Ask a Question forum: Fiddle leaf fig leaves are brown and yellow

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Alabama
Jboaa
Sep 26, 2017 10:13 AM CST
I purchased this fig (almost 8') last month. When it came in from the nursery to the shop I bought it at, some of the leaves had some brown spots. It was root bound as well. I carefully transported it home and anticipated some of these leaves to fall from stress and change. They did. I had this in the corner of a SE and NE facing windows. The SE window is covered by a porch. The other window allows indirect light for the most part. After a few weeks of letting it settle in I trimmed the root ball and repotted in a pot slightly bigger. I used a 1/3 vermiculite 1/3 perlite and 1/3 organic soil mixture. I also soaked it in water for a few hours prior to the new soil and pot because it really wasn't getting enough water due to being root bound. It's been a little over a week and the moisture meter is still reading well at 4.0. The leaves are still coming off - the smaller ones are all brown and crunchy, the big leaves that fall are yellowing with brown spots. I just moved it to a better suited room with vaulted ceilings. It was nearly scraping the ceiling in the original room. The new room has SW facing windows. What gives? Is this tree going to die on me? Also I added at the last watering when it metered 1.0 a 1/4 tsp of thrive to a gallon of spring water, and used that to water it (used about 1/4 of the gallon).
Thumb of 2017-09-26/Jboaa/8e8804


Thumb of 2017-09-26/Jboaa/92513c

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Sep 26, 2017 5:10 PM CST
Fiddle-leafed Figs require much more light than is commonly believed when kept indoors. Yours is very tall and even when placed directly in front of a sunny window, the top portion of the plant may not get very good light because the light comes through the window at a downward angle.

Place it right in front of your sunniest window, not in a corner or off to the side. A window covered by a porch is not a great location for it. If you can find a tall window, that would help. Otherwise, you might consider pruning it back so it is not so tall.

Yours has a lot of tightly bunched leaves in the interior portion of the plant. Those interior leaves are shaded by the outer leaves and will be among the first to fall. You can be proactive and open up the plant by removing some of these interior leaves even while they are still green.

The root pruning was not necessary and it may be contributing to some of the leaf discoloration. In general, this is a hard plant to over water, so it should eventually adjust to the larger pot and added soil. But focus on improving the light as much as possible and expect some additional leaf drop. As long as healthy new growth comes in at the ends of stems, you are on the right track.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Alabama
Jboaa
Sep 26, 2017 8:08 PM CST
WillC said:Fiddle-leafed Figs require much more light than is commonly believed when kept indoors. Yours is very tall and even when placed directly in front of a sunny window, the top portion of the plant may not get very good light because the light comes through the window at a downward angle.

Place it right in front of your sunniest window, not in a corner or off to the side. A window covered by a porch is not a great location for it. If you can find a tall window, that would help. Otherwise, you might consider pruning it back so it is not so tall.

Yours has a lot of tightly bunched leaves in the interior portion of the plant. Those interior leaves are shaded by the outer leaves and will be among the first to fall. You can be proactive and open up the plant by removing some of these interior leaves even while they are still green.

The root pruning was not necessary and it may be contributing to some of the leaf discoloration. In general, this is a hard plant to over water, so it should eventually adjust to the larger pot and added soil. But focus on improving the light as much as possible and expect some additional leaf drop. As long as healthy new growth comes in at the ends of stems, you are on the right track.



Thank you SO much. I just placed it in front of this window today. It has an arched window at the top and a cathedral ceiling, which is what I was hoping would benefit since this is such a tall tree already. The windows are a good bit taller than the tree. I wondered as well if the leaves being so full in the middle - if that would cause them to not get enough light. Looks like my suspicion was right.

I've read that direct light (which is what this window in particular will provide if directly in front of it) will burn the leaves. This was a concern so now I'm not really sure what to do because this fig is tall and full, and can't really be pushed up against a wall so it takes a ton of floor space. This makes it hard to find a spot for it that is good for everyone.

I did trim the root ball a bit, but it was very minimal. And the pot I put it in didn't require much additional soil because it was just a bit bigger than the nursery pot it came in.

Pruning the top stem that I can see was a burst of growth - can that be transplanted?

Great information. It gives me hope that all is not lost.
Alabama
Jboaa
Sep 27, 2017 8:27 AM CST
Thumb of 2017-09-27/Jboaa/67827b

This was the other room I had it in. Windows SE (covered by porch) and NE. Would this be a better choice? It was losing all sorts of leaves in there. Which is partially why I moved it.

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Sep 27, 2017 5:01 PM CST
The original location is the better (brighter) of the two. The usual warnings about no direct sunlight apply only if it is outside or maybe in front of a very large south facing window. Where you have it in the most recent photo is fine. It does not have to be pushed up against the wall. The initial loss of leaves may have been the result of its adjusting to a new environment and/or the root pruning, not the light.

You do have a little growing room in that location, but not a lot. You might experiment a bit by pruning off the tallest stem so it is the same height as the others. That will give it a more even look. If you like the size and shape as it is (I do!), you can maintain it by pinching out new leaves on each stem as they start to emerge.

Pruned off cuttings can be propagated, but not easily. A cutting with no more than 4 leaves and a short stem can be rooted in a small pot that is covered lightly with clear plastic. However, you should not be disappointed if it does not root. A better way to propagate those plant is air-layering and I am not sure that is worth your bother.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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