Here’s a question we see a lot in our Fiddle Leaf Fig Resource Facebook group: “Why is my fiddle leaf fig growing leaves at the bottom of the trunk?”
So we thought we’d answer in a blog post!
We love to see growth on our fiddle leaf fig trees, but we prefer fresh new growth at the top of the tree, not the very bottom of the trunk. Leaves at the base of the tree can give your fiddle a bushy or even unbalanced appearance, which isn’t the best thing for an ornamental plant.
Are leaves at the base of the tree a sign of a health problem? What should you do with them? Let’s take a look at why this growth occurs and what to do about it.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Growing Leaves at the Bottom
Your fiddle is putting out offshoots
New leaves at the base of a fiddle leaf fig tree might simply be offshoots of the main plant.
If your tree seems to otherwise be in good health (new growth is occurring at the top, the leaves are perky, green, and free of spots), this may be the case.
You can remove the offshoots immediately so the tree can redirect energy into growing new leaves and branches higher up the tree, or you can let them grow a little more and propagate them!
It’s best to do this before the stems become woody so that the tree doesn’t try to replace this growth once it’s removed.
Your fiddle leaf fig is stressed
Sometimes, this growth at the bottom can be a sign that your tree is experiencing health problems or another threat.
New leaves at the base of a tree are called suckers and they can appear when a tree—your fiddle leaf fig included—is stressed.
This is a result of a tree’s natural tendency to put out new growth when it is injured. If a tree is stressed or injured, it may attempt to grow new branches in order to potentially replace leaves or branches that might be in danger. Think of this as your fiddle hedging its bets when it feels threatened.
Sometimes we create this response on purpose, such as when we notch or pinch our fiddles to prompt new growth where we want it.
But if our fiddles start growing suckers on their own, it may be a sign of a problem.
Trees like fiddle leaf figs may grow suckers at the base of the trunk if the roots have been damaged.
If you’ve recently repotted your fiddle or pruned the roots, you can simply prune the suckers at the base and give your tree more time to recover. If your tree hasn’t been removed or repotted for a while, the roots may be stressed for another reason. It might not be a bad idea to remove your tree from the pot and inspect the roots, or to upgrade to a slightly larger pot.
When your tree’s mature leaves and branches are under attack from insects, your tree may start growing suckers.
With your plant already waging war on insects, simply prune the suckers and keep working to eradicate the infestation. If the suckers are a surprise, try inspecting your tree closely for insects such as mealybugs, scale, spider mites, etc.
What to do with Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth at the Bottom?
If you notice leaves at the bottom, it’s a good idea to give your tree a checkup.
Look for signs that your fiddle is happy and healthy, and look for signs that it may be struggling. Assess your fiddle’s environment to see if it might need more light, humidity, etc.
These articles will help:
Once you’ve given your fiddle a good checkup, it’s a good idea to remove the suckers or offshoots so the tree can redirect its energy to leaves and branches on top of the tree where you want to see new growth!
You may be able to propagate this growth to create even more fiddles as well! Here’s our guide to propagating fiddle leaf figs.
While not life-threatening for your fiddle leaf fig, new growth at the very bottom of the trunk can use energy your tree could otherwise be channeling toward growth at the top, and they can also be a sign that your fiddle is unhappy about something.
Overall, this new growth is nothing to panic about, but simply one of many signs your fiddle may give you about how it’s doing and how well you’re caring for it!
Want to learn more about caring for your fiddle leaf fig? Don’t miss these posts on providing the best care possible for your ficus lyrata.
To learn more:
- Sign up for our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar or our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Course, and make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter.
- Download our free Propagation Guide
- 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!
- Join our Facebook Community and chat with other fiddle leaf fig lovers.
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.
- Houseplant Propagation Promoter to propagate more quickly and with more success.