The fiddle leaf fig is better known as Ficus lyrata, and it is a tropical rainforest ornamental plant. The lush and vibrant foliages have made this houseplant gain immense popularity in the last few decades.
However, fiddle leaf figs are temperamental and need specific indoor environmental conditions to thrive well. Fiddle leaf fig leaves curling are indicators when the plant is not receiving appropriate care.
So, why are my fiddle leaf fig leaves curling? An inappropriate watering routine is the number one cause of the fiddle leaf fig leaves curling upward. Other causes are fungal diseases, pest infestations, incorrect lighting, and lack of humidity.
If you notice your fiddle leaf fig leaves bubbling, you have come to the right place. This article will help you find the exact causes and appropriate fixing tips. Take the time to read through and restore your ornamental plant.
13 Causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Curling
Fiddle leaf figs are native to the tropical rainforests. Every houseplant enthusiast needs to replicate the tropical rainforest growing condition at home. Otherwise, this tropical evergreen plant will begin to curl its foliages. Below are the possible causes:
Fiddle leaf figs thrive in light and well-draining potting soil. Heavy and compact soil will inhibit roots aeration and cause suffocation. Besides that, it will cause waterlog that encourages fungal growth and salt accumulation.
If you notice the leaf curling problem, inspect the potting soil type. The wrong soil type will make the roots struggle to absorb water and nutrients. We recommend re-potting the houseplant to fix the problem.
Root rot among fiddle leaf figs occurs due to overwatering problem. The fungal disease is not common among Ficus species but could make your ornamental houseplant experience leaf curling problem.
The fungal disease will also cause water blisters on leaves and stems. Severe root rot can cause stem rot and even plant death. Fixing root rot among Ficus plants can be a daunting experience for beginners.
The best solution is to re-pot the houseplant to a fresh potting mix and container. We also recommend trimming the roots with brown patches and sterilizing them before transplanting. Schedule a strict watering routine to avoid overwatering your houseplant.
Fiddle leaf figs are fast-growing tropical rainforest plants since they experience about 2-3 inches a year. The growth rate makes them vulnerable to the root-bound problem.
A small pot will inhibit proper roots growth and function. The closely packed roots will prevent correct water and nutrient intake. Leaves curling among fiddle leaf figs can also be a sign of malnutrition.
We recommend re-potting fiddle leaf figs to a larger pot every 2-3 years to prevent root-bound problems. Be sure to use the correct-sized container to prevent inappropriate watering issues.
Lack of Humidity
Fiddle leaf figs are native to the African tropical rainforests. The environment experiences high humidity that allows this Ficus species to thrive. The indoor space is vulnerable to humidity fluctuations.
If your fiddle leaf fig experiences curling leaves, tweak the indoor humidity levels. It will help resolve the leaves curling problem. Otherwise, low humidity will make your houseplant dehydrate and droop.
Maintain an indoor humidity range of 40-65% with better ventilation. We recommend using an electric humidifier to increase air moisture around your plant. Another option is to take your fiddle leaf fig to the bathroom with proper lighting conditions.
Too Much Water
Overwatering can cause leaf curling among many houseplants, and it occurs due to poor soil drainage and a lack of drainage holes under the pot. Excess potting soil moisture increases the root rot and other fungal diseases risk.
Overwatering can also cause stunted growth, wilting and droopy leaves. Some Ficus species may experience water blisters on leaves, weak stems, and an unpleasant odor around the pot.
Prolonged exposure to excess moisture may cause plant death. Re-potting the fiddle leaf fig to well-draining soil will help fix the problem. But it can be challenging to fix severe overwatering effects on fiddle leaf figs.
Lack of Nutrition
Fiddle leaf figs are among few tropical plants that require little nutrients to produce lush and gorgeous leaves. We recommend feeding this ornamental plant with fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for healthy growth.
Lack of nutrients will cause malnourishment that leads to leggy growth and leaves curling problems. Feeding your fiddle leaf fig plant every spring and summer will help prevent leaf curling issues.
Fiddle leaf figs are highly susceptible to mealybugs, scales, mites, whiteflies, and aphids. These creatures pierce the foliages to suck the cell sap and even damage the vital tissues.
Fiddle leaf fig leaves cracking and curling are the initial signs of insect infestations. We recommend getting rid of these pests early to save your houseplant. Spray the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil to eliminate the insects.
Another option is to isolate the affected fiddle leaf fig from other houseplants to prevent pests from spreading. Ensure the new location receives bright indirect sunlight and free airflow to combat insects’ incubation.
Leaf Spot Disease
Leaf spot is a type of fungal disease that affects most houseplants. Brown spots or black dots and leaf curling are the symptoms associated with leaf spot disease. The fiddle leaf fig problem is the easiest to resolve.
We recommend spraying the plant with fungicides and relocating it to a spot with moderate humidity. It usually takes weeks or months to restore the lush and gorgeous foliages.
Fiddle leaf figs prefer bright indirect sunlight to thrive since they grow under the canopy in their natural habitat. Too much or little sunlight exposure will cause some negative impact on your houseplant.
Prolonged direct sunlight exposure will foster excess transpiration. Leaves curling is an indicator that the water loss rate is more than the intake. Leaves scorching are other symptoms associated with direct sunlight exposure.
Relocate your fiddle leaf fig to an area that receives bright indirect sunlight. Besides that, water the plant to resolve the leaf curling problem. Early morning or late evening direct sunlight exposure is harmless to fiddle leaf figs.
Low Water Quality
Water quality is another factor that influences your fiddle leaf fig health. Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to certain minerals in the water. For instance, tap water contains fluoride and chlorine components.
Watering your fiddle leaf figs with the tap water could burn the roots and prevent absorption in the long run. These minerals could also cause excess salt buildup around the roots to restrict water intake.
Leaves curling could be due to dehydration caused by mineralized water. We recommend watering your fiddle leaf figs with distilled water or rainwater. Another option is to let the tap water stay overnight before watering the plant.
Extreme Temperature Stress
Potted fiddle leaf figs thrive under a temperature range of 65-75oF (18-29oC). Any temperature above the optimum requirement will cause fiddle leaf fig leaves curling problems.
The sudden temperature change will also cause fiddle leaf fig new leaves to curl. The best option is to keep your fiddle leaf fig away from drafty areas. Avoid placing the plant near heating vents and air conditioners.
Install a digital thermometer indoors to help monitor temperature changes. Ensure your indoor space is not too cold or warm to enhance healthy growth.
Inconsistent Watering Habits
Under-watering is the leading cause of fiddle leaf fig leaves curling problem. When this tropical evergreen does not get enough water, it will start to wilt and dry out. Leaves curling are usually the initial symptom of dehydration.
We recommend watering the plant when 2-3 inches of the potting mix is dry. Rehydrating the houseplant will restore the lush and gorgeous leaves. Water the plant twice a week during spring and summer.
Over-Feeding the Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle leaf figs are light feeders compared to other tropical rainforest plants. But it requires nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to thrive. Using the wrong amount of fertilizer could make your fiddle leaf fig leaves curl.
Over-fertilization may also burn the roots and inhibit water uptake. Fiddle leaf fig leaves wrinkling is a sign of dehydration. We recommend not feeding your plant during winter due to the dormancy effect.
Flush the potting soil every three months to prevent excess salt accumulation. Be sure to feed your fiddle leaf fig during spring and summer with the correct fertilizer amount.
My Final Thoughts
Fiddle leaf figs are excellent houseplants for creating tropical vibes in your indoor living space. These houseplants are beginner friendly despite being temperamental to indoor environmental conditions.
Ultimate routine care will foster healthy fiddle leaf fig growth. But inappropriate growing conditions will start showing signs of stress, and curling leaves are the initial signs of fiddle leaf fig stress.
Thankfully, fiddle leaf figs are hardy and can bounce back after providing the right growing conditions. We hope this article will help resolve your fiddle leaf fig leaves curling issues.
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