A well-cared-for Fiddle Leaf Fig plant (Ficus lyrata) usually has attractive, dark green, lustrous leaves, but what if fiddle-leaf fig leaves are yellow? What’s wrong, and how can you fix it?
Luckily, this is not an uncommon problem and is usually pretty easy to solve. Most of the time, the cause of yellowing leaves is overwatering. Other causes include wrong pH levels, the need for nutrition, poor lighting, sudden temperature changes, underwatering and natural aging.
In this article, we will review the causes of yellowing leaves in Fiddle Leaf Fig plants and provide advice for preventing and dealing with this problem. Read on to learn more.
What Does A Fiddle Leaf Fig Need To Avoid Yellowing Leaves?
Generally speaking, your plant will be happy with:
Soak And Dry Watering
Allow the top couple of inches of soil to become nearly dry, and then water the plant thoroughly.
Generally speaking, once every week to ten days should be adequate, but this will vary from setting to setting and in different weather/seasons.
Overwatering causes fungal infection and root rot, which leads to dropping, and yellowing leaves.
Light, Airy, Good Quality, Well-Draining Potting Mix
Heavy soil not providing proper drainage will contribute to overwatering problems and lead to fungal infection and root rot.
If your plant’s soil always seems soggy, repot it into a brand new pot with ample drainage holes and good quality potting soil that is well amended with organic matter and coarse sand to improve drainage.
TIP: Be sure to water your plant thoroughly after repotting to help reduce the probability of transplant shock.
Neutral pH Levels
High acidity in the soil contributes to yellowing leaves. Maintain a neutral soil pH balance between 6.6 and 7.
If you find that the acidity level of your fig soil is too high, you can use commercially prepared alkaline drops to lower it, or you can work lime (ground limestone) into the soil. It is available in pelleted, granular, pulverized, and hydrated forms at garden centers.
TIP: Food-grade diatomaceous earth is another alkaline product that can be worked into the soil to improve soil quality and reduce acidity.
Use a commercial houseplant fertilizer with an NPK rating of 3-1-2. Follow packaging directions closely.
Typically, you should fertilize monthly in the spring and summer and not at all in the autumn and winter. Don’t use homemade concoctions containing acidic components such as coffee grounds.
Bright, Indirect Sunlight
Too little light interferes with photosynthesis and chlorophyll production. On the other hand, too much light burns leaves. Either way, the wrong lighting will cause leaves to turn yellow and brown.
Protect your plant from the sun’s harsh rays by placing it in a bright setting a foot or so away from a southern or western window. Direct morning sun, in an eastern window, will probably not harm your plant.
If you cannot provide bright, indirect sunlight for 6+ hours a day, supplement natural light with a grow light.
TIP: Never place your plant on a windowsill next to the glass. The glass will amplify the sun’s rays, and a plant too close to the glass may take a chill on cold days. Instead, always place plants at least a foot away from the glass.
Protect your plant from sudden changes in lighting and temperature. Don’t move it frequently or repot it unnecessarily; don’t let it stand in a hot or cold draft.
Place your plant away from heating and cooling vents and doors that open and close frequently, changing the ambient temperature.
TIP: Because Fiddle Leaf Fig is very sensitive to changes, you can expect your plant to develop yellow leaves after being transplanted or repotted. This is transplant shock; your plant will recover given time and consistent conditions.
Protection From Pests
Keep an eye out for mealybugs and aphids, which plague Ficus lyrata. Examine your plants regularly and wipe the leaves clean with a mild Neem oil mixture every week.
A teaspoonful of cold-pressed Neem oil to a quart of water should be ideal. This solution will help repel pests while giving your plants’ leaves an attractive sheen.
TIP: When dealing with insect pests or fungal infections (e.g., root rot), take care not to use acidic products such as vinegar.
Remember that Fiddle Leaf Figs are sensitive to high acidity levels. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is dusted on affected plants, and the soil’s surface is effective against many plant pests.
When you wipe your plants’ leaves down, look for yellowed leaves, damaged leaves, and stems. Then, trim them off with a sharp, sterilized cutting implement.
This will help prevent pests or illnesses from getting a foothold and keep your plant looking tidy.
TIP: Whenever a leaf starts to yellow, prune it off. Yellowing leaves will not turn green again and drain energy from the plant.
Lower leaves of all sorts of plants often turn yellow with age or lack of light. Don’t worry about this. Just prune them off and move on.
What Should You Do If Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Develops Yellow Leaves?
Examine your plant carefully for signs of any potential problems discussed here. Then, make corrections as needed, always keeping in mind that these plants do not like disruptions.
Keep moving and repotting to a minimum, but don’t be afraid to move or repot your plant if you find that it is suffering from too much heat, cold, light, darkness, wind, etc., in its current location.
Correct the problems you believe are contributing to the yellowing leaves, find or create the perfect setting for your plant, put it there, and leave it there.
Adjust your watering and fertilizing schedule to provide the right moisture level and nutrients.
Examine your plant regularly and keep it neatly pruned. Then, follow the tips presented here to prevent and correct yellowing leaves on Fiddle Leaf Fig plants.