Nothing makes us happier than a fiddle leaf fig success story!
This amazing story comes from Angela, a member of the Fiddle Leaf Fig Facebook group and houseplant parent to three fiddle leaf figs! We’ve had Angela on the blog before, and she’s been generous enough to share her journey, successes, mishaps, and lessons to help other fiddle leaf fig owners take the best possible care of their fiddles!
Take it away, Angela!
Another Fiddle Leaf Fig Victory: Fiddle Leaf Fig Troubleshooting
Back in September I noticed that my second fiddle leaf fig, Farrah, had brown patches on some of her bottom leaves.
From my initial research, I couldn’t determine if it was root rot, sunburn, or fertilizer burn because they all looked the same to me. But those patchy leaves soon dropped and within a few days, more leaves developed brown patches and soon fell off as well. I was horrified!
I had no choice but to repot Farrah because whatever the cause, the spots were spreading up the tree very quickly. I was worried she wouldn’t survive the shock, so I decided to give propagation a try while I still had some good leaves left in case Farrah didn’t survive. That way, at least I’d still have a piece of her.
I’d never propagated a fiddle before and I was nervous, so I consulted the Fiddle Leaf Fig Resource Center videos on Youtube to make sure I was performing it correctly. I propagated on September 16th.
After taking a cutting, I took Farrah out of her pot and completely removed all of the soil, even rinsing off her roots. Before I repotted her I allowed her roots to just breathe in some fresh air for a while. I decided to repot Farrah into a clay pot for better drainage and hold off on watering for a few weeks.
Of course she immediately went into shock and dropped more leaves. I think she lost ten leaves total! I expected this, but it still broke my heart to see her drop so many of her beautiful leaves. But I waited.
By the end of September, I could see a tiny root coming through on my cutting. By mid October, it had grown many more roots. My first FLF propagation was a success!
I was still worried about Farrah, but at the end of October, she pushed up a new leaf! I was so excited! Not had she survived, she was starting to thrive again.
In the meantime, the cutting grew several strong roots, so I was looking forward to potting her soon. I gave my daughter the honor of naming our newest Fiddle, and she chose the name Faith.
I’m writing this on December 10th, and Farrah has 4 healthy new leaves and one on the way. She’s a bit leggy, but the brown patches have not returned. After doing more research, I now suspect the culprit was fertilizer burn. I learned that it’s a good idea to dilute concentrated fertilizers more than the manufacturer’s recommendation to prevent possible issues. I have not fertilized Farrah since then but I will definitely keep that advice in mind.
So in the process of nearly losing one of my precious fiddles, I not only saved her, but gained another one…for free! (Stress and tears included.) I now own three beautiful fiddle leaf figs: Fiona, Farrah, and Faith. And I’ve learned so much in caring for them.
I discovered that over fertilizing can be just as damaging as overwatering.
The phrase “less is more” is just as applicable in helping our fiddle leaf figs to thrive, as it is in real life. What I have also experienced is a love and appreciation for all living things. Plants can never replace people, but caring for them and watching them grow has definitely taught me patience, compassion and determination. When I see my fiddles or any plant recover from a setback, I experience a real sense of accomplishment.
I’ve also learned that a moisture meter is a must. The biggest mistake I see with fiddles is overwatering (and I’ve made this mistake myself!). It cannot be stressed enough that overwatering can introduce so many problems to a healthy plant that, unfortunately, some may not survive or fully recover from.
I am now considering purchasing a meter that also measures the pH level of my soil. I learned that having the right pH level is very important to make sure our figs continue to thrive!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Resource Center has been a tremendous help in giving me confidence in being a plant parent. Thank you for the resources and being a part of my fiddle leaf fig victory.
Thanks for sharing your fiddle leaf fig victory with us, Angela!
To learn more about caring for fiddle leaf figs, check out my book, The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, and don’t forget to join the Fiddle Leaf Fig Facebook group!
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