Fiddle leaf figs are some of the most beautiful indoor plants I have ever grown, and I am very proud of them.
So imagine my concern when I noticed my prized Ficus Lyrata or fiddle leaf fig was dropping leaves.
Was my plant dying? What should I do? Here’s what I discovered.
Why A Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Dropping Leaves
There are eight reasons for Fiddle Leaf Figs to drop their leaves, namely, too much water, too little water, extreme heat, or extreme cold temperatures. Sudden changes in light and bacterial infection can also be possible reasons for leaf fall, but the resulting stress of any of these conditions is what usually causes the Ficus to drop leaves.
Reasons Why Fiddle Leaf Figs Drop Leaves
Reason One: Too Much Water
When you overwater your Ficus or Fiddle Leaf Fig, you not only cause the plant to experience a change in pH, but you also smother the roots, causing the Ficus to be unable to absorb nutrients and water in the correct proportions.
This was news for me—I had been overwatering my Ficus!
When the roots and potting soil are completely saturated, it causes root rot to occur. My Ficus was dying because the roots were no longer healthy.
Reason Two: Too Little Water
I discovered there’s a delicate balance between too little and too much water.
When a Ficus plant is not receiving enough water, it will immediately affect the leaves, which will shrivel up and fall off.
Sometimes, the roots are so densely overgrown in the pot that water only reaches the outside roots, but the inside roots remain dry. This can also cause leaf fall.
Water your Fiddle Leaf Ficus no more than 34 ounces of water per week for a large Ficus. The soil shouldn’t be soggy; at most only damp.
Reason Three: Extreme Cold
In my home, I keep my Fiddle Leaf Ficus near the window in summer as the sunlight and heat are beneficial to the plant.
So when I noticed a sudden leaf fall, I thought about what part I was doing wrong.
It turns out my neighbor had built an addition to his home, cutting off the sunlight and reducing the ambient temperature at my window by about four degrees Fahrenheit.
Ficus prefer temperatures between 60 – 75 Fahrenheit all year round. Once I moved my Ficus to a warmer room, it began to recover.
In winter, I now use my HVAC system to increase the ambient temperature and ensure my Ficus is nice and toasty.
Reason Four: Extreme Heat
I gave my aunt a Ficus as a gift, and living in a warmer climate, she placed hers on the front porch, only to have the leaves fall off within a week.
We took a temperature reading, and it turns out her front porch is definitely on the hellishly hot side.
The temperatures well exceeded 75 Fahrenheit, which means the Ficus had begun to dehydrate and lose water through the leaves, which weakened the leaf structure, causing the leaf fall.
Moving her Ficus into a room with a lower ambient temperature solved the problem.
When her Ficus is experiencing too much heat, she knows to lower the temperature and increase the watering ratio a little bit per week.
Reason Five: Consider Lighting Too
The Fiddle Leaf Ficus is sensitive to changes in light. Moving it from one room to the other is not a good idea.
My family knows that when I place my Ficus in a spot, then it must remain there since it receives the best light.
Placing your Ficus in a windowless bathroom will result in leaf fall and death, so keep your Ficus happy.
Reason Six: Don’t Overfeed Your Fiddle Leaf Ficus
While you may think fertilizing the soil of your Ficus monthly is a good idea, I discovered it isn’t.
Initially, it may look like my Ficus is thriving, but within a few weeks, I noticed limp leaves and soon leaf fall followed.
The roots had absorbed a lot of fertilizer, causing them to grow too fast, blocking out water absorption. This meant the water I was giving wasn’t reaching the plant.
Reason Seven: Bacterial Infection
If you notice spotty leaves, you should remove these immediately to prevent further contamination.
Reason Eight: Stress
The Fiddle Leaf Ficus is a temperamental plant, and I find that if I move it, or when I bring a new plant home, it will go through a period of stress.
Therefore, I always place it in a quiet room with minimal movement and good lighting to settle.
Stronger plants adapt better to a new placement, but new plants can quickly shed leaves and die.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why A Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Dropping Leaves
Is it normal for Fiddle Leaf Fig to drop leaves?
A Ficus is an evergreen, and it will usually drop leaves when it is in distress, sick, or dying. So, it isn’t normal for the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig to drop.
Why is my indoor fig tree’s leaves dropping?
When your Ficus is dropping leaves, you can consider the following reasons: Too much water, too little water, not enough light and too little heat, too much light and excessive heat, and environmental stress. Airflow from fans and AC units can also strip the Ficus of moisture and heat.
Will leaves grow back on fiddle leaf fig?
Once your Ficus has shed a leaf, that node will die. The plant will not regrow the same leaf, so ensuring the leaves remain healthy is important to ensure the Fiddle Leaf Ficus survives.
Turning A New Leaf
Finally, your Fiddle Leaf Ficus will eventually recover enough to grow new leaf nodes and produce new leaves, but given the size of each leaf, this will take some time.
When in distress such as when losing leaves, the Fiddle Leaf Ficus will need careful minding to ensure the plant recovers.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.