Ask a Question forum→Fiddle Leaf Fig - Dry Roots / Brown Spots

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NYC
urbanromantic
May 5, 2020 4:59 PM CST
Hi there, I'm looking for some advice with a new fiddle leaf fig plant. I've had the plant for about a month now, having purchased from an online store. I've (reluctantly) repotted the plant twice (one was a temporary pot, whilst waiting for a bigger one to be delivered), but the roots of the plant are still wrapped in the shape of the nursery pot and are exposed at the top (one of the reasons why I thought it needed a bigger pot).

The plant itself has been doing ok, but some brown dry spots have started developing on the leaves and a few of the lower down leaves have fallen off. Plus, there's not been any new growth on the plant over the last month (tips also seem fairly dry), which I understand as it's been moved and repotted, but just wondering when I should start to worry about its health? Is there anything I should be doing differently with regards to the dry roots? Appreciate any help in advance!


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 6, 2020 9:45 AM CST
Welcome! The surface root exposure is normal and does not mean it needed repotting.

FLF's are slow growers and often go several months without putting out any new leaves. They do produce dry brown sheaths around new leaves that have yet to emerge.

I suspect that the leaf loss is due primarily to the soil of the original rootball getting too dry. Pour warm water very slowly over the entire surface so that all of the soil all the way to the bottom gets saturated. The difficulty is that you don't know when that happens because the new pot does not appear to have a drain hole. That means you will have to experiment a bit to determine just how much water to add so that the top half-inch of soil gets dry again in about a week.

For future reference, it is always better to double-pot rather than repot plants into larger planters.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
NYC
urbanromantic
May 6, 2020 10:24 AM CST
Thanks Will! The new pot is one of those self-watering pots which do have drainage holes at the bottom (and I usually try to feel underneath to see if water has drained through to the floor whenever I water). Hopefully this should solve the issue you mentioned but I will try to give the rootball a good one-time soak as well. I'll remember the tip on double potting too!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 6, 2020 2:57 PM CST
Can you post a photo that shows where the reservoir is? There are many different self-watering systems.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
NYC
urbanromantic
May 6, 2020 8:21 PM CST
Sure, here's the opening below. The top of the pot slots into the tray underneath and can be removed.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 7, 2020 8:43 AM CST
That planter is not really self-watering. I think that is just a marketing description.

Why is the original root ball sitting up so high? Is there something in the bottom of the pot that can be removed so the the rootball sits down lower in the pot?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
NYC
urbanromantic
May 7, 2020 9:11 AM CST
Think that's just due to the depth of the new pot being slightly shallower. Feels like I need to get a deeper pot that fits better!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 7, 2020 9:28 AM CST
It would be better, although not essential, to get a standard pot that is just large enough for the rootball to fit into snugly and that also has normal drain holes. Do you still have the original pot?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
NYC
urbanromantic
May 7, 2020 9:39 AM CST
I do - glad I kept it! I thought it was getting too big since the roots were scrunched up and peeking out of the surface, guess I was wrong...
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 7, 2020 10:03 AM CST
Glad you held onto it. Plants are quite happy with tight pots. When you get it back into its nursery pot, water it very thoroughly and don't add any soil on top.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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