Fig plants belong to the Moraceae or Mulberry family. With more than 1100 species and 40 genera, this family produces flowering plants.
Many of them also have edible fruit. Though native to the Mediterranean countries, Fig trees are also prominent in some Asian regions. Fig fruits resemble pears and are rich in potassium, calcium, and other nutrients.
What Causes Fig Tree Leaves to Turn Yellow?
Your Fig tree leaves may turn yellow for several reasons, such as inadequate water supply, nutrient deficiency, transplant shock, or pest attack. The lack or excess of water can be stressful for your plant. It gives the leaves a poor appearance and health. Leaves can also be affected when the plant does not receive enough nitrogen. Pests like mealybugs can also harm its foliage.
What Does a Healthy Fig Plant Look Like?
A healthy Fig plant is a happy plant. Its trunk can have a diameter of almost 7 inches (2.54 centimeter) and grow up to 20-30 feet (6-9 meter). Depending on its type, the plant can bloom twice a year.
If it is a common Fig plant, like Brown Turkey, you can expect it to produce abundant fruit. Other varieties, like Fiddle Leaf Fig, can grow fruit at any time of the year.
Fig trees grow fast and have deeply-lobed, lovely leaves. They have the color of moss and pickles.
What Does it Take to Keep a Fig Plant Happy?
After years of domestication, Fig plants have become easy to grow. It is also why they are popular as houseplants. They have quite basic requirements, like regular watering and direct sunlight.
You do not have to fertilize and prune them frequently as well.
You should plant the Fig plants deep in well-drained soil. Then, they can grow into fabulous trees without asking for much.
However, sometimes the lack of proper care can cause issues. These are easily identifiable if you keep an eye open for problems like the yellowing of the once-green leaves.
What Happens if You Ignore the Yellow Leaves?
You may find that partial or entire leaves on your Fig tree are turning yellow. Initially, there may be yellow specks here and there. But if you don’t control the damage, the yellow might take over until the entire leaf looks pale.
Not treating the cause can further harm your Fig tree as the edges of the leaves may become brown and crunchy. They may begin to droop, wilt, or fall of the tree.
I’ve noticed that the fallen leaves create an autumn-like scenario. The yellowing of leaves is a warning that your Fig plant’s health is suffering and needs proper care.
Detailed Reasons Behind the Yellowing of Fig Tree Leaves
There can be many potential causes behind the unhealthy transformation of your Fig tree leaves. So, I composed a detailed description for each.
When we change homes, it takes us a while to adjust to the new surroundings. Similarly, plants are also attached to their familiar places. So, relocating them increases their stress.
You may see yellow leaves on a Fig plant if you recently repotted it. It can also occur if you merely placed the pot somewhere else. It is because the direction of the sunlight, humidity, and other natural factors may change.
Fig plants thrive in warm and moderate temperatures. A region with cooler temperatures is more likely to misbalance it. Hence, placing your Fig plant in a colder and darker room can drastically change its appearance.
Irregular Watering Schedule
Fig plants, especially the young ones, require a regular water schedule to stay healthy. It is because they are still in the growing phase.
They develop a complex root system as they age. So, the older trees can search for water deep in the soil. Young Fig plants are not capable of fending for themselves. It means overwatering and dehydration can be fatal.
Watering your Fig plant irregularly (like too much water on some days and none on others) is a recipe for stress. Too much water creates puddles around their roots, irritating the plants. It can also cause hazards like root rot.
Contrarily, too little water hinders the absorption of minerals. The transport of nutrients in your Fig plant also suffers.
Both of these scenarios can cause the leaves to turn yellow or bronze.
Fig tree relies on multi-faceted nutrients for proper functioning. The primary macronutrients comprise phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. Potassium speeds up the growth of a robust root system. Nitrogen provides raw materials for protein production.
If not for the protein, your Fig plant would not be able to survive and grow. A deficiency of nitrogen restricts healthy cell divisions. Subsequently, the Fig plant cannot reach its ideal height as a tree.
It may not bloom or produce edible fruits. Nitrogen is also a vital component of chlorophyll (the green pigment in Fig plants). So, its lack directly impacts the appearance of leaves.
On the plus side, the discoloration can help you identify and treat nutrient deficiency.
Unfortunately, Fig trees can attract many nasty pests. Because Fig fruit and tree sap are sweet, bugs find these plants irresistible.
Mealybug infestations are a common problem that Fig growers face. You can identify them by checking Fig stems and monitoring the yellowish leaves. If you find a white fluffy substance stuck to your plant, you should turn to mealybug remedies.
Another creepy breed of bugs, Aphids, can also cause your Fig plant to turn pale. You should check on the underside of the leaves for dark brown, crawling pests. Other symptoms include the swelling of stems and the withering of Fig flowers.
How to Save a Fig Plant With Yellow Leaves?
For treating the plant, it is crucial that you identify the correct cause first. Here are some tips for curing each potential problem.
Dealing With the Stress of Relocation
You can make the procedure easier by preparing your Fig plant beforehand. Make sure you water it a few hours before shifting. This will provide it the opportunity to relax and fully absorb water.
While moving your Fig plant, you should deal with it gently. Make sure that the leaves don’t scratch against rough surfaces and that the roots stay together. I usually make a cone from foil to temporarily place on my plant while relocating it.
You can solve the water problems by maintaining a consistent water schedule.
You may suspect that the roots are flooded with water. At that time, repotting your Fig plant to well-drained soil would be a good idea.
Feeding the Fig Tree
If leaves turn yellow and the tree shows low growth overall, it is time to fertilize it.
Pure nitrogen fertilizers may seem tempting, but the excess of nitrogen can be harmful. It is better to purchase a well-balanced fertilizer and then follow its guidelines.
Controlling the Pests
I’ve found that the best way to treat mealybugs is by dipping some cotton in ethanol and water. You can then use it to dab the affected area.
On the contrary, it is easy to wear protective gloves and pick Aphids by hand from your Fig tree leaves.
If these household tips don’t seem to work, purchasing pesticides would be the smartest idea.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fig Trees and Yellow Leaves
Can my Fig tree recover from yellow leaves?
There are multiple causes for fig tree leaves turning yellow. Examples are irregular waterings, nutrient deficiency, transplant shock, or pest attacks. For a Fig tree to recover from yellow leaves it is essential to identify the root cause and apply countermeasures accordingly.
Which fertilizer should I get to reduce yellow leaves on my Fig tree?
You can choose a fertilizer based on its application method. For yellow leaves on a Fig tree, a liquid foliar application is advised to provide your Fig tree with nutrients quickly.
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.