I brought a weeping fig a few years ago that managed to grow a couple of feet every year, but for the last few weeks, my beloved plant started shedding an enormous amount of leaves.
Only after researching the plant, I learned that leaf shedding is one of the first signs that my plant is dying.
Here is what I came to know –Too much or too little of anything can kill your Weeping fig quickly than you can imagine.
Leaves shedding, cracks on the limbs, yellowing foliage, and slowed growth are often the first signs of a suffering plant.
Be mindful of these tell-tale signs and probe further into the problem if you own a weeping fig.
In most cases, you can quickly fix your dying plant by pruning, fertilizing, changing soil, or scheduling watering and sunlight.
So, all hope is not lost!
Here is the list of all the possible problems and solutions for your beloved plant.
Table of Contents
- Weeping Fig Problems and Solutions
- 1. Seasonal Leaf Loss
- 2. Brown or Hollow Leaves
- 3. Tip Blight
- 4. Yellow or Curling Leaves
- 5. Yellow or Brown Spots on Leaves
- 6. Pale or Springy Leaves
- 7. Root Rot
- 8. Dry and Falling Leaves
- 9. Yellow Mottling or Bronzing of the leaves
- 10. Whitish Substance in the Leaf
- 11. Brown, White, Pink, or Black Raised Bumps
- 12. Slowed Growth
- Tips to Avoid Problems in Weeping Fig
- To Sum It Up
Weeping Fig Problems and Solutions
The weeping fig will become a lovely plant with arching branches and lush green leaves when grown in the right conditions.
However, be wary of wrong growing conditions because they may respond to every problem with shedding leaves.
FYI, here is the list of each problem and its solution.
1. Seasonal Leaf Loss
Weeping fig will naturally lose their leaves as a part of seasonal growth, mostly during fall and winter, so you need not worry about minimal leaf loss.
However, beware of excessive leaves shedding because it is the first and only sign for underlying problems related to wrong conditions.
Overwatering or under-watering, placing the plant near heat vent or drafts, the lack of nitrogen, and low light are probable causes of excessive leaf drop in Weeping fig.
Here are a few ways you can prevent excessive leaf drop and seasonal shedding.
- Increase the humidity around the plant by lightly misting it.
- Keep the soil moist around the base but do not overwater the plant!
- Use a humidifier as a quick solution to fix dropping humidity inside the room.
- Remove plants from the room with heating units or AC.
- Add multiple houseplants inside the room to maintain the humidity required for the Weeping fig.
Read more about Why is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves?
2. Brown or Hollow Leaves
Browning leaves, or holes may tell that your plant is getting too much sunlight or is infected by the fungus-related disease.
A fungal disease called Anthracnose may invade the weakened ficus plant that will darken the leaves into the brownish shade.
It is more prevalent in the rainy season since the fungi need water to germinate.
Phomopsis canker is another disease caused by Fungi that may cause plant leaves to turn brown and persist.
The affected plant may start producing cankers that are usually sharp and appear sunken.
Therefore, be wary about these signs and act accordingly.
- Start with moving your plant to an area that receives at least six hours of filtered (indirect) sunlight.
- Avoid keeping them outside or close to windows that may receive high-intensity sunbeams.
- Compensate the lack of the sun by using grow lights such as fluorescent lighting.
- Remove and dispose of infected leaves to decrease the spread.
- Cutaway canker stricken leaves to stop the growth of Phomopsis canker.
Pro Tip: Use chlorothalonil fungicide Ortho Max Garden Disease Control to prevent Anthracnose and Phomopsis. Mix the solution with water and spray thoroughly over the plant before and during the monsoon.
3. Tip Blight
Tip blight or phomes tip blight affects the tips of young leaf and new shoots of Weeping fig.
The rising humidity level inside the room and infected fresh cuts after pruning may lead to Phomes tip blight pathogen.
Start with checking for browning tips on young leaves and dropped leaves.
- Ventilate the space and remove other houseplants from the room to minimize humidity.
- Use a dehumidifier to maintain the accurate humidity required for weeping fig.
- Always disinfect your pruning shear before and after each use to prevent bacterial infection on fresh cuts.
4. Yellow or Curling Leaves
Yellow, curling leaves, or yellow with curling leaves may suggest that your plant is either not getting enough water or lacks nutrients like Nitrogen and Magnesium.
Weeping fig requires moderate watering with fertilization throughout the growing season to grow healthy stems and leaves.
However, you can completely cut back on fertilization during the dormant season (autumn and winter).
- Start with choosing a well-drained soil and pot with drainage holes.
- Provide ¾ cup or 1-1.5 liters of water once a week when the top few inches of the soil is dry, or twice a week in the scorching heat.
- Make sure the soil is slightly moist but drenched.
- Fertilize once every fortnight during the growing season with Nitrogen and magnesium-rich plant food.
5. Yellow or Brown Spots on Leaves
Many times, your weeping fig leaves may start getting yellow or brown spots on them.
Although it is mostly linked to improper watering or lighting issues, yellow and brown spots with leaf drops may suggest spider mite infestation.
To determine the cause, check under the leaves for small spots and webbings-like substances, which means it is the spider mites.
Spider mites are small, red plant-eating mites that are common in outdoor plants during rainy seasons.
They spend the winter resting in soil and come out in growing seasons and monsoon; however, this is more common with outdoor Weeping plants.
- The best solution is to take it outside and hose it down with water.
- Use a solution of detergent soap and warm water to wipe the plant down off spider mite infestation.
- Alternatively, you can use miticide spray such as Grower’s Ally Spider Mite Miticide to control spider mites.
- Beware of using insecticide on spider mites because it may instead cause their population to proliferate.
6. Pale or Springy Leaves
Pale or springy leaves may suggest a lack of sunlight, commonly seen with indoor plants in a shady location with relatively low light.
Although it may grow few feet, the leaves will turn springy and pale in color, and the foliage will quickly drop off.
Here is how you can quickly solve it.
- Change the location of your pot to a place with more indirect sunlight.
- Ensure that it receives several hours of low-intensity light generally found beside the window or doorways.
- Compensate the lack of sunlight with grows lights such as fluorescent lighting.
7. Root Rot
The overwatered plants will often suffer from root rot.
Too much water in the soil will cause waterlogging, creating a gap between the root and the ground. It makes roots float in water and invites root rot problems.
Soil fungi called Phytophthora promoted by a wet environment may also cause root rot.
To make the matter worst, underground dwelling insects easily carry the fungi from the infected root to others.
In a few cases, using too much fertilizer or tap water that contains chemicals like chlorine and fluoride may also cause root rot.
Check for tell-tale signs such as discolored leaves and slowed growth.
Probe further by sliding the plant out of the pot to check for visible signs of brownish root that is mushy to touch.
- Remove the plant and prune the rotting rot using sterilized scissors before planting it in a new pot with well-drained soil.
- Mix 1 part household hydrogen peroxide or bleach to 3 parts water and spray it over the soil. Let the soil absorb it overnight before watering your plant. This should effectively kill Phytophthora.
- Prevent waterlogging and growth of Phytophthora by watering periodically (Once a week in the growing season and once in two weeks in winter).
- It is wise to throw away the entire plant when it is badly affected by root rot.
8. Dry and Falling Leaves
It is usual for Weeping fig foliage to dry and drop off during the winter when you should let your plant rest.
However, too much shedding leaves may indicate more significant problems such as too little light, low temperature (below 60oF), or severely under-watered plants.
These problems can easily be prevented by providing a proper growing condition.
However, here are some solutions for already dry and falling leaves.
- Make sure the new location gets at least six hours of indirect sunlight when you move your plant.
- Avoid keeping them in drafty places.
- When the temperature drops, consider moving them away from the window or doors.
- Water weekly during growing seasons but minimize weekly watering to once every fortnight during winter.
9. Yellow Mottling or Bronzing of the leaves
Yellow mottling or bronzing of leaves indicates either disease, environmental change, or nutrient deficiency.
When the plant leaves cannot maintain an adequate level of green pigment (chlorophyll), they may turn yellow or bronzed.
Here are few possible causes for this.
- Aphid infection on Weeping fig may suck out the nutrient Nitrogen, a vital component of chlorophyll.
- Inadequate sunlight may also cause fading of chlorophyll.
- In some cases, low temperature may slow down chlorophyll production in the plant.
- Always place your plant in a sunny location that receives at least six hours of indirect sunlight.
- Avoid keeping your plant in drafty, shady locations.
- Use aphid-control pesticides to wipe off aphids from the leaves, but beware of its adverse effects.
- Use all-purpose fertilizer such as EON Natural Plant Fertilizer for your Weeping fig to provide enough nitrogen with minimal chemical damage.
10. Whitish Substance in the Leaf
If you spot a whitish substance on the leaves, you should start suspecting for a Mealybug infection.
Mealybug insects, like scale insects, are sapsuckers that may suck your weeping fig’s leaves to make them look wilted and distorted.
It may promote the growth of whitish mold that will pass from one leaf to another, causing the development of infestation on the plant.
- Avoid bringing plants and cutting with whitish mold growth inside the house.
- Treat Mealybug infestation with a pesticide like Yates Nature’s Way Vegie And Herb Spray, or mix insecticidal soap with water to spray over the plant.
- Repeat using the spray every week until the infestation disappears.
Pro Tip: Use natural pesticides like Neem oil to kill mealybugs instead. Mix 2-4 tbsp of natural pesticide like Neem oil with one gallon water and apply it all over the plant, including the infected undersides to remove the infestation.
11. Brown, White, Pink, or Black Raised Bumps
Weeping fig’s foliage’s unusual brownish, pinkish, and black bumps may suggest disease or pest problems.
These colored bumps in the leaf underside, leaf stem, and petiole may mean scale insect infestation.
The scale insect excretes a sticky substance called honeydew that attracts ants. It also drips to a different part of plants causing black, brownish, or pinkish bumps.
In most cases, the heavily infested Weeping fig may experience severe damage or even death.
- Young-scale insect infestation can be eradicated by spraying horticultural oil or insecticidal soap on the plant.
- Use Yates Scale Gun, an oil-based spray to kill scale insects.
- Scrape off minor infestation with a plastic scraper. Prune the plant in case of heavy infestation.
12. Slowed Growth
The weeping fig is a rapidly growing plant. Therefore, witnessing a relatively slow-growing plant is quite unusual.
The slowed or stalled growth may be because of lack of water and low temperatures. Ascertain if either less watering or a dropping temperature is causing this problem.
A mature Weeping fig will need a warm temperature and at least 1-1.5 liters of water once every week.
- You should increase the frequency from once to twice a week during the hottest month but slightly lessen the water amount to 1 liter.
- Place your plant in a brightly lit area that receives at least six hours of indirect sunlight.
- These plants grow well under daytime temperatures between 75 to 85oF.
- Avoid placing them in dark and damp locations inside the room.
Check out this video to see how to revive your stressed Weeping fig.
Tips to Avoid Problems in Weeping Fig
Most problems in Weeping figs happen due to inappropriate watering, wrong location, lack of nitrogen, drafty locations, and over or under fertilization.
Instead of taking care of your plant once a month or week, consider tending to them every day to prevent the onset of common problems.
Here is how you can avoid problems with your Weeping fig in relatively few simple steps.
1. Water Appropriately
- Prevent overwatering issues by watering your plant only when the several inches of the topsoil dries out.
- Water once a week in the growing season (spring and summer) and cut back during winter.
- To avoid under watering, measure the water in 1.5 liters can before pouring it on the soil.
- Mist the leaves occasionally during summer to maintain humidity.
2. Provide Enough Sunlight
- Ensure to keep your plant in a bright room with plenty of light.
- Provide at least six hours of filtered sunlight (indirect sunlight) to the plant every day.
- Use growing light such as fluorescent when the sun is not visible for few days.
- Ensure average room temperature stays above 65°F and below 90°F.
3. Conduct Periodical Pruning
- Prune the plant periodically to prevent speedy proliferation.
- Massively trim the plant in non-growing seasons such as winter, when it is less susceptible to injury.
- Carry out minimal trimming during the growing season to remove the dead growths.
- Remove old, stale leaves and yellowing or browning leaves, followed by overhanging stems.
4. Fertilize in the Growing Season
- Fertilize once every fortnight during the growing season.
- Choose Nitrogen-rich fertilizer with NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) ratio 3:1:2.
- Use an all-purpose, diluted plant feed to prevent root burns.
- Limit feeding in autumn, and withhold fertilizing during the winter months.
5. Consider Repotting
- Transplant your weeping fig to a larger pot only when it gets so root-bound that it negatively affects the growth.
- Consider repotting in late winter or early spring when the plant is not producing new growth.
- Select a new pot 2-inch larger than the current pot, and make sure it has drainage holes.
- Use soil-based potting that contains perlite, sand, and vermiculite for improved drainage.
- Before transplanting, cut off any damaged roots that look mushy and dark with a pruning shear.
- After transplanting, water the plant thoroughly to moisten the new potting soil.
6. Optimize Soil pH Level
- Weeping fig prefers neutral soil pH, between 6 and 6.5, slightly acidic or slightly alkaline.
- Get a pH check done by a professional, or get yourself a DIY Soil pH test kit.
- Optimize the soil by adding sulfur to make it acidic or garden lime and dolomite lime to make it alkaline.
- Check again with the ph test kit and amend the soil further.
To Sum It Up
You can also grow an indoor Weeping fig plant up to 10-feet in height with smooth, gray bark and shiny, green leaves.
All you need to do is strictly follow the routine for watering, lighting, fertilizing, and pruning, and Voila! Your plant will easily manage to grow a couple of feet each year.
If you start noticing problems with your Weeping fig, compare them with the issues mentioned above to apply a reliable solution pronto!
This was all about its problems and solutions, but it also has some benefits too. Check out our article for more information: 5 Benefits of Weeping Fig Plant!