Because of their large, exquisite leaves, fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) are common houseplants that can breathe new life into any living. However, these plants lean in an unattractive direction and can leave you wondering why is my fiddle leaf fig leaning.
Much of the reason is down to the living space in your plant, and it falls on the shoulder because it doesn’t get enough sunlight. However, this isn’t the only reason, so here you can find why your fiddle leaf figs lean as they do. Leaning fiddle leaf figs result from inadequate light, poor watering, and insufficient fertilizer.
We need to support these plants to keep them upright because they lean if they become too tall. It is straightforward to ensure your fiddle leaf fig will stop leaning once it has the proper care. In our guide, you can learn about all the conditions that leave you wondering why my fiddle leaf fig is leaning.
By the end, you’ll know where to put your plant, and one by one, cut down the reasons your entire tree could suffer stunted growth on one side, thus causing it to lean. No matter, you’ll end up with a healthy fiddle leaf fig plant you can be proud of. (Learn How To Keep Pumpkins From Rotting On The Vine)
What Causes Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaning?
Watching indoor plants such as the fiddle leaf fig leaning to one side is unpleasant. You may think about staking to keep your plant upright, yet this won’t fix a fiddle leaf fig trunk that is pencil thin.
It stops your leaning plant, yet you need to get to the cause of why it leans. Here are a few things to know and what can have your plant stand straight again within a few weeks.
1. Improper Watering
Tropical plants like fiddle leaf figs (Ficus Lyrata) require adequate water to thrive. Underwatering is most definitely the cause of leaning and drooping leaves. A plant without enough water becomes stunted and develops crunchy, dry leaves.
The water chain in the xylem may also thin because of insufficient watering, and your plant loses more water than it absorbs.
However, if you grow this plant in wet soil, it might not get enough oxygen, making it lean. Their dry habitats include rainforests, where they frequently receive a flood of water followed by periods of dryness.
To ensure that your plant grows well, it would be best if you tried to replicate that environment inside your home.
How to Water Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig enjoys a lot of water at that point of its watering schedule; however, this doesn’t mean you keep the plant roots wet for an extended period.
Before watering the plant, let the soil completely dry to where the top 3–4 inches of soil are dry. To avoid pooling, ensure your pot has a good drainage hole and well-draining soil, which means your plant won’t get soggy soil or wet feet.
Occasionally, use a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture level. Reduce the amount of water you give your plant as the weather gets colder during winter.
2. No Adequate Sunlight
The growth of Fiddle Leaf Fig is consistently aided by adequate light. Fiddle Leaf Fig enjoys ample sunlight and prefers medium to bright light. Every day, the plant requires six to eight hours of sunlight.
Your plant will look for a light source and slant toward it if it doesn’t receive enough sunlight, called phototropism. Other signs of insufficient light include brown spots, yellow, and discarded leaves.
In their native habitat, plants are exposed to dappled sunlight from above, so they aim to grow upward. If your plant is close to an east-facing window, the light may not be strong enough, but you’ll see your plant leaning toward the light to get more.
How To Provide Your Plant with Ample Light
To ensure the plant receives enough light, rotate the plant every so often. Put your plant in a location with enough sunlight if it has leaned. Ensure the plant receives 6 to 8 hours of bright but indirect sunlight. Too much direct light can scorch the leaves and cause other issues.
The gentle morning sun can provide sufficient light for healthy growth without being too strong. Use an artificial grow light to give them light when there isn’t sufficient sunlight, or there is only low light intensity.
Place your plant close to a south-facing window but be careful; the foliage shouldn’t be touched by direct sun. (Learn How Fast Do Aloe Plants Grow)
3. Fertilizer Issues
Insufficient fertilization causes nutrient deficiency, which makes the plant weaker and leaner. Why do fiddle leaf figs lean, even with fertilizer? The answer is simple; if you haven’t repotted your plant in a while, the soil loses its capacity to hold nutrients even if you fertilize it.
Less fertilizer means that plants will have fewer nutrients. As these plants rely on nutrients from the soil, a lack of fertilizers will cause the plant to lean. Fiddle Leaf Figs have broad, dense leaves, which require fertilizer to supply them with additional nutrients.
NPK fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio works best for them. When you water your plant, fertilize it with a diluted liquid fertilizer, but not in the winter.
4. Repotting A Root Bound Plant
Can your plant pot support your plant? Fiddle Leaf Figs grow pretty large and heavy. The weighty nature of Fiddle Leaf Figs is another frequent cause of leaning. The weight of the plant’s growth may cause the main stem and branches of your fiddle leaf fig to bend.
Fiddle-leaf figs are fast-growing plants that can quickly become root-bound. The plant may be root-bound if you haven’t replanted your fiddle leaf fig in two or three years. Because of their tightly packed roots, root-bound plants struggle to absorb water effectively.
You should repot your fiddle leaf fig plant every two years or when the root protrudes through the drainage holes. Don’t be alarmed by the size of the plant’s root ball. Instead, prune or repot the plant if you notice it is leaning.
How to Repot Fiddle Leaf Fig
To repot the plant, choose a suitable container and fresh potting soil. The pot can be replaced with one 6 inches wider than the current pot.
Ensure the pot functions properly and pay close attention to the drainage holes.
- Add 4 inches of potting mix to the new pot to create a bed for the root balls.
- Ensure your root ball does not sit too high once in place because the top of the soil should be slightly lower than the top of the container.
- Take the plant out of the previous container.
- Verify that the roots are not harmed. Use scissors to trim the container’s side if your root ball gets stuck.
- Holding the plant upright, add a handful of soil to the sides of the container, enclosing the root ball.
- Gently compact the soil around the root ball after filling the container halfway.
- Don’t fertilize right away after repotting. Instead, give your plant a month to rest and recover from the change.
Prevent Fiddle Leaf Fig from Leaning Tips
Prevention is always preferable to treatment. For example, you can stop your fiddle leaf fig from leaning if you take good care of it from the start.
- Expose your Fiddle Leaf Fig to the air because these plants are accustomed to enduring strong winds in their natural habitat.
- You can occasionally move the plant if it cannot be exposed to air.
- Making holes in your soil will aerate it. By doing this, the soil’s air will circulate.
- If you notice any early indications of leaning, stake the plant. To secure your plant to the stakes, use plant tape or hooks.
- Avoid pruning off any of the plant’s lower leaves when pruning.
Reasons Why Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Leans
First, let’s cover the most likely reasons you may see your fig looking a little crooked. I’ve listed these reasons from what I believe to be the most common to the least likely.
Too Tall or Heavy
The main stem and branches may buckle under the weight of the plant’s growth, but this houseplant grows tall and fast with proper care. Sometimes, these figs can grow so much that the upper parts are too heavy for the stem to support, causing the plant to lean to the side. Pruning is another common issue. People often trim their figs into a standard shape, with lower leaves and branches pruned back and the upper third left to grow into a tree-like crown.
Removing lower branches and leaves can destabilize the main stem, making it hard to keep the top of the plant-centered. Your Fiddle Leaf likes bright, indirect light all day and can handle a few hours of direct sunlight, so it will lean towards the best light source to survive in a dark room.
Low light can also exacerbate lopsided growth because new growth grows towards a light source, exacerbating a lean. You may notice this on a plant near a window that hasn’t been rotated in a while.
Improper Plant Care
It’s good practice and essential to take care of your Fiddle Leaf Fig, so it stays healthy enough to stay alive, put out growth, and grow strong and straight. A few plant care issues can cause your fig to lean, but these may be minor and only cause a slight lean, and major issues need addressing first.
Improper watering causes figs to lean. Conversely, if your fig is underwatered, it may look dried and wilted. Severe dehydration will cause the plant’s stems and branches to soften and lean, but you’ll notice other signs of underwatering sooner, like burned or curled leaf tips.
If your plant has been overwatered, you may notice soft, droopy stems and branches, with heavier stems leaning near the soil line. Over-watering causes excess water and root rot, and drastic measures are needed to save the plant. (Read What Kills Mushrooms In Grass)
How to Straighten Fiddle Leaf Figs
Now you know some common reasons and fixes for your leaning fiddle leaf fig; you’ll want some extra tips for fixing the issue. Most often, the fixes mean more light. The light requirements are first, as these comprise the most significant portion of plant care.
Give Your Plant Better Light
Consider moving your fig to a better-lit spot to fix its lean. As long as they are properly acclimated, fiddle leaf figs can tolerate several hours of direct sunlight per day and will accept as much indirect or ambient light as you can give them. Moving your plant to a brighter location ensures that your fig has enough resources to put out vigorous growth without needing to lean in to secure more sunlight.
Rotate your plant to ensure it is straight. This ensures that all sides of the plant get enough light and helps produce even growth on all sides, preventing lopsided growth. A quarter turn once every week or two is enough to keep the plant from leaning and accumulating too much growth on one side.
Prune Your Fig
It’s hard to cut a tall plant, yet a strategic trim will prepare your plant for more growth and weight over time and make it more attractive. Consider pruning a tall, thin plant by 1/3. New branches will grow from where you cut, and the lower stem will thicken to support them.
Perhaps you have a bushy plant with many branches, but the growth is lopsided, causing a lean. Pruning a few branches helps redistribute weight and straighten the plant.
Shake Your Plant
Shaking your Fig plant occasionally may help its thinner stems support new growth. This is based on “thigmomorphogenesis,” a botany term for a plant’s altered growth response to mechanical sensations like wind, rain, or weight brushing. With Fiddle Leaf Figs, gently shaking the plant for 1-2 minutes every day (or several times a week) will cause the stems and branches to thicken.
This will help your plant stay upright and straight because stronger stems can handle more weight. Be gentle, and simulate summer breezes your plant would naturally experience for the main trunk to strengthen naturally.
Although it may be discouraging to see this tall Fiddle Leaf Fig plant sag, you can make it stand straight once more with the proper care.
The plant won’t lean if it receives enough light, proper watering habits, and fertilizer.