Ask a Question forum: Fiddle Leaf Fig Help needed

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Name: Katie
Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b)
katagab
Jun 6, 2015 9:12 PM CST
Hi

I recently bought a 7ft tall fiddle leaf fig. They said it needed to be repotted so we moved it to a bigger pot - from a 14' to an 18'. We've had to for about 1 month and some leaves have developed silvery spots that become brown around the edges and then crack and break, in the middle of leaves as well as on the edges (see picture). We wait until the first inch or two of soil is dry and then water thoroughly...usually about every two weeks. What are these spots and how can I correct this?

Thanks in advance.
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jun 7, 2015 4:01 AM CST
Welcome! katagab. @drdawg grows these so maybe he can answer your question.
[Last edited by Dutchlady1 - Jun 7, 2015 4:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 7, 2015 6:44 AM CST
First off, because these leaves are so gigantic, every spot and every flaw is magnified.

I would love to see the whole tree so that I can really tell of the extent of what you describe. Is it the older leaves that are affected or younger leaves? Did this appear after you did the re-potting or was some of it present when you got the tree? Often there are things going on (leaf damage caused by trauma, excess sun exposure, root-bound, etc.) that resulted in leaf-lesions months before, but were mostly noticed after these lesions really turned brown and brittle.

I try to keep my fiddle leaf ficus plants moist all the time. They are heavy feeders and heavy water-users. I don't mean sitting the pots in water (you do want well-draining potting soil), but I try to water my plants every 2-3 days during the spring and summer months.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Katie
Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b)
katagab
Jun 7, 2015 6:57 AM CST
Thanks for the response @drdawg! It's the older leaves. It might have been present when we bought it, but since we've had it, it has started happening on more and more leaves. Since we repotted the leaves are starting to droop as well. I've attached two pictures (sorry the light is bad). I'll start watering it more. Lots of blogs I read said repotting might have "freaked out" the roots. Is there a way to help it relax?
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jun 7, 2015 7:25 AM CST
Katie, your plant looks fine, though as you point out, the lighting is poor.

There is nothing you can do to reverse that "shock" of transplanting, but time and good growing conditions will solve that problem. Do increase your watering so that the potting media stays constantly moist. Be sure you empty that catch-saucer after watering. You don't want the pot sitting in water. Fiddle leafs need good, indirect light (never direct sun from 10:00 AM till 4:00 PM) and air movement to help those huge leaves transpire. Because you keep it indoors, the plants there will be in low humidity. If possible, mist your fiddle every day or two, at least for a month to help those leaves. Do this in the AM so that the leaves can dry before nighttime. I "feed" my fiddles every week but dilute the fertilizer by 1/2. As I pointed out, they are heavy feeders. That's easy for me to do because I have over 1000 tropical plants and am always watering/fertilizing something.

If you can get your fiddle leaf outside, in a shaded place, that would be excellent. Keep in mind these are truly trees.

Best of luck. Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Katie
Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b)
katagab
Jun 7, 2015 7:29 AM CST
Thanks for the advice! Misting leaves now :)
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jun 7, 2015 7:30 AM CST
Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Katie
Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b)
katagab
Jun 14, 2015 9:32 AM CST
Hey @drdawg! What kind of fertilizer should I use? A couple of the leaves are starting to turn yellow. Is there something that will not require a lot of storage as I live in a tiny apartment? I have started watering it twice a week, and mist the leaves every morning. Thank You!
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jun 14, 2015 10:05 AM CST
Any general purpose, water-soluble fertilizer will be fine. Even Miracle-Gro is OK. Since I water so frequently and generally fertilize with most waterings, I dilute my fertilizer by 1/2 during the spring and summer months and then by 1/4 in the fall and winter months. If those leaves bother you, you can either trim the yellow/brown off with scissors or just remove the leaves completely. It won't harm the fiddle.

Are you asking what plant would be suitable for your apartment? You know the fiddle leaf is a vigorous grower and is a tree, right? Even though I can bring my 25 year old "mother" plant inside a large porch to over-winter, I still trim her twice a year to keep her a manageable 7' tall.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Katie
Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b)
katagab
Jun 14, 2015 10:37 AM CST
Thanks @drdawg! I Mentioned my apartment size to make sure you didn't recommend a fertilizer that involved a 50lb bag I wouldn't have room for. Also wanted to make sure the yellow leaves weren't a symptom of something serious that I could correct for.

Thanks for responding so quickly! Angel
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jun 14, 2015 11:39 AM CST
I tip my hat to you.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Liat Golan
California (Zone 9a)
golanliat
Nov 29, 2016 10:05 AM CST

New Member

Hi @drdawg!
I've just read this conversation and I wanted to ask-
I found this Fiddle leaf fig in the garbage room. I wanted one like that for a long time, but they are pretty expensive Thumbs down

The tree is really pretty, but I think it's ill or something.

I wanted to know If you think I can "save" him or should I take him back to the garbage room?
I thought about few reasons for that leaves looks:
*watring,
*small pot
*direct sun

I just want to make sure that I'm not buying a big pot and fertilizer if the plant is ill and about to die.

I would love to hear what you think!
Thank you so much, Thank You!
Liat

*the pictures were taken at 8am light.
Thumb of 2016-11-29/golanliat/a4a7ab
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Nov 29, 2016 11:53 AM CST
@Golanliat, welcome to NGA/ATP.

These plants (it looks like there were several in the one pot) has had a long-standing watering issue, compounded by what looks like sunburn. The potting soil needs to be well-draining, but fiddle leaf ficus do best when the soil is kept constantly moist (never soggy-wet though).

I feel sure that with the proper lighting, good potting soil, and water/fertilizer, you can bring those plants back. That being said, because of all the damage, you are going to have an ugly tree(s) for quite some time. IF these were my plants, I would re-pot into a larger pot, perhaps 4" wider, and get some new growth started. When you re-pot, check and see if there are separate plants or if all these stems come from one "trunk". After I saw good top-growth on each stem, I would then either air-layer those stems, or simply cut them about 18" above the soil-line so that new growth/branches will begin at that point. By air-layering, you have the option of being able to pot-up those tops when roots form. I would guess that spring/early summer is when air-layering/trimming would take place.

Let me know when you re-pot and find out how many plants are actually in this single pot. Knowing this can slightly alter my thinking on the air-layering/trimming.

Good luck. By the way, please go to your "Profile" (click on the little fella in the upper right-hand corner) and insert your location, USDA zone and city/state. That way, when you post, your location will always show. Knowing location is important when asking or answering questions.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Liat Golan
California (Zone 9a)
golanliat
Nov 29, 2016 4:15 PM CST

New Member

Hi @drdawg, Thank you so much for your quick response.
I really appreciate it!
I'll go to a nursery by the end of the week and I'll be a bigger pot, potting soil and fertilizer.

I'll let you know after re potting how many plants are in this single pot as you said!

Again, Thank you for all the information,
Liat Smiling
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Nov 29, 2016 4:57 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Dec 3, 2016 9:25 AM CST
I don't grow Ficus Lyratas in a nursery or greenhouse, but I do care for dozens of them in homes and office in NYC. Thus, my experience and advice varies with Ken's.

I have never had to repot one of these plants. Many things can go wrong if repotting is done unnecessarily or incorrectly. In most indoor locations, it is best to keep them in front of and close to a very sunny window. It is hard to give these plants too much light in the typical home environment. Water thoroughly as soon as the surface of the rootball feels barely moist or slightly dry. Fertilize no more than monthly at half-strength. These plants do just fine in low humidity, so misting is unnecessary unless you are trying to clean the leaves.

Initially, Lyratas do tend to lose some lower and interior leaves as they adapt to reduced indoor light. It doesn't mean the plant is dying or requires some drastic action. In time, they need to be pruned to keep them from becoming leggy.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 3, 2016 10:06 AM CST
As you say, Will, your experiences and mine are different. I cannot imagine anything going "wrong" when re-potting a fiddle. This is not rocket science. When roots start to grow through the drainage holes, you better believe I will up-pot. That is true not only for fiddle leaf ficus but also for banana leaf ficus, plumeria, and rubber trees. I have grown hundreds of these plants and re-potting and up-potting is just a necessary part of growing them to size. The problem I had with the photos that Liat posted was what appears to be four separate, leggy, and stressed plants growing in a smallish pot.

In NYC, the sun may not present many problems, but the further south you go, the more one needs to be aware of the sun's position, when that sunlight comes in through clear glass windows and doors. The west sun in late spring and through the summer months is extremely harsh here in Mississippi, as it is throughout the lower half of the US. If (most) tropical plants are exposed to that sunlight in early to mid afternoon, leaves will be burned. Sunburn may not kill the plants but it sure does create ugly scars that never disappear.

Misting may or may not be beneficial to mature plants, but I can assure you, young plants benefit from misting when they are growing in our heated/cooled homes and businesses. Tropical plants, because of their genetics, grow best in humid conditions, just as they do in nature. I do my best to mimic those natural conditions when growing my tropical plants.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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