Yellowing of leaves is a common problem in fiddle leaf figs. And it can destroy the overall look of the plant. To understand why the leaves are turning yellow, we need to get to the causes and learn how to deal with those. That is what we will go through today.
Overwatering is the root cause of yellow leaves in fiddle leaf figs. Apart from that, insufficient light, lack of nutrients, and pests can also lead to yellow leaves. Keep the plant in a bright spot and only water the plant when the soil gets dry to prevent yellow leaves in fiddle leaf figs.
It can be challenging to figure out the exact reason for yellowing leaves in fiddle leaf figs as there can be many reasons. Let’s start discussing everything in detail.
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Why are the leaves on my fiddle leaf fig going yellow?
There can be many reasons for yellow leaves in fiddle leaf fig. You should start by checking the watering schedule and finding out if the plant is getting enough light.
After that, you can look into other factors like the fertilizing schedule, soil acidity, etc.
Overwatering the plant
The most common reason behind yellowing leaves in fiddle leaf figs is overwatering. Fiddle leaf figs need water, but you should not water it more than once a week on average.
Many beginners don’t understand the water requirements of the fiddle leaf figs and end up watering more than the required amount. And the plant shows the signs through the yellowing of leaves.
Overwatering causes root rot in fiddle leaf figs. Root rot is a severe problem in plants, and if it is not identified on time, the plant will start turning yellow and end up wilting at the end.
Lack of light will turn the leaves yellow as the plant will not be able to photosynthesize.
Fiddle leaf figs love to be in a sunny and bright environment. These are tropical plants that get a lot of light in their natural habitat.
When you bring the plant indoors, you should still try to give it as much light as possible.
Place it near a window that gets light throughout the day. And you will have a happy plant that doesn’t show yellow leaves.
Fiddle leaf figs love consistency. They love to stay rooted in the same place, which happens when they are in their natural habitat. Nobody moves them around.
If you have transplanted your fiddle leaf fig recently and have started showing yellow leaves right after that, then it might be due to stress.
Relocating or just moving the fiddle leaf fig can cause stress to the plant. So you need to take care of the fiddle leaf fig if it has undergone transplantation recently.
Lack of nutrients
In their natural habitat, the fiddle leaf figs get enough nutrients from the soil. The roots go deep and absorb nutrients from the soil.
However, as a houseplant, the fiddle leaf figs may not get enough nutrition if you don’t fertilize them properly.
Yellowing leaves are a sign that the fiddle leaf fig is under fertilized. The plant is unable to show steady and proper growth when it doesn’t get enough nutrition.
Fiddle leaf figs love to remain under consistent weather conditions. So, if there is a sudden rise or fall in the temperature, it can cause stress to the plant.
If you have relocated the plant recently, there might be a change in the temperature between the current and previous locations.
If the temperature falls below 50° F during winter, the leaves will turn yellow.
Potting soil becomes acidic over time, and that can cause the leaves to turn yellow.
Fiddle leaf fig trees like neutral soil conditions. Adding coffee grounds as fertilizer to the soil can make the soil acidic.
If the soil’s pH level is too high, you might need to repot the fiddle leaf fig to combat that.
Pest infestations can also cause yellow leaves in your fiddle leaf fig. These are rare.
But you may find scale, spider mites, and mealybugs that cause damage to the foliage and contribute towards the yellowing of leaves.
How to fix yellow fiddle leaf fig leaves?
To eliminate the yellowing of leaves in the fiddle leaf figs, we need to identify the problems and try to fix those.
After this, we need to take care of the plant so that there is no chance of the leaves turning yellow.
One of the first things you need to do is prune the leaves that have already turned yellow.
These leaves will hardly get back to being green again.
Next, let’s check out how to fix the issues.
Find out what works for your fiddle leaf fig. If you have a plant that is less than 2 feet from the soil, you should give it one cup of water every week.
However, if you have a plant that is over 2 feet, you can give it 2 cups of water.
But make sure you check and change the watering frequency and amount as needed.
Fiddle leaf figs love moisture. It would be best if you did not let the soil go completely dry. Touch the soil, and if it feels cold and a little moist, your fiddle leaf fig is ready for the next watering session.
It would be best to water the plant minimally during the dormant period, which is winter, and water more during the rest of the year when the plant is active and growing.
Having a sound drainage system will not let root rot happen. Your pot should have drainage holes that allow excess water to pass out.
If your plant is located in a sunny and bright area of the house, it will need more water than the plant located in a comparatively darker place.
Also read: How often should I water my fiddle leaf fig?
Fixing the lighting
Fiddle leaf figs love to be in a sunny and bright environment, and that is why it is advised that you keep these plants in the brightest place of your house.
If your house has a window that gets light throughout the day, that would be the best place for this plant.
South-facing windows are best as they bring light for the longest duration.
If placed near an east-facing window, the plant will get morning light, but it won’t get light as the Sun starts to move away.
Similarly, choosing a west-facing window will expose the plant to direct afternoon sunlight that might scorch the leaves.
If you cannot provide a bright place for your fiddle leaf fig, you can use grow lights. These are artificial lights designed to provide energy and light to your fiddle leaf fig.
Also read: How much light do fiddle leaf fig needs?
Providing adequate fertilizer
Other than good lighting and timely watering, the plant needs enough fertilizer to show healthy growth. Yellowing leaves can mean that you are not giving enough fertilizer to the plant.
Fertilizers provide the nutrition that the plants need to photosynthesize.
Fiddle leaf figs are big trees with large leaves, so they need a lot of energy that needs to be provided by you in the form of fertilizer.
If enough fertilizer is not provided, the plant will not get the proper nutrition from the soil.
It is easy to set a routine for fertilizing your fiddle leaf fig. If the plant is getting sufficient light and water, it will need fertilizer at least once a week.
During the growing season, which is summer and spring, you need to fertilize it every month. If the leaves are turning yellow or there is no new growth, you can be sure that your plant needs more nutrition.
You can use a diluted liquid fertilizer as that works very well for fiddle leaf figs. A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2 would be the best option for these plants.
Fixing Soil Acidity
If the fiddle leaf fig has not been repotted for a long time, there is a chance that the soil has become acidic in nature.
Fiddle leaf figs like neutral pH soil level that is slightly acidic or slightly alkaline. If the soil becomes more acidic or alkaline, the plant will have a hard time absorbing the soil’s nutrients and will show yellow leaves.
The ideal pH for fiddle leaf fig is 6.5–7. If the pH level goes under 6, it becomes too acidic, and the plant cannot absorb nutrients.
You should check the pH level of the soil twice a year. If you notice that the pH level is too high, you should repot the plant with new and fresh potting soil. If you can’t repot the plant, you can use alkaline water drops to reduce the soil’s acidity.
Pest infections are uncommon but not impossible. And these insects, such as scale, spider mites, and mealybugs, are very harmful and can cause yellow leaves.
Look for pests on the leaves or underneath. If you notice pets, you can handpick them. Using insecticides or insecticidal soap can cure this problem.
The best ways to get rid of pests can be:
You can dip a cotton ball or tissue ball in a diluted neem oil solution and apply it on a single leaf of the fiddle leaf fig and leave it for a day. If there is no reaction, you can use it all over the plant.
You can mist the diluted solution for quicker application.
Neem oil is excellent for killing eggs and larvae of the pests so that they don’t multiply.
Soap water is commonly used to get rid of pests. You get insecticidal soap in the market ready to be used on plants.
You can also use liquid hand wash or hand soap and spray it on the leaves or take a cloth and dip it in the soap water and wipe the leaves with it.
Care after transplanting
Transplantation can cause stress and shock in all plants if they don’t receive enough care after being transplanted.
So if you have transplanted your fiddle leaf fig recently, you can follow these steps to make sure it gets enough care.
- While transplanting, try not to disturb the roots. You should not knock or bump the roots or shake off the dirt.
- It is always advised that you water the plant thoroughly after repotting it to avoid shock or stress.
- Fiddle leaf figs love moisture, so after transplanting, the roots should stay moist. If it dries up, the dried area will get damaged.
- While digging up the plant for repotting, try to make sure that more roots come with the plant, and that might prevent transplant shock in fiddle leaf figs.
After transplanting the plant:
- Try to keep it in the previous location.
- If you are moving it to a new place, let it sit and remain there, and don’t keep moving it.
- Try to keep it under the same temperature as these plants do not like temperature fluctuations.
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Don’t get worried if the leaves turn yellow.
You just need to identify and tackle the problem and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
The yellow leaves will not turn green. Therefore, pruning the yellow leaves and letting the plant grow new green leaves is the best thing to do.