Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is a popular indoor plant because of its large, glossy, violin-shaped leaves. But despite being a beloved houseplant, fiddle leaf figs can be finicky and require specific care to thrive. Fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves is a common problem that many fiddle leaf fig owners encounter. In this article, we’ll explore the most common reasons why your fiddle leaf fig may be losing leaves and provide tips to help you prevent further leaf drop.
Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive plants that can react negatively to changes in their environment, including water, light, and temperature. While some leaf drop is normal, excessive leaf drop can be a sign of a problem. By understanding the reasons why your fiddle leaf fig may be losing leaves, you can take steps to prevent further leaf drop and ensure that your plant remains healthy and vibrant.
2. Normal Leaf Loss
First, it’s important to note that some leaf loss is normal for fiddle leaf figs. As the plant grows, older leaves may yellow and drop off. This is a natural process, and it’s nothing to be concerned about as long as the new growth is healthy and the plant is otherwise thriving.
One of the most common reasons why fiddle leaf figs drop leaves is underwatering. When a fiddle leaf fig doesn’t receive enough water, its leaves may turn brown and fall off. To prevent this, it’s important to water your fiddle leaf fig regularly and thoroughly. Make sure that the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged, and avoid letting the soil dry out completely between waterings.
Read more about our Watering Guide for Fiddle Leaf Fig
On the other hand, overwatering can also cause leaf drop in fiddle leaf figs. When the soil is too wet, the roots can become waterlogged and start to rot, which can cause the leaves to wilt and fall off. To prevent overwatering, make sure that your fiddle leaf fig is planted in well-draining soil and avoid watering it too frequently. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, and never let your plant sit in standing water.
5. Lack of Humidity
Fiddle leaf figs are native to tropical regions, and they thrive in humid environments. If the air in your home is dry, your fiddle leaf fig may be losing leaves as a result. To increase humidity, you can place a humidifier near your plant or group it with other plants to create a microclimate. Alternatively, you can mist your plant regularly or place a tray of water near it to provide some moisture.
6. Low Light
Fiddle leaf figs require bright, indirect light to thrive. If your plant isn’t getting enough light, its leaves may turn brown and fall off. To prevent this, make sure that your plant is placed in a bright spot near a window but out of direct sunlight. If your home doesn’t receive a lot of natural light, you may need to supplement with artificial light.
Read our Guide for Fiddle Leaf Fig Sunlight Requirements
7. Cold Temperatures
Fiddle leaf figs are tropical plants and are sensitive to cold temperatures. When exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C), their leaves can start to turn brown and drop. To prevent this, make sure to keep your plant in a warm and draft-free location, away from windows and doors that may let in cold air. If your plant is near a drafty window, you can place a barrier like a curtain or plastic film to protect it from the cold.
8. Root Bound
When a fiddle leaf fig outgrows its pot, its roots can become root-bound, meaning they’ve grown so much that they start to circle the base of the pot. This can cause the plant to become stressed and drop leaves. To prevent this, make sure to repot your fiddle leaf fig every 1-2 years, or when you notice roots coming out of the bottom of the pot.
9. Insect Infestation
Pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can also cause leaf drop in fiddle leaf figs. These insects can suck the sap from the leaves, causing them to yellow and fall off. To prevent insect infestations, make sure to inspect your plant regularly and treat any pests promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
10. Nutrient Deficiency
Fiddle leaf figs require certain nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, to grow and thrive. If your plant is not getting enough of these nutrients, it may drop leaves. To prevent nutrient deficiencies, make sure to fertilize your fiddle leaf fig regularly with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.
Stressful conditions like being moved or transported can cause fiddle leaf figs to drop leaves. Try to avoid moving your plant around too much or exposing it to drastic changes in temperature or light.
12. Transplant Shock
Transplant shock can also cause leaf drop in fiddle leaf figs. When a plant is repotted or transplanted, it can become stressed and drop leaves as a result. To prevent transplant shock, make sure to repot your fiddle leaf fig when it is not actively growing, and be gentle when handling the roots.
13. Environmental Changes
Changes in the environment like changes in temperature, humidity, or light can cause fiddle leaf figs to drop leaves. To prevent this, make sure to acclimate your plant slowly to any changes in its environment, and avoid exposing it to drastic changes.
14. Physical Damage
Physical damage like bumps, scratches, or tearing can cause leaves to drop from your fiddle leaf fig. Try to handle your plant with care and avoid accidentally bumping it against walls or furniture.
15. Natural Aging
Finally, it’s important to remember that fiddle leaf figs, like all plants, have a natural lifespan. As your plant ages, it may drop leaves as a result. This is a natural process, and it’s nothing to be concerned about as long as the new growth is healthy.
If you’ve noticed your fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves, don’t panic! By identifying the cause of the leaf drop, you can take steps to prevent further leaf loss and keep your plant healthy and thriving. Remember to water your plant regularly, provide it with the right amount of light, and keep an eye out for pests and nutrient deficiencies.