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Help my fiddle leaf fig

Posted by rsittema 7 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 17:05


I bought my fiddle leaf fig about a year ago and, without researching, immediately repotted it in MiracleGro :/. I moved it onto our covered front porch last summer and played the water game - varying from overwatering to underwatering. Needless to say, by Fall my little fig was struggling, and there was no new growth in the past year. Most of the leaves browned and fell off. I moved it inside for the winter and just let it be. A couple of months ago I moved it to a different location and watered it more regularly. There is FINALLY some new growth occurring on the tips of the branches that still have leaves, however some of the other branches are dry and brittle (dead I would assume).

What do I do now? Repot? Leave it be? Prune the branches or roots? Fertilize? Move it back to covered front porch?

Thanks for any help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help my fiddle leaf fig

i would hold off on fertillizer until it gets in steady growth. Can you show a photo, i can help you with pruning tips if you do. the best tips i can give you is to keep on watering when dry. Give it bright but indirect light. Chect the roots for rots. trim the leafless stems to a point where there is live wood of peferrably to a healthy leaf. in time it will hopefully heal

RE: Help my fiddle leaf fig

Here is a picture. Thanks for your help!

RE: Help my fiddle leaf fig

You may feel more comfortable with your plant if you read some of the discussions about it here. You'll see the first 2 entries are discussions hosted by Al, a definite Ficus-o-phile.

The branches on your plant with no leaves at the top may not still be alive. If you nick them with a fingernail, are they brown or green inside? Usually when I look at a plant I have definite ideas about how I would prune it, if necessary. But I hope someone else comes along on this one, I'm stumped (pun intended.) Aside from trimming what may be some dead branches, I just don't know...

RE: Help my fiddle leaf fig

I usually would reccomend severe prunung but the plant looks like it wouldnt grow back. maybe you can air layer the healthy stems and throw the rest away

RE: Help my fiddle leaf fig

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 14:51

When a plant appears to be circling the drain, it does little good to worry about what 1 thing might have been limiting the plant and causing decline. If your plant has an insect infestation, it can be cured with pesticides, but it might have had the infestation because it was weakened by poor light or impaired root function. It's the ONE thing you don't know about or haven't figured out that is limiting your plant. Fix that, and the next most serious negative influence is what is limiting the plant and causing decline. In order to be good growers, we need to take a more holistic approach and cover all the spheres of influence.

It's not hard at all, but it takes some effort. You need good light, a favorable temperature range, the right ratio of air and water in the soil at all times, and a favorable nutritional supplementation program. The most difficult, and most important is getting the air:water ratio in the soil right. An unhappy root system is behind at least 90% of the problems that bring people to the forums for help - including some you might not associate with an unhappy root system - insect infestation - disease - spoiled foliage - slow growth.

I just answered a post on a thread about schefflera, but the reply is so applicable to your situation that I'll copy/paste it for you to consider:

maybe all isn't lost. What's most important is that you understand some basic wants & needs of the scheff. MOST important, it wants a soil you can water properly; that is to say a soil that you can flush when you water without having to worry about root rot. We can sort of work around that item for now, but if you want to make growing healthy plants easy, you should put learning more about how important soils are on your list of things to do.
If there is any hope that the plant is still viable, you need to fall back on basic good care. First, the plant abhors a wet or soggy soil. Let's pull the plant out of the soil it's in and wash ALL the old soil from the roots, making sure to keep the roots wet all the while you're working on them. You'll prune all the dead roots away with sharp scissors, then repot the plant in a soil that is DAMP - not wet or soggy. Plants don't drink or sip water. Water absorption is an energy driven process that takers place in the presence of oxygen. Roots absorb water a molecule at a time from the microscopically thin coating of water on soil particles and from water vapor in the air spaces between larger soil particles.

After you've trimmed off any rotten roots and repotted - put the plant in very bright light but not direct sunlight. Be patient. Mist the soil surface (but not the plant) to keep the soil barely moist, and be patient.

I'm going to link you to a thread about basic care that will help you avoid almost all the pitfalls that bring growers here looking for help - if you follow the advice. Once your plant shows signs of pushing new growth, we can talk about fertilizing and how to deal with a soil that holds more water than what would be ideal. For now, the bright light and damp soil are key. try to keep the soil temperature between 65-75*, too. That would be very helpful in stimulating new root growth.

Best luck. Let me know if you think there is anything else I can help you with ...........


Here is a link that might be useful: More to read if you click me ........

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