Fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping can be worrisome because it can happen all of a sudden. In fact, you can just wake up one day and see a few drooping and wilting leaves without any warning signs beforehand.
If this happens, try to stay calm and relax.
This will allow you to stay focused. Always remember that it is usually easy to fix a droopy fiddle leaf fig. But you have to focus on the identifying the problem first.
Why are your fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping? The most common cause if lack of water or underwatering. But this is not the only reason that droopy leaves can happen.
Overwatering, incorrect lighting, repotting stress, drainage issues and low humidity are allow possible causes as well. So, the key is to figure out the actual cause. From there it is easy to fix.
Why is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping?
Underwatering Can Cause Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping
Underwatering does not happen often compared to overwatering. That’s’ because most houseplant owners will often be more generous with water.
However, if you’re busy or tend to travel out of town for work often, then underwatering may happen more often.
Underwatering or lack of water is the most common cause of drooping in fiddle fig leaves.
That’s because when the plant lacks water or gets dehydrated, there won’t be enough moisture to flowing through the plant.
Water is what keeps the stems upright and standing since moisture is what fills the space in the stems. They’re kept up by water pressure as well.
In fact, plants 90% water. So, inadequate moisture leads to drooping, wilting and lifeless stems.
In addition, you get dry leaves that will turn brown.
Lack of water also keeps the plant from growing since its needs to drink. And it takes nutrients from the soil through water as well.
The easiest way to confirm that your fiddle leaf fig plant is underwatered is to check the soil. Stick your finger into the soil to check how dry it is.
If the soil if dry past 2-3 inches from the surface of the soil, the plant needs water.
You can likewise lift the plant out of the pot and check the root ball to see how dry it has gotten. If its is bone dry all the way down, it can be dehydrated already.
Another way many gardeners check is to lift the pot.
This works well for small to medium sized fiddle leaf fig plants. But I don’t suggest this for larger ones as you can hurt your back.
If the soil is dry, the pot will be much lighter than if the soil is moist.
This does take some experience through.
How to Fix Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping from Underwatering
Once you’ve verified that the fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping is due to lack of water, it is time to add moisture.
Avoid dousing the plant will lots of water at once. This can shock it.
Come from a very dry state it will have a hard time if its gets tons of water at once. So, avoid compensating immediately.
Instead, water a little at a time every other day.
This will all your fiddle leaf fig to recover gradually. And it should start perking up in a few days.
Once the plant gets back to normal, you can then return to thorough watering every now and then. But make sure to adjust your watering schedule to avoid underwatering.
Alternatively, you can also water from below or use bottom watering.
This way you let the soil absorb the moisture on its own rate.
With your new watering schedule, you can use the finger test to know when to water. Once the top 2 inches of soil has completely dried, it is time to water.
And you can wait until the soil has dried about halfway down.
But avoid letting the entire root ball go dry.
You can likewise use a moisture meter if you don’t like using the finger test.
And if you find yourself forgetting due to your busy schedule, it may be a good idea to try using a self-watering pot.
Overwatering Can Also Cause Drooping Leaves on Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants
In addition to underwatering, overwatering can also cause droopy fiddle leaf fig leaves.
But in this case, there are some differences.
If you see drooping leaves but they feel soft or don’t feel dry and crispy, then overwatering is likely the cause. Similarly, brown spots on the leaves is a sign of excess watering.
As with all plants, fiddle leaf figs don’t like too much water.
If this happens regularly, the leaves will droop. Even worse, the roots are put at high risk of rotting.
When you unpot your fiddle leaf fig plant and smell something foul, then there’s likely rotting roots somewhere. Rotten roots are mushy, soft and black in color.
In contrast, healthy roots are white, firm and flexible.
Root rot can easily happen if you use a fixed schedule. That’s because the seasons change.
And if you don’t adjust your watering schedule as the weather changes, the plant can get dehydrated in summer and overwatered in winter.
Similarly, being too generous with water can also kill your fiddle leaf fig leaves, in addition to cause drooping.
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How to Fix Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping Due to Overwatering
Always check soil moisture before you water. Never skip this step.
Do it every time before you add water to the plant.
You can do this by sticking your finger into the soil down to 2 or so inches. If the soil at that depth is completely dry, then add water.
If not wait until it gets dry to that point. And never water before that time.
Alternatively, you can lift the pot to tell if the plant is out of water or the soil is still moist.
You can likewise use a moisture meter.
Prevention is the best way to avoid droopy fiddle leaf fig leaves and root rot.
This is likewise important since root rot can eventually kill your plant if you don’t get it in time. Once too many of the roots have rotted, there is no saving the plant.
Problems With Drainage
If you always check the soil before you water and you still notice your fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping, the issue may be drainage.
Poor drainage or lack of drainage can cause drooping. Later on, you’ll see the leaves fall off as well.
With indoor plants or plants in pots, drainage refers to two things.
One is soil drainage.
Second is pot drainage.
And you have to address both.
With soil drainage, it is important to match the plant’s watering needs with the kind of soil you use.
For example, if your plant needs very little water, then use a very well-draining soil. If you use a heavy soil or one that retains lots of moisture, it will experience waterlogging and overwatering (even if you water the plant correctly).
On the other hand, if you have a water-loving plant, giving it well-draining soil or something sandy will drain too much moisture too quickly.
Therefore, the roots will end up very dry and the plant will get dehydrated.
Similarly, pot drainage is important since it allows any excess moisture to escape. Otherwise, the excess liquid just stays in the bottom of the pot and keep the soil wet.
How to Fix Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping Due to Poor Drainage
Fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping due to poor drainage is much easier to fix compared to overwatering.
The important thing is to use well-draining soil.
That’s because fiddle leaf figs like the soil to dry out between waterings. But don’t let it dry out completely.
They hate wet, soggy soil as they are susceptible to overwatering.
So, avoid using heavy soils or soils that are design to retain more moisture. Those may be great for water-loving plants. But they will give your fiddle leaf fig problems like drooping, wilting and root rot.
Instead, choose well-draining soil.
Here, you have a few options:
- 2/3 peat to 1/3 perlite
- 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 cactus soil
- 1/4 potting soil with 1/4 compost with 1/2 bark. You can add some handfuls of active charcoal as well.
In each of the potting mix recipes, you’ll notice the there’s always a component that’s present to increase drainage. This is very important to prevent fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping.
Additionally, choose a pot with drainage holes at the bottom.
This will let any excess water that drains from the soil to drip out of the pot.
Low Humidity Can Also Cause Droopy Leaves
Fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping can be caused by low humidity.
So, if you’ve checked the soil and it is not over or underwatered. And the plant is in well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes, then humidity is your next bet.
Fiddle leaf figs like high humidity. But they will tolerate moderate humidity as well.
As long as you keep humidity at least 40% and higher, it will be happy. Its ideal humidity level is between 50% and 70%. But it won’t mind slightly lower air moisture.
However, if your home’s air is dry or humidity tends to stay in the low 30s or high 20s, then this can be why you have a droopy fiddle leaf fig.
How to Fix Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping from Low Humidity
Since there’s no way to alter the humidity where you live (unless you move), the best fix for this is to increase humidity around the plant.
Note that you only need to push up the air moisture around your fiddle leaf fig plant.
You don’t need to increase humidity in your entire home or even in the whole room where the plant is.
So, misting is the simplest way to do this. But you need to mist a few times a week since the effects are temporary.
Plus, never overdo it.
Getting the leaves wet with water spots is a good way to encourage fungal disease.
Another option is to give your plant a quick shower every so often. A good soaking will let the plant get moisture which improves humidity around it.
Again, make sure to pat down and dry the leaves after. And let the soil drain if it gets a lot of water.
You can also move the plant to the bathroom or get a humidifier.
Finally, my favorite options are to use a pebble tray or a humidity tray.
Lack Of Light and Too Much Light
Both too much and too little light can cause fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping as well.
I’ll explain the former then the latter.
Excess light can cause droopy leaves as it can lead to underwatering and dryness. The heat from the light increases evaporation.
More light and heat means the fiddle leaf fig will need more regular watering.
Additionally, excess sunlight can burn the plant’s leaves. After a while, they will turn brown, droop and wilt.
On the other hand, lack of light means that the plant will have less raw material to work with for photosynthesis.
Less sun means the leaves are able to collect less light which the plant uses for photosynthesis. In turn, photosynthesis uses this light to create food for the plant which it uses for energy.
So, insufficient light means less energy to grow and develop. It also means a weaker plant.
And this will result in droopy fiddle leaf fig leaves.
Therefore, try to keep your fiddle leaf fig in medium to bright indirect sunlight.
Avoid dark or very dim locations. Anything will lots of shade or low light is a no-no.
On the other hand, avoid very strong, intense direct sun. Keep the plant out of full sun as well as the rays of the sun especially during mid-day which is the hottest time.
Transplant or Repotting Shock
Transplant or repotting shock can likewise cause fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping.
In fact, any kind of significant environmental move can do this to the plant. So, it can happen the first time you bring it home from the nursery.
That’s because the nursery has set certain ideal conditions that the plant has become accustomed to. And in most cases, nurseries and garden centers are fitted with tools that ensure the environment is ideal for growing houseplants.
So, once you bring it home, the plant can get stressed or go into shock.
In the same way when you transplant the plant from a pot to the garden or vice versa, this can also happen. And it can likewise occur when repotting to a larger container.
In the best scenario, no stress or shock occurs, and the plant adjusts a little bit and starts growing.
But if there is stress or shock, you’ll see growth stop and your fiddle leaf fig leaves will droop and wilt. The leaves may even drop.
Your job is to make sure that it gets the right amount of sunlight, keep it in the right temperature and ideal humidity.
In a few weeks, the plant should recover on its own with proper care.