Ask a Question forum→Fiddle Leaf Fig struggling-yellow leaves, curling

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Santa Clara, CA
HLin
May 30, 2020 6:40 PM CST
I need help. My beautiful fiddle leaf fig was thriving for 4 years since I saved him from Home Depot. He was down to 3 tired leaves then grew into a 7 foot beauty. About 4/5 weeks ago I noticed him looking unhappy. Leaves yellowing and droopy. I thought it was overwatering, but also felt like his pot was getting too small. I decided to repot him. True enough he was root bound. His roots are healthy-they don't snap easily and they are white inside. I had to prune a bit to untangle but he's now in his new pot and I watered until it drained, but he seems to be getting worse. He's back in his same spot that he's been in our house-lots of direct light but shaded by light blinds. Is he beyond saving? I am leaving him alone for the moment and praying he recovers but it's not looking good.
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Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Quitter's never Win
Hummingbirder Birds Organic Gardener Dog Lover Cat Lover
oneeyeluke
May 31, 2020 2:50 AM CST
When you up potted your plant and root pruned it, the plant didn't like it. All you can do now, is to not over water the new soil. When you add water to new soil you release nutrients into the container and the plant is not used to it yet. Just allow the soil to dry well before watering again. Use your finger between the soil and the container to feel when to water again. When you water, water until you get water to come out the bottom of the pot and into the drain tray and stop, but don't leave it setting in water. I would return it back to the grow area you have been growing in. Your plant should recover if you get your water management correct.
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NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Santa Clara, CA
HLin
May 31, 2020 6:24 AM CST
Okay thank you! Should I pull off the leaves that are turning yellow or leave them on? I will wait and try not to worry in be mean time.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 31, 2020 9:01 AM CST
FLF's are difficult to overwater especially when they are left tightly potted. It is likely that original yellow, droopy leaf issues were a result of under, not overwatering. Simply watering more often would have been the less traumatic option.

Nature is at times unruly and does not always respond well to our need for neatness and order. Tangled roots are normal and are best left alone. It is the disturbance of the roots that your plant is now reacting to.

Remove any soil you added to the top of the original rootball when you repotted as that soil prevents oxygen from penetrating the root zone readily and makes it harder to determine when to water. The uppermost roots should be just barely covered with soil. Then, allow the top half-inch of the remaining soil to feel dry before watering.

The hard part is determining how much water to add at each watering. You want the top half-inch of the soil to get dry again in about a week so you will have to adjust the amount of water you add so that happens. It will take a bit of experimentation and careful monitoring on your part until you can make that determination of how much water it uses each week.

Remove any discolored leaves as they will not recover. Expect some additional leaf loss as your plant will need time to slowly recover.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Santa Clara, CA
HLin
May 31, 2020 10:23 AM CST
Thank you Will. I ordered a soil sensor so hopefully that will help with water volume. I just removed some of the top soil like you said. I will leave him for now until the top soil feels dry to the touch. I pray he makes it. I saved him once before so I hope it happens again. Thank you!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 1, 2020 7:07 AM CST
You don't need a soil sensor to determine when to water as I described previously. Moisture meters are unreliable because they vary with different soils.

FLF's are quite hardy so I am confident yours will survive although the lower leaves will not be replaced so it will never look as it did before.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Santa Clara, CA
HLin
Jun 6, 2020 7:04 AM CST
Update: my plant is showing signs of bouncing back! He's lost almost all of his lower leaves, but his upper leaves are perking up and he's looking happier and happier. I watered thoroughly yesterday (9 days after the last time I watered) and I've kept the humidifier running. I will continue to monitor and make sure I stick to a consistent schedule of watering (and watering until the water drains).

Will-you're right. The sensor seems off! I will not follow it but just stick to consistency and feeling out the soil. I believe what saved him is the bright window he's next to (and the fact that it's been his spot for as long as we've lived in this home).

Thank you all!!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 6, 2020 7:27 AM CST
Thanks for the update. This is a good demonstration of the hardiness of Fiddle-leafed Figs as long as they are given lots of light and the soil is kept moist. Thumbs up
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Santa Clara, CA
HLin
Jun 6, 2020 8:15 AM CST
Thank you! I will keep updating in hopes that this will help someone else.

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