The Fiddle Leaf Fig, or Ficus lyrata, is one of the few houseplants widely available, offering a proper tree growing habit in a reasonably sized package with lots of additional uses and benefits. However, it can be sensitive to indoor conditions and often droops dramatically when you think you are giving it the best care. Understanding the many potential causes of drooping or wilted Fiddle Leaf Figs will allow you to root out your plant’s particular issue, so it perks up quickly.
Common Reasons for Drooping Fiddle Leaf Figs – The Essentials
Temperature issues and shock to the sensitive root system are two of the most common causes of a drooping Fiddle Leaf Fig. Underwatering is another common problem as these plants require a careful watering schedule. Drooping can be fixed through adjustments to everyday Fiddle Leaf Fig care to return the plant to optimal health and vibrancy.
About Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants
These plants are native to rainforests in West to Central Africa, making them adapted to humidity and relatively high temperatures. They can grow well in the home with the proper care.
Part of the large Ficus family, they’re related to most of the other popular tree-type houseplants. The Fiddle Leaf Fig can grow up to 50 feet tall in the wild, but it tends to top out around 6 to 8 feet in your home.
Make sure there’s space for them to stretch out vertically and horizontally since they’re larger than most other houseplants.
Common Reasons Your Fiddle Leaf Fig is Drooping
There are quite a few reasons that could cause drooping in a Fiddle Leaf Fig’s upper leaves. Here are some of the most common causes:
1) Exposure to Cold Drafts
Cold temperatures, particularly sudden drafts from an open window or door, will cause a healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig to droop.
The effect will be most pronounced when temperatures last at least 20 minutes or longer and will act on the lower leaves first. Moving the plant into a warmer and more stable environment will help, but the leaves may not perk up for a few days to a week or longer.
Don’t overwater the plant during this period since it won’t take much water into the leaves.
2) Lack of Watering
It’s common for plant owners to err on the side of underwatering with this plant. Overwatering leads to root rot quickly with the Fiddle Leaf Fig, which causes leaf drop without much noticeable wilting.
If you avoid watering because of this, you’ll have a droopy Ficus lyrata instead. Keep the plant potted in a fast draining mix so you can confidently water as needed without worrying about it causing root rot.
3) Low Humidity Levels
The Fiddle Leaf Fig prefers plenty of humidity because it is native to tropical zones with dense rainforest environments. Unfortunately, most homes have an average humidity of just 40% or so because this prevents damage to wall coverings and flooring. Increasing the humidity around the Fiddle Leaf Fig with a small humidifier is the best way to prevent wilting from a lack of moisture in the air.
This kind of wilting will take a few days to recover from, so don’t overwater the plant in response if you’re sure it was a humidity issue instead. Placing the plant near a window or in light that is too direct is likely to cause this kind of wilting as a secondary effect.
4) Chemical Exposure
Spraying air fresheners, perfume, hair spray, or cleaning products near the Fiddle Leaf Fig can often cause some degree of drooping. This is because the surface of the leaves is sensitive and can’t handle being coated with anything. You need to wipe all the leaves, not just the drooping ones, and keep them out of direct sunlight until the plant perks up.
5) Lack of Sunlight
Fiddle Leaf Figs don’t like direct light and may turn brown on the edges or lose a few leaves from sunscald. Yet they also suffer when kept in the dark as well.
You need to provide at least 6 to 8 hours of indirect and filtered sunlight or artificial lighting with a plant light. Drooping from lack of light will occur slowly and take just as long to recover from.
6) Environmental Changes
Any sudden changes in the temperature, humidity, or light level around the Fiddle Leaf Fig could lead to temporary drooping. As long as you restore the preferred conditions of the plant with relative haste, you should see the wilting reversing on its own.
Repotting the Fiddle Leaf Fig, no matter how badly it needs a larger container, will likely lead to at least a short wilting period. Drooping leaves occur because the plant is slightly shocked even when you take great care while repotting it (similar can happen when you propagate or prune a fiddle leaf fig). Make sure to keep temperatures stable and keep the plant out of direct light after repotting to reduce stress.
8) Root Shock or Rot
Anything that shocks or damages the roots of the Fiddle Leaf Fig will cause this plant to droop. This can include overwatering if it creates a slow root rot problem rather than the sudden loss of roots, which leads to leaf drop instead. Root shock from trimming, repotting, or dividing the plant will likely cause a temporary drop.
9) Clogged Leaves
Like many others, this houseplant relies on a clean leaf surface to exchange oxygen and absorb sunlight. When they’re covered in a layer of dust or sprayed with a product like a leaf shine, the leaves tend to droop and may drop off entirely. Wiping the plant down with a soft, lint-free cloth lightly dampened with water will prevent any problems.
10) Age of the Leaves
The oldest leaves on the Fiddle Leaf Fig along the bottom of the trunk will naturally droop from age. There’s nothing you can do to perk them up. You can remove them if the drooping bothers you, but you may find the plant sparse looking without lower leaves. It’s only a sign of trouble if the upper leaves begin drooping or wilting.
11) Pests and Diseases
Common Fiddle Leaf Fig pests and diseases don’t usually cause drooping directly in this plant. However, general stress from disease or pests could cause wilting over time. Check the plant over for signs of damage if you can’t find any other reasons for the drooping. If you notice damage to the leaves or fine webbing around the trunk, you may need to treat the plant before you can expect a fix to any wilting problems.
How to Fix Drooping Fiddle Leaf Figs
Fiddle Leaf Figs need good conditions to avoid drooping. Keep temperatures around 60 to 75 degrees F and avoid both high and low temperatures. Protect the plant from drafts as well.
Wipe the leaves weekly to avoid dust accumulation and the resulting drooping that occurs. Don’t place the Fig where it could end up sprayed by cleaning products or hairspray.
Position your Fiddle Leaf Fig in a location that receives indirect and filtered but bright light so the plant doesn’t wilt from lack of illumination.
Fiddle Leaf Figs will also benefit from fertilizing in the spring and summer months to supplement their nutrient base.
Don’t repot the plant until it’s practically root bound since it will be stressed and droop from
Also, it’s worth noting that fiddle leaf figs are considered somewhat toxic to humans and pets, so it’s prudent to wear gloves when handling these plants.
Drooping Fiddle Leaf Figs FAQs:
What causes Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves to droop?
Fiddle Leaf Figs can droop from various causes, including coatings on the leaves, a lack of routine watering, damage or shock to the roots, and the natural aging process.
What does an overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig look like?
Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Figs tend to lose leaves from the bottom up, but they may wilt as well. Check the soil and see if it is damp or growing mushrooms. You may notice discoloration and soft roots if you lift the plant out of its pot.
How do I know if my Fiddle Leaf Fig is dying?
Fiddle Leaf Figs that are wilting may be just unhappy, but they may also be dying. Watch out for leaf loss, yellowing, and a lack of growth to indicate a more severe problem.
Will droopy Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves recover?
Most leaves that droop on the Fiddle Leaf Fig will perk back up after you adjust the conditions it’s exposed to. However, older leaves will eventually droop and no longer perk back up no matter what you do.
How do you fix droopy Fiddle Leaf Fig plants?
Most drooping Fiddle Leaf Fig plants just need a little extra water or more humidity in the air. Improving temperature stability and drafts will also prevent the drooping problem from returning.
Drooping Fiddle Leaf Figs – The Final Word
The Ficus lyrata needs special care to stay perky and beautiful. Make sure you monitor the temperature and humidity around the plant and adjust it as needed for good growth. Don’t be afraid to water the plant as required. A good indicator is when the first two inches of the soil mix have dried out. Use a rapid draining soil mix to ensure there is no chance of root rot affecting the Fiddle Leaf Fig’s health.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of fig trees.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.
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