Ask a Question forum: Fiddle leaf fig tree leaves turning brown and yellow!

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Montreal, Canada
NoGreenThumb4
Nov 10, 2017 12:48 PM CST
Hi,

I purchased my fiddle leaf fig tree this summer and it had 2 happy growth spurts since purchasing him. It's been about 2 months now that some leaves are getting some brown spotting, turning yellow and dropping one by one. My tree lost about 10 leaves in 2 months, it's all been a very slow process. I've fertilized him once in the summer since I purchased him, he's never in the sun, just a bright full length window. Before starting to drop his leaves, every time I would water him (which was once a week), he would get droopy. I then stopped watering for a long time and he got back to normal but he then started to get the brown spots, turn yellow and lose his leaves. I now water him only when the top inch soil is dry.
He's 60 inches high and in a 15x15 inches pot.

I unfortunately don't have a green thumb (lots of plant corpses) but I've read so much about fiddle leaf fig trees, I thought I was doing it all correctly but looks like I'm missing something.

Please help and thank you!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 10, 2017 1:41 PM CST
I don't think you have too much to worry about. The only discolored leaves are those older ones at the bottom. You could expect them to drop off in time in any case. The upper new leaf growth looks very healthy and that tells me you are on the right track.

Less than optimal light and water will hasten lower leaf loss somewhat. Given your northern location, I suggest you try to provide more light, especially at this time of year. The shorter days may have triggered the more recent leaf loss. I know lots of sources say to avoid direct sunlight, but that really refers to the outdoor sun. Indoor sunlight is much less intense.

I further suggest that you water as soon as the surface of the soil feels quite dry. It should not reach the point where the leaves look droopy.

It will continue to grow taller, but will not put out side branches. I suggest that when it reaches a suitable height (Before it starts to lean or push against the ceiling!), pinch out new leaf growth as it emerges. That will help control its height and keep it fuller looking. Pinching does not affect the health of the plant in any way.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Montreal, Canada
NoGreenThumb4
Nov 10, 2017 9:50 PM CST
Hi Will,

Thank you very much for your prompt answer. I will definitely follow with your recommendations.

I didn't know older leaves are supposed to fall off, will new ones grow at the bottom or once dropped the spot will remain empty?

How would I go about pinching out new leaf growth? Is there a way to help it put out side branches? Is there a specific time of the year to do this?

Thanks again!!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 11, 2017 9:23 AM CST
Unfortunately, there is no reliable method for getting Ficus Lyratas to branch. Pinching and pruning sometimes helps, but not reliably. Likewise, new growth comes in only at the top and older lower leaves do not get replaced on lower stems. The lower stem will remain bare.

Your Lyrata has a single growing tip at the top end of the main stem. That is where all new leaves first emerge as that stem grows taller. As soon as you see a new leaf emerge at the top, literally use your fingers to pinch it out the tender new leaf and discard it. This will not do any damage to the plant. Before long, you will see another new leaf emerging and you will have to pinch it out. Sometimes this persistent pinching will cause some branching, but only at the point where you are doing the pinching. Pinching can be done at any time of year as the plant is non-seasonal.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Maur
Feb 12, 2018 5:02 AM CST
Hi
I have a 4 individual stem FLF, it was beautiful when I bought it. Since then most of the leaves have developed black marks and I unfortunately cut them off. Three stems seem to have recovered slightly by getting new leaves but still the ones below develop black marks on edges. The one stem has no leaves and has gone soft at the tip (rotted) o
Why is this happening?
One stem shot out 3 tiny, tiny New leaves and still green and tiny they dropped off. I'm confused!
Top pic is rotten stem, bottom pic where 3 tiny ones dropped off.

Many thanks
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 12, 2018 6:00 AM CST
Maur - Please post a photo that shows the base of the plant, including its pot. What is your watering routine?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Maur
Feb 12, 2018 11:06 AM CST
Hi
The one stem is definitely becoming more black and soft at the top. Here are pics of pot as well as new grown at the bottom from one of the stems. I'm really baffled. I water probably once a week but sometimes a bit less if it's still wet.
Thank you
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Maur
Feb 12, 2018 3:35 PM CST

[Last edited by Maur - Feb 13, 2018 7:40 AM (+)]
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