Ficus lyrata or Fiddle leaf fig is a familiar tropical rainforest flowering plant. The ornamental tree has gained massive popularity as a houseplant in the last few years. Though the Fiddle leaf fig is an absolute trendsetter, it is very finicky. That means you need to take care of it and make sure that all the conditions needed for its survival are maintained.
For instance, the plant thrives on direct but not too much sunlight, misty water, proper drainage, and moist air. Too much or less of any of these conditions can interfere with its natural growth. If you fell in love with those glossy leaves and want it as a houseplant, you need to spend time nurturing them. Sometimes, the fiddle leaf fig can turn yellow.
Here, you need to take active steps to make sure that the condition is remedied. In this post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, tips, and solutions to the fiddle leaf fig turning yellow.
There are many ways to resolve the issue of fiddle leaf figs turning yellow. Indirect yet bright light, changes in the watering cycle, and ensuring that the soil has a pH of 6.6-7 are some well-known solutions. Moreover, using fertilizer and repotting the plant can prevent the yellowing of the leaves.
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Causes Of Fiddle Leaf Fig Turning Yellow
Fiddle leaf fig, though tricky to raise, is a well-cherished houseplant. Glossy green leaves particularly enhance the appeal of the plant even more. There are various reasons that lead to the yellowish discoloration of the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig.
Take a look at the causes explained here –
Poor Light Conditions
Native to tropical rainforests, Fiddle leaf figs are plants that need bright yet indirect sunlight. That is why inadequate light conditions are a primary reason for the leaves turning yellow. If the houseplant is kept in a dark room, the occurrence of leaf yellowing is inevitable. Lack of sunlight prevents the ability of the plant to generate chlorophyll, leading to discoloration of the veins and leaves turning light green and eventually yellow.
One of the most well-known causes of Fiddle leaf figs turning yellow is overwatering. It is not ideal to water the plant too much. Moreover, if the soil drains too slowly, it will become waterlogged, leading to root rot in the plant. When the roots are severely affected, absorption of nutrients is hampered significantly. That causes interference in the generation of chlorophyll which leads to spotting of the leaves. Deprivation of nutrients eventually leads to light green and then yellowing of leaves.
Lower Level Of Nutrients
The deficiency of nutrients is a major reason for the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig turning yellow. For instance, root rot fungi can prevent the plant from absorbing nutrients. Overwatering can lead to roots getting rotten, which then makes it impossible for the plant to absorb the nutrients. However, in some cases, the soil simply might not have enough nutrients for the plant to produce chlorophyll. Houseplants may also experience nutrient deficiency due to a lack of proper fertilization.
It is essential to understand that for fiddle leaf fig to grow without any issue, the pH of the soil must be neutral. If the soil is too acidic or becomes acidic over time due to different reasons, then yellowing can occur. For instance, the addition of coffee grounds into the soil as fertilizer can lead to acidic soil conditions. It is vital to combat this situation by repotting the plant, if you want it to survive.
Shock From Transplantation
Transplant shock is a reason that could explain why the Fiddle leaf figs are turning yellow. If you have repotted or relocated the plant recently, then maybe the roots haven’t had the chance to get properly anchored. The lack of nutrients or its ability to absorb them can lead to the leaves displaying a yellow discoloration. It is true that the plant undergoes physical shock due to changes in the environment. As such, it causes stress and leads to yellowing.
Damage From Pests
Another reason for the yellow discoloration of the fiddle leaf fig is an attack from pests. There are several pests like mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, etc., that can cause significant foliar damage to the plant. It will eventually cause a yellowish discoloration of the leaves. These pests consume the sap from the leaf, leading to a loss of vigor. Though this reason is quite rare, it does happen. To identify this cause as the reason for Fiddle leaf fig turning yellow, look out for some symptoms, such as webbing, visible holes, etc.
Fluctuations In Temperature
Consistent temperature conditions are ideal for the fiddle leaf figs to thrive. A sudden increase or decrease in temperature can cause significant stress, leading to yellow discoloration. Have you recently repotted the plant in another location? In that case, temperature changes between the places can attribute to the issue. During the winter season, 50-degree F or below temperature will cause yellowing of the leaves. Moreover, the plants need 30-65% humidity to thrive.
How To Fix Yellow Leaves In Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Yellowish discoloration in fiddle leaf figs can occur due to multiple reasons. Luckily, there are various solutions that can counteract the problem with ease.
Check out some of them listed here –
Arrange Indirect Bright Light
Poor light conditions can lead to the yellowing of the leaves of Fiddle leaf fig. In that case, the only plausible solution is to move them to a location that has bright yet indirect sunlight. Try placing the potted plant near the window that gets sufficient sunlight. If that doesn’t give the desired result, you may have to install artificial lights for the plant. However, you must keep the plant away from the direct scorching heat of the sunlight.
Changing The Watering Schedule
Overwatering is one of the major reasons for the yellow discoloration of the leaves of the plant, Fiddle leaf fig. To handle this situation, you need to modify the watering schedule. It is vital to reduce the hydration frequency in order to ensure that the soil doesn’t become waterlogged. For starters, reduce watering to once every week. If that doesn’t improve the condition, you need to check the dryness of the topsoil before watering the plant.
Use A 3:1:2 NPK Fertilizer
Lack of nutrients can lead to Fiddle leaf figs turning yellow. For this, you need to use a 3:1:2 NPK fertilizer and provide the soil with the necessary nutrients. Here, NPK refers to the ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium that the plant will get. Keep in mind that the plants need more nutrients during the spring-summer period when it grows actively. For the best result, try fertilizing the soil once every month.
Till The Soil To Improve Its Drainage
Excess soil moisture is not an ideal condition for Fiddle leaf figs to remain healthy. If the plant is placed in the garden, till the soil to improve the drainage issue. However, if you have a potted houseplant, you might need to consider repotting it. Meanwhile, mix the soil with coarse sand to enhance better drainage. If that doesn’t work, you need to use a pot that has drainage holes.
Neutralize The pH Of The Soil
Fiddle leaf figs cannot thrive if the soil has turned acidic. That is why you need to test the pH of the soil to deduce the reason for the yellowing leaves. If the soil is acidic, you can add some alkaline drops to balance the soil pH. Alternatively, you can add different types of liming material to neutralize the soil acidity. However, if that doesn’t work, the best solution is to repot the plant in new soil.
Eliminate Pest Infestation
Getting rid of the pests that attack the plant is absolutely crucial. For this, you can adopt a wide array of countermeasures. For starters, you can leverage natural predators to take out the pests. After that, use organic pesticides like need oil, diatomaceous earth, etc., to combat the threat of pests. Besides, you can use liquid hand wash or even insecticidal soap from the store.
Allow The Plant To Acclimatize After Repotting
It is true that Fiddle leaf figs do not remain healthy if they are moved or relocated from one environmental condition to another. That is why you need to conduct thorough aftercare for the plant. In order to reduce the stress, watering the plant regularly is necessary. Moreover, ensure that it gets sufficient indirect yet bright sunlight. You also need to make sure that the temperature conditions do not fluctuate greatly.
Tips To Keep Fiddle Leaf Fig Healthy
It is, without a doubt, that the Fiddle leaf fig is an attractive ornamental plant that uplifts the aesthetic décor of the space with ease. The lustrous leaves impart an alluring appearance to the room. However, there are various things that can go wrong with the plant. For instance, the plants can turn yellow or droop down.
Here are some tips to keep your Fiddle leaf fig green and healthy –
- Make sure that the fiddle leaf figs are placed beside or near the east-facing window to get indirect yet bright sunlight.
- Clean the leaves with slightly warm water to get rid of the dust, enabling the plant to conduct photosynthesis efficiently.
- Check if the soil is actually dry before you water Fiddle leaf figs. For that, dip your finger 2-4 inches beneath the soil and assess the moisture.
- The toxicity level 4 of the plant is worrisome. Keep it in places that keep it away from pets.
- The temperature of the room where the plant is kept must be within 65-75°F.
- Continuously re-check the leaves to see if there are any symptoms of pest infestations.
- Do not repot if there is no need for it.
- Prune the plant occasionally to induce horizontal growth.
FAQs About Fiddle Leaf Fig Turning Yellow
Is ignoring the yellowing leaves of fiddle leaf figs a good idea?
No, overlooking the yellowing leaves of Fiddle leaf figs is not a good idea for the health of the plant. Initially, you will see specks of pale green or yellow spots in certain areas of the leaf. If not taken seriously, it will lead to partial or complete yellowing of the leaves.
The lack of proper treatment can cause more harm to the plant. For instance, the leaves will eventually become brown and droop or fall off. The yellowing of the leaves is a clear indication that the plant is not healthy and thus needs optimum treatment.
Will the yellow fiddle leaf fig leaves turn green?
Unfortunately, that is not possible. Leaves that once turn yellow can never be green again. The best solution is to fix the issue and prune the yellowing leaves. Alternatively, you can simply wait for the yellow leaves to fall on their own. However, it is vital to check out for discoloration symptoms so that you can take action right away.
Can you remove the yellow leaves from the plant?
It is understandable that you don’t want the yellow leaves in the plant to remain there. It doesn’t actually contribute to the charming beauty of Fiddle leaf fig. However, it is essential to note that removing multiple leaves together can lead to massive stress for the plant. You don’t want to cause more stress when the health of the plant is already in the balance.
That is why the best solution is to prune them gradually. Remove 10-20% of the foliage at a time. Doing more than this causes extreme distress and harm to the plant. Moreover, if the leaves are not yet fully discolored or only have spots, wait for the yellowing to occur. After that, you can prune them with a sterilized tool. For the best outcome, remove the leaves once every week. It is essential to make sure that the plant doesn’t encounter any more stress.
Do you have any suggestions or tips regarding the Fiddle leaf fig turning yellow? In that case, comment below and share your views right away!
From childhood, I have been extremely fascinated with plants and gardening. That has eventually led me to pursue BSc and then MSc in botany from the University of Calcutta. My deep love for plants has probably stemmed from the gorgeous terrace garden that I have seen my father nurture as long as I can remember.