Ficus lyrata, better known as Fiddle leaf fig, is a familiar rainforest ornamental plant. The houseplant has gained immense popularity in the last few years due to the stunning aesthetic vibe that it exudes. The lush and gorgeous green leaves make it a perfect choice for house owners. However, the plants are temperamental and need a specific set of environmental conditions to thrive.
For instance, the plant needs indirect yet bright sunlight. Apart from that, the plant also needs a proper amount of watering, along with rich potting soil that offers adequate drainage. Disturbance of any of these factors can impact the health of the fiddle leaf figs. And if the plant is unhealthy, you can observe the curling of leaves. It might cause you panic and anxiety, but thankfully, there are multiple solutions that can fix this condition.
Do you want to know why your Fiddle leaf fig is curling? Well, there are various reasons that can lead to this situation. These include lack of water, too much water, unsuitable soil, insufficient light, low humidity levels, pest infestation, and small pot size. To overcome the problem, you can apply different solutions, such as understanding the water requirements, exposing it to adequate sunlight, removing pests, etc.
Read: Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Not Growing? Causes And How To Fix It
Causes That Lead to Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Curling
There are multiple causes that can lead to the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig curling. Here is a list of the reasons. Take a look –
Low Levels Of Nutrition
Fiddle leaf figs thrive with the usage of an NPK fertilizer. You need to use an NPK fertilizer in the ratio of 3:1:2. The plant uses the nutrient and combines it with sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to prepare food via photosynthesis. However, low levels or the absence of proper nutrition can lead to leaves curling. It mainly occurs due to the plant failing to create the food supply needed.
Low levels of nutrition can be due to different reasons. For instance, it can be due to a lack of nutrients in the soil. Besides, damaged roots can also interfere with nutrient absorption.
In order to deal with this situation, you can start with feeding an NPK fertilizer to the plant frequently. You can begin once per week. Let it continue till you see improvement in the health of the plant. However, make sure that over-fertilization doesn’t occur as that may lead to root damage.
Moreover, you must also ensure that the plant receives adequate sunlight to conduct photosynthesis. Check and make sure that over-watering doesn’t occur as it will cause root rot. In that case, the roots will not be able to absorb nutrients and proceed with photosynthesis.
Overwatering of the fiddle leaf fig can lead to root rot. When the roots remain in damp soil for an extended period of time, the roots can get damaged. Inadequate drainage also causes overwatering, which ultimately leads to root rotting. When that happens, you can expect curling of the leaves due to the root’s inability to absorb nutrients and water from the soil.
There are various ways you can prevent root rot from taking place. For instance, you need to make sure that you do not overwater the plant. Check the topsoil of the pot before watering it. Only water the soil when you see the surface of the soil dry. If you are still not sure, you can use the water meter. That way, you can determine if the soil needs watering or not.
Apart from that, you also need to ensure that an adequate drainage system is present. Use a pot that has holes to leave out the excess water. However, the ideal solution is to make a proper watering schedule. If watering is consistent, you won’t face overwatering or underwatering issues.
Lack of water is one of the most probable causes of Fiddle leaf fig leaves curling. When the plant doesn’t get enough water, wilting takes place, and the leaves droop. It is vital to understand that water is a crucial component for plants in order to survive. Without water, the plant starts to dry, making it unable to use the nutrients available.
The best way to handle the lack of water issue is to keep a close eye on the potting soil. When you see the soil surface dry, water the Fiddle leaf fig immediately. If you leave it that way, it can cause severe hydration problems.
Another aspect that you must consider is the humidity level of the air. Fiddle leaf figs need 30-65% of humidity. If that is not available, it is advisable to opt for a humidifier. That way, you can prevent the curling of the fiddle leaf fig leaves.
Unsuitable Soil Type
Fiddle leaf figs require a particular type of soil to thrive. It is essential to understand that not all soil types are suitable for your plant. And if you purchase low-quality soil in an attempt to save money, you will cause damage to your beloved plant. Are you wondering what good soil is? Well, good soil is the one that offers proper drainage while containing all the necessary nutrients.
If the soil type you are using for your Fiddle leaf fig is not compatible, it will lead to more issues. The plant will fail to absorb the nutrients, which ultimately will lead to leaf curling.
There are multiple ways to fix this particular problem. Firstly, you can add fertilizer to the soil to ensure that the necessary nutrients are present. Another unique way is to add earthworms to the soil. This method is unorthodox and might not always yield the desired results.
Another solution that you can try is to repot the plant with fresh soil. Make sure that the new soil has the necessary nutrients, along with aeration properties. Besides, you also need to buy high-quality soils to maintain the health of your Fiddle leaf figs. That way, you can prevent the curling of the leaves with ease.
While ensuring that the plant has the required nutrients is necessary, overfeeding it with fertilizers can be detrimental. As plant lovers, sometimes we tend to go overboard. In our quest to make sure that the plant is healthy, we can do damage unintentionally. Excess fertilizer can cause extensive damage to the fiddle leaf fig leaves, causing them to curl. Too many nutrients make it impossible for the plant to absorb it all, making it vulnerable to pests.
However, you might witness an unexpected growth of the plant. That’s not a reason to celebrate. The roots will more likely fail to grow with the rest of the houseplant leading to more issues. As a result of not supplying enough water to the leaves, it can lead to curling at the edges.
The only way to handle this problem is to repot the plant with fresh soil. However, you need to make sure to follow the repotting instructions rigidly. It is vital to remember that the plant must not undergo stress.
Read: Can I Put My Fiddle Leaf Fig Outside?
Absence Of Humidity
As Fiddle leaf figs originate in the African tropical rainforest, high humidity levels are necessary for their survival. In fact, the plant blooms when placed under 30-65% humidity levels. That is why you must make sure that the humidity levels are not below 30% in the room.
If the humidity is less than that, the moisture-retaining capacity of the plant will decline. As a result, the potting soil will dry swiftly. The absence of adequate water will cause leaf curling.
There are multiple ways you can increase the humidity levels. For starters, you can use a reliable humidifier. These household appliances ensure the maintenance of the optimum humidity level in the room.
Moreover, placing a tray beneath the plant also helps. Fill the tray with water as its evaporation will add moisture to the fiddle leaf fig.
Problems With Lighting
Exposure to sunlight is crucial for Fiddle leaf figs to survive. Without appropriate sunlight, the plant cannot prepare food by photosynthesis. That is why too much or too less exposure to sunlight can lead to curling of the leaves. Here, it is vital to note that Fiddle leaf figs are native rainforest plants. That means that they can tolerate 6-7 hours of sunlight daily.
However, if you expose the houseplant to direct sunlight for an extended period of time, there will be consequences. As a result of sunburn, the leaves might encounter scorching, leading to the curling. It is essential to keep in mind that Fiddle leaf figs love bright but indirect sunlight. Avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight.
Too less sunlight exposure is also detrimental to the plant. For instance, the lack of sunlight will lead to interference in making food. As a result, you will observe the curling of the leaves.
Here, the best solution is to place the houseplant in a location that gets plenty of indirect sunlight. Keeping the plant in a south-facing window is a great idea. However, make sure that it doesn’t get exposed to the harsh sunlight of the afternoon. In case, natural sunlight is an issue, you can opt for artificial ones.
There are several pests that can attack the Fiddle leaf figs, causing distress. These include spider mites, mealybugs, etc. These insects consume the sap of the plant leading to nutritional deficiency. The lack of nutrients will cause the curling of the leaves eventually.
It is vital to keep in mind that you must keep the infested plant away from other houseplants. You don’t want the infection to spread.
There are several ways to handle pest infestation of the fiddle leaf figs. However, you must identify the pest in order to apply the right solution. You can use organic insecticides such as neem oil. Moreover, try showering the plant to remove the pests.
You can also create a mixture of soap and water. Applying it to the plant gently can help with pest infestations. However, you must be gentle and make sure that the houseplant doesn’t undergo additional distress. If nothing works, try using the chemical pesticides available.
Read: How To Propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig? (Step By Step Tutorial)
FAQs Related To Curling Of The Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves
What can lead to the cracking of the leaves of fiddle leaf figs?
Fiddle leaf figs are high-maintenance plants that need specific environmental conditions to thrive. The humidity level is one of these factors. Excess naturally available airflow can cause splitting or cracking of the fiddle leaf fig leaves. A fan placed directly toward the plant can also lead to this problem. That is why you need to ensure the presence of optimum humidity levels to prevent Fiddle leaf fig leaves from cracking.
What causes the fiddle leaf fig leaves to turn brown?
There are multiple causes that can lead to the brownish appearance of the leaves of the fiddle leaf figs. It can be due to sunburn, water stress, pest attacks, etc. The best solution is to identify the problem and then resolve it.
Is curling and wrinkling of the leaves the same for fiddle leaf figs?
Yes, for Fiddle leaf fig plants, curling and wrinkling are the same. The inconsistency that you witness in the texture of the leaves is due to the same reasons. It is vital to identify the cause and administer the right solution immediately.
Can pot size make a difference in the fiddle leaf fig leaves curling?
Yes, pot size can contribute to the curling of the fiddle leaf fig leaves. The incorrect size of the container leads to the plant not being able to extract the necessary water and nutrients from the soil. That is why you must consider the size of the plant and then choose the pot size. If you are repotting, make sure that the pot is 3-4 inches more in diameter than the previous one.
Do you want to keep a Fiddle leaf fig in your house? In that case, maintaining the health of the plant is of utmost importance. You need to make sure that the plant thrives in order to keep it in perfect health. Otherwise, the leaves could curl, diminishing their beauty and threatening their health.
Have you encountered curling of the fiddle leaf fig leaves? How have you dealt with the situation? Share your tips in the comment section below!
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.