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Pruning Ficus Lyrata (fiddle leaf fig)

erich60660
January 17, 2008

Hi everyone! I have a 5 foot tall healthy, indoor ficus lyrata (fiddle leaf fig), single trunk with no growth until the very top. Needless to say, it is very top heavy, and the single trunk is too thin to support the top and new leaves/growth sprouting. It is starting to bend with each new growth spurt. My question is how can I prune this tree to support split branching and thicken up the trunk? If I cut the tree off at say the 3 foot mark (where no leaves are present), would the tree sprout new growth? What time of year is best to attempt pruning?

Thanks for your help!

Erich

Comments (646)

  • Michelle

    Hi Al,

    Thank you again.

    OK. I am going for option 2. Baby steps... keeping my hopes up for back budding. Yes, I am certainly expanding my limits but I trust your advice. To be honest, the root recovery was a lot more daunting a few years ago.

    Heading out with my clippers in hand.

    Will keep you posted.


  • Michelle

    On a different note, the clipping from June seems to be growing.

    I put it in water and baby roots appeared. I then transferred it to soil two weeks ago and have been fertilizing.

    A new leaf is starting to open

    Is there anything more trimming be done to encourage the growth of this clipping?


  • PRO
    tapla

    Oops. Your do-over branch (lowest on the trunk) was supposed to be left long and tied to the main trunk so it's closer to vertical; this, in preparation for chopping the heavier trunk immediately above what was to be the new leader. Don't worry - it's not a big deal. You can still do that next year if you wish. If you decide to go that route, rub off any/all new buds occurring anywhere but on what will be the new leader. This will FORCE the tree to expend almost its entire lot of available energy on the new leader. DO NOT allow new branches that occur on the new leader to extend to beyond 3 leaves. Once 3 leaves have grown on the branch, cut it back to a point immediately distal to the second leaf from the trunk. If you're religious about practicing that habit, your tree will start to grow fuller and fuller. Within a year or two, you should have plenty of opportunities to shape the tree. You'll even be removing branches that cause visual congestion and limit light to the tree's interior. Of course, this revolves around your ability to keep the plant growing with good vitality.


    Al

  • Michelle

    "The other option would be to cut the long branch back to 1 leaf, and prune the branch that wants to be the leader back to 1 or 2 leaves, and prune the branches at the top back hard so they each have a single leaf."

    I misunderstood the directions above.

    Sorry! I thought I was supped to cut the new leader back to 1-2 leaves.

    Oh no!
    Will take your advice about keeping to three leaves per branch on the new leader

    Will keep you posted.

    Thank you for all of your wonderful advice.

  • noelle_e_mckinley

    Hello! I live in Washington state and I know you typically prune around Father's Day,

    But I have a question... I just bought a FLF from someone who was moving cross country. It's 9ft tall and glorious. But here's the problem. I have 8 foot ceilings and the window it's by is on the smaller side facing east.

    Now I just moved it to our house today. I know it will go into some sort of shock' new environment, the transfer, and new lighting. Here's my question. Could I also prune it after all this new change or should I wait until spring? Further more if I should prune it should I wait a bit to let it settle or should I do it today/tomorrow and so it's all "one traumatic blow". Thanks for any advice you may have for me!

  • PRO
    tapla

    You can prune now. I'd probably prune the ht back to just below the ht of the window it's in front of. I'd also try to make time to devise a plan for the plant's next growth cycle that would include some time outdoors, followed by a full repot, followed by a pruning session. You'll find help here if/whenever you decide to put it (the plan) together.

    Al

  • noelle_e_mckinley

    Thank you for the feedback. I’m going to cut it back hopefully tomorrow. So far it’s doing great. I’ve had it for a week now.

    Yes! I’d love to get a game plan for the next growth cycle! I’ll reach out. Thank you so much. This FLF is beautiful. I’m hoping it will do well here.

  • ashley_n_

    Hello. I live in San Diego, CA and I've had the fiddle leaf pictured below (sorry can't figure out how to rotate here) for a few years now. The 2 main branches growing out to the sides are getting quite heavy, and I'd like them to start growing up instead of out (their weight makes them kind of sag). Any tips on the best way to accomplish this? Should I put a stake in there? Can I prune to encourage growth in the middle part of the plant to help it get some taller growth? Thanks!

  • Dave

    You’ll need to give the plant more light if you want it to grow the way to describe.

    The plant is stretching for the light. Without any above light, the plant won’t want to grow in that direction.

    Pinching and pruning can help, but more light is needed.

  • PRO
    tapla
    When our trees are not receiving enough light, they tend toward very thin branches and trunks. The only way to help them support the weight of the branch/stem + the foliage attached is to figure out some sort of mechanical arrangement, which is almost always an unsightly affair, or prune the branches. If you have a flexible stick that's 4 ft long, cutting it back to 2 ft is going to eliminate almost all of the flexibility. In the same vein, pruning back your overly long branches will eliminate most of the inherent deflection and return them to a self supporting state.

    If I said you should have been pruning all along, it might sound like scolding, and I want to avoid that. Instead, I'd encourage you to bite the bullet and prune back most branches to 2 leaves, then start pinching on a regular basis. To pinch a branch, wait until it has 3 mature leaves on it, then pinch (prune) it back to 2 leaves. Removing the growing branch tip changes the plants hormonal balance (honest), and causes new branches to form in the axils (crotches) of the leaves you left on the branch. When the new branches have 3 mature leaves, you prune those back to two too (I sound like a train).

    If it was my plant. I would prune all branches back to 2 leaves, except for the single branch that will serve as the leader. This should be the branch that comes closest to terminating immediately perpendicular to where the trunk exits the soil. I would also start giving the plant lots of outdoor time. You'll be amazed at the uptick in vitality that accompanies plants grown outdoors. I'd start fertilizing regularly with an appropriate fertilizer, and plan on repotting sometime between Memorial Day and Father's Day in '18. Repotting is much more extensive than potting up, and eliminates the limitations associated with root congestion, which are currently forcing you to leave a lot of your plant's potential untapped. Between now and repot time, if you're serious about making a run at increasing your proficiency, I'd spend some time learning how much easier and rewarding care is if you repot into a soil that allows you to water correctly.

    If you have interest in taking a look at an overview that will help you avoid all of the most common pitfalls you might be likely to encounter, read this (click link).

    Al

  • ashley_n_

    Thank you, Al & Dave. I'll get started on your advice.

  • Bianca

    Hi! El Jefe pictured below is struggling. The new growth looks pretty bad and the leaves never got any bigger. I’ve been watching him to make sure the rest of the leaves don’t have issues and they have been fine.

    Does anyone know why the new growth did this and should I pinch it off?

    Thank you !

    Bianca NC

  • spjin

    Hi Bianca, I had two new leaves this summer that looked like this as well. I thought I read something somewhere about the leaves sticking together when they were unfurling and damaging the leaf. Mine grew normally and they're healthy, they just now look funny in the damaged area. I also get spots like that occasionally on mature leaves presumably from watering issues.

  • Bianca
    Hi thank you! I appreciate that encouragement and advice.
  • Boutsaba Vongphone

    Hi Bianca! I had this same problem for about a year and a half.. new leaves had little brown spots over it. I read a lot about maybe it was watering or cold drafts and thought I tried everything!

    the issue:MITEs!

    Could never see the buggers even when I wiped a leaf down and inspected the cloth. Don’t bother with the alcohol wipe downs, because I tried with no results. I used a Eco-oil which is a plant based insecticide. I took it outside and gave it a good spray with a garden hose on top and bottom of leaves. Let the leaves dry then spray every inch of ur plant down on top and bottom foucusing on the top younger leaves, but making sure u get the whole plant with the eco oil. Try not to spray too close because u can end up have water shapes brown rings on the younger leaves. I repeated every 5 days or Days I’m watering until I saw the younger leaves stop getting dots. Lucky I was in the spring so I saw new leaves looking good so stopped treatment. No more dots after about a year scratching my head why. This was my case and it looked exactly the same as yours. Hope this helps! Eco oil makes ur leaves the nice glossy too! So win win!

  • anamika_singh1991

    Hi,
    I’ve just got a 1 foot tall fiddle leaf fig..its been 1.5 months now and the plant was doing fine and it even sprouted two new leaves but recently i am noticing some brown patches on most of the leaves mostly near the edge..i am not able to understand what’s wrong..i water it once in 10 days and its placed in a south facing room with large glass doors..although its a little away from the glass door but i think it receives moderate light..i am concerned if the brown leaves are a result of cold air passing through the doors..

  • PRO
    tapla

    Your plant has evidence of oedema, a physiological disorder, in addition to the necrotic leaf margins. Either can be and usually are caused by over-watering. Oedema is exacerbated by anything cultural that slows or limits transpiration - high humidity, low light levels, and cool temps are some of the things that contribute to oedema. In addition to over-watering, high TDS (level of salts in the soil solution) limits the plant's ability to take up water and move it to the plant's most distal parts - like leaf tips and margins.


    Al

  • PRO
    The Ficus Wrangler

    Hi anamika - If the plant is not right beside the door, the cold drafts probably arent bothering it; if you want to move it father away from the door, you can provide more light with some kind of electric fixture - the important thing is to give it as much light as possible.

    Since you've had the plant for such a short time, and it's also rather small,(meaning it recently came from the grower,) it's less likely that salt build up is a problem at this point.

    As for humidity, I've cared for hundreds of FLF's, and I don't find humidity to be of much concern to them.

    I would check on soil moisture first, as that is the most likely culprit. By checking on soil moisture, I mean actually finding out how much moisture is in the soil all the way through the pot, not just on the soil surface. You can use an electronic moisture meter, or a simple wooden dowel or bamboo kebob skewer. Push them into the soil; water when the meter is showing about 1/2 way between "dry" and "moist"; if you're using a wooden probe, run it between your fingers after pulling it from the soil, it should feel just slightly damp.Then when you water, always water enough to get a run-off from the drainage holes. I think this is the best way to know how often to water, rather than an arbitrary schedule, although you can use a schedule by adjusting the amount of water you give the plant, based on the actual moisture content of the soil.

    Of course, since you just got the plant, it's still acclimating to its new home. This process can take several months. Give it as much light as you can, make sure the soil is neither too wet nor too dry, and be patient. Many of these problems take care of themselves given some time.

    bianca - just wanted to say a word about mites. It's hard to tell from your pics if that's your problem, but the "brown spots" that mites leave behind are very tiny and yellowish, and there's LOTS of them. They kind of look like they've been left by a pin. There are two good ways to know if you have mites other than seeing them, which is hard for some people, as they are very small - hardly bigger than the period to a sentence. If you spray the gently with water (probably the only real use for misting,) the water will stick to the webbing on the undersides of the leaves, and between the leaf stems and main stem. The other way is to pinch the leaf between forefinger and thumb, then run your finger from one end of leaf to the other. If you see green or red smears on your fingers, the plant has mites.


  • PRO
    tapla

    High salinity isn't necessarily caused by a build-up over time. One over-application of fertilizer can cause it, and it's very common for new plants to exhibit symptoms of high salinity that arise from something seemingly as innocuous as a change in light or temperature. Example - a plant growing in full sun conditions and 85* ambient temps at the nursery might be being pushed at luxury (fertility) levels of 1,000 - 1,500 ppm TDS. TDS (total dissolved solids) is a measure of the level of solutes in the soil solution, and is normally used to measure o/a fertility levels. If that plant is not leached before being shipped to a big box store or before being purchased by a hobby grower as a houseplant, reduced light levels and lower temps can/will cause water uptake issues and cause/contribute to symptomatic necrosis at leaf tips/margins because of the luxury TDS levels. I'm not intimating that's the case here, only that high salinity is still very much a potential cause/contributor to the necrotic leaf margins.

    Al

  • anamika_singh1991

    Thank you AI & the ficus wrangler..i’ve followed your advice and moved the plant to a spot where it receives more light..i’ve also started to check the soil before watering..i use a stick for this..i push it deep into the pot and take it out and if it feels slightly dry i water it thoroughly..in addition to this i try to mist the plant every day to provide humidity..hope this works for my plant..

    i also wanted to ask if i should cut away those brown patches since they have creeped in a little as you can see in the before and current picture..

  • albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.

    My question off thread - but, on topic, perhaps.


    Is Ficus lyrata the most common plant to present here in this houseplant forum?

  • PRO
    tapla

    Al - fads come and go, but F lyrata has been riding atop a wave of popularity for at least the last 3 years, maybe more.

    Anamika - your F lyrata is better equipped to handle soil conditions slightly too dry than too moist, so it would be to your advantage if you withhold water until you can barely detect moisture on the tell you're using. Too, misting your plant is very ineffectual, unless you're purpose is reducing the number of mites that call the plant home. When humidity is low enough to make you think you need to mist to increase moisture levels, the mist you provide to your plants almost always dries completely within 5 minutes and has no appreciable or lasting effects on RH levels in the room for the other 1,335 minutes in a day.

    The brown patches aren't a disease, so trying to cut them off won't keep them from spreading. They occur and spread as a result of a root system that is not able to function normally. Most often this occurs from over-watering and/or a high level of salts in the soil (solution); and the reason this happens is due to the fact plant's with unhealthy roots or roots compromised by a lack of oxygen suffer an inability to move enough water to keep its most distal parts hydrated.

    There is a path, at the end of which you can expect a healthy plant that shows off a new flush of pristine foliage by end of summer '18, but it requires a plan you can stick to and some patience. Let me know if you're interested.


    Al

  • Dan Steck
    Hello Al and everyone,

    I’ve posted before in the Ficus Lyrata thread and you were of great help to me. I’ve had a tree for about three years now that was steadily getting stronger. I learned how to trim it properly and the top was branching out really nicely. It was basically in perfect health in November.

    Unfortunately I went away for a few weeks and turned the thermostat down too low (to about 50). I now know this is way too low but it’s too late. This particular tree was near a window and when I returned, all of the leaves that were once pointing upwards were now drooping. Almost all of the leaves toward the bottom dropped off. Now, one week later, almost no leaves are left. The top branches (which are obviously the newest growth and thinner than the lower part) do not look good. They are dried and wrinkled looking. I really hope they are not totally dead.

    Right now the main trunk branches off in two (one leader and one secondary). These two main branches each branch off three times and this makes the top of the tree. The only leaves left are at the very tops of these branches but they don’t look particularly strong and may fall off soon.

    These topmost 6 branches have varying degrees of wrinkles and dried spots. Should I wait and do nothing for a few months to see what happens? I’m almost certain the tips of several of the branches are dead as they look brown and dried. But leaves are still attached here.

    Should I trim all the branches back a few inches to promote budding or should I wait to do this until spring? If all of the leaves fall off what am I left to do and can the tree still produce any food? How and where will buds appear if there are no leaves?

    Thank you so much for any help. So sad about this. :(

    - Daniel
  • lovelynance_

    Hi! I am definitely a novice, given the fact that I just recently purchased a FLF tree about a week ago and I noticed the new bud is growing some baby leaves. BUT, the baby leaves are turning brown and crusty! :( (they haven’t unfurled yet). I live in NC and it can be super chilly here so I have central heat on, and I place my tree by a very well lit and bright window. I haven’t watered it either because the top inch is still slightly moist. Anything will help! Thank you!!!!!! Here’s a picture to describe what I am seeing.

    Kindest Regards,

    Nancy

  • Matthew Galloway

    So I’m in Tampa FL.


    Moved into a new place and found a large FL tree in the backyard. A good 15ft high with leaves on a top section and a bottom section.


    Had a cold snap come through a few weeks ago (got down to high 20s one night) and our poor tree didn’t like it. All the leaves from the top dropped and only about half from the bottom are sticking around.


    Was as wondering what I should be doing to promote new growth once we’re clear from any more cold.

  • PRO
    tapla

    Dan - what a misfortune! Not much you can do at this point other than wait. Keep the plant warm and in bright light. If there are patches of green bark on the branches, some photosynthesis will occur, but the plant is essentially running on battery power (stored energy) now. If being subjected to the low temps is all that's wrong, and the tree was reasonably healthy before the chilling, the only reason it shouldn't recover would be related to what happens between now and recovery. The soil only needs to be slightly moist or damp. At no level in the pot should the soil be wet to the point that, if you had a handful of it, you could squeeze water out of it. Think: like a thoroughly wrung out sponge. That's important. It can bud back almost anywhere on live branches, but look for buds to break near apices (growing ends of branches) and immediately above old (leaf) bundle scars, which are temporarily visible scars at leaf attachment points.

    Matt - like Dan, there isn't much you CAN do, other than wait for the tree to sort things out. It will back-bud on living tissues.

    Dan and Matt should both notice greater (ramification) branch density after the tree resumes growth because every new bud that forms will become a branch.

    Al

  • PRO
    The Ficus Wrangler

    Matthew - We've had a rough winter, haven't we. I moved from St. Pete to Dunnellon 2 years ago, and we've had, I think, 3 periods of below freezing, and one stretch of maybe 3 nights where the temps were down to the mid- to low 20's. I've lost several plants, and that was after I moved all my potted plants indoors for the winter. With your lyrata, I would advise not doing anything much at this point. The wilted leaves will help protect the branches if we get another cold snap. After the likelihood of frost is past (I usually figure the first of March, although the USDA sets last frost at the end of March, and with the way the year is going, probably best to wait till the end of March,) you can remove the wilted and damaged leaves, and the branches that are dead. Look for green tissue beneath the outer bark by scraping with a finger nail - if you see green, the branch is still live, if you see brown, the branch is dead. Cut off the dead parts. Or you can wait till you see new growth, then cut back to the live part of the branches. good luck to us all.

  • Matthew Galloway

    Thanks for the advice!

    Im quite the fan of Lytratas and new to plants. Got really excited learning about propagation then to think I killed the tree in the freeze bummed me out

    Now, should I scale back our giant weed/bush that I’m not a fan of to the right of the FL or leave it be?

  • James Hu

    My fiddle leaf is pushing new leaves but the bottom-most leaves are starting to turn yellow and fall off. I only water my Fiddle Leaf maybe once a month now (I always check with moisture meter to ensure the soil is fully dry before watering). I also haven't been fertilizing that much this winter.

    Are the bottom-most leaves dying just the natural order of things? Thanks!

  • Ana Martinez

    Can someone help me with mine!? I just purchased one today and noticed it was covered with what looked like white dust. I asked the guy and at the store and he said that it should be fine. I came home and cleaned it up but there was still white spots left on some leafs. If anyone can help me that would be great. Thanks

  • Denice Davies
    Hi there, I'm really hoping to help my FLF. It lost a whole side of leaves, I believe possibly from cold window drafts (I live in Chicago). It's quite sad looking but would love to do as much as I can for it come springtime. How do I promote growth in these branches? Are there any I should remove? Would notching work well on these? With thanks, Denice
  • PRO
    The Ficus Wrangler

    Matthew - First of all, YOU didn't kill the tree, the weather did. Anyway, it's probably not dead, except for (possibly) the upper part. Like I said before, you can just leave it, then cut back the dead parts in the spring. As for the big bush, it's your property, right? You can do what you want with the plants growing there. By all means, prune the bush back. I would wait till at least the middle of March, then cut it back quite drastically, like to maybe 1' from the ground, let it grow back, and start pruning it yearly as it fills out, to get it to and keep it at a nice size. I'm sorry, I can't tell from the pic what it is, but if you want to identify it, you could take some leaves to the Extension Service office - look up Cooperative Extension Service to find the one nearest you.

  • PRO
    The Ficus Wrangler

    Denise - If the branches are still live (scratch them to see if there's green under the outer skin,) they should bud out once you put them back in front of the window. If parts of the branches are dead, you'll need to cut those off, and the plant should bud from the living parts once it gets back in front of the window.

  • PRO
    The Ficus Wrangler

    James - It is natural for older leaves (those closest to the bottom) to die eventually, so that might be what's going on. However, it could also be that the soil is a bit too dry between waterings. Try watering before it gets completely dry - a notch or two closer to moist on your meter - and see what happens.

    Ana - Normally I would say that dust on a newly purchased plant is just that - dust - or possibly mineral build up from the watering at the growers. These can be washed off, or rubbed off with a cloth. But those white spots you show look suspiciously like mealy bugs. I can't tell from the picture, but if you look up some info on mealy bugs, you'll find lots of pictures, and compare with what's on your plant. If it is mealy, I would take the plant back to the store, and get a replacement or money back - and try to find someone there with more knowledge that the person you spoke to before.

  • James Hu

    The Ficus Wrangler - Thank you! I'll try that

  • Lauren J

    Hi everyone! I rescued this sad guy last week. I've given his leaves a clean, and my plan was to leave him for a couple of months to acclimatise to his new environment in front of a sunny window and while I work out what his watering needs are. He seems to be quite root bound, but we're in mid Autumn now here in Australia, so would I be better off leaving the potting up until early Spring? I like the height, (just over 1 metre), but I'd like him to fill out a bit. What should I do?

    Thank you!


  • PRO
    tapla

    In most cases, what looks like dust on the leaves of a new plant is a fungicide applied before the plant is shipped from nursery/greenhouse to it's POS outlet. So not to confuse folks, in this case POS = 'point of sale'.

    Lauren - If you think the plant is so root bound it's growth and vitality is being severely impacted (and not in a good way), you could trim off the very bottom of the root mass with an old pair of scissors, or saw it off with a pruning saw:

    The image of the scheff above is a little extreme for your first time root pruning, and for where your tree is in its growth cycle. Don't remove more than 25% from the bottom of the root/soil mass. You could also rake out the sides of the root mass. I use a tool like the one next to the saw in the image below. You might have a metal salad fork or a meat serving fork that could be pressed into service, or you can use an old fork.

    After that part is done you can return it to its pot and fill in the bottom part of the pot and around the sides.

    If you want to go bold, you could pot up to a significantly bigger pot with ballast in the bottom. Ballast can eliminate almost ALL of the excess water a soil can hold, if it's done right and you understand what you're doing. If you decide to go that route, Read This, then ask any questions you need answered.

    You CAN pinch out the apex of your central stem (remove the growing tip at the top of the trunk. This greatly reduces the flow of a chemical that inhibits lateral branching. The problem is, you won't get a very enthusiastic response at this time of year. You might get a couple of buds to break and form new branches in the crotches of the leaves immediately proximal to the pinch point; whereas, if you were to wait until next Christmas to do the pinch, you should get a much better outcome in terms of the number of branches the pinch produces.

    Once you start getting branching, you should religiously pinch those branches back to 2 leaves as soon as the branch develops 3 mature leaves. This gives you the highest degree of ramification (fullness) in the least amount of time.

    This is all pretty easy to understand and or do. If you need some thing(s) clarified, just ask.

    You might find, if the results of pinching now are disappointing, that pinching again next Dec after the plant has had ample opportunity to build its store of energy and is in the strongest part of the growth cycle will more nearly what you're hoping for.

    Al

  • Lauren J

    Thanks for the reply Al.

    I've decided to trim off the bottom of the root mass - should I do this now, or wait until Spring/Summer?

    I can wait until December to do the pinch. So that would involve removing the two small leaves at the top of the trunk?

    Could I cut some notches down lower on the trunk to encourage some branches to grow down lower?


    Thanks,

    Lauren

  • PRO
    tapla

    Ficus tolerate rootbound conditions better than most plants, not to be read that they LIKE it, though. I don't have a sense of how bad the rootbound conditions are, so I can't say a partial repot now is the best course or not. My years of working with more than a dozen species of Ficus tells me the best course would be to flush the soil, fertilize with something appropriate, and actually monitor soil moisture levels. If your soil is overly water-retentive, you might consider employing other methods to reduce how much water your soil can hold. Finally, I'd make sure the plant goes outdoors as soon as temps allow. That alone should be transformative, as long as there aren't any cultural issues holding your plant back (temp, light, too much/too little moisture, fertility, .....) After the plant has been outdoors for a month or so, you can prune the top back and it will back-bud. In fact, it will very likely back-bud outdoors even if you don't pinch (prune the top).

    If you try notching, why not notch about 1/2" above old (leaf) bundle scars. These are scars that remain where a leaf was once attached. There are dormant buds above each scar.

    It isn't my intent to just toss out a bunch of generalizations and expect you to sink or swim. I, or others, should be able to answer any questions you need answered before you're comfortable putting a plan in place. Too, plants have natural rhythms, which is why it's better to do any heavy work in summer when the plant's vitality and ability to turn the sun's energy into food is at/near their peak. Working WITH the plant, giving deference to its natural rhythms is better for the plant, and better scratches the 'need to nurture itch' we all have.

    Al

  • Lauren J

    Thanks Al.

    Lots to consider. I'll let you know how it goes.


    Thanks again,

    Lauren

  • Jem

    Hello everyone! I think from everything I've read in this thread that my plant has been suffering from overwatering and/or soggy soil. I got it in late January and after my second watering it developed a few very small brown marks on the edges of the leaves. Suspecting over watering as the cause, I let it dry out (until it no longer felt damp and spongey through the drainage hole) before watering again. This process meant it was about 2.5-3 weeks between watering and sadly the brown and blackish spots on the leaves have continued to get worse after every watering. With what I've read I now believe the soil is just staying soggy too long. (FYI when I water I give it about 3 cups, allowing one cup at a time to soak in. At least half a cup flows out the drainage holes on the third cup of water.)

    My plan now is to repot with a soil amendment and a wick. I'd like to do some root pruning as well since I can barely get the moisture meter in the soil through the roots, but I think I read in a previous post from Al that I should wait until it starts growing again and the weather is warmer. In the mean time, will mixing my regular potting soil with perlite as well as adding a wick offer a noticeable improvement for drainage for now? Then in the summer I can source better soil mix components and address any potential root issues? Alternatively, I can just water with more frequency and use less water until summer?

    Here are some photos of the FLF in the late afternoon on a cloudy day. This plant lives about 3 feet away from a S/SW window and doesn't receive any direct sunlight.

    Here is evidence that the plant has dropped a few leaves. The six leaves that fell off were the worst looking, and the leaves with the spots (shown above) are headed in that direction.

    And here is the beautiful new growth since I got it in late January (though now it has stopped and the tiny bud here doesn't seem to have changed in about a month):

    I look forward to learning even more, so thanks in advance for your advice and expertise :)

  • PRO
    Svdl

    Hi Tapla,

    I was wondering if you could help me. I posted on this forum before and your advice has always been of great help. My ficus has been happy and healthy the past 4 years but now some of its leafs are turning yellow. Would you happen to know what is the cause and how to fix it?

    Thanks!

    Sofia

  • Ali Burgess

    Helllooo! I posted elsewhere but this thread seems to be where it’s at. I recently purchased this ficus from Home Depot. I took a chance on it because it’s rough looking. It has a lot of physical damage to the leaves and some weird brown spots under the leaves. Someone suggested edema perhaps from non optimal temperatures at Home Depot / transport. Will it be ok?


    also wondering if my location is good enough. I live in Vancouver BC. It’s in a south facing window and that is pretty much my only option.

    Thirdly, could it use a bigger pot ?



    Ive killed a ficus before so I’m really hoping to have good luck with this one! Thanks in advance for your help.

  • mochajacq

    There is really great info on this thread but I need more specifics for my situation. We bought 2 beautiful fiddle leaf figs and were given incorrect watering instructions by the seller so a month later the leaves developed brown spots. It was definitely being over watered. Now that we got the correct watering down; of course all the leaves with brown spots continue to fall off. Each plant has a few healthy leaves at the tops of their branches and I know the plants are not dead yet. I've tried notching a few branches and pruning one off to root in case that plant doesn't make it. No results from notching yet which was done about 10 days ago. My concern is when all the brown leaves fall off I will be left with those bare branches with no leaves on them. What's my best course of action? I didn't want to completely prune back to the main stem and leave no leaves. I figured that would not be good. We live in Florida and these north facing windows are our only option. I'd say the light is good but not ideal. We do have nice can lights overhead that we could leave on if that would help.

    I could move the plants outside for the summer under the porch overhang if that would help. We and our dying buddies would greatly appreciate some help!!!!!

  • willstuff

    Hi guys - my FLF is looking great but I wanted an extra branch, so I notched it above a node about a month ago and nothing has happened so far. Have I not notched it correctly or perhaps not deep enough? If anyone has tips I'd love to hear them. Thank you. Will

  • Emőke Hillman Marsovszky

    Hello,

    The new growth on my FLF dried off. How can I help my plant get back to normal? We live on high altitude, Colorado Springs

  • PRO
    The Ficus Wrangler

    Try increasing the light. That's often the best cure for an ailing fiddle leaf.

  • sparsudi
    Hi all! I need some help with my fiddle leaf fig. The very top of the tree trunk was dry and dying so i cut it off. Then the bark started falling off below it so i scraped the dead parts off. I saw some small holes so I think there may have been some kind of pest eating the bark/underneath it. So now my sad tree is missing half of its bark on one side! What do i do to make it happy again? And how can i revive and encourage growth on the side that is missing all the bark?
  • Amalia Diaz

    Will rubbing alcohol and water burn the tiny new buds that are sprouting on my fiddle leaf fig ? I think it has been over watered and for sure i found some mites on my fiddle leaf fig tree. I sprayed my whole tree with insectiinsecticidal soap and neem oil but avoided the tiny new leaf bud.




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