The 5 Causes of Drooping Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves
Is the foliage on your fiddle leaf fig starting to droop?
Often, caregivers of the ficus lyrata don’t know the difference between normal and abnormal leaf droopage.
Here, we will look at the five most common causes of drooping fiddle leaf fig leaves. That way, you can decide what’s causing your fiddle leaf droop, and hopefully, correct it.
Why are my fiddle leaf fig leaves drooping?
Before diagnosing the common causes of drooping fiddle leaf fig leaves, you should know that the bottom half of all ficus lyrata plants sag downward naturally.
Here’s a picture I took at a local garden center that shows even the healthiest, most majestic fiddle leaf fig leaves droop toward the bottom of the canopy.
For a more practical application of the concept, here are my own four fiddles at home.
See how the bottom few leaves hang down a bit? Totally normal.
Most Common Causes of Drooping Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves
Now that you know not to worry about those hardy, older, bottom leaves, what about when you notice upper leaves start to slouch?
What’s causing it, and what should you do?
Good question. First, determine what’s going on. These five most common causes are likely culpable for your limp tree.
Young, new growth.
Topping our list of most common causes of drooping fiddle leaf fig leaves is the new, weaker tissue that makes up your youngest leaves. When a new bud appears, you rejoice, right? As that new leaf develops and expands, joy turns to concern. The bigger the new leaf, the more likely it is to sink into a sad looking, lazy version of its neighboring leaves.
Not to worry. Give it a day or two, sometimes three. Continue your care regimen in the new leaf will stiffen right up.
Another common cause of drooping fiddle fig leaves is a transition to a new room or routine. The ficus lyrata’s trunk loves to be bent and moved, but the tree itself does not take well to being relocated.
Similarly, a change in feeding, watering, temperature, humidity, and especially light exposure, and your plant may tell you it’s unhappy by slouching.
So if you’ve moved your tree to a new room, or your aunt Peggy is babysitting it while you are in Vegas, the thing may throw a fit.
Again, the good news here is you can go back to what you were doing before your fiddle withered.
Next up is thirst. Too often, fiddle owners fear overwatering. That’s because these plants are prone to root rot when not given sufficient light and a well draining substrate. Sadly, this leads many caregivers to underwater, prompting a saggy response from those upper leaves.
Not only should you water your plant if you suspect thirst to be the culprit, you should also adjust your watering schedule if indeed it perks up again after a soak.
Have you repotted or re-soiled your plant recently? Or perhaps you inspected it for root rot? Maybe, like I do, you separated the trunks of two bushy shaped plants to eventually turn them into tree shapes.
Whenever you mess with the root system of a fiddle leaf fig, you run the risk of sending it into root shock. Here are two plants that I recently divided from one pot into two separate planters.
As you can see, one of the little trees handled it well, while the other wilted. Thankfully, I knew what to do.
If your tree is in root shock, stop messing with it.
Now is NOT the time to notch it, relocate it, soap it, prune it, wiggle it, or otherwise experiment. Do not expect new foliar growth for at least two months.
Slowly acclimate it to full, direct sun exposure, and continue to water it — the right amount for its size and environment — consistently.
Root shock will take much longer to correct than the drooping you see from thirst or new growth, for example. So be patient. Do not get discouraged. All the plant’s energy will be focused on root growth for some time.
If you do give it that time, you’ll be rewarded with a healthy, happy plant.
The fifth and most serious cause of drooping leaves is chemical reaction to insecticide or detergent.
If you’ve recently tried to battle an insect infestation with harsh detergents, fungicides or miticides, then your plant may be suffering as a result. Often, fiddle leaf fig tree caregivers are surprised to find these treatments to be safe and effective in the past, but overkill today. Especially when combined with increased light exposure (something we usually encourage wholeheartedly).
To avoid this, rinse your treatments off the plant entirely, and do not drag the plant into direct sunshine until you see it has handled the application without incident. To prevent chemical burn entirely, research natural, organic alternatives to the fiddle leaf fig’s most common problems. Yes, natural remedies may require more work from you, but it’s usually worth the diminished risk to your plant.
So there you have it: the most common causes of drooping fiddle leaf fig trees’ leaves are weak tissue, environmental changes, thirst, root shock, and chemical burn.
Now that you know what’s causing your plant’s sag, you can nurture it back to its perky self.
For more tips on keeping your ficus lyrata lush and healthy, pick up a copy of the Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Expert, your complete guide to growing this remarkable plant.