaf depletes your plant’s nutrients and increases the risk of infection. Any time of year, get rid of any leaves that are broken or ill right away.
Keep Your Plant From Getting Too Tall
Healthy fiddle leaf fig plants have a tendency to grow aggressively toward the sun, which could cause them to become too big or tall for their environment. You should cut back any growth over that height since plants look their best when their upper leaves are at least 8 to 10 inches below the ceiling. You can make your plant stronger and more compact by trimming it to prevent it from growing too tall.
Give Your Plant Balance
Your plant might grow sideways towards the direction of the closest window depending on where it receives its light, which could make it asymmetrical or unbalanced. Rotate your plant frequently so that it develops symmetrically to avoid this. Even after pruning, plants can still go out of balance, which will assist prevent uneven growth.
Decrease Crowded Areas
To stay healthy, fiddle leaf fig leaves require airflow and room. The leaves on your plant may become damaged by rubbing against one another if it becomes overly compact and crowded. Pruning will help to spread out crowded regions.
Shape Your Plant
Due to their restricted exposure to sunlight when grown indoors, fiddle leaf fig plants can develop unique morphologies. They might develop sideways rather than upwards toward the sun as they would if they were growing outside.
The lowest leaves will also fall off in the wild because of a lack of sunshine. Lower leaves, though, may still receive plenty of light inside and stay on the plant. The desired tree-like shape may be destroyed as a result. You should cut off lower leaves and branches that are spreading out too much in order to shape your plant so that it looks best in the area where it is placed.
Do fiddle leaf figs need to be in the sun?
Fiddle Leaf Figs need to be thoroughly watered about once a week to match their love of natural light. You should modify the amount of watering based on the size of the plant and, consequently, the size of the roots. As a general rule, water the plant thoroughly only after the top 2 to 3 inches of soil have dried up. This entails watering it till water drips out the bottom if it’s in a planter with a drainage hole. However, avoid letting the drip tray fill up with water for too long because root rot can readily develop in this situation. Remember to water the plant slowly and in a circular motion around it, making sure to wet all of the soil. Water will then reach all of the roots rather than just some.
A Sustee Aqua-meter is one of the greatest instruments for determining how frequently your Fiddle Leaf Fig requires water (available for purchase in our shops). We have discovered that there are particular seasons of the year when our plants are significantly more thirsty than usual since we started using these in our stores. The Sustee changes color from blue to white when the soil is sufficiently dry to prevent overwatering from occurring after it has become saturated with water.
You should water all tropical plants with water that is room temperature. A plant will undoubtedly experience shock if exposed to hot or extremely cold water, just as it would if the same conditions existed outside.
Prior to watering, aerate and break up the soil to improve water absorption. In order to ensure that water reaches all of the plant’s roots rather than draining out along the planter’s edges, we also advise watering very slowly around the top of the soil.
Fiddle Leaf Figs need some routine care, just like most other plants. One crucial maintenance procedure for your fiddle leaf coincidentally involves its leaves, which are also its most noticeable feature. Wonderful duty in the shape of routine dusting comes with great leaves. Fiddle Leaf Figs require frequent dusting due to the size of their leaves. As dust builds up on plant leaves, dust particles interfere with the plant’s ability to absorb sunlight and carry out photosynthesis. Given how much Fiddle Leaf Figs adore light, giving your plant a frequent dusting will go a long way toward keeping it healthy.
Rotating your plant monthly or biweekly is a good idea in addition to dusting the leaves. By rotating your plant, you’ll ensure that it receives an equal distribution of light, preventing one side from growing much faster than the other and resulting in a solid, symmetrical Fiddle Leaf Fig.
There are a few things you can do to encourage your Fiddle Leaf Fig (or any tree, for that matter) to start developing branches. First, try providing your plant with additional light. Trees naturally sprout branches, and if they have a lot of natural light, they may have more energy to devote to doing so. Cutting off your plant’s highest point of growth is another approach to promote branching. As a result, the plant will be forced to start branching out from the sides rather than continuing to grow vertically. Visit our pruning journal entry to find out more about pruning and branching.
Aerating the soil once every few months prevents the soil from being compacted for people who don’t already do so. The ability of your plant to absorb water is one of many factors that can be badly impacted by compacted soil, which eventually forms tiny pockets of soil where water never penetrates. It is possible to aerate using a variety of tools, including chopsticks and official soil aerators that are of a similar size and shape. To avoid destroying too many roots, gently press the aerator deeper into the earth as you go. By breaking up any areas where the soil has clumped together, do this a variety of times around the soil to keep your plant healthy and happy.
Last but not least, we advise using a “less is more” philosophy when it comes to fertilizing your Fiddle Leaf Fig and other indoor plants. It’s advisable to avoid providing your plants with too many extra nutrients at once. In the spring and summer, we strongly advise adding a slow release pellet fertilizer, such as the Osmocote Plus Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food, into the top layer of the plant’s soil. These pellet fertilizers typically last for a few months.
Winter is a challenging season for indoor plants, including Fiddle Leaf Figs, because of the obvious lack of natural light and the cooler temperatures. As indicated above, keeping an eye out for cold windows is a smart place to start, but there are other things you can do to keep your Fiddle Leaf content throughout the chilly months.
People frequently experience problems with heating vents during the winter, but since they aren’t used for more than half the year, it’s simple to forget about them. Plan to relocate all of your plants away from any heating vents when it is time for them to turn on. Repeated hot air bursts have the potential to scorch leaves and quickly dry out your plants.
Break up the dirt a little with your fingertips before watering your plant in the winter. Soil is easily clumped and compacted in winter due to the dry indoor air. By lightly breaking it up with your fingertips, you can prevent water from dripping through the soil and out the sides of the planter.
It’s also important to note that a humidifier can benefit Fiddle Leaf Figs and other tropical plants all year long, but particularly during the winter when the indoor air turns dry. Your plants are able to flourish as they would in a rainforest thanks to the continuous increase in moisture circulating in the air, which prevents browning leaf tips.
Fiddle Leaf Figs thrive when put immediately in front of windows since they require a lot of natural light.
Once a week, thoroughly water the soil, allowing the top few inches to dry out before watering again.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about caring for fiddle leaf figs below, in person at one of our stores, or by contacting us.
Does my Ficus have a bacterial infection or root rot?
- Most likely not. Despite the fact that this diagnosis is all over the internet, we have found it to be incredibly unusual in the thousands of Ficuses that our sister firm, Greenery NYC, has taken care of. It’s usually a different issue, like inadequate lighting or overwatering. If you’re curious to learn more, we do offer a guide on how to distinguish between bacterial and fungal leaf spots.
Help! My Fiddle Leaf Fig dropped a leaf!
- Moving and changing the environment can be hard on ficus trees. The Ficus plant will temporarily go into shock and drop its leaves since the dry, cold air is such a drastic change from the warm humidity of the greenhouse. This situation is only transitory, so don’t worry. Your tree won’t return to normal for a few weeks, and during that time it might lose a few leaves. However, if the leaves keep falling, it can be an indication of poor lighting or water.
My Fiddle Leaf Fig has brown spots and the leaves are dropping. What do I do?
- Overwatering is the most common error people make when caring for their plants. Even though they require a lot of water to stay healthy, moist soil will drown the plant. Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees prefer to let their leaves slightly dry out between waterings. Allow the plant to dry out until the soil is totally dry if your leaves begin to turn brown and fall and the earth is moist.
- Lack of light is the second biggest error people make. Fiddle Leafs need a lot of light to grow, and if they are not soaking up enough energy, they will begin to shed their leaves. It’s preferable to put your plant by a window if you’re unsure about where to put it. Please see our lighting guide for additional details.
- The fiddle leaf fig can also be severely damaged by underwatering. The edges of the leaves begin to brown and curl in when submerged, and this ultimately spreads throughout the entire leaf. Fallen leaves that were submerged in water will typically be entirely or largely brown and dry to the touch.
RIGHT: A dropped leaf that has been overwatered. A telltale indicator that the plant has received too much water is the browning that is spreading from the central node (or midrib) through the veins of the leaf. RIGHT: If the leaves have brown spots or holes, the plant is probably not getting enough light. This frequently occurs on the lowest leaves of the tree, which over time may start to lose light.
How do I tell when my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree needs water?
- The simplest approach to determine whether your Fiddle Leaf plant needs water is to look at the leaves once you’ve determined that the top few inches of soil have dried out. The leaves will inform you they need water if they are not firm and straight and begin to look droopy. Until you develop a habit, be sure to check in with your tree frequently to make sure you don’t go underwater.
Left: a submerged Fiddle Leaf Fig tree; right: the same tree less than twenty-four hours later.
How much light is too much light for the Fiddle Leaf Fig?
- In New York City, fiddle leaf figs should thrive if placed directly in front of a window. However, they cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to the sun (being placed outside on a sunny day). They might be sunburned in exceptionally bright apartments (i.e., those with floor to ceiling windows), in which case your best chance is to position them in front of the window with a sheer curtain. The complete spectrum of the sun’s rays will be blocked by partial shades like solar shades, therefore avoid using them to filter the light.
Can I put my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree next to the AC / heater?
- Floppy Leaf Tropical vegetation like fig trees prefer a humid atmosphere. They lose their leaves if the weather is too dry. Although fiddle leaves do well in air-conditioned apartments, never place them right next to an air conditioner or heater. It is recommended to move to a different location if their leaves are wagging in the air.
How often should I fertilize my Fiddle Leaf Fig?
- Fertilizing indoor plants from spring through fall generally results in their thriving. Use an organic houseplant fertilizer once a month, dilution and application instructions on the container. In order to ensure that your plant doesn’t require fertilizer within the first six months of receiving it, Greenery NYC employs an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil.
How often does my Fiddle Leaf Fig need to be repotted?
- We advise repotting bigger floor plants every 18 to 24 months. In order to allow for growth, you need often use a potting vessel with a diameter that is 2- 4 bigger. Selecting a pot that is significantly larger than the previous one could drown the plant’s roots. Repot your plant into the same container, add additional soil, and remove some roots and foliage if you’d like to keep it at its current size. Repotting should be done in the spring or summer when the plant is at its healthiest.