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Yellow Leaves on Fig Trees — Reasons & Remedies

Yellow Leaves on Fig Trees — Reasons & Remedies

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Are you noticing a concerning change in the color of your fig tree leaves, specifically a shift to yellow?

Let’s explore why this might be happening.

Fig Tree Leaves Turning Yellow

Your Fig tree leaves are turning yellow due to inadequate watering, nutrient deficiency, transplant shock, or pest infestation. Insufficient or excess water can stress the plant, leading to poor leaf health. A lack of nitrogen also affects the leaves. Pests such as mealybugs can damage the 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 centimeters) and grow up to 20-30 feet (6-9 meters). 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 off 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, adjusting to the new surroundings takes us a while. 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.

Nutrient Deficiency

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.

Pest Attacks

Unfortunately, Fig trees can attract many nasty pests. Bugs find these plants irresistible because Fig fruit and tree sap are sweet.

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.

Water Problems

You can solve the water problems by maintaining a consistent water schedule.

You may suspect that the roots are flooded with water. Repotting your Fig plant to well-drained soil at that time 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 excess 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, wearing protective gloves and picking Aphids by hand from your Fig tree leaves is easy.

If these household tips don’t work, purchasing pesticides would be yet another option.

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.