Why Are the Leaves of My Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Curling Up

People with bigger homes, wide-open living areas, spacious hotel lobbies, or large backyards are always searching for plants that can fill up an empty corner or completely enhance a room or landscape’s overall outlook. 

While money plants, snake plants, or other popularly available succulents can be beautiful, they cannot create the impact or statement needed to fill out or decorate a larger space.

Hence, if you are someone who feels that their living space, office, or restaurant is missing the main centerpiece of attraction, take our advice and get yourself a beautiful and tall Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. 

Characterized by its highly distinguishable violin-shaped leaves, deep green foliage, and towering height, the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is a stunning gem from Western Africa that can be grown indoors and outdoors.

Although the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s massive size and fast growth rate may seem challenging to maintain, it is quite the opposite.

Despite the undeniable and dramatic allure, a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is an incredible planter that can display commendable resilience and high tolerance when exposed to unideal living conditions.

Hence, if you tend to worry about your house plants due to your hectic schedule or traveling requirements, know that your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree will do just fine without your constant attention or care. 

However, although the African Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is well-reputed across the globe for its impressive ten-foot-tall height and densely populated, lush-green canopy, the concerned plant owner must be well aware of its unique needs and living requirements.

If a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is deprived of its ideal living conditions for an extended period, signs of weakness and lack of sufficient hydration become evident eventually.

One such sign that is almost impossible to look past is the curling up of the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s otherwise fresh and plump leaves. 

Continue reading to learn more about what causes the leaves of an indoor potted Fiddle Leaf Fig tree to curl up.

Let’s get started! 

Why Are the Leaves of My Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Curling Up?

Whether you grow your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree indoors or plant it outdoors, its healthy leaves will always be super glossy, deep green, and larger than most other leaves in your planter collection.

However, you and your visitors can only enjoy your tall African Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s dramatic shine and deep green freshness when its needs and requirements are carefully looked after.

When a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is constantly ignored or mistakenly provided the incorrect care routines, its undeniable beauty and African allure are bound to fade away.

Usually, the organ that will first display early signs of poor care and neglect is the leaves.

Hence, if the leaves of your potted or planted Fiddle Leaf Fig tree are losing their deep green pigment, turning yellow, or curling up, it’s a sign your plant is not doing so well.

However, what causes the leaves to curl up? And what can you do about it if you’re in the USA and you start to notice your fiddle leaf fig tree leaves curling up?

The curling up is a coping mechanism or an attempt at survival made by the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree to reduce its leaves’ surface area to volume ratio so that it can limit the loss of any more water through transpiration or diffusion.

Some of the primary reasons that cause the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s leaves to curl up and act this way are as follows:


Generally, a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree must be watered at least once in five to seven days.

The goal is to keep the soil of your African plant moderately moist at all times and to only water it once when its soil has thoroughly dried out.

However, although this watering routine works fine most of the time, it is vital to be aware of the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s location and changing requirements.

For instance, if your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is planted out in your backyard, its overall hydration will be affected by the commonly practiced watering routine and the external weather conditions.

If you continue to water your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree once a week, the overwatered soil might cause a fungal infection despite the soil being sufficiently damp during the rainy season. 

Similarly, if you water your indoor potted Fiddle Leaf Fig tree more than once a week, the same fungal infection can also occur indoors.

If the fungal infection is not noticed or treated immediately, the fungus can grow and spread over the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s roots, causing root rot.

Eventually, when most of the dead and decaying roots have been consumed by the growing fungus, the entire Fiddle Leaf Fig tree will be deprived of proper hydration.

As a result, the violin-shaped leaves will lose their natural turgidity and dry up before curling inwards. 


Besides overwatering your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, underwatering can cause its leaves to curl up, regardless of where it is planted.

When a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is planted outdoors, it is constantly exposed to ever-changing external environments. Hence, if the changes in the weather cause the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s leaves to lose more water than usual, its watering requirements go up.

When the plant parent refuses to change their African plant’s watering routine and continues to water the plant only once per week, its leaves curl up to reduce their exposed surface area to the external environment.

Similarly, the planter is bound to suffer from dehydration when a plant parent either forgets or misses their indoor potted Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s watering date due to traveling or busy work life.

As a result, its leaves begin to curl up before they turn yellow and fall off. 

Direct Sunlight Exposure

Although a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree can be planted indoors and outdoors, it does not do as well when exposed to direct sunlight.

When a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is placed under direct light, the heat from the sun causes its internal temperature to go up.

As a result, the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree reacts by transpiring water droplets from its leaves. When the transpired-out water evaporates from the surface of the violin-shaped leaves, a cooling effect is produced, and the plant’s internal temperature goes down.

However, as brilliant as this natural coping mechanism is, it does affect the African plant’s hydration. Hence, when such conditions are repeated frequently, the plant loses too much water, and the leaves curl up to limit any further transpiration.

This is exactly why it is advised to plant your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree indoors and only allow indirect sunlight to reach its leaves.

High External Humidity

As mentioned above, excessive moisture in the soil can cause a fungal infection to cause root rot, which can be severe enough to cause the plant to die before it’s meant to.

However, the soil’s moisture is not entirely dependent on how often the plant is watered.

Instead, external humidity will play a significant role in how damp the soil is and how long it takes for the soil to dry out completely.

When a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is planted outdoors, it is almost impossible to control the humidity around it.

Hence, the chances of a fungal infection and root rot increase when the tall plant is watered once a week, despite its soil being wet as a result of atmospheric humidity.

Similarly, since no wind or air blows around inside a home, humidity can build up quite easily. As a result, scheduled watering can excessively dampen the soil, leading to root rot and the curling up of the ’s leaves.

Low External Humidity

Besides high humidity, low external humidity can also lead to a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s leaves losing their natural plumpness and shape.

When the air around the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is too dry, water begins to involuntarily diffuse out of the plant’s leaves, down a concentration gradient.

If too much water leaves the plant, its leaves react by curling up to limit any further dehydration.

High External Temperature

When a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is planted outdoors, the direct heat from the sun can cause its temperature to go up, resulting in dehydration and the curling of its leaves.

However, the same damaging situation can occur if an indoor potted Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is placed near a fireplace or a heater.

Delayed Repotting

Poor Drainage

If the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is planted inside poorly draining soil, or its pot lacks proper drainage holes, water accumulating inside the soil increases.

If nothing is done to remove the extra water, fungal infection, and root rot can occur, which will cause the leaves to curl up.

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Final Thoughts

When the leaves of a potted or planted Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree begin to curl up, know that the planter is either overwatered or underwatered. The best tip is to revise the watering routine, so it is well-adapted to a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s particular watering requirements and external living conditions.

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