Ask a Question forum: Little Fiddle Leaf issues

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San Francisco
Jan 24, 2018 5:02 PM CST
Hi, About 3 months ago I bought an adult little fiddle leaf tree. It gets good amount of light as it is next to the window but not direct light and the temperature in the apartment is usually between 68-72F. It seemed to be doing fine the first month and one day I accidentally overwatered it and it was left seating in water for almost 20 hours when I realized what happened. I think it might have caused a root rot as the leaves started browning dark color and getting hard and falling. I removed the pot and let the soil dry for almost a month and then repotted to a new pot. Then I removed most leaves that started browning and watered it properly. It has been a week now and it seems that it is doing little better but the browning keeps spreading and I am worried that it might be some sort a bacteria or disease, not just watering problem but I am no expert so I hope I might find possible answers here. I am attaching the latest pictures of the tree and of one of the leaves that just fell.

I appreciate any advice! Thank you!

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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Jan 24, 2018 5:50 PM CST
Overwatering a plant means keeping the soil very wet for an extended period of time - typically several weeks. Leaving a large plant like your Fiddle Fig sitting in water for 20 hours is not recommended, but it is not particularly damaging. All you had to do was allow the soil to dry on its own, which probably would have occurred within a week or so.

The leaf drop that it experienced subsequently was more likely caused by the repotting and forcing it to go without water for almost a month. This is a plant that tolerates too much water far better than too little.

All of that said, your plant appears to be in better shape than I would have expected. Going forward, it is important to keep it right in front of that window and make sure it is completely uncovered during the day.

Normally, I would advise you to water it thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. However, you repotted and not knowing how you did that, I cannot properly advise you. In general, it is best to not let the soil close to the roots get dry.

There is no reason to suspect a bacterial infection. However, some additional leaf browning and leaf loss will continue as it slowly recovers from the shock of repotting and drying out. New leaf growth at the ends of stems should be healthy and spot-free. If so, you will know you are on the right track.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
San Francisco
Jan 25, 2018 9:32 PM CST
Thanks a lot for your reply! The new leaves on top look healthy, it's the lower ones that keep dropping. Just lost three more today :/ I hope the plant will eventually get better.

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