Ask a Question forum: Fiddle Leaf Fig Help

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San Francisco, CA
andreslp
Nov 17, 2017 4:33 PM CST
I got a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree about 3 weeks ago and its leaves have started turning brown and falling off. The bigger, lower leaves are brown but the smaller, top leaves are green.

I live in San Francisco and his home stays at ~69 degrees and ~53% humidity. He's in a room with a north facing window with a very sheer curtain and we are on the top floor so we don't get any shade on that window.

We water him ~once a week with distilled water. I called the nursery where we got him and they said we may be not watering enough. We were previously doing about 1/4 a gallon per watering but I'm upping it to 1/2 or 3/4 a gallon.

Any advice is welcome!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 17, 2017 7:59 PM CST
Your Fig tree is not getting nearly enough light. If the only light source is a north window, then the Fig would have to be located in the center of that window and right in front of it. In addition, the window would have to be completely uncovered throughout the daylight hours. Sheers block out most of the usable light for plants. If you cannot provide enough light, whatever else you do will not matter very much.

Assuming your Fig is still in its plastic nursery pot, then it should be watered as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. When you water, add enough so that a little trickles through the drain holes. You will have to experiment a bit to learn just how much that is.

Normal household temps and humidity are not a problem.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
San Francisco, CA
andreslp
Nov 18, 2017 11:23 AM CST
@WillC Thanks for the advice! I've moved him into another room that has a south facing window without any covering. Once I moved him I also noticed a very small amount of sitting water in the pan under his pot (half a cup or so). I dumped that and put a paper towel under him to help wick any remaining moisture.

Given the water that stayed there since Tuesday I figured I should let him dry for a bit longer than usual to discourage any root rot. Is that the right idea?
San Francisco, CA
andreslp
Nov 18, 2017 11:37 AM CST
Oh also; I've heard from others that distilled water may be lacking in nutrients. Is that true even after a few weeks?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 18, 2017 8:30 PM CST
Good that you improved the light. That will help over the long run.

It's okay for a little water to sit in the saucer as long as it mostly evaporates in about 12-24 hours. Water it when the surface of the soil feels dry and add just enough so that a little trickles through.

Plants receive nutrients from the soil, not the water. Distilled water is just fine, but only necessary if your tap water is on the hard side, i.e. loaded with mineral salts.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
San Francisco, CA
andreslp
Nov 21, 2017 3:59 AM CST
Thank you!! I'll report back next week, hopefully we see some improvement!
San Francisco, CA
andreslp
Nov 27, 2017 6:13 PM CST
Alright, so I've moved Newton to a new place! Here's some pics of his location and the light he receives at different times:
8am:
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10am:
Thumb of 2017-11-28/andreslp/d0ad76

12pm:
Thumb of 2017-11-28/andreslp/f7a388

I think I am going to get a super-sheer curtain to prevent some of the sunbeams hitting his leaves. The number of his leaves is now down to ~26 but at least only like 3 of the leaves have any significant brown on them!

Any other advice or comments based on how he looks?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 27, 2017 7:48 PM CST
It appears that you have it in an eastern exposure window and that is fine. However, it does not need protection from direct indoor sun and the sheers will block out a high percentage of the usable light. Leave it as is and skip the sheers!

The results of improved light will be gradual. Don't expect immediate improvement.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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