Fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) are popular houseplants for their large and beautiful leaves that can add life to any living space. But these plants can lean towards a side that might not be very pleasing to the eye. Let’s find out why the fiddle leaf figs lean and how can we fix the same?
Lack of light, improper watering, and inadequate fertilizer is the cause of leaning in fiddle leaf fig. These plants also tend to lean if they grow too tall, so we need to provide support to keep them upright. Providing an appropriate living environment and care can prevent your fiddle leaf fig from leaning.
There can be other reasons for your fiddle leaf fig to start leaning. Let’s learn more about it.
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My fiddle leaf fig is leaning
Many reasons cause the fiddle leaf figs to lean. We are going to take a look at each of the causes and understand everything in depth.
One common cause of a leaning fiddle leaf fig is low light.
Fiddle leaf figs love bright light and thrive when they get sufficient sunlight.
Fiddle leaf figs are native to Southern Africa’s rainforests, where they get a lot of light throughout the day.
If the fiddle leaf fig is not getting enough light, it will search for a light source and start leaning towards it. Insufficient light will also cause weakness in the plant, causing it to bend.
Also read: How much light do fiddle leaf fig need?
Both overwatering and under-watering can be reasons for a leaning fiddle leaf fig.
Fiddle leaf figs need a lot of water, and if it doesn’t get enough, it will start becoming dry and start leaning due to weakness.
If you are overwatering your fiddle leaf fig, the soil will retain water.
These plants hate sitting on the water, and this overwatering will give rise to root rot that will restrict water and nutrient absorption, making the plant lean on one side.
You can use a moisture meter to determine if your plant needs a dash of water or not.
Also read: How often should I water my fiddle leaf fig?
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Fiddle leaf figs are plants with big leaves and need a lot of energy to grow and remain healthy.
When there is a shortage of nutrition, the plant will start getting weak and also get stressed, due to which it will begin to lean.
Inadequate fertilizing causes a lack of nutrition. Also, if you have not repotted your plant for a long time, the soil loses the capacity to hold nutrients even if you fertilize it.
Also read: Do fiddle leaf fig need fertilizer?
Root bound fiddle leaf fig
Fiddle leaf figs are fast-growing plants that tend to get root-bound very fast.
If you have not repotted your fiddle leaf fig in two-three years, the reason for leaning the plant can be that it is root-bound.
If you notice that the roots are coming out from the pot’s drainage holes, you know that you have a root-bound plant.
A root-bound plant will not be able to absorb nutrition or water from the roots until you repot it.
Also Read: Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Like To Be Root Bound? (+ How To Fix It)
How do you keep a fiddle leaf fig upright? (Solution)
To stop your fiddle leaf fig from leaning and keep it upright, you need to make sure that it is getting enough light, water, and fertilizers. Let’s understand each of each point in a more detailed way.
Place your fiddle leaf fig at the brightest spot in your house
Fiddle leaf figs get ample light in their natural habitat, which they need to thrive.
Adequate sunlight will keep the plant healthy and allow it to grow fast.
However, providing sufficient light can be challenging for some plant owners.
Fiddle leaf figs thrive in medium-bright light, and low light slows down their growth. Lack of light makes the plant lean towards the light source.
If you want to stop your fiddle leaf fig from leaning, you should place it at the brightest spot in your house.
A south-facing window that gets light throughout the day would be the ideal spot for your fiddle leaf fig.
You should not put the plant under direct sunlight as that would burn the leaves of the plant.
6-8 hours of bright and indirect sunlight every day is perfect for a healthy fiddle leaf fig. It would be best if you tried to rotate the plant once every week to get light on all sides.
As a beginner, it can be quite a task to figure out how much water your fiddle leaf fig needs, but if you observe it for some time, you will understand its requirements.
Overwatering and under-watering both can be harmful to the plant, and leaning is one of the signs.
You can start by watering the fiddle leaf fig once every week. If you still notice signs of overwatering or under-watering, you can adjust the watering schedule accordingly.
Keep these points in mind while watering your fiddle leaf fig.
- Check the soil before watering to make sure that it is not wet.
- The water requirements of the plant will depend on its size.
- Ensure that excess water gets drained through the drainage holes after you water the plant so that it doesn’t sit on the water.
Nutrients are vital for healthy growth in plants. If your fiddle leaf fig is not getting enough nutrients, it means you need to give it more fertilizer.
Every plant needs different kinds of fertilizers. Fiddle leaf figs need plenty of fertilizer to grow big leaves fast. A fertilizer with a 3:1:2 NPK ratio is ideal for these plants. (Preferably Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Plant Food.)
How frequently do I fertilize my fiddle leaf fig?
Since fiddle leaf figs need a lot of nutrients, you need to fertilize these plants often. These plants don’t save up nutrition like many other plants, so they run out of nutrition fast.
Consider using a very gentle fertilizer or use a diluted liquid fertilizer to fertilize the plant once a week.
Fiddle leaf figs need an NPK ratio of 3:1:2. This formula works the best for these plants and allows the plant to grow more. Nitrogen promotes the growth of new leaves, and phosphorus helps with root growth.
You can also dilute a 10:10:10 fertilizer and use it as a replacement to the above one.
Note: Your fiddle leaf fig will not require fertilizer during the winter months.
During the winter season, most plants rest and remain dormant. They don’t grow actively, so they don’t need fertilizer.
Repotting your fiddle leaf fig
Repotting is essential to keep the plant growing.
Fiddle leaf figs are fast-growing plants, so they become root-bound quickly.
Root-bound plants are unable to absorb nutrition and therefore become weak and start leaning. The only way to combat this is to repot your fiddle leaf fig.
It would be best if you repotted your fiddle leaf fig during the spring and summer months. You should not repot the plant in winter as that will cause shock and stress to the plant.
Tips to consider before repotting
- Always water the plant a day before you want to repot it. And water after you have repotted it. This will help the plant to adjust and settle in the new pot.
- Use a larger-sized pot that has proper drainage holes to let the excess water drain out.
- Use a well-draining soil mix that is suitable for your fiddle leaf fig.
How do I keep my fiddle leaf fig upright?
As the fiddle leaf figs start growing tall, they tend to start leaning as they don’t get the support to stand upright. Here are some quick fix:
Let the fiddle leaf fig be outside
The reason behind this is that the airflow will let the stems become strong and upright.
In their natural habitat, the fiddle-leaf figs are exposed to the air, they naturally get used to it, and the stems learn to stand upright without any support.
Whereas, when you have a fiddle leaf fig in your house, it doesn’t get exposed to the air or breeze, and the stems don’t learn to support themselves and start to lean.
An excellent way to combat a leaning fiddle leaf fig is to keep it outside for a few weeks in the breeze. This will help the stems to strengthen and become upright.
If the plant is still leaning, you can use a stake to support it. Ensure that you are not putting the fiddle leaf fig outside if the weather conditions are not suitable for it.
Also Read: Can I Put My Fiddle Leaf Fig Outside?
Wiggle the stems
Wiggling the stems is an alternative to putting the fiddle leaf fig outside.
If the condition outside your house is not favorable for the fiddle leaf fig, you can wiggle the stems.
You can wiggle the stems from one side to another, which will work as the wind. If you do this for 10 minutes every day, you will start seeing an upright fiddle leaf fig within a few weeks.
Don’t prune the lower leaves
Fiddle leaf figs grow larger and heavier leaves on the top.
Pruning the lower leaves will make the top part of the plant even heavier and cause leaning.
The leaves that grow on the lower part of the stem have a lot of nutrition to offer to the plant that can help it to remain upright.
So you should not prune the lower leaves if you don’t want a leaning fiddle leaf fig.
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Do fiddle leaf figs need a stake?
If you have a leaning fiddle leaf fig, staking is the easiest way to support the plant and make it upright.
Here is how you can do it:
- Find a stake that is of the same length as the trunk of the fiddle leaf fig.
- Gently place the stake into the soil.
- Attach the stake to the fiddle leaf fig using plant tape or hooks.
Keep the stake for 1-2 months and then remove it and check if the plant can stand upright. If not, let the stake stay for some more time before you check again.
Can I cut the top off my fiddle leaf fig?
As the fiddle leaf fig grows taller, it starts growing branches at the height.
So if you want to restrict the height of the plant so that it fits your space, you would need to clip the top of the plant.
Cutting the top of the fiddle leaf fig will help it branch out that will cause the stem to become firm, which will also help the plant stand upright.
Sources: CABI.ORG, New York Botanical garden, University of Florida.
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