Underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig: How To Identify, Treat & Prevent It

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Fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) are a popular type of houseplant known for their large, glossy leaves.

They are relatively easy to care for but can suffer from various problems, including brown leaves, wilting, and yellowing.

One common problem is underwatering, which can lead to many issues.

This article will teach you how to identify an underwatered fiddle leaf fig, treat it, and prevent the problem in the future.

Why Is Underwatering A Problem?

Underwatering is often a problem because people are afraid of overwatering their Fiddle Leaf Fig plants.

While it is true that overwatering can lead to problems, such as root rot, it is also true that underwatering can be just as damaging.

Water is essential for plants because it helps them to transport nutrients and minerals around their bodies.

It also helps them maintain their structure and keep their leaves healthy and green.

When a plant doesn’t get enough water, several problems can arise.

The plant may wilt, its leaves may turn yellow or brown, and it may become stunted or stop growing altogether.

In severe cases, an underwatered plant can die.

How Does Underwatering a Fiddle Leaf Fig Occur

There are a few ways that underwatering can occur.

The most common reasons a Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is underwatered are:

Inadequate Watering Schedule

Fiddle Leaf Figs need a lot of water, especially when actively growing.

During the spring and summer, they may need to be watered once a week or more, depending on the size of the plant and the pot it is in.

If you’re not watering your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree frequently enough, likely, it is not getting enough water.

If you’re unsure how often to water your Fiddle Leaf Fig, check the soil before watering.

If the top inch or so of soil is dry, it’s time to water.

Improper Drainage

Another common cause of underwatering is improper drainage.

Fiddle Leaf Figs need well-draining potting soil to prevent their roots from sitting in water, which can lead to rot.

If your plant is in a pot with poor drainage, the water may not be able to drain properly, leading to overwatering.

When the roots are sitting in water, they can’t uptake the water properly, and the plant will start to suffer.

If you think your plant’s pot may not have good drainage, try transplanting it into a new pot with fresh, well-draining potting soil mix.

Not Enough Humidity

Fiddle Leaf Figs also like high humidity levels.

If the air in your home is too dry, it can cause the plant to lose water faster than it can take it in.

To raise the humidity levels around your Fiddle Leaf Fig, use a humidifier, mist the leaves with water, or put the pot on a pebble tray.

Pebble trays are simply trays filled with water and pebbles that help to raise the humidity around the plant.

You can make your own or buy one online or at a garden center.

Hot, Dry Weather

It can also lead to underwatering if you live in an area with hot, dry weather.

Hot weather can cause the plant to lose water faster than it can take it in, and dry air can make it difficult for the plant to uptake water.

If you live in an area with hot, dry weather, you may need to water your Fiddle Leaf Fig more often than usual.

Check the soil before watering to make sure it is dry.

You may also need to mist the leaves or put the pot on a pebble tray to raise the humidity around the plant.

Too Much Sunlight

Fiddle Leaf Figs need bright indirect light to thrive.

If the plant is getting too much direct sunlight, it can cause the plant to lose water faster than it can take it in.

This is because the leaves are taking in more water than they can use, and the evaporation causes the plant to lose even more water.

If you think your plant is getting too much direct sunlight, try moving it to a spot with less sun.

If that’s not possible, you may need to provide some shade for the plant.

You can hang a sheer curtain or place the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water.

Poor Root System

If a plant has a poor root system, it can’t uptake water properly, and the plant will start to suffer.

There are a few reasons why a Fiddle Leaf Fig plant might have a poor root system.

The roots could be damaged from too much or too little water, rootbound, or the plant could suffer from a disease or pest infestation.

If you think your plant’s root system is damaged, try transplanting it into a new pot with fresh, well-draining soil.

This will give the roots a chance to recover and start taking up water again.

How to Identify an Underwatered Fiddle

How To Tell If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Underwatered

It’s essential to catch underwatering early so that you can take steps to fix the problem.

If you wait too long, the plant will start to suffer from the effects of drought, and it may be too late to save it.

That’s why it’s essential to know the signs of an underwater plant.

Signs of an Underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig

There are a few signs that you can look for to tell if your Fiddle Leaf Fig is underwater.

The most common signs are:

Drooping Leaves

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves are drooping, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When the plant doesn’t have enough water, it can’t support the leaves, and they start to droop.

If the leaves are slightly drooping, you may need to water the plant more often.

If the leaves are severely drooped, it’s a sign that the plant is already suffering from drought stress and needs to be watered immediately.

Yellow Leaves

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves are turning yellow, it’s another sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When plants don’t have enough water, they can’t transport nutrients to the leaves, and the leaves start to turn yellow.

This is a sign that the plant is already suffering from drought stress and needs to be watered immediately.

Brown Spots on Leaves

If you see brown spots on your Fiddle Leaf Fig, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When plants don’t have enough water, they can’t transport nutrients to the leaves, and the leaves start to turn brown and dry.

This is a sign that the plant is already suffering from drought stress and needs to be watered immediately.

Wilting Leaves

If the leaves of your Fiddle Leaf Fig are wilting, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When plants don’t have enough water, they start to lose moisture faster than they can take it in, and the leaves begin to wilt.

If the plant is wilted, check the soil to see if it’s dry. If it is, water the plant immediately.

Curling Leaves

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves are curling, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When plants don’t have enough water, they start to lose moisture faster than they can take it in, and the leaves begin to curl.

Curled leaves are a sign that the plant is already suffering from drought stress and needs to be watered immediately.

Brown Leaf Tips or Edges

If the tips or edges of the leaves on your Fiddle Leaf Fig are brown, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When plants don’t have enough water, they can’t transport nutrients to the leaves and start to dry out and turn brown.

It often starts at the tips or edges of the leaves and then spreads from there.

If you see brown tips or edges on your plant’s leaves, it’s an early sign that the plant is not getting enough water and needs to be watered more often.

Dry or Cracked Soil

If the soil of your Fiddle Leaf Fig is dry or cracked, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When the plant doesn’t have enough water, the soil starts to dry out and can crack or crumble.

When the soil is dry for too long, it can start to pull away from the sides of the pot.

If you see any of these signs, it’s a sign that your plant needs to be watered.

Leaf Drop

If the leaves of your Fiddle Leaf Fig are falling off, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When plants don’t have enough water, they can’t support their leaves and start to fall off.

If you see leaf drop, it’s a sign that your plant is underwatered and needs to be watered immediately.

Slow Growth

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is not growing as fast as it should be, it’s a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.

When plants don’t have enough water, they can’t transport nutrients to the leaves and stop growing.

If your plant’s growth has slowed, it’s a sign that it is underwatered and needs to be watered more often.

How To Save an Underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig

You can do a few things to save an underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Here are a few tips:

Water Deeply and Thoroughly

When you water your plant, water it deeply and thoroughly.

Water the plant until the water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

This will help ensure that the plant’s roots are getting enough water.

Give the Plant Time to Dry Out

After you water your plant, give it time to dry out before you water it again.

The best way to know when your plant needs to be watered is to check the soil.

Stick your finger in the soil up to the first knuckle. If the soil is dry, it’s time to water the plant.

If the soil is wet, it’s not yet time to water the plant.

Soak the Plant’s Roots

If the plant is really dry, you may need to soak the plant’s roots.

To do this, place the plant in a sink or basin and water it until the water starts to come out of the drainage holes.

Let the plant soak for about 30 minutes, then drain any excess water and put the plant back in its pot.

This will help ensure that the plant’s roots are getting enough water.

Use a Humidity Tray

If the air in your home is dry, you may need to use a humidity tray.

A humidity tray is a tray of water that you place under the plant pot.

As the water evaporates, it will help to raise the moisture level in the air around the plant.

This will help the plant to take up water more easily.

Mist the Plant

If the air in your home is dry, you may also need to mist the plant.

Misting the plant with water will help to raise the moisture level in the air around the plant.

This will help the plant to take up water more easily.

Move the Plant to a Cooler Location

If the air in your home is too warm, it can make it difficult for the plant to take up water.

To fix this, move the plant to a cooler location.

A cool room or basement would be ideal.

This will help the plant to take up water more easily.

Increase the Humidity in Your Home

If the air in your home is too dry, you may need to increase the humidity.

You can do this by using a humidifier or placing a water bowl near the plant.

As the water evaporates, it will help to raise the moisture level in the air around the plant.

This will help the plant to take up water more easily.

Use the Right Size Pot

If you’re using a pot that’s too small, it can make it difficult for the plant to take up water.

To fix this, use a pot 2-3 inches wider than the current pot.

This will help the plant to take up water more easily.

Check the Drainage Holes

If the drainage holes in the pot are blocked, it can make it difficult for the plant to take up water.

Unblock the drainage holes with a paperclip or a toothpick to fix this.

This will help the plant to take up water more easily.

Use the Right Soil

If you’re using the wrong type of soil, it can make it difficult for the plant to take up water.

To fix this, use a well-draining potting mix.

This will help the plant to take up water more easily.

Be Patient

It can take some time for an underwatered plant to recover.

So, be patient and don’t give up on your plant.

With time and care, your plant will return to its old self in no time.

How To Prevent Underwatering a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Underwatering a Fiddle Leaf Fig is one of the most common ways people kill their plants.

Fiddle leaf figs are native to Africa and prefer hot, humid climates.

They are susceptible to changes in water availability and will drop their leaves if they don’t get enough water.

Here are some tips to prevent underwatering your fiddle leaf fig:

  1. Check the soil regularly and water when the top inch of soil is dry.
  2. Use a moisture meter to help you gauge when to water.
  3. Ensure the pot has drainage holes, so the plant doesn’t sit in water.
  4. If you’re going on vacation, ask a friend or neighbor to water your plant.
  5. Consider getting a self-watering pot.
  6. Cut back on watering during the winter when the plant is dormant.
  7. Don’t let the plant sit in direct sunlight, as this will dry out the soil more quickly.
  8. Use a humidifier in the room if the air is dry.
  9. Group your plants to create a mini-greenhouse effect and increase humidity.
  10. Mist the leaves with water every few days to help raise the humidity around the plant.

Following these tips can help prevent underwatering your fiddle leaf fig.

If you do happen to underwater your plant, don’t worry.

Just follow the steps above to help it recover.

Final Thoughts

Underwatered fiddle leaf fig plants are a common problem, but luckily, they’re also one of the easiest to fix.

By following the tips in this article, you’ll have your indoor plant back to good health in no time.

And remember, the best way to avoid underwatered fiddle leaf figs is to be proactive about watering.

Water your plant when the top inch of soil is dry; never let it sit in water.

With some care, your fiddle leaf fig will thrive for years.