Why is my fiddle-leaf fig getting so leggy and losing lower leaves?


A fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) with leggy or unstable growth usually indicates inadequate light. The entire plant may grow tall and weak, with a frail trunk. Leaves may be spaced far apart on long branches or this may happen only to the lower branches if they are  blocked from sunlight. Lower leaves that receive inadequate light may drop off.

Your fiddle-leaf fig tree needs to be in the brightest room in your house but just far enough from the window that the sun's direct rays do not touch it. A shear curtain between the window and the plant will also give it the protection it needs. Take care with position so that all branches, high and low, have access to light and move objects that obstruct them. You may need to keep your plant on a stand if windows are high and light doesn't reach the lower leaves. Turn the tree a quarter turn every time you water so that all sides receive equal light and a balanced shape is maintained.

Keep leaves dust-free or the accumulation will restrict light reaching the leaf. Prune leggy branches to a node in the spring.

You can find more information about caring for your fiddle-leaf fig plant in our Guide.

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service


  • Last Updated Dec 31, 2020
  • Views 4779
  • Answered By Leslie Coleman

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