Q. I have a very large fiddle leaf that is losing leaves like crazy - what is wrong and what can I do?

I have a very large fiddle leaf that is losing leaves like crazy - I usually have an excellent green thumb, so this is even more depressing than usual (plus it was a gift - I can't let it die!). What am I doing wrong? I can send pics too! It's mainly dropping lower leaves, and is browning from the center vein out - the leaf edge is thinning and the leaf stem is dried out. I have it on a 2 cup of water/week schedule - more water? Less water? Too much sun? I just shifted it away from a direct east facing window where it was getting some direct/mostly dappled sun 1/2 the day.


Let's see if we can help your poor plant back to health!  To begin with, the proper regimine of care for a fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)is as follows:

  • Light - Your plant will do best in a position of with some, filtered sun each day but not direct sunlight
  • Temperature - Tempertures should stay between 60 and 80 °F. as long as there is no quick change to a hotter or colder environment (such as air conditioning or heating blasts)
  • Water - Allow top half soil to completely dry between waterings and then water thoroughly. Do not let the plant sit in a water filled saucer.  Overwatering leads to lower leaves falling off
  • Fertilizer - Every month during active growing season with standard fertilizer
  • Potting - These plants are best grown in a small pot that looks as though it might be one size too small; a tight root situation is best. When a lot of roots come through the pot's drainage hole, move only one pot size larger.
  • Humidity - Mist leaves daily. Insect problems can affect plants grown in too dry an environment

While there are some plant diseases that could be affecting your plant, it is more likely to be that it needs some adjustment to its care and will reward you with good health when you settle on a routine that it likes.  Move the plant to aposition where it receives no more than a half day of indirect sun.  Make sure your do not have it right near a cooling unit.  It is hard to judge if your amount of water is correct because your plant's needs will be affected by the humidity of the environment, so start checking dryness before you re-water rather than going with a set schedule.  Make sure you mist this humidity loving plant.

Lower leaf fall can result from both over- and underwatering and this is the most likely culprit for the issues you are experiencing.  Lower leaves turning yellow with brown spots, curling and falling with limp weak stems means underwatering. Mass yellowing and droping of leaves with some curl and sometimes brown spots is overwatering and so similar that it is hard to differentiate.  If you decide you have been overwatering, also check the roots of the plant to make sure they are healthy and haven't rotted. 

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information


  • Last Updated Jul 19, 2018
  • Views 4970
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 3   0

Ask us a question

Your Question
Your Info
Fields marked with * are required.