Fig tree leaves curling up

(To be fair, there’s nothing prettier than a healthy fiddle-leaf fig tree. See 5 Glamorous Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees.)

Above: Happier days. Sigh.

Secret No. 2: Be patient. The fiddle-leaf fig tree is a slow grower; in winter it goes dormant. Don’t expect to see any improvement before April (and warmer temperatures). And don’t expect immediate miracles even then. It could be a year before a recovering fiddle-leaf fig tree starts to look really good again.

Secret No. 3: If the stalk is shriveled, it’s too far gone to save. But if it’s still hard and strong, it can recover. Again, give it time.

Secret No. 4: Don’t pull off leaves. But you can trim away brown outer edges without harming the plant.

Secret No. 5: Identify the areas on the stalk where there are damaged buds; don’t pull off the hurt tips, but keep an eye on these areas. This is where you can expect to see new growth.

Looking for a low-maintenance houseplant? See 5 Houseplants to Simplify Your Life.

Secret No. 6: Don’t let an ailing fiddle-leaf fig tree dry out completely. Water it once a week or so and make sure excess water drains out the bottom of the pot. (I water mine in the shower and leave it there for a few hours to let the pot drain before returning it to its plant saucer.)

Secret No. 7: Don’t transplant it until you see new growth even if the pot is so tight that roots are visible at the surface.

In summary, the best thing you can do to help your fiddle-leaf fig tree survive is to leave it be to recover, slowly, on its own. Give it indirect sunlight, water once a week, and warm temperatures (it will appreciate a room temperature that’s from 60 to 90 degrees). And certainly–don’t leave it outdoors overnight if there is any chance of the temperature dropping below freezing.

Are you trying to keep your fiddle-leaf fig alive too? See more tips in The Fig and I: 10 Tips for Caring for a Fiddle-Leaf Fig. And see more tips for growing, care, and design at Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees: A Field Guide in our curated plant guide for Tropicals 101.

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for a creeping fig with our Creeping Fig: A Field Guide.

Additionally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for fiddle-leaf fig tree with our Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree: A Field Guide.

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various houseplants with our Houseplants: A Field Guide.

Interested in other tropical plants for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various tropical plants with our Tropical Plants: A Field Guide.

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various vines and climbers with our Vines & Climbers: A Field Guide.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care: The 10 Commandments

We’ve talked a lot about fall and the crisp, cool weather on the horizon. Part of our prep for the season is indoor plant decor and planning a lush living area that wows. And what better plant to spruce up your home than with the Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree? Of course, Fiddle Leaf Fig care is an essential component to elevating your space.

We’ve talked a lot about fall and the crisp, cool weather on the horizon. Part of our prep for the season is indoor plant decor and planning a lush living area that wows. And what better plant to spruce up your home than with the Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree? Of course, Fiddle Leaf Fig care is an essential component to elevating your space.

And today, we’re featuring tips and tricks from our guest blogger, Claire Akin, who is a veritable expert when it comes to one of our customer (and personal!) favorites. Check out her pointers and invaluable advice below for a lush, healthful Fiddle-Leaf that you and your house guests will love.

10 Commandments of Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

Did you know that most people who own a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree are first-time plant owners? This can make it especially difficult to help your Fiddle-Leaf thrive. Making sure it gets the care it needs can be confusing and overwhelming, but it’s important for the long-term success of your plant.

Good Fiddle Leaf Fig care makes your plant stronger and more resistant to disease, and poor care creates a downward spiral of sickness and problems. Luckily, there are 10 critical but simple components to successfully caring for your Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree. Follow these rules for a happy and healthy plant!

1. Provide Proper Drainage.Your plant’s root system is the foundation of its health. Many people are not aware, but to work properly, roots need both water and oxygen. Proper drainage allows your plant’s root system to breathe and stay healthy. Without adequate drainage, root rot can set in and kill your plant.

2. Don’t Drown Your Plant: In addition to providing proper drainage, it’s important to let your plant’s soil dry out a bit between waterings. Too much water is one of the most common mistakes new Fiddle-Leaf Fig owners make. Be aware of your plant’s water requirements and make sure you aren’t drowning it. The signs of overwatering are brown spots and dropping leaves.

3. Give a Winter’s Rest.During the winter, your plant receives less sun and as a result, less energy to complete its metabolic functions. Therefore, it uses less water and nutrients. Water less and suspend fertilization during the winter to give your plant a chance to rest.

4. Accept the Loss of Older Leaves.Plants are always growing and shedding older leaves in favor of new growth. Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees will drop their lower leaves as they grow taller. Don’t worry if your plant regularly drops its lower leaves, so long as it has healthy new growth.

5. Provide Humidity.The ideal humidity for a Fiddle Leaf Fig is between 30% to 65%. If you live in a very dry climate, you may need to supplement your plant with extra humidity by misting it or providing a humidifier. Avoid placing your Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree near a heater vent, which can dry out your plant.

6. Treat Problems Immediately.Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees are relatively slow growers because their large leaves require a lot of energy to build. This makes treating ailments quickly even more important, since it takes them so long to recover from problems. Be sure to act quickly if you see brown spots, leaf drop, or an insect infestation.

7. Repot When Needed.If your Fiddle-Leaf is healthy, its root system will begin to outgrow its pot in a few years. If you see roots growing near the bottom or edges of the pot, it may be time to repot to give your plant more space to grow. If you’ve reached your maximum container size, top dress the plant instead of repotting, by removing the top 4 inches of soil and replacing with new soil.

8. Feed the Fiddle-Leaf Properly.Proper Fiddle Leaf Fig care means a lot of nutrients to grow their large, beautiful leaves. Feed them regularly with a liquid fertilizer like Fiddle-Leaf Fig Plant Food, which is specially formulated with a NPK ratio of 3-1-2. The signs of lack of nutrients include yellowing leaves and slow growth.

9. Use the Proper Tools.For adequate Fiddle Leaf Fig care, it’s important to keep the proper tools at the ready. These include a watering can, a moisture meter, sharp pruning shears, and perhaps a rolling plant stand, which allows you to move and rotate your Fiddle-Leaf Fig.

10. Check on Your Plant Weekly.The best way to take good care of your plant is to get to know it better. Take the time to check on your Fiddle Leaf Fig every week. First, take a look at the soil to see if it’s wet or dry before you water. Look at the leaves for any signs of brown spots or insects. Then, rotate your plant to make sure it gets even sunlight. Finally, make a note of any changes like new growth.

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees are one of the most rewarding plants to grow, especially once you understand what they need. To get everything you need to know, grab your copy of The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert book on Amazon now. You can also join the Fiddle Leaf Fig Club, and from there, register for The Ultimate Fiddle-Leaf Fig Care Webinar!

Fig leaves browning

Thank you for your question about your fig tree. I think you have two things going on here, based on your great photos! First, the ‘drooping’ is probably a lack of water for your plant, which can require deep but infrequent watering during droughts. Using a water probe to test how wet your soil is will help you assess whether this plant (and others–inside and out–need water.) Watering longer less frequently (2 – 3 times a week, depending on precipitation) is better than a small amount every day.
The browning between the veins of the leaves, though, would appear to be a different issue. After reviewing several Extension articles with photos with similarities and this nutrient disorder article, I think your soil (and therefore your plant) lacks potassium, one of the “big three” nutrients that plants need. (The other two are nitrogen and phosphorus. On a fertilizer label, the numbers indicate the percentage–by weight–of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, in that order. That’s what “10-10-10” means, for example.)
Figs, when planted outside in our climate, are deciduous. They lose their leaves in the winter. So your plant is going to be without leaves soon anyway. I suggest you use the winter to add lots of well-composted organic material to the soil, and it will begin to supply your plant with these necessary ‘foods’ as it is incorporated over the winter. And you can ‘dress’ your plant in the spring with more well-composted material, which will continue to feed it throughout the growing season. Here’s a link to a great Extension article about how this all works in the garden.
I hope this information is helpful. Good luck!

Problems With Fig Trees: Common Fig Tree Diseases

You can’t have a proper Newton without them, but figs in the garden aren’t for the faint of heart. As rewarding as they are frustrating, figs are commonly troubled by several fungal diseases, as well as the odd bacteria or virus. Knowing how to recognize fig tree diseases can help keep you one step ahead of garden disaster. Let’s learn more about some of the most common fig issues affecting these fruit trees.

Major Fungal Diseases of Fig Trees

Of the pathogens that cause problems with fig trees, fungi take the cake. Fig disease problems caused by fungi can affect nearly any part of the plant, including fruits, leaves and internal tissues. There is little that can be done once some fungal infections are in full force, so always practice good sanitation and beware of how much you’re watering your fig to reduce favorable conditions for fungal germination.

  • Fig Rust – This fungus causes leaves to turn yellow-brown and drop in late summer or early fall. When the leaves are examined, many rust-colored spots are visible on the underside of the leaf. Although not generally fatal, perennial attacks from fig rust can weaken your plant. Neem oil may destroy an early rust infestation, but removing fallen debris will often prevent fig rust from taking root.
  • Leaf Blight – Pellicularia kolerga is another fungus that attacks leaves, though it causes spots that start yellow and appear water-soaked. As the disease progresses, water-soaked areas spread and dry out, leaving a papery surface behind. Thin holes may tear out of affected leaves, or the entire leaf may brown and die, with a web-like mat of fungal bodies clinging to the underside. Sanitation is the only control – remove these leaves as infection becomes apparent and keep infected debris off the ground.
  • Pink Blight – Certainly the most colorful of the common fig issues, pink blight often affects the interior of overgrown figs, appearing as a pink to white, velvety coating on sickly or dead branches. The fungus can spread from these dying tissues into healthy ones, destroying whole trees if left untreated. Cut out diseased tissues and destroy them immediately and open the inside of your fig by thinning out up to a third of the smaller growth, creating plenty of space for air circulation.

Other Diseases of Fig Trees

Although fungal pathogens are by far the most prevalent fig tree diseases, other pathogens have their parts to play. Difficult-to-manage problems like fig mosaic, fruit souring and root knot nematodes can be heartbreaking for a fig-keeper to encounter.

  • Fig Mosaic – The virus responsible for fig mosaic is thought to be vectored by the eriophyid mite Aceria fici and multiplied through cuttings. Yellow spots appear on leaves of infected trees, though they may not be on every leaf or evenly distributed. As the season continues, these spots develop rust-colored bands. Fruits may be spotted, stunted or drop prematurely. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for fig mosaic once your plant is symptomatic – it should be destroyed to prevent further spread.
  • Fruit Souring – A variety of yeasts cause figs to sour while on the tree, believed to be introduced by vinegar flies or dried fruit beetles. As figs begin to ripen, they may ooze or form bubbles and smell like fermentation. Insect control may prevent infection, but unless you plant fig varieties with closed ostioles, such as Celeste, Texas Everbearing or Alma, your fruit will be at risk each season.
  • Root Knot Nematodes – These very common, invisible roundworms cause damage that can be difficult to diagnose, often mimicking other root diseases. Trees infected with root knot nematodes show a gradual decline, have chronically poor health and aren’t as vigorous when developing leaves and fruits. Digging a few roots will reveal swollen galls that ultimately block the root system, causing the death of the fig. Root knot nematodes are difficult or impossible to kill, since they protect themselves with the plant’s own tissues.

Keeping a close eye on your fig tree will prevent fig disease problems in the future.

How to Manage Fig Tree Diseases

About Figs

Figs are native to the Mediterranean, although they will also grow in other climates. Hardiness varies, with different fig varieties adapted to USDA Zones 5 through 11. They tolerate many different soil conditions, although rich soils can be a problem due to lush growth. Drought tolerant, they may still need irrigation in dry summer areas.

Disease Resistance

Planting disease resistant fruits is one of the main ways gardeners combat and help prevent problems. Unfortunately, however, few fig varieties are really disease resistant. They include:

  • Texas Everbearing – resistant to fruit souring
  • Champagne – resistant to fig leaf rust and leaf spot
  • Alma – resistant to fruit rots
  • LSU Purple – reported to be nematode resistant.

Fungal Diseases

Fungi are the biggest disease problem most gardeners and orchardists face. Once an infection takes hold, it can be nearly impossible to eradicate. Fig rust causes yellow-brown leaves that drop in late summer or early fall. Leaf blight causes yellowed leaves that look water-soaked. Pink blight causes a white to pink velvety coating on branches.

Fruit Mosaic

Caused by several different viruses thought to be spread by a mite called Aceria fici, mosaic starts with yellowed leaves. Eventually, the spots develop rust-colored bands. The virus causes fruits to look spotted. In some cases, the fruits are stunted or drop prematurely. Once a plant is infected, the virus can also be spread if cuttings from the plant are used to propagate new trees.

Fruit Souring

Fruit souring results from a yeast infection. Thought to be spread by vinegar flies or dried fruit beetles, it is more likely to occur in fig varieties with open ostioles. The ostiole is the tiny opening at the bottom of the fig through which pollinating wasps enter the fruit. Infected figs smell fermented and may ooze or bubble.

Root Nematodes

These nearly invisible roundworms can mimic a number of other diseases and the condition can be hard to diagnose. The most common symptom is general decline – trees don’t grow or produce as well. If you dig down to the roots, you’ll find swollen galls that eventually block the root system and kill the tree.

Prevention Strategies

Good garden sanitation is vitally important, as most of these diseases can’t really be treated once they occur. Neem oil may help in treating a rust infestation if started early. Cut off infected tissues and burn immediately. Don’t overwater – in greatly increases the risk of fungal disease. Plant marigolds around the tree to help with nematodes.

Leaves fell off of my fig start!

Here’s a wee bit of information on fig trees along with a list of eating figs.
There are over 700 named varieties of fig trees, but many of them are of no use to home gardeners.
Fig trees, shrubs and lianas are in the genus Ficus, a part of the fig or mulberry family (Moraceae).
Most of them are found in the tropical regions of the world.
There are some that can live in the warmer temperate areas.
Many species may turn invasive in the right location.
Many species of Ficus have aerial roots and are epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants) or hemiepiphytes (starts off the same as the epiphytes, but the roots eventually reach the ground).
The ficus genera is distinguished by their fruit, which is called a syconium.
An easier to understand this description is: An Inverse flower, where what is normally found on the exterior is found on the interior.
Both male and female flowers are found within a hollow stem (the “fruit” we are familiar with).
They are pollinated by different wasp species.
These flowers develop seeds, which are the true fruits.
Like the pineapple, this is also considered a multiple fruit since the fruit is made up of a bunch of flowers fused together.
The traditional banyan tree is the Indian banyan, though this name may be used for several different species of fig trees.
They may also be called strangler figs because of the way they grow.
They can sprout in the holes and cracks of an established tree and over time grow around the trunk, effectively strangling the other tree.
These trees are epiphytic and the branches form roots that stretch towards the ground and take hold.
This effect can make the tree spread out over a large area.
Now that we have covered some of the basics of the Ficus genra, here are some of the species with a wee description.
Latin Name: Ficus benghalensis
Other Common Names: Banyan, strangler fig, Bengal fig, Indian fig, East Indian fig
Native to: India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan
USDA Zones: 10-12
Height: Over 100′ tall.
Some specimens spread out over a wide area that can be several acres.
This species would make a most awesome tree house tree.
Latin Name: Ficus microcarpa
Other Common Names: Laurel fig, laurel rubber, Indian laurel, curtain fig, Malayan banyan, Cuban laurel, Indian laurel fig, strangling fig
Native to: India and Malaysia
USDA Zones: 9-11
Height: 50-60′ tall
The Chinese banyan is another species known as the strangling fig.
This is commonly used as a street tree in tropical areas.
As the Latin species name tells you, the fruits are small for figs.
Latin Name: Ficus congesta
Other Common Names: Congested fig, red leaf fig, Shatterthwaite fig
Native to: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines
USDA Zones: Likely 10-11
Height: 10-50′ tall
Yet another member of the “strangler fig” family
This species can be used to build living bridges, most of the strangler fig family can be utilized in the same way.
Latin Name: Ficus lyrata
Other Common Names: Fiddle-leaf fig, banjo fig
Native to: Western Africa
USDA Zones: 10-11
Height: Up to 100′ tall in the wild
The large leaves are similar in shape to a fiddle, inspiring the common name.
This too acts as a strangler fig in its native habitat.
It is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Latin Name: Ficus macrophylla
Native to: Australia
USDA Zones: 10-11. Can probably survive in 9 if it is mature.
Height: Can be over 200′ tall
This species of fig features huge, curving roots that form above the surface.
This is the type of tree seen in “Jurassic Park” when they find dinosaur eggs out in the park.
This is yet another strangler fig.
Latin Name: Ficus elastica
Other Common Names: Rubber fig
Native to: India and Indonesia
USDA Zones: 10-11
Height: Can be over 100′ tall in the wild
The latex sap from this tree was once used in the rubber-making process. Latex now mostly comes from the Para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis).
You will often find this species currently as a houseplant around the world. Mostly called a “Rubber Plant” or “Rubber Tree.”
Latin Name: Ficus benjamina
Other Common Names: Benjamin’s fig
Native to: South Asia and Australia
USDA Zones: 10-11
Height: Can reach a height of about 100′ in its native region
Their trunks can be braided or plaited, which will cause the wood to grow together over time.
When you hear someone talking of their ficus houseplant, this is the one they usually mean.
Fig fruits are considered to be an aphrodisiac in many cultures.
So let us now get into the specifics of those wonderful figs that we love to eat.
All of the varieties fall into four fig types:
Caprifigs – Caprifigs only produce male flowers and never bear fruit. Their only purpose is to pollinate female fig trees.
Smyrna – Smyrna figs bear all female flowers. They have to be pollinated by a caprifig.
San Pedro – San Pedro figs bear two crops: one on leafless mature wood that requires no pollination and one on new wood that requires pollination by a male flower.
Common figs – Common figs are the type usually grown in home landscapes.
They don’t need another tree for pollination.
Figs that require pollination have an opening that allows the pollinating wasps entry the internal flowers.
Common figs don’t need an opening, so they are less susceptible to rot caused by insects and rainwater entering the fruit.
Here are some different types of figs in the common group that perform well in home gardens:
Celeste, is a small to medium-size brown or purple fig that grows on a fairly large tree.
It produces dessert quality fruit that ripens earlier than most other figs.
Alma figs, aren’t much to look at but the fruit has excellent, rich flavor. It ripens late in the season.
Brown Turkey, produces a crop of large, tasty figs over a long season.
The fruit has attractive flesh and few seeds.
Purple Genca, also called Black Genoa or Black Spanish, is a large, deep purple variety with sweet, red flesh.
Adriatic Figs,These pale green to pale yellow figs are sometimes called “white figs” for their light color.
Some varieties are striped.
They have bright pink to brilliant red insides and an extra-sweet flavor.
They are harvested in June and again in August.
Black Mission, extremely sweet (sometimes they even ooze a bit of syrup).
Are perfect for serving plain or with yogurt or tangy fresh cheese (such as Marscapone, Fromage Blanc, or farmers cheese) for dessert.
They have blackish-purple skin and dark pink flesh.
Brown Turkey figs have brownish-dark purple skin, a milder flavor than other figs,
are noticeably less sweet than the similar-looking Black Mission figs.
Brown Turkey figs work well in salads or in desserts where a sweetener will be used.
Calimyrna, are comparatively large, with slightly golden skin and a pinkish flesh that has a distinctive nutty flavor.
Plus, they are simply gorgeous just cut up and served as-is.
You can find what I consider a very complete list of eating figs with fruit taste ratings
Here: Adrianos fig trees
Ok, so this is probably more than a wee bit of information

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