Fiddle Leaf Fig plants are absolutely gorgeous to look at – but unfortunately, they can be seriously sensitive. It’s not unheard of for this plant to start dropping leaves when you least expect it. But “why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig dropping leaves at all,” you might ask!
As it happens, there are a few reasons your fig leaf may be shedding its foliage. It’s usually a cry for help. Here are the main reasons why it’s shedding and what you can do to turn things around.
Reason 1: It’s in shock
Fiddle leaf figs, while spectacular to behold, are temperamental. Moving your plant or even surrounding it with other green neighbors may send it into shock, therefore resulting in leaves dropping off.
This stress-prone plant may start dropping leaves if there’s a difference in light or humidity compared to what it’s used to. Or, you may have mishandled it a little while moving it around.
If you move a fiddle leaf from a greenhouse into a darkened room, for example, it won’t cope well. It’s best to try and keep your setup consistent if you want to keep leaves in place.
Try to house your Fiddle Leaf Fig somewhere where it’s unlikely to witness much commotion or environmental change. It may recover from shock, but sadly, too much stress can cause this plant to die off.
Reason 2: You’re not watering it properly
The Fiddle Leaf Fig is one of those houseplants that reacts poorly if its watering schedule isn’t “just right.” It will experience root smothering if it succumbs to an abundance of water in too high a dosage, which makes it harder for the plant to soak up nutrients.
On the other hand, your plant will also start shriveling leaves if you do not water it frequently enough. Be sure to allow for around 34 oz of water per week for Fiddle Leafs of mid-size. It won’t react well to waterlogged soil, so keep it lightly damp.
It may be easier to spot underwatering compared to overwatering. Either way, always check the top and first inch of soil so that it is neither too crisp nor too damp. Your plant will quickly lose leaves if it gets too few nutrients.
Reason 3: It’s either too cold or too hot
Again, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is notoriously sensitive, which means it may also drop leaves if the temperature is too cold or too hot.
On the upper end of the temperature scale, this plant will start dehydrating and losing leaves if subjected to heat more than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It won’t tolerate rooms that dip below 60 F on the cold end. The sweet spot, therefore, is between 60 and 75.
This trigger for leaf loss can occur even if there is abundant sunlight. Check nearby heaters and your central heating system so your plants aren’t suffering from either extreme.
Some plant lovers may wish to use an air conditioning or HVAC system to regulate temperatures. Alternatively, you could keep your Fiddle Leaf Figs in a makeshift greenhouse inside the home and regulate.
Keep houseplants away from HVAC directly – there are plenty of benefits, but direct heat is a no-no.
If your plant’s too hot, it is of course recommended that you increase the watering schedule a little once you’re at ambient temperature. However, adjust to your regular schedule as soon as possible to avoid shock and overwatering.
Reason 4: It’s overfed
Too much fertilizer can also cause Fiddle Leaf Figs to eschew leaves. This occurs due to overgrowth, which can prevent the plants from soaking up enough water to thrive. Effectively, the water you give your plant just won’t reach it.
Consistent fertilizer is crucial, as is consistent watering. You’ll probably only need to feed this plant once every month when it’s warm, and barely at all during winter. Some plant enthusiasts advise against feeding the Fiddle Leaf Fig at all during colder months.
Ideally, you should offer your Fiddle Leaf Fig a ratio in your fertilizer of around 3% nitrogen to 2% potassium and 1% phosphorus. This will help to stimulate healthy growth if dosed minimally.
Reason 5: It’s in the wrong spot
Yes, even poor light balance can cause serious problems for your Fiddle Leaf Fig. This poor plant will never fare well if you move it from a dark room to a sunny windowsill or vice versa. As mentioned, it’s highly susceptible to shock.
Consider placing Fiddle Leaf Figs towards west or south-facing windows. Check leaves carefully as the growth season progresses (i.e. during summer), and adjust if there’s droppage or shriveling.
In some cases, the Fiddle Leaf Fig will do well as one of the best east-facing houseplants – just judge where the sunlight arrives most intensively each day.
You should never keep a Fiddle Leaf Fig under cover of darkness. Bright light is a must, but avoid blasting it with sunshine – again, it’s highly susceptible.
Reason 6: It’s not draining properly
I mentioned above that the Fiddle Leaf Fig abhors dampness and overwatering. As such, it will also start dropping leaves if you leave it to stand in water. This will also help to bring on root rot, which will eventually kill the plant if left unattended.
Dropping leaves can indicate poor drainage, but so can black spotting. Even if your Fiddle Leaf is developing brown spots, ensure it’s draining well.
Use a drainage tray and ensure the plant’s growth medium is well-aerated and quick to drain. This will help the Fiddle Leaf Fig’s roots to breathe easier regardless of where you position it in your home.
Reason 7: It’s in the wrong size pot
Sometimes, too small a pot for your Fiddle Leaf can result in root rot, as water continues to dampen the soil and prevent air from getting to the plant. Consider repotting your plant into a new container if leaves are falling and you’ve tried to amend all of the above.
Root rot is a pain to deal with if you have to, as it may mean having to dig deep into the soil for plant surgery. In some cases, rotten roots may spell the end of your plant altogether.
Reason 8: It’s infected
Fiddle Leaf Figs are also susceptible to various diseases and bacterial infections and will also come under threat from pests such as spider mites. As such, you’ll need to take action as soon as you see leaves falling from your specimen.
Again, if there’s an infection in play, you may also be able to tell quickly if you see spotting across the plant. In the worst case scenarios, you may have to remove the leaves from your plant and completely repot it.
If this is the case, give your Fig time to readjust anew. It’ll need completely sterile soil or growth medium and will need gentle watering to kick-start its new livelihood.
Above all, if you are growing other plants close to a Fiddle Leaf Fig that’s likely diseased or suffering from an infection, move it away from the crowd immediately. Plants can, regrettably, share conditions that can lead to widespread casualties.
Will my Fiddle Leaf Fig start growing leaves back?
If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is dropping leaves, the good news is that it’s not the end of the road for the whole plant. However, once a leaf drops, its associated node will die, too.
This plant can’t grow leaves back in the same places but will regrow new leaves if brought back to full health. Generally, if your plant has around three to seven leaves left, it’ll likely recover easily (from conditions such as shock).
Should I worry if my Fiddle Leaf Fig is dropping leaves?
A Fiddle Leaf Fig that drops leaves isn’t rare, but it’s still a sign you need to show your plant a little care and attention. This plant will often warn if it’s unhappy by dropping leaves ahead of any other symptoms.
A Fiddle Leaf Fig that drops leaves is uncomfortable in its surroundings. It’ll normally need a little bit of gentle consistency to come back around. Check its light, water, temperature, and what’s happening with other plants close by.
Are Fiddle Leaf Fig plants hard to look after?
Fiddle Leaf Figs can be easy to care for, but they’re very sensitive. That means providing you keep your plant(s) in an optimal environment for temperature and light, and water it sparingly, you’ll likely get a lot of life out of your specimen.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is a gorgeous specimen that will bring a lot of visual joy to your space! However – and I speak from personal experience here – you’ll likely see it dropping leaves at one point or another.
Thankfully, there’s nothing to worry about too much providing you act fast. Put my tried and tested advice above to the test, and see if you can breathe new life into your plants!