Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping, Turning Brown or Yellow or Falling Off: Causes and Fixes

By: Matt Slaymaker
January 24, 2024
Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping, Turning Brown or Yellow or Falling Off
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Fiddle leaf figs are darlings to every indoor plant enthusiast for their giant, heavily veined, and glossy violin-shaped leaves. However, this plant from tropical Western Africa can be a bit fussy, reacting to even the slightest change in its surroundings. 

In addition, lack of proper care for your fiddle leaf fig tree can result in an unhealthy-looking plant. Signs of this commonly show in the leaves, which may change their color, shape or level of vibrancy, as they become limp and droopy.

But why exactly is my fiddle leaf fig drooping and looking worse for wear? 

Read on as we shed light on the reasons and solutions of the most common issue and other problems with your beloved fiddle leaf fig. So, let’s start. 

About Fiddle Leaf Figs

About Fiddle Leaf Figs

Scientifically known as Ficus Lyrata, a fiddle leaf fig belongs to the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family, Moraceae. This evergreen tree with violin-shaped leaves is native to the lowlands of Western Africa but is also grown in other parts of the world. 

Fiddle leaf figs, being tropical plants, thrive in warm conditions and are sensitive to cold weather or extended freezes. Ideal conditions for optimal growth include a humidity level between 25% and 49%, temperatures ranging from 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C), and exposure to bright, indirect sunlight.

What Does a Healthy Fiddle Fig Leaf Look Like?

A healthy fiddle fig leaf typically looks vibrant and bushy, with dark-green, leathery to the touch, and lustrous foliage. It should show no signs of yellowing, browning leaves with blemishes and spots. The tree should be standing upright and not leaning to one side or wilting. 

The picky and capricious Ficus Lyrata needs extra attention to avoid issues, such as  yellow leaves, brown leaf edges, black or purple leaf markings, bent stems, pests, stunted growth, etc.

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Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping: 9 Reasons

Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping
Source: Reddit

Your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves may start drooping due to the following eight reasons: 

1. Frequent Relocation 

Like many houseplants, a fiddle leaf fig doesn’t enjoy being moved too frequently from one spot to another. This may stress your plant, making its leaves droop

2. Dirty Leaves

Dust on the leaves may cause them to droop, but it’s true. These tiny particles block the pores on the leaves, obstructing the airflow. As a result, the plant starts to look droopy. 

3. Underwatering/Overwatering

Watering too little or too often is your fiddle leaf fig’s biggest enemy, as both situations make it difficult for your plant’s roots to absorb sufficient moisture and oxygen from the soil. 

4. Incorrect Sunlight Exposure

This tropical plant thrives in bright but indirect sunlight. If exposed to the harmful rays of the afternoon sun, it’ll react by dropping its leaves or showing other signs of damage. 

5. Poorly Draining Soil

Poor soil drainage can also be the culprit behind droopy leaves. If the soil in your plant’s pot remains soggy after watering it, it’s a common sign of poor drainage. Check if the drainage holes are sufficient and consider repotting the plant in fresh well-draining soil.

6. Low Humidity

Humidity is important for a thriving your fiddle leaf fig. If made to sit in dry air for a long time, your plant will not only experience stunted growth but will also have droopy leaves. 

7. Overfertilization

Overfertilizing your fiddle leaf fig leads to the build-up of salt or nitrogen in the soil, blocking the plant’s tissues, cells, and roots from absorbing enough moisture from the soil for growth. 

8. Temperature Fluctuations

The leaves of your fiddle leaf fig can also start to droop, due to sudden drops in temperatures. As mentioned above, neither too hot or too cold air is good for this delicate tropical beauty.

9. Transplant Shock

Last but not least, droopy leaves are a sign of transplant shock if you’ve just repotted your fiddle leaf fig. Water your plant and place it in a spot with filtered light to help it adapt and recover more quickly.

How Do You Fix a Droopy Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Now that you know what’s causing your fiddle leaf fig to droop its leaves, try out these easy fixes to perk it up: 

  • Follow a proper watering schedule for your plant. The best practice is to water it if the top 2” of the soil feels dry.
  • Place your fiddle leaf fig to a spot with constant bright, and indirect light. Don’t forget to rotate the pot regularly to ensure even sunlight exposure for the whole plant. 
  • Make up for any nutrient deficiency in your plant’s soil by nourishing it with an organic nitrogen-rich fertilizer at least once or twice a year. 
  • Ensure not to shift your houseplant too often, and even if you do, optimize its new environment as earlier. 
  • Use a humidifier or mist the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig during dry periods in summer and winter.  
  • Lastly, wipe your plant’s leaves with a wet cloth to remove any dust.

Other Common Problems With Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants

Fiddle Leaf Fig Curled Leaves

Besides drooping leaves, fiddle leaf fig plants are prone to several other problems. For example: 

Brown Spots on Leaves 

Underwatering, physical damage, and low humidity can cause brown spots on the leaves. Following a consistent watering schedule, maintaining the required humidity levels, and preventing any damage to the leaves are some easy fixes to try out. 

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves on any plant, including your Ficus Lyrata, are a natural sign of aging. Other than that, lack of water, overwatering, nutritional deficiency, poor soil drainage, overfertilization, and root rot can also be the cause of your fiddle leaf fig turning yellow. You should always prune your fiddle leaf fig and remove damaged leaves and stems.

Curling Leaves

Your fiddle leaf fig's curled leaves is often a result from overwatering or underwatering. If the soil is consistently soggy or too dry, the roots can suffer, which will cause the leaves to curl. Ensure to change the soil with a well-draining potting mix; water when the top inch is dry, and consider adjusting the light exposure for optimal health.

Pests 

Pests like scale insects, and mealybugs can become a problem for plants and affect the appearance and shape of their leaves. But don’t worry, as there are a range of organic-based insecticidal solutions available on the market to get rid of the pesky pests. 

Bent Stems

Bent stems is a result of issues with the light your fiddle leaf fig tree is receiving. In most cases, it’s because the entire plant isn’t getting even sunlight. Giving the plant a 1/4° turn every few weeks will solve the problem. 

Fiddle Leaf Fig: Preventative Care Tips 

Fiddle Leaf Fig Prevention Tips

Fiddle leaf figs are finicky, so preventative care is key to their overall well-being.

  • Maintain an ideal environment for your Ficus Lyrata with temperatures between 60°F and 80°F and humidity levels ranging from 25% to 79%.
  • Following a consistent watering routine also goes a long way when it comes to growing a fiddle leaf fig. 
  • Watch for pests like spider mites and scale insects, and address insect issues promptly
  • When repotting your plant, use a well-draining potting soil mix of compost, moss, peat, sand, and perlite, which still retains moisture and nutrients sufficiently. 
  • Keep your fiddle leaf fig in a well-lit spot with filtered light and rotate the plant occasionally.

Drooping Fiddle Leaf Fig: FAQs

Q: Will fiddle leaf fig leaves grow back?

A: New fiddle leaf fig leaves will grow with proper care and time. As we've established, it's not an easy-going plant, so it requires extra attentions and love. 

Q: What does a thirsty fiddle leaf fig look like?

A: A thirsty fiddle leaf fig looks wilted, and sometimes, the entire tree leaning to one side. If you notice brown spots on the edge of the leaves spreading inward, they're also telling you the plant needs water.  

Q: How can you tell if a fiddle leaf fig is overwatered? 

A: You can tell if a fiddle leaf fig is overwatered if there are brown spots in the middle of the leaves, as well as around their edges. Moreover, yellowing and drooping leaves can be a symptom of overwatering, too. 

Q: How can you tell if a fiddle leaf fig has a bacterial infection?

A: A fiddle leaf fig probably has a bacterial infection if the spots on its leaves, especially young ones, are more brown than black. These spots are of irregular shape and can be noticed anywhere on the leaf. 

Conclusion

A drooping fiddle leaf fig is not uncommon sight. While it’s mostly due to overwatering, sometimes, insufficient light and abrupt environmental changes can also be the reason behind a droopy plant. You can easily revive your fiddle leaf fig by maintaining consistent care practices. In addition, regularly prune the damaged foliage encourage your fiddle leaf fig tree's resilience and overall vitality. 

If you want to elevate your indoor garden, companion plants, such as a rubber tree, a snake plant, and a Chinese Evergreen, are an excellent option. You can also propagate your fiddle leaf fig to expand your collection of air-purifying plants.