You’ve found yourself with a dried-out fiddle leaf fig.
Maybe you got busy. It happens. Maybe you went on vacation and forgot to get a plant sitter. Or maybe you have no idea what happened.
Whatever the cause, you have a dried-out fiddle on your hands. Now what? How can you save your tree? CAN your tree be saved?
While fiddle leaf fig owners tend to have more problems with over-watering and root rot than dryness, it still happens.
When it does, the question of whether you can save your tree depends on the severity of the dryness.
First, let’s address a few common causes of dryness so you can make sure this doesn’t happen in the future!
Top Causes of a Dried-Out Fiddle Leaf Fig (Besides Under-watering):
When you first bought your fiddle leaf fig, it probably came in a plastic grower’s pot with lots of drainage holes.
Usually, your fiddle will be better off in that pot for the first month in your home while it adjusts to its new home because repotting can cause even MORE stress.
Staying in the grower’s pots can be dangerous, though, and some have so much drainage that you must repot your fiddle as soon as you get it home.
Grower’s pots are designed to keep the roots super dry so the plants can be watered every day, but this makes it hard to keep your plants watered when you get them home. (Home Depot pots tend to do this, fair warning.)
Keep a close eye on your fiddle when you bring it home to make sure it isn’t drying out in just a few days. If your plant is dried out and still in the grower’s pot, it’s time to repot!
A fiddle’s water needs depend largely on the climate and humidity. If the weather is warming up where you live, your fiddle probably needs more water than it did during the winter.
This is also when we tend to turn on the air conditioning to keep our homes comfortable, so make sure your fiddle isn’t near an A/C vent. This dry air can dehydrate the leaves to a crisp.
What to Do With a Dried-Out Fiddle Leaf Fig
Make sure it’s water and not climate.
Remember what we said about A/C vents? Sometimes the leaves can dry out and get crispy while the soil is still moist, so check for A/C or heating vents near your fiddle before you do anything. If you realize there’s a vent nearby, move your plant.
Assess the damage.
Mild damage: If your plant is just a little droopy, give it a drink. It should perk up within a day or so!
Moderate damage: If your plant is droopy with some crispy edges on a few of the leaves, there’s hope!
Water your plant and remove any leaves with more than 50% damage. Dried-out leaves won’t repair, and they may be using the tree’s resources that it needs to heal and grow new leaves.
Severe Damage: If your tree is severely dried out (the majority of the leaves are crispy), there might still be a shred of hope. The leaves are damaged and the tree may drop them on its own. You can also remove them and cross your fingers.
But as long as the stem or trunk is still alive, the tree may still recover. It will take some time, but it’s possible!
Feel the trunk.
If it’s dry and brittle all over and you can’t find any softer, smooth, or green spots, the tree might actually be dead. At this point, it’s best to start over with a new plant.
If the trunk seems to be alive, though, and you’re up for a challenge, you might be able to bring it back to life!
Remove all the dead leaves, make sure the tree has great light, and begin a consistent watering and fertilizing. If the top leaves are dead and have been removed, pinch off the top to encourage new growth.
Read this amazing success story of a fiddle leaf fig owner who brought her tree back to life from a stick.
Dryness can severely damage a fiddle leaf fig, but it doesn’t always mean the end for your tree.
To safeguard against dryness, here’s when to water your fiddle, because sometimes watering is confusing.
Grab the Essentials for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig:
- Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Soil
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food
- Root Rot Treatment
- Houseplant Leaf Armor to protect against insects, bacteria, and fungus (As an added bonus, it also cleans and adds shine to your plant’s leaves!)
- Moisture meter to always know when your plant is thirsty.
To learn more:
- To learn more, sign up for our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar or enroll in our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Course for advanced fiddle leaf fig care.
- Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter.
- Read The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now!
- To chat with other fiddle leaf fig owners, click to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.