When growing fig trees, it may be worrisome to see fig leaves falling at various times. However, it’s natural for many fig varieties, like the fiddle leaf fig where leaves often fall as a normal part of their life cycle.
Leaf loss is especially common on young fig trees that are still establishing. The growing season brings warm weather that often causes fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves, brown turkey fig leaves, and other varieties to shed some of their older leaves first. This allows the plant to conserve energy and focus on new growth.
While leaf drop is normal, a fiddle leaf fig plant that is rapidly dropping leaves or seems consistently leafless, with few new leaves regrowing, shows a problem. There are several potential causes of leaf loss on fig trees to check, like improper sunlight, watering issues, pests, and other stresses.
Consistent care focused on the plant’s needs helps prevent shocks that cause fig tree leaves falling off or to drop leaves rapidly. Things like direct sunlight, hot and dry air, and sudden repotting may stress the plant and cause leaf loss.
Pay attention if your plant is dropping leaves unexpectedly or lacking their usual fullness. This can be a way to tell if something in the fig’s environment, like the soil in the pot or exposure to hot wind, needs adjustment.
In our guide, you can learn why my fig tree is losing leaves. By the end, you’ll better understand why fiddle-leaf fig trees lose some of their leaves as they age and why they may lose leaves when the plant needs something. (Read Vine Plant With Purple Flowers)
Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Falling In Summer?
There are a few potential reasons why your fiddle leaf fig may be dropping leaves because of poor environmental conditions in summer:
- Improper Watering – Too much or too little water can cause leaf drop. Figs need a thorough weekly watering once the top inch of soil dries out.
- Poorly Drained Soil – Wet, soggy soil lacks oxygen and can cause root rot, leading to leaf loss. Ensure the pot has drainage holes.
- Temperature Extremes – Sudden cold drafts or hot, dry weather can shock figs into dropping leaves. Keep them away from AC vents and hot windows.
- Improper Lighting – Too much harsh direct sun can actually scorch fig leaves. Filtered bright light is best.
- Environmental Stress – Changes like repotting, moving location, or transplant shock can also cause temporary leaf drop.
- Low Humidity – Figs thrive in humid conditions. Dry indoor air can cause leaves to brown and fall off. Mist often.
Six Reasons for Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves
1. Improper Watering
Too much or lacking water is the most common cause of fiddle leaf fig leaves falling off. Figs are tropical plants that thrive in moist soil but are highly susceptible to root rot if overwatered. Improper watering is a common issue to lead to fiddle leaf fig leaves falling off. These tropical plants require a careful balance of moisture to thrive. Overwatering is a common mistake to result in root rot, causing the leaves to drop.
To avoid this, instead of watering on a set schedule, water the fiddle leaf fig only when the top inch of soil feels dry. This ensures the plant is not sitting in waterlogged soil, which can suffocate the roots.
Underwatering can also cause leaves to dry up and fall off. To prevent this, it is crucial to check the soil moisture regularly. When the top inch of soil is dry, it is time to water thoroughly. This means pouring water into the pot until it flows out from the drainage holes at the bottom. This ensures that the entire root system receives enough water and nutrients.
Adding a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot can be beneficial to enhance drainage further. This layer allows excess water to drain away from the roots, preventing waterlogging. In summary, water your fiddle leaf properly for the health of fiddle leaf figs. Avoid overwatering to address the problem of root rot and ensure the soil is not constantly soggy. (Read Blue Tipped White Roses)
2. Poorly Drained Soil
Fig trees prefer loose, well-draining soil. Wet, compacted soil prevents oxygen from reaching the roots leading to root rot. Root rot causes the plant’s leaves to turn yellow, wilt, and fall off. To improve drainage, transplant the fig into a pot with drainage holes using a loose potting mix amended with perlite or bark.
3. Temperature Extremes
Sudden changes in temperature, like cold drafts from ACs or heat from hot sunlight, can shock fig trees into dropping leaves. Figs thrive in consistent warmth between 60-75°F. Protect figs from temperature extremes by moving them away from drafty windows, ACs vents, and direct hot sun streaming through windows.
4. Improper Lighting – Sunburn On Figs
Contrary to popular belief, fiddle leaf figs can suffer from sunburn if exposed to too much direct light. While they need ample bright, indirect light, more than a few hours of direct sun can scorch leaves leading to leaf loss.
Filter harsh sunlight with sheer curtains. Move figs further away from south-facing windows. North or east-facing light is often best.
5. Environmental Stress
Changes in a fiddle leaf fig’s environment, like repotting, moving locations, pruning, or drafts, trigger stress may cause leaves to fall off. Most leaf loss from stress is temporary as the plant adjusts.
Make adjustments gradually over several weeks when possible to prevent shock from environmental changes. Avoid repotting, and don’t move it to a new location too quickly where lighting differs. Fruit trees can suffer and it can cause stress, thus, it can cause your plant to drop leaves until it settles in the new space. (Read Fern Like Weed In Lawn)
6. Low Humidity
Fig trees naturally grow in tropical and subtropical forests with high humidity. Dry indoor air can cause leaf edges and tips to turn brown before leaves drop off completely.
Mist fig leaves several times a week or place the pot on a pebble tray filled with water to increase humidity around the plant.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Pests & Disease Care Advice
Check closely for signs of pests like spider mites or scale if leaf loss is severe or continuous. Prune off any diseased leaves. Generally ensure the tree receives bright, indirect light, consistent watering, and humidity. Turn or rotate the pot periodically for even growth.
Wipe dust off leaves to maximize light exposure. Fig leaves are naturally yellow and drop as they age, so prune old leaves to encourage new growth.
How to Grow & Care for Fig Trees
Figs require full sun and well-drained soil. Amend soil with compost or manure before planting. Space fig trees 10-20 feet apart for full growth. Water young trees often while establishing deep roots the first year. Add mulch around the base to conserve soil moisture.
Prune away dead wood while dormant in late winter. Prune wayward branches for desired shape in summer. Fertilize in spring with balanced organic fertilizer. Protect trees from harsh winter winds. Harvesting fruit encourages more figs – pick ripe figs every 2-3 days.
How to Winterize a Fig Tree
- Stop fertilizing 6 weeks before first frost
- Prune away dead wood and restrict shape
- Cover the root zone with mulch
- Wrap or insulate the crown if extremely cold
- Stop watering once tree goes dormant
- Move potted figs indoors before frost
Conclusion: Why My Fig Trees Lose Leaves
Many factors lead to stress in plants, like the leaves drop from in your fig trees, even if it’s not late in the season. It’s important to monitor your plant closely and assess if leaf loss seems excessive or unexpected for that time of year. Try to mimic the fig’s preferred tropical conditions as much as possible.
Don’t leave the soil to dry too much. Keep the soil moist but not soaked, and place in bright indirect light. Adding organic mulch helps retain moisture in the soil during hot and dry periods. Repotting into a larger container may be needed if the root ball is congested. Also, check drainage holes in case they are blocked by soil or roots.
A stressed fig tree still requires attentive care that addresses its needs. Monitor the soil moisture and drainage frequently, as overly wet soil may cause problems. With proper care tuned to its requirements, your fiddle leaf fig plant may lose fewer leaves and should rebound with healthy new growth later in the season. (Learn How To Revive A Sunflower)
FAQs About What’s Causing Fiddle Leaf Fig To Drop leaves
How often should I water my fiddle leaf fig?
Water deeply only when the top inch of soil is dry, about once a week. Figs are prone to root rot if overwatered.
What causes brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves?
Brown spots can be caused by sunburn, pests like spider mites, bacterial infections, or natural aging of leaves. Prune damaged leaves.
When should I repot my fiddle leaf fig?
Repot in spring every 2-3 years when roots fill the pot. Use loose, well-draining potting mix amended with perlite.
Where should I place my fiddle leaf fig?
Figs thrive in bright, indirect light away from hot sun streaming through windows which can burn leaves.
How do I increase humidity for my fiddle leaf fig?
Mist leaves, place on pebble tray filled with water, or use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air around your fig tree.
What temperature do fiddle leaf fig trees prefer?
Figs thrive in consistent temps between 60-75°F and are sensitive to cold drafts which can cause leaf loss.