The fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is one of my favorite indoor plants. Thanks to the thick and glossy leaves that mark a bold statement in my indoor living space. But fiddle leaf figs are vulnerable to dropping leaves when stressed.
So, why is my fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves? Your fiddle leaf fig may drop leaves due to incorrect watering, extreme temperatures, lack of humidity, and change in light levels. It can also be due to root-bound, aging, pests, and diseases.
Fixing a fiddle leaf fig losing leaves may sound simple, but you need to know a thing or two. Keep reading this article to identify the exact causes and techniques for fixing them without losing your small indoor tree.
10 Common Causes of Fiddle Leaf Dropping Leaves
The fiddle leaf figs are among the most temperamental indoor plants. The houseplant reacts in different ways when grown in unsuitable conditions. Below are the causes of fiddle leaf fig leaves falling off:
Too Much Water
Watering fiddle leaf figs is a crucial technique to master. Overwatering your Ficus lyrata may change the plant pH and suffocates the roots. Smothered roots inhibit the correct absorption of water and nutrients. (Source: North Carolina State University)
Fiddle leaf fig leaves falling are among the initial signs of root rot. Your Ficus may die if the saturated potting soil is not fixed on time. Severe root rot problem may also lead to fiddle leaf fig losing all leaves.
It can be tricky to save a fiddle leaf fig losing leaves due to overwatering. We recommend re-potting the plant to a fresh potting mix. But be sure to trim the roots with brown patches and sterilize them before transplanting in well-draining potting soil.
Too Little Water
Sometimes it can be tricky to understand why your fiddle leaf fig is losing leaves. The fiddle leaf fig needs adequate water and nutrients to support healthy growth. Insufficient water supply may dehydrate your Ficus lyrata and cause leaf drop problems.
Under-watering could be the reason why your fiddle leaf fig lost all leaves. Inconsistent watering habits will make your houseplant leaves develop spots on the edges and begin to curl inward.
The fiddle leaf fig leaves will later turn yellow or brown and fall off from the plant. Leaves dropping on under-watered fiddle leaf figs usually affect all the leaves and not the lower ones only.
We recommend watering your small indoor tree to rehydrate it. The best option is to water the fiddle leaf figs every week during spring and summer. Be sure to reduce the watering frequency in winter due to the dormancy effect.
Lack of Humidity
Ficus lyrata plants are native to tropical rainforests. These plants require more humidity than the average indoor environment counterpart. Most Ficus species prefer 60% or higher humidity levels to thrive well.
Indoor humidity below 40% will make your fiddle leaf fig struggle. Fiddle leaf fig leaves falling are among the signs of low humidity. The houseplant leaves will begin to droop, turn brown, and later fall off.
We recommend relocating your Ficus to the bathroom to fix leaf-dropping issues. You can also install an electric humidifier to increase the indoor humidity level. Keep your fiddle leaf figs away from dehumidifiers and heating vents.
Fiddle leaf figs grow and thrive under the canopy in their natural habitat. Direct sunlight exposure could lead to your fiddle leaf fig losing leaves due to scorching and will make them fall off.
Besides that, low sunlight levels in winter will make your fiddle leaf fig lose all leaves. It occurs since the plant no longer utilizes the nutrients and water due to the dormancy effect.
Relocate your fiddle leaf figs to a spot that receives bright indirect sunlight. Use artificial lighting to keep light levels around your plant stable in winter. These options will help prevent your fiddle leaf fig leaves from falling off.
Fiddle leaf figs are among a few tropical plants that require fewer nutrients. But fertilizer application helps foster green lush development and fast growth. Feed your fiddle leaf figs once every month during spring and summer.
Too much fertilizer dosage will burn the roots and inhibit water intake. The houseplant will begin drooping and losing leaves due to dehydration or become crispy and later fall off the plant.
Besides that, insufficient nutrients supply to your fiddle leaf figs will cause yellowing and dropping of leaves. The leaf problems are prevalent when the plant goes for a year or two without applying fertilizer.
We recommend feeding your houseplant with homemade fertilizer to avoid over-fertilization or under-fertilization. Another option is to avoid feeding your fiddle leaf fig during the winter due to the dormancy effect.
Stress or Shock
Fiddle leaf figs are the most temperamental houseplants. Moving them from one point to another or transporting them from plant stores will cause stress. During the stress period, your fiddle leaf fig will lose some leaves.
We recommend keeping your Ficus lyrate in a quiet room with minimal movement and bright indirect sunlight to enhance quick acclimation. Most houseplants take longer to adapt to a new environment and respond by shedding leaves.
Fiddle leaf figs are less vulnerable to the root-bound problem. But this does not make Ficus invincible to root-bound. The roots can become tightly together when grown in the pot for an extended period.
Fiddle leaf fig leaves falling could be one of the symptoms of root bound. We recommend re-potting the plant to prevent leaves from falling off. The best option is to re-pot your fiddle leaf fig every two years.
Pests and Diseases
Fiddle leaf figs are less susceptible to pests or diseases. But this does not make the plant invincible to pests and diseases. Mites and aphids are examples of creatures that attack fiddle leaf fig leaves.
These insects suck the cell sap and damage tissues in the leaves. Fiddle leaf fig leaves falling are among the early symptoms of pest infestations. We recommend spraying your plant with insecticidal soap to eliminate the pests.
Bacterial leaf spots can also make your fiddle leaf fig lose leaves. The leaf problems are due to watering the plant from the top or misting the leaves to increase the humidity level around the plant.
Normal Aging Effect
Fiddle leaf figs are large houseplants and can naturally lose leaves due to age. If you notice your fiddle leaf fig losing leaves at the bottom, do not freak since these are older leaves.
Yellow fiddle leaf fig leaves drop to redirect nutrients to the growing regions. But if your fiddle leaf fig lost all leaves, investigate the plant and identify the exact cause. Aging is inevitable among houseplants, and losing old leaves is normal.
Indoor temperatures are vulnerable to sudden changes. These fluctuations will make your fiddle leaf fig lose leaves since it is quite sensitive. Cold or hot drafts will result in minor leaf dropping among fiddle leaf figs.
Leaves that drop due to drafts or temperature fluctuation does not turn yellow before falling off. We recommend keeping the plant away from the drafty areas to prevent leaves from falling off.
Is It Normal for a Fiddle Leaf Fig to Drop Leaves?
Most houseplants drop some leaves as they age and redirect the energy to the new leaves to undertake photosynthesis. If your fiddle leaf fig loses older leaves towards the bottom, it is normal.
Do not freak if your lower fiddle leaf fig leaves turn yellow. It is a sign of aging, and the leaves will fall off in the long run. These leaves do not provide energy for the plant since they do not undertake photosynthesis.
My Final Thoughts
Focus and dedication are crucial when growing fiddle leaf figs. These temperamental houseplants are beautiful and ideal for making a bold statement. Incorrect care routines could lead to fiddle leaf figs losing leaves.
We recommend providing correct lighting, the right amount of water, and avoiding cold or hot drafts. Following these care routines will prevent your fiddle leaf fig from dropping leaves.
If you read up to this point, you might be struggling with your fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves. We hope this article will help you fix the leaf problems. Feel free to share your views or suggestions in the comment section.
People Who Read This Also Read: