Ask a Question forum: New Fiddle Leaf Fig - Dying within 24 hours??

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Name: Kayla Clayton
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Kaylarhnee
Jan 2, 2018 6:47 PM CST
Okay so, I've finally got my hands on my most favorite plant and it starts dying on me!
I feel as though the weather is to blame. Yesterday, at a whole whopping 5 degrees (excluding windchill) we took our new fiddle Fig from the comfort of Home Depot to the icy chill outdoors. I rushed as not to expose it too long. I plop it in the back seat and hurry up and warm the car. Of course, it had to go back outside once again to get into the house.

The next morning my heart sunk when I saw the top leaf (the biggest!) was now droopy and very flimsy along with another right by it. The leaves below were somewhat curled and starting to brown. Could my poor fiddle Fig have gotten frost bite? Is there any way to fix it??
I gave it some water this morning, the soil was slightly damp.

Thumb of 2018-01-03/Kaylarhnee/6c4446


Thumb of 2018-01-03/Kaylarhnee/47417e

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 2, 2018 7:31 PM CST
Probably a big shock to leaves, yes !
You being quick, though ! Cold most likely didn't get whole plant and pot.
It'll lose most of leaves, but !
I bet 😀, it'll come back.
If, your patient.
By spring you'll know !
In other words .
Wait , till , spring !!!👍

Wait ! 🙊
Ooo ! Ho Ho 😀.
You , did say, home depot !
Ha ha 😀 !!! Hold on to that receipt, and pot ! Big Grin
Home Depot. Guarantees, everything to grow ! nodding
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
[Last edited by Calif_Sue - Jan 3, 2018 12:48 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1613009 (2)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jan 2, 2018 8:14 PM CST
Yep! That ride home might have been a little too cold. Don't worry, your tree will recover.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 2, 2018 8:18 PM CST
Kayla - Yes, that is definitely cold damage to a tropical species plant that can not tolerate below freezing temps even for a short time. The discolored leaves will not recover, unfortunately. However, as Philip indicated, the roots are protected by the insulating effect of the pot and soil. As long as the roots remain healthy, your Fig has a future even if the affected leaves do not.

Provide lots of warmth and keep it close to and in front of a sunny window. Do not repot it or use fertilizer. Water it as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. The new growth leaves that come in that were not exposed to cold should be fine. Be patient.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 2, 2018 8:21 PM CST
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Jan 2, 2018 9:46 PM CST
Yup- frost nip and the leaves wont recover, but the plant is still heathy- it can actualyy happen a lot higher than 5 degrees

I was going to say no point looking at them, cut it back to healthy growth and move on, but it looks like it just got the tips and it got most of the leaves, you don't want to remove all the healthy green from the plant, even if the tips are brown.

You probably didn't do this all by yourself, there's a good chance a delay in getting them inside the store might have helped. You can return it as others have mentioned
Name: Kayla Clayton
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Kaylarhnee
Jan 2, 2018 11:02 PM CST
Thank you everyone! Poor little Fig.
Should I allow the discolored leaves to fall off on their own or should I pluck them off?
It's curdently in the sunniest part of my home so hopefully that'll keep it warm. Crossing Fingers!
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
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Zuni
Jan 3, 2018 1:11 AM CST
@kaylarhnee It's really hard to just let a plant recover without fussing over it. I agree with everyone's advice as far as not watering it too much, etc. (aka fussing). Now the hard part is to just let it alone and let it heal. You can sing to it and blow it kisses, though.

I go through the same thing every time I start some cuttings. They almost always go all limp and look like they're about to die for a few days to a week. I have to force myself to just look at them and not "fuss." Just let them recover on their own. I just make sure they stay slightly moist and have some light (not direct) and then....just wait. It's hard to do.

Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Jan 3, 2018 2:08 AM CST
Good luck with your favorite plant! I can see he will get much love from you and it can recover as many members already told you! And you will be happy to see it getting strong again!
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Jan 3, 2018 6:09 AM CST
The plant's recovery is not at all dependent on whether you remove the affected foliage or leave it alone. Removing the leaves is a question of aesthetics - how it looks to you.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Kayla Clayton
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Image
Kaylarhnee
Jan 3, 2018 7:11 AM CST
@Zuni oh dear that'll be hard! But I'll be sure to control myself, for the fig's sake nodding

@Faridat thank you very much! Most definitely.

@WillC okay I will leave it alone then. I wasn't sure if it'd affect it negatively if it had bad leaves on it or not. I suppose the plant knows how to heal itself nodding
[Last edited by Kaylarhnee - Jan 3, 2018 7:11 AM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 3, 2018 8:10 AM CST
Kayla :
You'll know when to remove leaves.
Do as I do... When they , look ugly. Ugh ! I can't take it , no more. Snip. Snip. Snip. Oh 🕵️, all pretty now !😀

😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jan 3, 2018 1:48 PM CST
If any part of the affected leaves is still photosynthesizing, the leaves will cling to the plant. They minute the plant doesn't need them, they will fall off.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Kayla Clayton
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Image
Kaylarhnee
Jan 4, 2018 3:16 AM CST
Little update:
So all the leaves are now brown. There was the top two who still were green but rather floppy. They too turned brown and all the others turned browner and started to curl. All the leaves are pretty much gonners... Sighing!
So I'm most likely returning the poor thing. But I shall try again in the spring time so I don't expose another plant to the bitter cold.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 4, 2018 3:21 PM CST
Right thing to do. 👍
If you wait a few months, they probably have some fine fine fine print , ya cant even see 🕵️ on guarantee.
That has a limitation on it.

I bet I bet I bet nodding
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Jan 4, 2018 4:02 PM CST
I didn't know that retailers would accept returns on plants that were exposed to severe cold by the customer.

It is possible to transport tropical plants in cold weather. However, they have to be double-wrapped in heavy Kraft paper and then moved rapidly from store to heated vehicle. You don't have to wait until spring, but it is best to do it when temps are not severely cold, as they have been recently in the northeast.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Jan 6, 2018 7:59 PM CST
I don't think Home depot or Lowes has a conditional return policy.

If you went to a florist or specialty shop they would, BUT they would also wrap your tropical plant nicely for the trip home and give you advice on how not to kill it.
It sounds like this poor fig sat on the loading dock for a while before it came inside- The walk to the car could cause some damage to every leaf- but this much? every leaf all the way through and the stem is soggy- that sounds like a deep freeze to me. I half hour could be all it needed, but certainly it doesn't take more than 2-3 minutes to walk to your car.

I do love that you were willing to keep it with the brown and nurse it back to health Lovey dubby but sometimes its just too late.
Name: Kayla Clayton
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Kaylarhnee
Jan 6, 2018 10:19 PM CST
Home Depot didn't really ask me any questions when I brought it back so I guess it really doesn't matter if I was at fault or not.
But definitely learned my lesson with tropical plants and the cold.
Did manage to pick up some smaller plants at another Home Depot that are doing very well. This particular store had the plants out in the greenhouse which was slightly warmer than the outside (it was a warmer day). Ones a Money Tree, the other a Blechnum fluviatile, Dracanea Marginata and a dwarf umbrella.
Thank you everyone for the tips and helping me learn from my mistake. @WillC I'll have to try the craft paper on maybe a smaller tropical plant, a large one like the figs they had I wouldn't want to risk again.
@Turbosaurus it might have been damaged from that. Home Depot doesn't exactly have the best lighting so I could have easily missed some damage. It seemed nice and green that night, next morning droopy and brown curled leaves.

I'm new into keeping tropical plants and such, I'm use to cacti and succulents. Much hardier little things. But I'm glad I found this community to help me along!

Some photos of the new guys:
Thumb of 2018-01-07/Kaylarhnee/62f9ee
Thumb of 2018-01-07/Kaylarhnee/417477
Thumb of 2018-01-07/Kaylarhnee/3ffd9b
[Last edited by Kaylarhnee - Jan 6, 2018 10:24 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1615675 (18)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Jan 7, 2018 10:06 AM CST
In severely cold temps such as we have experienced in the last week or so in the northeast, a tender plant will suffer foliage damage in just a few minutes of exposure. The colder it is, the less exposure a plant can sustain. Although it can be done, I avoid purchasing plants when temps are much below freezing, especially if there is windchill.

Kayla - Glad they let you do an exchange. Be sure to keep your Fern soil moist at all times and protected from direct sunlight.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Image
Turbosaurus
Jan 9, 2018 10:14 PM CST
Cold damage is not evident immediately. Its not the store lighting or your vigilance. Although the damage is done and the cells are dead it takes a while for the cellular degeneration and chemical processes that results in brown color and soggy feel.

A person can be dead for days before it becomes obvious with a simple visual scan and plants don't have a pulse or fog mirrors, lol. (too morbid?)

I'm glad you took it back and brought home some new babies.

Ferns do like to be damp and shaded- but your other plants will appreciate a little more dry time between watering and brighter light. There are a lot of really cheap (in terms of initial investment and usage/energy bill) options that can screw into your existing fixtures. For me, often arrangement/placement is more satisfying and easier to do that matching environmental exposure- Not that you'll need to- but if you run into sad plants, let us know. Theres a lot of options

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