How To Save a Dying Fiddle Leaf Fig (11 Causes & Solutions)


An elegant houseplant, the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree (Ficus lyrata) can add a touch of luxury to any home.

However, when your Fiddle Leaf Fig starts to die, it can be a heartbreaking experience.

But don’t despair! This article will cover the 11 most common reasons why Fiddle Leaf Figs die and offer solutions to fix them.

Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Dying?

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant may be dying for several reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

1. Overwatering

Watering your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree too much can quickly become a death sentence for the plant. This is because Fiddle Leaf Fig trees come from tropical rainforests and require well-drained soil to thrive.

Excessive watering can occur when you use too much water, don’t provide adequate drainage in the pot, or fail to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

If you want your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree to survive and flourish, it’s essential that you monitor how much water it receives and adjust accordingly.

How To Tell If You’re Overwatering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

You can tell you’re overwatering your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree by observing the following signs:

  • The tree sheds yellow or brown leaves
  • The leaves develop black or brown spots
  • Mold or mildew grows on the soil or pot
  • The stems become soft or mushy
  • The roots rot

Take immediate action to save your tree if you notice any of these signs.

How To Save An Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig

Watering your Fiddle Leaf Fig too frequently can lead to overwatering, which can be detrimental to the health of your tree.

To avoid this issue, you should make sure to allow the soil to dry out completely before giving it a deep soak.

To check if your plant is ready for water, simply observe the top inch of the soil.

If it looks dry and rough, you can go ahead and water it; however, if it feels wet or damp then you should wait a bit longer before watering your tree again.

It is also recommended that you check the drainage holes in the bottom of your pot on a regular basis.

Clogging of the drainage holes can impede water flow and lead to problems with root rot and overall poor health of your Fiddle Leaf Fig.

To ensure these holes remain clear, take a few minutes every month or two to examine them closely and clear out any dirt or debris that may have gathered there over time.

2. Underwatering

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees, native to tropical rainforests, possess remarkable drought-tolerance, allowing them to go for extended periods of time without water and still remain alive.

While they are able to withstand dry conditions for a while, if they continue to be deprived of necessary hydration, the plant will eventually succumb to the lack of moisture and begin to wither away.

It is important that these trees receive an appropriate amount of water to survive; when soil begins to dry out, it is an indication that a watering is required.

How To Tell If You’re Underwatering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

If you have a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in your home, it is important to make sure it is receiving enough water.

Signs that your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree may be underwatered include wilting or drooping leaves, dry or yellow leaves, and leaves falling off.

If you see any of these signs, it is essential to take action right away. Not providing enough water can quickly cause damage to the health of the plant and even lead to its death.

How To Save An Underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig

Watering a Fiddle Leaf Fig requires more than just a light sprinkle every week. It’s important to water deeply and thoroughly to ensure that the plant is getting enough moisture.

To do so, fill up a container with enough water, submerge the pot in it, and let it soak for several minutes until you see water coming out from the drainage holes at the bottom of the planter.

Once the soil is adequately moistened all the way through, let it dry completely before watering again. On average, your Fiddle Leaf Fig should be watered at least once every week or more often during the hot summer months.

3. Poor Drainage

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are native to tropical rainforests and require well-drained, sandy soil to thrive.

If the soil in their pot does not provide adequate drainage, it can lead to overwatering, which can be fatal for the plant.

Therefore, it is important to ensure the pot has appropriate drainage holes in the bottom so that excess water can escape freely.

Poor drainage can also cause root rot, which is another potential cause of death for Fiddle Leaf Figs as their roots need air circulation.

How To Tell If You Have Poor Drainage

If you notice your tree’s leaves wilting or turning yellow, falling off, or the soil feeling constantly wet or mushy, it is time to take action and improve the drainage in your pot.

Poor drainage can have a detrimental effect on the health of your plant, so taking steps to rectify this problem as soon as possible should be a top priority.

How To Improve Drainage In Your Pot

In order to ensure that your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree has the ideal environment to grow and thrive, it is important to repot it in a pot with drainage holes.

Additionally, you’ll need to switch up the type of soil being used. Fiddle Leaf Fig trees require well-draining, sandy soil to survive and flourish.

An excellent option is to mix together equal parts sand, peat moss, and perlite; this provides an optimal balance of nutrients for your tree while still allowing for proper drainage.

If you are short on time or resources, you can opt for a commercial potting mix as well.

It is essential to ensure that the soil will not retain too much water; otherwise, your tree may be susceptible to root rot and other diseases.

4. Lack Of Light

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees must be exposed to ample light in order to survive and thrive.

Native to tropical regions, these plants naturally grow in the shade of taller trees, basking in indirect sunlight.

To replicate this type of environment within the home, it is important to give them bright indirect light without allowing them to be directly exposed to intense, direct rays.

Without the proper amount of light, Fiddle Leaf Fig trees will start showing signs of distress such as a rapid decline in health or wilting leaves.

In extreme cases, if the conditions remain untreated for too long, it can lead to death for the plant.

Therefore, it is essential that owners of this species provide their plants with enough sunlight so they can live a long and healthy life.

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Not Getting Enough Light

When your tree is not receiving enough light, there are several indications that can be easily spotted.

Wilting leaves, yellowing foliage, paler than normal coloration, and smaller than usual size are all signs of light deprivation. Your tree may even begin to lean towards the source of light if it’s lacking in exposure.

If you notice any of these indications, you must take action to provide your tree with more light.

How To Give Your Fiddle Leaf Fig More Light

By moving their tree to an area with adequate light, such as an east- or west-facing window, people can ensure that their tree receives the bright indirect light it needs to thrive. This will help the Fiddle Leaf Fig grow more vigorously and result in healthier foliage.

If a sunnier location is not available, supplementary lighting may be needed. In this case, people can use fluorescent, or LED grow lights to provide their tree with the light it needs.

5. Too Much Sunlight

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees require an abundance of light to remain healthy and grow, yet they cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

If not monitored carefully, overexposure to direct sun can cause the leaves to become scorched, browning, and losing their vibrant, green hues.

To achieve optimal health and growth, these trees require bright but indirect lighting.

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Getting Too Much Sunlight

When your tree is getting too much sunlight, it’s easy to tell.

The leaves can become scorched, brown, wrinkled, and crispy. They may even start to drop off of the tree, with white, yellow, or brown burns on them.

It’s essential to act quickly to protect your plant from further exposure to the sun if you notice any of these signs.

How To Protect Your Fiddle Leaf Fig From Direct Sunlight

By shifting the tree to a location with less light, such as an east- or west-facing window, you can provide it with the ideal environment of bright indirect light that it needs to flourish.

A simple solution for filtering the sunlight is to install a sheer curtain over the window, which will protect your tree from any direct sun exposure and keep it healthy.

6. Root-Bound

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees require sufficient space to thrive and develop.

When planted in a pot that is too small, the roots will eventually become confined, a condition known as root-bound.

The roots will eventually grow past the confines of the pot, leaving them exposed to air which can cause a range of problems for the plant, including stress, nutrient deficiency, and even death.

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Root-Bound

If you observe your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant exhibiting any of the tell-tale signs of root-bound, it is critical to act quickly to rectify the situation.

These common indicators include roots growing through the drainage holes, tightly coiled around the interior of the pot, leaf curling, and discoloration such as yellowing or browning, as well as slowed growth.

How To Fix A Root-Bound Fiddle Leaf Fig

When it comes to a root-bound tree, the best action is to repot it in a larger container. This process requires loosing up the roots and untangling them before moving the plant into its new home.

Gently remove the tree from its existing pot and use your fingers to loosen up the root system.

Replacing it in a pot that is at least two to three times bigger than its original will give it more room to grow and thrive – giving you an even more beautiful and lush tree.

Depending on how long your tree has been in its current pot, you may need to replace some of the soil with fresh soil.

7. Cold Temperatures

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are tropical plants that thrive in warm temperatures.

When the temperature drops below 60°F (15°C), they experience stress, and their leaves can begin to turn brown, eventually falling off. If the temperature drops lower than 50°F (10°C), the plant goes into shock and may not recover, resulting in death.

These plants require a fairly consistent temperature to sustain optimal health.

Minor fluctuations or short-term exposure won’t necessarily cause any long-term damage. But if your Fiddle Leaf Fig is exposed to temperatures below what it prefers for longer periods of time, it could be detrimental to its well-being.

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Too Cold

When it comes to your Fiddle Leaf Fig, you may notice certain signs that it’s too cold.

These could include a loss of color in the leaves or wilting and drooping leaves.

You may also observe that the tree is inactive or dormant. If any of these signs are present, it’s important to take action to warm up the plant.

How To Save A Fiddle Leaf Fig That Is Too Cold

If your tree is feeling the chill, it’s time to move it to a warmer location. An east- or west-facing window will provide the bright, indirect light the tree needs to thrive.

Alternatively, if you can’t move the plant, there are other options: try using a space heater or setting the pot on a heating pad. This will offer some additional warmth and ensure your tree remains cozy and healthy.

8. Hot Temperatures

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees love warm temperatures, but they can’t cope with too much heat.

As temperatures rise above 85°F (29°C), the leaves will start to scorch and brown, indicating that your plant is under stress.

To help keep your Fiddle Leaf Fig happy and healthy, aim to keep them in an environment where the temperature stays between 70-85°F (21-29°C).

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Too Hot

If you notice your Fiddle Leaf Fig turning yellow, getting scorched or brown, wilting and drooping, or the lower leaves starting to fall off, then it is likely that your tree is too hot.

Heat can easily damage this particular plant since it prefers cooler temperatures. Taking action to cool down your Fiddle Leaf Fig is crucial to ensure its health.

How To Save A Fiddle Leaf Fig That Is Too Hot

When the temperature rises, it is important to take steps to ensure your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree doesn’t become too hot.

To help cool it down, you can move the tree to a cooler location if possible. In addition, misting the leaves with water or using a fan nearby can help reduce the heat.

However, be sure that the fan is not blowing directly onto the leaves, which may cause them to dry out.

It is also essential to provide your tree with enough water, as plants tend to lose moisture more quickly when temperatures are high. Therefore, check the soil regularly and water your tree when the top few inches of soil are dry.

9. Overfertilizing

Fertilizing your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is an important part of ensuring its health and longevity.

However, it is possible to fertilize too much or too often and this can have deleterious effects on the plant.

When the soil’s salt content reaches a level that is too high for the Fiddle Leaf Fig’s roots to handle, the plant’s leaves will begin to turn yellow and brown.

How To Tell If You’re Overfertilizing Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

If you notice any of the tell-tale signs that your tree is being overfertilized, it’s important to take action right away.

Yellowing or browning of the leaves, wilting, dropping off, stunted growth, and blackening of the roots are all indicators that too much fertilizer is being used.

Reducing the amount of fertilizer you’re using can help your tree stay healthy and strong.

How To Save A Fiddle Leaf Fig That Is Overfertilized

Water your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree deeply to flush out any excess fertilizer. Allow the water to drain away so that it does not leave behind any additional nutrients or minerals.

After the tree has recovered, you can then begin fertilizing again – but only at half the usual rate.

During the growing season, a Fiddle Leaf Fig should be fertilized approximately once a month.

10. Pest Infestation

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are particularly vulnerable to pests, which can cause serious damage to the leaves and even lead to the death of the plant if left unchecked.

Common pests that regularly target Fiddle Leaf Figs include aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites.

These pests consume the sap from the leaves, causing them to become yellowed, browned, and withered.

Additionally, these pests can spread diseases throughout a tree, making it essential to quickly eradicate any infestations.

It is essential to act quickly when pests are discovered on a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree.

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Has Pests

If you notice any signs of pests on your Fiddle Leaf Fig, it’s important to take immediate action to eliminate them.

The leaves may start to turn yellow or brown or become wilted, and there might be webbing over the leaves.

Additionally, you may see insects crawling on the leaves or a sticky substance or holes in the foliage.

All these are tell-tale signs that your plant has been invaded by pests and needs your attention as soon as possible.

How To Save A Fiddle Leaf Fig That Has Pests

If pests have invaded your tree, it’s important to take swift action.

Isolate the plant right away to prevent the spread of pests to other plants.

For lighter infestations, you can attempt to remove the pests by hand using a cotton swab that has been dipped in rubbing alcohol and gently wiped across the leaves.

A soft brush may also help with removal. If the infestation is more severe, you’ll need to reach for a natural pesticide.

Neem oil-based pesticide is a highly effective solution for protecting your tree from pests and diseases. To use it, simply mix 1 teaspoon of neem oil with 1 cup of water and spray it onto the leaves and stems of your tree

This concoction will help deter pests and keep them away from your plants.

11. Diseases

Diseases are a major threat to Fiddle Leaf Fig trees. The most common ailments are leaf spot, root rot, and bacterial blight.

Leaf spot is a fungal infection that causes brown or black spots to appear on the Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves, leading to discoloration and potential death of foliage.

Root rot is an even more serious affliction that can destroy healthy roots, hindering the tree’s ability to uptake vital nutrients from the soil and eventually leading to its demise.

Bacterial blight, meanwhile, takes hold when yellow patches begin appearing on the leaves; these leaves will soon drop off prematurely, causing further damage and weakening the plant’s overall health.

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Has A Disease

If you notice that your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant leaves are turning yellow or brown, wilting, covered in black or brown spots, falling off, or the roots are rotting, then it is likely that it has a disease.

Fungal or bacterial diseases can cause these symptoms, so it is important to take action and treat the disease as soon as possible.

How To Save A Fiddle Leaf Fig That Has A Disease

To prevent a disease from spreading to other plants, it is important to isolate the affected tree as soon as possible.

One of the most effective treatments for diseases in trees is making a natural fungicide from baking soda and water.

To make this mixture, mix one teaspoon of baking soda with one cup of water and spray it on the leaves and stems of the indoor plant.

In addition to spraying the affected areas, it is important to also water the plant with this solution. This treatment should be done quickly since diseases can easily spread and kill the tree if not treated immediately.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve recently gotten a Fiddle Leaf Fig for your home, you’re not alone! These gorgeous tropical plants are becoming more and more popular among plant enthusiasts.

But unfortunately, they are also notoriously tricky to keep alive and thriving.

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig isn’t looking as healthy as it should, take action quickly – otherwise, you could end up losing it.

Don’t despair though – with the right care and attention, your Fiddle Leaf Fig can be saved!

Hope this helped! Happy gardening.

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