Ficus lyrata, or the fiddle leaf fig, belongs to the flowering plant species in the family Moraceae. The plant is native to western Africa and typically grows in tropical rainforests and lowland locations. The glossy violin-shaped leaves are why fiddle leaf fig is in high demand as indoor houseplants.
The heavy-veined, large leaves of fiddle leaf fig grows upright on the tall plant. However, these plants are some of the most challenging houseplants. If you do not provide your plant with adequate amounts of sunlight and proper watering, it can begin to lose its beautiful leaves.
For other plants, dropping their leaves might mean that it is under some stress, but for fiddle leaf fig, dropping leaves is an urgent plea from the plant to resolve its problems quickly.
Is Fiddle Leaf Fig Bottom Leaves Dropping Normal?
Before panicking after noticing a few bottom leaves dropping from your healthy plant, know that it is a fairly normal phenomenon for the plant.
Sometimes you take care of all the growth factors of your plant, but it still sheds a few of its bottom leaves now and then. It is a healthy growing routine of the fiddle leaf fig, as the plant drops older leaves at the bottom to channel nutrients and direct them to the younger leaves and new growth.
You should not worry about your plant losing leaves at the bottom when the dropped leaves do not contain any unhealthy brown spots or holes or if the stems are not brown, which can indicate root rot. Healthy dropped leaves are free of brown spots and excessive yellowing.
However, if the dropped leaves have such marks, some negligence in its growing conditions causes the plant leaf to die and drop prematurely.
Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves?
Fiddle leaf fig is known for its luscious foliage but grows rather slowly. The worst thing that could happen to it is losing the large leaves that probably took months to grow to their full size.
The most obvious reason a fiddle leaf fig is experiencing dropping leaves is that it doesn’t like its growing conditions. Many factors contribute to the loosing of leaves, including overwatering, transplant shock, underwatering, temperature fluctuations, and improper light conditions.
Overwatering any plant species will always result in one of the most common issues: waterlogged roots and soil. Many houseplants are susceptible to the careless watering schedule by their owners, which can result in getting too much more water than they need.
A fiddle leaf fig will show its symptoms of overwatering by developing brown spots on its leaves, which can further progress to brown shaded areas along the middle of the leaf surface.
The older and bottom leaves are the first to go, as they die due to a lack of nourishment from the plant’s roots. A fiddle leaf fig needs very little water every week, depending upon its plant size. This is why if you are overwatering it, you are drenching its soil so that there is no space for air and oxygen, and if this condition progresses, it can even lead to root rot.
How Do You Save an Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig?
If you think you have overwatered your plant, you can check it by noticing signs of distress on the plant, like browning leaves and dropping of older leaves. Afterward, you can remove the plant from the container and look at the roots and soil.
Dripping or soaked soil giving off an unpleasant smell suggests you are overwatering your plant. Repot your plant and place it in a new well-draining container with fresh potting soil.
When you water your fiddle leaf fig in the future, check whether the pot allows excess water drainage. Allow the soil to dry out properly between watering, and do not overwater them again.
2. Transplant Shock
Transplanting a plant is often necessary if it has overgrown its given container and needs more room to grow or if the mature plant is not adaptable to the place where it was planted as a seedling.
Fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves can also be a symptom of transplant shock, as this plant undergoes a lot of stress during its movement and adjusting to its new environment. These temperamental plants are happy with a consistent environment, with new conditions taking a toll on their beautiful foliage.
If you recently reported your fiddle leaf fig and noticed middle or bottom leaves dropping, it indicates the plant’s reaction to transplant shock. While it is typical for fiddle leaf fig to drop leaves in response to environmental changes, it is essential to take consistent care of its needs so that the plant can recover from the shock as soon as possible.
How Long Does a Fiddle Leaf Fig Take To Heal From Transplant Shock?
It is necessary to repot a fiddle leaf fig when it needs space to grow and expand, but disturbing the plant roots exposes them to air, which will cause stress. Fiddle leaf fig takes longer to recover from transplant shock than other plants and may develop some yellow leaves and drop a few others.
Allow your plant to heal, and avoid unnecessary remedies that can further disturb it. It can take a few weeks for the plant to recover, but if the problem still persists, other underlying factors can contribute to fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves.
Even though fiddle leaf fig needs water only about once a week, exposing it to a huge water delay for weeks and months is cruel to the plant.
An underwatered fiddle leaf fig will start to develop brown spots on the edges of its leaves, which will progress to the whole leaf surface. Finally, the fiddle leaf fig would drop its dried-out and dead leaves.
Another symptom of an underwatered fiddle leaf fig is hard, compact soil that shrinks away and recedes from the edge of its pot. The leaves would look floppy and withered; that is how you can check that your fiddle leaf fig immediately needs watering.
How Do You Help an Underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Always ensure that the top 2 to 3 inches of your plant soil is dry before watering it. A fiddle leaf fig can go up to 10 days without water; if the soil dries out completely, it will lose its leaves after they turn dry, crispy, and curling.
A root-bound fiddle leaf fig will also suffer due to lack of water, as the densely grown roots will not allow the water to transport from the outer to inner roots. The result is dry roots which then affect the whole plant.
4. Temperature Fluctuations
Fiddle leaf figs are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Placing them in rooms where air conditioning or heating vents can disturb the plant’s surrounding temperature and humidity will put your plant under stress.
A fiddle leaf fig thrives in temperatures between 60° to 80°F and often drops its leaves during an excessively hot or cold draft. Fiddle leaf figs especially do not do well in colder conditions, so placing your plant in a freezing spot can result in excessive shock and stress, leading to leaf loss.
How to Help a Fiddle Leaf Fig in Improper Temperature Conditions?
Fiddle leaf fig demand consistent temperature conditions. It is better to bring your plant inside the house if temperatures outside are dropping fast. The best approach is to bring the fiddle leaf fig indoors during the onset of winter so that the plant would not suffer from a sudden drop in temperature.
5. Improper Light Conditions
Fiddle leaf figs thrive in humid and warm rainforest environments in their native habitat. This is why if you have bought an indoor fiddle leaf, expect it to demand direct morning and afternoon light. Your plant must be placed in front of an eastern or western window, with unobstructed sunlight exposure.
The plant needs 6 hours of sunlight every day, and if you fail to provide that, the fiddle leaf fig leaves will start drooping. When this plant does not receive adequate lighting, it will result in leaf death and, eventually, dropping leaves.
How Do You Know if a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Is Getting Enough Light?
Leaf quality is the most prominent indicator of whether or not your fiddle leaf fig is happy with its lighting conditions.
Move your plant to a south-facing, eastern, or western window, as these locations offer the brightest light to your plant. If the low light conditions have worsened and you want to help your plant more than that, then repotting can be considered.
Using a better drainage pot with fast-draining soil will help your plant lose excess water and breathe properly.
Fiddle leaf fig bottom leaves dropping is a normal and healthy phenomenon. However, before you completely overlook this plant’s action, it is necessary to check for any signs of stress or disease that the plant is trying to show. Taking care of the fiddle leaf fig growing conditions is essential to maintain the healthy appearance of this beautiful but challenging houseplant.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.