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Growing fiddle leaf fig isn’t easy as it looks as there are numerous things that you have to know before you can successfully have a healthy plant.
It is faced with common problems that will surfaces when something has gone wrong in the processes.
However, these signs aren’t bad as they will help you to identify specific problems and tackle them ahead of time.
You might be wondering what are those common problems, right? Then if you are too curious to know, keep reading as we have a lot of enlightenment for you.
Most Common Fiddle Leaf Fig Problems
Fiddle leaf figs are one of the most common houseplants and the most popular indoor tree that you can find in different places but even with all its beauty and popularity, it is still faced with numerous problems. Some of the common problems include:
1. Overwatering Of The Plant
The first most common problem that is mostly encountered by fiddle leaf fig is Overwatering. By overwatering a plant, we are simply referring to the drowning of your plant with water thereby causing severe problems or even the cutting off of the supply of oxygen that roots depend on to function properly.
When your soil is healthy, it tends to allow the existence of space for the circulation of oxygen. So, if there is too much water in the soil and there are not enough holes for the drainage of the excessive water. It can lead to the blockage of oxygen supply and cause the plant not to be able to breathe.
To know if your plant is encountering such problems, you will notice some symptoms such as experiencing your new and old plant leaves falling off at the same time, the brownish or yellowish of the leaf on the tip, wilting, root rot or smelling any foul odour, stunted growth and the slimming of the roots.
Also, you might notice some water-soaked spots and blisters (Oedema) on the stems and leaves and the presence of soil organisms or pests which are usually caused by rotten roots.
To remedy this overwatering problem faced by your fiddle leaf fig plant, you have to do the following:
A. You should reduce the amount of water that you spray on the plant frequently but for longer periods. While watering, ensure that it reaches deep inside the soil. This is because watering promotes healthier plants.
B. Adjust the watering frequency and amounts based on season, temperature and amount of rainfall. Also, ensure that you don’t have to leak irrigation pipes or downspouts that might lead to the soil being wet.
C. Do well to only water your plant when necessary and make sure the soil is not too wet based on the needs of particular plants before watering as you might end up over-watering the plant.
D. Remove any overwatered Figs from their pots, inspect for root rot, and any dead or discoloured roots should be removed.
E. Repot the plant with fresh soil in a sterilized container. If you notice any form of root rot, quickly administer any fungicide on the root and rinse it off to aid a healthy recovery.
2. Infestation Of Pests And Diseases
Another common problem that fiddles Leaf figs plant encounter is the infestation of pests and diseases. These pests and diseases can cause your plant to experience stunt growth as well as others.
Some of these pests and diseases Include Mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, scale infestations, flying pests like whiteflies and fungus gnats, root rot and bacterial disease. For a proper understanding of each of them, how they affect the plant and methods of treatment.
Mealybugs are small white insects that usually leave traces of white powder all over your plant
They lay eggs around the leaves as well as in areas where the branches meet the main stem. These small insects feed on the sap in the leaves. Because the foliage becomes deformed and can begin to yellow, droop and die off if the infestation is severe.
You can get rid of this pest by applying horticultural oil or insecticidal which will help to suffocate the pests and remove the powdery substance they leave behind.
This plant is regarded as one of the toughest pests that you should look out for. They are more common in outdoor gardens, especially in vegetable gardens. They are quite difficult to spot, but since they are usually found in large colonies makes it less stressful and easy to notice on the plant.
The best way to get rid of this pest is by applying Neem oil to the plant. This will help to suffocate the pest and also prevent any eggs from hatching and growing the colony back again.
This is another soft-bodied pest, whitefly, that also feeds on the plant sap of large fiddle leaf fig leaves. It has small wings which enable them to fly. So, they will easily jump off the plant if you shake it gently.
Whitefly infestations will cause your plant to experience stunted growth. They also leave a substance known as honeydew which attracts ants and encourages mould growth.
To get rid of this pest, you should draw them away from the leaves with a sticky trap of your choice.
D. Spider Mites
Spider mites attack a wide range of houseplants including fiddle leaf fig. They are usually hard to spot during the early stages of infestation, but if you are observant, you will notice points especially where leaves and branches are located, you will see a white webbing which signifies the appearance of this pest.
The affected leaves will develop spots and may drop off the plant altogether if the problem is severe.
Getting rid of the pest requires the use of horticultural oils which will rip off the pest from leaves as well as the webs. Ensure that you double-check other nearby houseplants as spider mites can rapidly spread. Advisably, you should treat all the plants together.
This is another damaging pest that feeds on plant tissue and impairs the transport systems that move water and nutrients around the plant.
It is usually hard to get rid of but with frequent applications of insecticidal soaps, it might help to curtail it to a minimum as it can’t get rid of totally in one day as it takes time.
F. Fungus Gnats
They may not be the most damaging bugs on this list, but they are certainly the most frustrating ones that attack your fiddle Leaf figs.
These pests are quickly drawn to sticky traps left in the soil and once they have laid eggs in the soil, then the best remedy should be to repot the plant as doing so will help in stopping the spread of the pests.
G. Root Rot
Several kinds of fungus can cause root rot, to grow and spread out. If your plant is experiencing this problem, you can notice that it will prevent the root from absorbing enough water and nutrients.
To remedy this problem, you should trim or propagate the plants before the plant dies.
H. Bacterial Leaf Spot
The yellowing of the leaves and brown spots on the large fiddle-shaped leaves are signs of a bacterial problem. These diseases are not common, luckily as they are very difficult to remove once they’ve taken hold.
To get rid of this disease, there is a need for quick action to prevent the spread of bacterial disease.
Prune any affected fiddle leaf fig leaves immediately and keep an eye out for any new signs of problems. In severe cases, you may need to destroy the plant to avoid spreading it to your other houseplants.
3. Lack Of Exposure To Light
Lack of sunlight is one of the most common problems for fiddle leaf figs. It can result in the yellowing of the leaves, the development of brown spots, and leaf drops.
So you must expose your plant to sunlight as it will make your plant healthier and more resistant to all other problems.
Furthermore, the plant tends to use sunlight as a form of energy to perform photosynthesis. Without enough sunlight, all of these functions start to suffer. The fiddle-leaf fig plants tend to grow better outside in the full sun in temperate areas, though they can do pretty well with moderate sunlight as well.
To deal with this problem, it is advisable to:
A. Place your plant in the middle of a wall or too far from the nearest window. Keep the plant in front of a large floor-to-ceiling window with an overhang outside to protect it from the hottest direct sun.
B. Also, you need to consider the direction that your home faces. If you’re not sure, you can use your phone’s compass app to see which windows face which direction. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the windows that face south will get more sunlight, since that’s where the sun makes its rotation.
C. If you live in the southern part of the country, you should face your plant to the north window as it will receive sufficient light mostly in the spring and summer months.
D. You should place your fiddle leaf fig in a south-facing window, where it will get steady sunlight all day long. Most importantly, if your window is not protected by eaves or an overhang on the outside of your home, then you will likely place your plant a few feet from the window so it doesn’t get too much direct sun on its leaves.
Plants can’t store up sunlight for use later in the day, so they need 6 or more hours of bright light to do their best. A south-facing window will provide the longest duration of sunlight.
If your plant is facing east or west, it will only get sunlight for half the day or less. During the winter months, when the days are short, this could add up to only a few hours of light per day.
To quantify the amount of sunlight your fiddle leaf fig plant gets, you can use a moisture and light meter to get the exact measure of the sunlight exposure.
You might be wondering what if you don’t have a south-facing window in your home? Then, you should place your plant in the next best location and be mindful not to over-water it.
4. Underwatering Of Plant
When it comes tofiddle leaf figs, underwatering of this plant will affect their growth rate. In most cases, growth will become slow. You might also notice some irregular shapes or sizes which often will wilt and drop before they mature.
So, if you notice irregular growth or new leaves dropping off your plant, you must check your watering habits and adjust them if your fig seems too dry.
If you are already noticing these potential signs, then you need to act quickly.
The good news is that saving your fig is as easy as evaluating your watering habits and getting the plant on a watering schedule that is determined by testing the soil dampness with your finger.
To do this, follow this guide:
A. The first thing you’ll want to do is water your plant deeply so that all the soil in the pot gets saturated, and any excess water will eventually drain through the hole in the bottom of the pot. Once the water has drained, empty the saucer beneath the pot.
B. Sometimes, soil can get so compacted or dried out that it won’t absorb water very easily which might result in any water just flowing around the sides of the root balls.
If you notice this happening with your plant, consider replanting it in fresh potting soil or gently try to break up the compacted soil with a trowel, or even a chopstick. For the plant to remain correctly hydrated, the soil has to be able to absorb water effectively.
C. Once your plant has been properly watered, make sure it has a nice spot with lots of bright, indirect light to aid in recovery. Observe it for the next several days for signs of improvement, checking the soil frequently to test for moisture. Then, wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering again.
D. You should also try to avoid subjecting your plant to a repeated cycle of extreme dryness and wetness. This type of environment isn’t favourable to this plant and it encourages diseases thereby putting the root system under extreme stress.
It is important to note that In most cases, fiddle leaf figs will bounce back from underwatering very quickly while in extreme cases, your plant won’t be able to repair any browned or burned portions of its leaves, but any new growth produced afterwards should be strong and healthy.
5. Temperature And Humidity Levels
Another common problem that your fiddle leaf fig plant might experience is not being exposed to the right amount of temperature and humidity. It can cause a lack of growth in your plant.
So therefore, You should expose your plant to moderate air circulation to prevent fungus diseases from gaining a foothold. For this purpose, if you are indoors ceiling fan will come in handy.
Try also to avoid cool drafts such as from air conditioning vents in summer or poorly sealed windows in winter months. Cold drafts can cause leaves to dry, turn yellow or have leaves turn brown with spots, and/or drop. Do well to move your plant if you start noticing any form of coldness or leaf dropping.
The minimum temperature for fiddle leaves in winter is about 50°F while in summer, the ideal should be within 60-75°F with lower temperatures at night.
If you live in an area that experiences regular drastic temperature changes, you might struggle to see new growth on any fiddle-leaf figs introduced into your home. However, you can grow such plants in most rooms that are consistently between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fiddle-leaf figs can withstand humidity levels between 30% and 65%. So, you should install a portable humidifier or mist your plant with clean water daily to supplement humidity.
Another way to balance the humidity level is by growing lots of other house plants nearby or close to the fiddle leaf fig plants.
6. Soil Type And Potting
One of the most important elements of raising a healthy fiddle leaf fig is choosing the best soil. After all, the soil is a major part of your fiddle leaf fig tree’s environment.
As you know, that’s where the roots live and where your plant will absorb nutrients and a lot of moisture. So, it is important to find the best potting soil mix for fiddle leaf figs so you can grow the healthiest and most beautiful plant possible.
The best potting mix for a Fiddle Leaf Fig is a mix that’s well-draining and porous. It must have a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.0. The mix must have some level of optimal physical and chemical properties and contain enough macropores with oxygen as this will help roots grow healthy.
Finally, your choice of soil mix should also contain the ideal nutrient balance to support your fiddle’s growth and health. Some of these nutrients balance include vermiculite, perlite, grit, and organic materials.
The best time to propagate a fiddle-leaf fig is during the spring and summer when the tree is actively growing.
That being said, you can still attempt propagation during the fall and winter months, but growth will be slower and there will be a greater chance that the propagation will fail.
So, therefore, let’s look at the best way that you can propagate your fiddle leaf fig. The best reliable way is by rooting the branch and cuttings in soil. These steps Include:
A. Take Branch Cuttings
Using a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears, take a cutting from your fiddle leaf fig. Ensure that each cutting must have three or four nodes along the stem and remove the leaves at the bottom half of the cutting.
B. Dip Cuttings In Rooting Hormone
Dip the cut end of the branch cutting in rooting hormone, coating it completely. Then, set the cutting aside as you complete the next step.
C. Prepare A Pot
Fill a small- to medium-sized potting container with a well-draining soil mix and water it thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain from the pot. Then use your finger to create a hole for the cutting in the centre of the pot.
D. Plant The Cutting
Take the branch cutting and plant it in the hole you just made with your finger, gently pressing the soil down around the stem to hold it in place.
E. Place A Clear Plastic Bag Over The Cutting
Place a clear plastic bag over the cutting and the pot to increase humidity. Remove the bag once every few days for 10 to 15 minutes to give the cutting fresh air and prevent mould growth.
F. Keep The Cutting Evenly Moist
Water the soil lightly once it starts to dry out, but wait for signs of new growth to water thoroughly. Under the right conditions, roots should begin to grow within a couple of weeks.
There are other methods that you can use to propagate your fiddle leaf fig plant such as cutting in water. To do so, follow the steps below:
A. Take A Branch Cuttings
Using a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears, take a cutting from your fiddle leaf fig. Each cutting should have three or four nodes along the stem. Remove the leaves at the bottom half of the cutting.
B. Put The Cuttings In The Water
Fill a glass container with fresh, room-temperature water and place the cutting in the glass so the exposed nodes are submerged and the leaves remain above the surface.
Do well to change the water once a week to replenish oxygen levels and keep it fresh.
C. Place the Container In A Bright Spot
Put the cutting in a warm spot that receives bright, indirect light and ensure that you avoid direct sunlight. You will notice the new growth of the roots within a few weeks.
D. Plant the Rooted Cutting In Soil
Once the roots are at least one to two inches long the cutting can be transferred from water to soil.
All you have to do is to fill a small pot with well-draining soil and plant the cutting. Water it well and place it in a warm, bright location.
Keep the soil evenly moist for the first 1-2 weeks to help the roots acclimate to the soil.
You can also try out the air layering propagation by following these steps:
A. Identify The Node
Identify the branch on your fiddle leaf fig that you would like to propagate and use for a new plant, and then choose a node for air layering. Ensure that the new plant will have three to four nodes along its stem, along with a couple of leaves.
B. Prepare The Sphagnum Moss
Prepare the sphagnum moss by soaking it in water for 10 to 15 minutes as this will help to rehydrate the moss and once the moss is done soaking, squeeze the water from the moss so it’s left moist but not wet.
C. Apply The Sphagnum Moss To The Node
Add the sphagnum moss to the node on your fiddle leaf fig by creating a ball of moss around the node and securing it with clear plastic wrap.
D. Keep The Moss Evenly Moist
Unwrap the moss and check the moisture level once or twice a week depending on the temperature and humidity of your home. Use a spray bottle to spray the moss if it is starting to dry out.
E. Remove The Rooted Branch From The Mother Plant
Once the roots are at least one to two inches long the rooted branch can be transferred to the soil. This can be done by using a pair of pruning shears and removing the rooted branch from the mother plant by cutting just below the new roots.
F. Plant The Rooted Cutting In Soil
Fill a small pot with well-draining soil and plant the cutting. Water it well and place it in a warm, bright location. Keep the soil evenly moist for the first 1-2 weeks to help the roots acclimate to the soil.
8. Pruning And Maintenance
Like other tropical plants, fiddle-leaf figs must be pruned regularly as if not done, it will cause some problems to the development of the plant.
So, doing so will help the indoor tree grow fully. To prune your plant, follow these steps:
1. Start by examining the plant and look out for leaves with brown spots, torn leaves, and dying leaves, pruning them back as you go along.
2. Cut back any overgrowth and cross branches. Then, allow the plant’s interior to enjoy better air flow and grow new leaves without obstruction.
3. Cut about an inch away from the trunk when pruning to avoid hurting the plant.
While doing so, it is important to note that pruning is a key part of how to grow and care for fiddle-leaf fig plants. However, it is good for your plant to be pruned once a year so it can regenerate and put on some new growth.
1. What Is The Common Disease Of Fiddle Leaf Fig?
The most common fiddle leaf fig disease is root rot, a condition which presents one, some of, or even all of these symptoms.
To treat root rot, first, make sure your diagnosis is accurate. Then pull your plant out of its pot, identify and cut away wet, mushy, dark roots, and let your tree dry out a bit.
2. What Is The Best Treatment For A Fiddle Leaf Fig?
The best treatment of Fiddle Leaf Fig is by ensuring that its soil is kept consistent, and evenly moist with a brief drying out period between waterings as it comes from an area of the world that gets very dry between rain storms.
You should also water the plant thoroughly whenever the top of the soil has dried.
3. Can I Put My Fiddle Leaf Fig Outside?
Fiddle-leaf fig plants thrive outdoors in sunny areas. So while moving your indoor fiddle-leaf fig plant into an outside garden, you must first transplant the fiddle-leaf fig into a new pot and refresh the soil.
Fiddle Leaf Figs are often wonderful plants to have in your home as long as they get what they desire. The same applies to the numerous common problems that they encounter throughout their lifespan. But if you can watch out for the problems listed above and administer the necessary solutions, then you will have nothing to worry about.
That’s a one-way ticket to having a healthy fiddle leaf fig plant.
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