Do you have a sick fiddle leaf fig? Sometimes fiddle leaf fig plants get stuck in a rut and it’s tough to break them out. Brown spots, dropping leaves, and lack of growth can be frustrating and challenging to overcome. If you have a plant you’re ready to give up on, hang in there and try one last strategy: take it outside!
I recently inherited a very sick fiddle leaf fig, Clyde, that I had almost given up on. Almost all of the leaves were spoiled with brown spots from a bacterial infection and it had dropped so many leaves that it looked gangly and sparse.
But, being the fiddle leaf fig lover that I am, I couldn’t bear to part with my sad plant. I decided to give it one last try outside. I live in San Diego, where the temperatures range from 60 or so at night to 100 or so during the day. Technically, the hot summer days are a bit warm and dry for a fiddle leaf fig, but protected under my pergola, my plant is doing great!
Growing a Sick Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Outdoors
There are several advantages to putting your sick fiddle leaf fig outdoors. It makes me think of old-time medicine a hundred years ago, when they would recommend fresh air for the treatment of lung diseases. If you live in a suitable climate, putting your fiddle leaf fig outdoors can do wonders for your plant, including:
- Providing plenty of fresh air
- Increasing humidity at night
- Providing sunlight to help jump-start your plant’s immunity
- Drying out the soil to help heal the roots
- Giving you a break from the frustration of an ailing plant
I am astonished at how well my sick plant began growing as soon as he was outside. Check out these before and after pictures! It’s grown at least a foot taller in the past two months and has at least a dozen huge, healthy new leaves! Pretty soon, I will be able to prune the old, damaged leaves and be the proud owner of a beautiful, healthy plant!
Care for an Outdoor Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Of course, you’ll want to make sure your climate is suitable for growing a fiddle leaf fig outdoors. Temperatures should be no cooler than 50 degrees at night and generally no hotter than 95 or so during the day.
But keep in mind that fiddle leaf figs are great at adapting to their environments! During the first heat wave that got up to 100 degrees this summer, my plant showed signs of dryness and sunburn, so I brought him indoors for a few days. But a month later, there was another heat wave that got up to 103 degrees and I left my plant outside. It did fine! Once your fiddle leaf fig has been outdoors a few months, it should do well with temperature fluctuations within a reasonable range.
My fiddle leaf fig tree is in a very large ceramic pot, which provides a lot of consistency in the soil moisture. I water and feed with Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food once a week. If your plant is smaller, you will want to check on it at least twice a week to make sure it doesn’t dry out. (A handy moisture meter like this one can tell you when your plant is thirsty!)
Be sure to keep your plant out of direct sunlight, as they can easily burn. My plant is under a pergola and gets a little bit of direct sun through the pergola throughout the day and seems to have adapted just fine. However, especially when you first put an indoor plant outdoors, you will want to protect them from any direct afternoon sun.
The Keys to Fiddle Leaf Fig Recovery
Most of the big problems with fiddle leaf fig plants stem from too much water, not enough light, and poor drainage. Putting your plant outside in a free-draining container and hosing it down once a week can solve all three issues! If you have a sick fiddle leaf fig, try putting it outside in an area protected from the sun. Be sure to take before and after photos to share your story in our Facebook group.
Grab the Essentials for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig:
- Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Soil
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food
- Root Rot Treatment to treat one of the most common issues affecting fiddle leaf figs.
- 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.
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!
- Click to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.