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Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves?

Almost every aesthetic picture we see on the internet has a pretty fiddle leaf fig in the background. Fiddle leaf fig is an iconic plant with leaves to die for!

But, what if you wake up one day to find out that these precious leaves are on the ground instead of the plant?

Fiddle leaf figs can drop their leaves due to stress caused by inappropriate watering schedules. In addition, extreme temperatures, excessive fertilization, pest infestation, and root decay can further stress your plant and increase leaf drop. 

Fiddle leaf figs take a long time to develop and reward us with new leaves.

Imagine these most awaited leaves falling out now and then to the extent that your fiddle leaf fig might look naked. Isn’t that a horrible thing to imagine?

A Healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig
A Healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig (Source: Pexels)

Well, according to the internet, many plant parents are living this reality. And, as much as we hate to hear it, fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves is a widespread occurrence.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves is Normal

The good thing about fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves is that it is considered normal if it loses two to four leaves once in a while. After all, nothing stays forever, and leaves fall out after maturity.

Every plant sheds older leaves as new leaves start growing. Just make sure that the leaves falling from your fiddle leaf are from the bottom part of the plant.

However, if the leaf drop is excessive, with more than three leaves dropping now and then, something is wrong. It is not entirely typical for your fiddle leaf fig to lose new and young leaves.

If the leaf drop ratio is higher than the growth ratio of new leaves, it is high time to evaluate your plant’s health.

Common Reasons for Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves

Fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves excessively is a common occurrence. Being quite sensitive house plants, they tend to get stressed out easily and frequently.

If your fiddle leaf figs are losing their beautiful foliage, here are the common causes to watch out for. 

Leaves Loss In Fiddle Leaf Fig
Leaves Loss In Fiddle Leaf Fig (Source: Unsplash)

1. Regrowth of New Leaves

It is normal for your fiddle leaf figs to lose a few bottom leaves due to new leaves’ growth. As the new leaves start appearing, the old and mature leaves tend to fall out.

Suppose you see that only the bottom leaves are falling out, followed by new regrowth at the top. There is nothing to worry about as it is a natural process of regeneration in plants.

2. Improper Watering Schedule

Many plant lovers go wrong with their watering schedule when tending to their precious fiddle leaf figs. Even I lost my fiddle leaf fig to overwatering a few months ago.

Overwatering and underwatering can prove to be hazardous for your plant’s health.

Excessive watering can be seen through the leaves as they appear floppy and limp. This is because the soil retains excessive moisture, which deteriorates the root system and causes decay.

Likewise, an underwatered fiddle leaf fig can also lose its leaves due to dehydration. If your plant lacks the precise amount of water to promote the growth of leaves, the leaves will dry and fall out.

If you see that the soil is always wet, your plant is overwatered. And, in case you see that the soil is pulling away from the pot, your fiddle leaf fig is underwatered.

An unhealthy plant with weak roots starts losing leaves.

3. Humidity Issues

If the surrounding is arid, especially in winters, your fiddle leaf fig will lose a few leaves to avoid excess transpiration.

Plants lose plenty of water through transpiration, which further increases at low humidity levels.

If your surrounding is dry, you can blame the humidity levels for excessive leaf drops.

4. Freezing Temperature

Regarding the native environment, fiddle leaf figs are initially from warm and humid regions like Western Africa. However, fiddle leaf figs hate cold and dry temperatures.

Under such stressful circumstances, the plant saves energy, restricting nutrients and water to the leaves. Hence, causing a rapid and overnight leaf fall.

If you have placed your fiddle leaf figs outside in chilly weather, the culprit for dropping leaves is non-other than the extreme temperature (and you too).

5. Pest Infestation

Pest infestation is yet another popular reason for the leaves of fiddle leaf figs to fall out.

Most bugs will attack the leaf tissues. Henceforth, depending upon the severity of the pest infestation and damage sustained, your fiddle leaf will start losing its leaves. 

Bug On A Plant Leaf
Bug On A Plant Leaf (Source: Pexels)

The most common pests on fiddle leaf figs are spider mites and mealybugs. These bugs feed on the leaf and stem tissues causing a severe form of deformity to the affected part.

Hence, as the leaf dies prematurely, they fall out of the plant.

If the fallen leaves have a dotted appearance (especially in the forms of tiny brown spots), your fiddle leaf fig is probably under a pest infestation. Inspect the undersides of the leaves for confirmation.

6. Problems in the Root System

An unhealthy root is equal to a sick plant. And the first signal of an unhealthy plant is the excessive dropping of leaves.

If you are underwatering, overwatering, over-fertilizing, enabling root-binding, or excessively re-potting your plant, your fiddle leaf probably has a flawed root system.

Other than these common reasons, the roots might get deformed and suffer stress due to fungal or bacterial infections.

Excessive root pruning also deteriorates your plant’s health, promoting leaf loss and your fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves.

Root stress not only causes the leaves to drop, instead gives a droopy, stunted, and sickly appearance to your plant.

7. Excessive Use of Fertilizers or Pesticides

Fiddle leaf figs are towards the sensitive side. Therefore, they tend to react and respond to the growing conditions quickly.

Hence, if you fertilize them with slightly more plant food than they are used to, they immediately demonstrate stress by shedding leaves.

In the hopes of getting rid of the bothersome bugs, let us not give our beloved fiddle leaf figs a lousy chemical burn!

You can easily detect excessive fertilization or pesticides on your fiddle leaf figs by checking the leaves. They usually have a brown rim on the leaves and tips of the plant.

8. Excessive Stress on the Plant

There are plenty of reasons that could cause stress to your fiddle leaf figs. As mentioned earlier, these species of plants are very reactive and easily triggered. And they do not appreciate changes!

For instance, if you have moved your fiddle leaf fig from the window to your balcony, they are likely to shed a few leaves for some time.

Moving them from a dark spot to a bright spot or vice versa, slight changes in humidity or temperature is enough to stress your fiddle leaf figs.

If you have changed the location of your fiddle leaf figs, be prepared to lose a few of those precious leaves!

Solutions for Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves

Once you have identified why your fiddle leaf figs drop their leaves, the solution is pretty straightforward.

Fiddle Leaf Figs
Fiddle Leaf Figs (Source: Pexels)

Please find the solutions for the problems mentioned above and carry them out as soon as possible to prevent your fiddle leaf fig from going naked.

1. Check Your Watering Schedule.

If you find that you have overwatered your fiddle leaf fig, stop watering the plant for a week or until you see that the topsoil is parched.

If the soil is excessively wet, you can place some water-absorbing material on the topsoil.

Underwatered fiddle leaf fig takes some time to regain its lost vitality. Hence, give your fiddle leaf fid enough water until you see the water running down the drainage holes.

For a dehydrated plant, it is necessary to ensure that all the roots have been thoroughly watered.

It is a good idea to have a climate-specific watering schedule for your fiddle leaf figs.

2. Get Rid of Pests Immediately

If you identify an early infestation, getting rid of the bugs will not be much of a challenge.

However, I doubt it is an early infestation if you have lost quite a few fiddle leaves to those pesky pests. In any case, here are the steps you should take.

  1. Isolate the infected plant and check the plant thoroughly, removing all the infected leaves.
  2. Clean the plant with diluted rubbing alcohol. That should remove at least 70% of pests in your fiddle leaf fig.
  3. Spray some organic insecticide. 

Check the plant every 2-3 days and spray in some insecticide at least once a week for a month. Do not let the insecticide fall onto the topsoil. 

Keep monitoring the plant for about three months for reinfestation.

3. Check the Roots and Address the Concerns

If you find that your fiddle leaf fig is excessively root bound, transfer it to a bigger pot immediately.

You can slightly prune the unhealthy and damaged roots. However, make sure not to prune more than 50% of the roots at once.

Fungal and bacterial infections can be life-threatening to your fiddle leaf fig if not addressed on time.

Change the soil and add some fungicides to the soil to get rid of infections on the root. 

Also, make sure not to overwater as overwatering leads to fungal and bacterial infections.

If you think you might have overfertilized, leading to a damaged root system, transfer them to a new sterile potting mix immediately.

An overfertilized plant requires plenty of time and patience to get back to health. 

4. Transition your Plant Slowly

If you want to transfer your fiddle leaf figs from your living room to outside on the balcony, do not immediately transition them at a single go. Go slow! The transition should be gradual.

Place your plant outside for about 2 hours every day for a week. Make it 4 hours for the second and third week. Then, increase the sun exposure gradually.

And if you would like to bring an outdoor fiddle leaf fig indoors, follow the same technique for a slow transition.

Being one of the most sensitive plants, fiddle leaf figs require time to adapt themselves to a new growing environment.

Prevent Fiddle Leaf Figs From Dropping Leaves

Suppose your fiddle leaf figs have not lost their leaves, but as a precaution, how about we familiarize ourselves with some preventive measures?

A Well Misted Fiddle Leaf Fig
A Well Misted Fiddle Leaf Fig (Source: Unsplash)

You will find a list of do’s and don’ts below to prevent your fiddle leaf figs from ever dropping a single leaf.

Do’s

  • Keep the humidity levels between 30% to 60%. If you reside in a dry climate, make sure to invest in a good humidifier. Or, occasionally mist your plant. 
  • The leaves of fiddle leaf figs are susceptible to drafts. Therefore, keep them away from the air conditioner and heater.
  • Be gradual when transitioning your plant to a new location to minimize and cancel out stress.
  • Using a well-draining potting mix with plenty of perlite and sand is best to avoid water retention.
  • Clay and terracotta pots work best as they prevent root infections and allow the formation of air pockets. Be sure to make sure the pot has a few drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Repel the bugs away from your pretty fiddle leaves to prevent bugs from feeding on the leaves.
  • Spray the plant with an organic or homemade insecticide once a month.

Dont’s

  • Do not relocate a happy plant unless necessary.
  • Strictly avoid overfertilization.
  • Do not use chemical insecticides.

Tips To Take Care of Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Fig Beside A Bright Window
Fiddle Leaf Fig Beside A Bright Window (Source: Unsplash)

1. Temperature Requirement

Make sure that the temperatures do not go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

In winter, keep your fiddle leaf fig indoors and away from cold spots.

Head over here to check out how to take care of your fiddle leaf fig in winter.

Likewise, in summers, please place them in a shady spot or indoors.

2. Water Requirement

Avoid using cold water. Lukewarm or water at room temperature prevents stress to your plant.

Fiddle leaf figs love frequent watering schedules. However, be sure not to go overboard. Water only when the topsoil is dry.

3. Location for Plant

Fiddle leaf figs do not mind bright lights. Therefore, please place them in an east-facing window that receives plenty of sun hours throughout the day.

To help them absorb more light, clean the leaves occasionally and remove the accumulated dirt.

4. Re-potting the Plant

If the roots are peaking out the drainage holes, it is time to re-pot your fiddle leaf figs. Re-pot only during the spring and early summers.

On average, you can re-pot them once every two years.

Not sure when to re-pot your fiddle leaf fig? Read here.

Conclusion

Nothing can be more hurtful than seeing your beloved plants lose all their leaves.

Fiddle leaf figs are tricky and needy plants. Sometimes, despite putting in plenty of effort, plant lovers find it hard to find that perfect growing conditions. 

I hope this article was helpful for you to understand the causes for leaf drops in your fiddle leaf figs, along with the solutions and the preventive measures. 

A happy and fuller fiddle leaf figs will not just make you happy but also elevate the décor in your living space.

Go ahead and nail down the causes of excessive leaf drop!

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