Fiddle leaf fig plants are among the most resilient houseplants you can have in your home. However, they are also prone to certain issues that affect their health. One of those issues is the yellowing of leaves.
If you’ve had your fiddle leaf fig for a long time, you may have noticed its leaves turning yellow at some point. This can be worrying, especially if your plant is usually healthy and vibrant.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes for fiddle leaf fig leaf turning yellow.
We’ll also give you tips on how to fix fiddle leaf yellowing and help the fiddle leaves regain their lovely green appearance.
Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Turning Yellow?
Your fiddle leaf may be yellowing due to dehydration or overwatering. The plant could also be pest-infested or lacking enough nutrients. Fiddle leaf figs may also develop yellow leaves if they don’t get enough sunlight.
Apart from these, many other factors can cause your fiddle leaf figs to turn yellow. Let’s find out more.
Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Turning Yellow? 15 Common Causes
There are several potential causes of yellowing fiddle leaf fig leaves. Once you identify the cause, you can find the best solution to make your fiddle leaf fig healthy again.
Let’s look at some of the most common reasons why your fiddle leaf fig leaves may be turning yellow:
1. Too little sunlight
One of the most common reasons fiddle leaf fig is too tall with yellow leaves is inadequate sunlight. Fiddle figs need plenty of indirect sunlight to stay healthy and thrive.
If your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it will start showing signs of distress. The most apparent sign of inadequate sunlight is yellow leaves.
To avoid this issue, place your fiddle leaf fig near a sunny window with blinds or in an area that receives bright indirect light throughout the day.
2. Extreme shifts in temperature
Fiddle leaf fig leaves may also turn yellow due to extreme shifts in temperature. These plants prefer temperatures between 60-80℉ (15-26℃).
In some regions, the temperatures get too high during the day and too low at night. If you stay in an area where the temperatures fluctuate too much, it can cause stress to your houseplant.
Fiddle leaf figs are likely to respond to such distress by yellowing leaves.
To prevent this, try to regulate the temperatures in the room where your plant stays. Ensure the temperatures stay consistent through the day and night.
3. Lack of enough nutrients
Another common cause of yellow leaves is the lack of enough nutrients. Fiddle figs need enough nutrients (e.g., Nitrogen and Phosphorus) to grow well.
If your soil mix has low amounts of nutrients, it could be why your plant’s leaves are yellowing.
To address this issue, give the soil a nutrient boost using a balanced liquid fertilizer once every two weeks. The best time to apply fertilizer is during spring, which is the growing season for most plants.
4. Insufficient water
Yellowing leaves could be a sign of dehydration. If you don’t give your plant enough water, its leaves will get dehydrated. The most apparent sign of dehydration is dry and yellowing leaves.
If the leaves stay dehydrated for long, they may start turning brown. Dehydrated fiddle figs may also show signs of leaf drop.
On the other hand, if you give it too much water, its roots won’t get enough oxygen and nutrients from the soil. This may cause root rot and eventually discolored leaves.
The solution is to find a balance between too little and too much water. As a rule of thumb, only water when the top two inches of the soil feel dry.
Also, never let standing water accumulate around the base of the pot.
6. Poor drainage
Like overwatering, poor drainage can cause your fiddle leaf fig to develop root rot. When the plant’s roots rot, the fiddle leaf fig starts turning yellow.
To prevent this, always plant your fiddle leaf figs in pots with drainage holes. These will ensure excess water drains away instead of stagnating around the roots.
Pot planters with drainage holes on the bottom often drain better than on the sides. You can also give your potting mix good drainage by mixing in perlite or sand before planting.
7. Pest and insect infestations
Fiddle leaf fig trees are prone to pest and insect infestation. Insects like scale, mealybugs, mites, and aphids can attack the plant and damage its leaves.
Pests and insects often feed on sap from the fiddle leaf fig leaves. As a result, they cause physical damage, and the leaves start turning yellow and spotty.
To prevent pest infestations, always look out for signs like sticky residue on the leaves or webs between them. If you notice any signs of infestation, spray the plant with essential oil or a natural pesticide to kill the pest.
8. Acidic soil
Another common cause of yellowing leaves in fiddle leaf figs is acidic soil.
The ideal pH range for a fiddle leaf fig is 6-7 (slightly acidic). However, sometimes the soil acidity can get too high, causing nutrient deficiencies. The plant’s leaves will start turning yellow.
To avoid this, always test your soil’s pH levels to ensure it’s within the desired range. You can use a soil testing kit or send soil samples to the lab.
If the soil is too acidic, add lime or wood ash to raise the pH back to the correct range.
9. Transplant shock
Transplant shock can also be a culprit for yellowing fiddle leaf fig leaves. Your plant can experience transplant shock if you recently repotted it.
Although it causes wilting and discoloring, transplant shock is often temporary. Your fiddle leaf fig should get better after a few days.
To help it recover, care for the plant well by giving it enough water and sunlight. It will get healthy, and its leaves will turn green again.
10. Root rot
Root rot often occurs when plant’s roots are overwatered. When you overwater your fiddle leaf figs, the soil stays damp for a long time and encourages the growth of bacteria and fungi.
As a result, the plant gets infected, and the leaves turn yellow or brown.
To diagnose root rot, carefully remove your plant from its pot and inspect the roots. If the roots appear brown or mushy, root rot may have set in.
The best remedy is to repot your plant in fresh soil with better drainage.
11. Changes in growth conditions
Sudden changes in growth conditions can make your fiddle leaf fig leaves turn yellow due to shock. Some of the growth conditions that can affect the health of a fiddle leaf fig tree include:
- Humidity levels
- Light intensity
- Soil fertility
- Water availability
12. Too much fertilizer
Adding too much fertilizer to your fiddle leaf fig can cause a nutrient burn. This can manifest in the form of yellowing leaves.
Overfertilizing can also lead to stunted growth, and the plant may eventually die.
The best way to prevent this is by fertilizing only once every two months. Also, ensure you dilute liquid fertilizer before adding it to the soil.
This will prevent unnecessary nutrient build-up, which may burn and discolor the leaves.
13. The wrong temperature and humidity
As a houseplant owner, you should know the right growth conditions for your fiddle leaf figs.
Fiddle leaf fig trees enjoy warm temperatures between 60-80℉ (15-26℃). The humidity levels should remain between 40-50%. If you expose them to the wrong temperature and humidity, their leaves may turn yellow.
Continuously monitor the temperature and humidity of the room where your plant stays. You can do this using a thermometer and a hygrometer.
If the air is too dry, spray the leaves with water regularly to keep them from turning yellow.
14. Ageing houseplant
As houseplants age, their leaves will naturally start to turn yellow. This is usually part of their natural growth cycle. You may notice older leaves turning yellow while newer ones remain green.
In this case, you don’t need to worry. You can keep your fiddle leaf figs looking their best by trimming away the older leaves. This will also create room for new plant growth.
15. Cold Drafts
Another possible cause of fiddle leaf fig yellow leaves is exposure to cold drafts. If you have an air conditioner near your plant or keep the windows open during cold weather, it could cause yellowing leaves.
To avoid this, place your plant far from air vents, open windows, or other sources of cold air. Also, ensure you shut the windows when temperatures fall outside the normal limits.
How to Fix Yellow Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves
If your fiddle leaf fig leaves start yellowing, don’t panic. There are several steps you can take to revive your plant and get it back to its lush green glory.
Here are some practical ways how to fix yellow fiddle leaf figs.
1. Expose to sunlight
Fiddle leaf figs love bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can cause fiddle leaf fig sunburn and make the leaves turn yellow. To avoid scorching, place your fiddle figs in a spot where they get plenty of indirect light.
If you place the plants on a window, always have the window blinders or a sheer curtain on. If possible, rotate your plant occasionally, so all sides of the foliage get enough light.
However, if there’s no sunlight, use artificial light sources like LED lights to supplement natural light.
2. Fertilize the plant
Fertilizing your fiddle leaf fig helps to keep it healthy and vibrant. If the plant gets enough nutrients from the soil, it produces enough food to keep the leaves green.
To avoid yellow leaves, give your plant a nutrition boost regularly. Add fertilizer to the plant soil once every two months.
Remember to always use a fertilizer that’s specifically designed for houseplants. For fiddle leaf figs, it’s advisable to use a balanced liquid fertilizer with NPK levels of 10-10-10.
As mentioned, the best time to add fertilizer to the soil is during the groign season (spring and summer). During winter, when growth slows down, it’s advisable to cut back.
3. Regulate watering
To avoid yellow leaves, it’s also important to regulate your plant’s water schedule. You already know that too much water can cause root rot and yellow leaves.
Similarly, too little water can cause yellow leaves due to dehydration.
The potting soil of your fiddle figs should always be moist but not soggy. Always water thoroughly and allow the top two inches of soil to dry out between waterings.
This should be about once every week or two, depending on the climate. During winter, reduce watering since root rot is likely to occur during this time.
4. Avoid stress from the environment
Fiddle leaf figs can suffer a lot from environmental stressors. Conditions like cold drafts and sudden shifts in temperature can shock and damage the foliage. To avoid this, always try to keep the environment consistent.
Keep the plant away from air conditioning vents or heating systems. This will help avoid drastic changes in temperature and humidity.
Use a humidifier to increase humidity around your fiddle leaf figs if necessary. Also, try not to move the plant around or repot it too often. Let it stay in one pot until it regains its health before moving it.
5. Change the watering schedule
The most common cause of yellow leaves on a fiddle leaf fig is too much or too little water. The key is finding the right balance in the watering schedule.
Try adjusting your watering schedule to match the needs of your plant. Note that the plant will need more water during growth seasons (spring and summer).
During winter, when most plants are dormant, they will need less water.
If you’re having trouble determining how much water your plant needs, a moisture meter can come in handy.
Also, ensure the pot planter has drainage holes at the bottom so the plant’s roots don’t get waterlogged and rot.
6. Fix the soil
If you’ve been using the same soil for a long time without changing, it could cause your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves to turn yellow. The soil could also get too compacted or too acidic over time.
If this is the case, try refreshing the soil by adding some fresh potting mix or compost. You can also add a little fertilizer to it. Your plant will get all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and vibrant.
Alternatively, repot the plant in fresh potting soil designed for houseplants. This will help improve drainage and aeration around its roots and prevent further yellowing of leaves.
7. Use neem oil
Neem oil is an organic pest control option that can help with yellow leaves on a fiddle leaf fig. If your plant has a fungal infection or is infested with pests, consider spraying with neem oil.
Simply mix one teaspoon of neem oil into one quart of warm water and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the affected areas and let it sit for a few hours before rinsing with clean water.
Neem oil has anti-fungal properties, which can help treat fungus and other infections. Always wear protective garments, as this essential oil can irritate your skin and eyes.
8. Spray with pesticide
Another effective way to fix fiddle fig’s yellowing leaves is to spray them with pesticides. This will guard the plant against pests like spider mites, scale insects, or mealybugs.
These pests often infest your plant and cause yellow leaves. To kill them, spray the entire plant with an organic pesticide or an insecticidal soap solution. You can do this once per week for several weeks until there are no more signs of pest infestation.
9. Wash with soapy water
Finally, you can keep your fiddle leaf figs healthy by washing their leaves with soapy water. You can do this once every few weeks.
Using a soft sponge dipped in warm soapy water (dilute dish soap works best), gently scrub each leaf from top to bottom. This will help remove any pests or debris clogging up their pores.
The leavers will now be able to absorb enough light and oxygen to help them stay green and healthy. Ensure you rinse off the soap thoroughly after washing so the leaves won’t dry out.
Can Yellow Leaves on a Fiddle Leaf Fig Turn Green Again?
Yes! With proper care, yellow fiddle fig leaves can turn green again. Once you identify the cause of yellowing, you can apply the necessary measures to help the plant recover.
Generally, ensure the plant gets enough water and plenty of indirect sunlight. Also, apply some houseplant fertilizer on the soil to give it a nutrition boost.
If the plant is pest-infested, spray it with a pesticide or insecticide. Your fiddle fig leaves should recover quickly and turn from yellow to lush green again.
What Causes Fiddle Leaf Figs to Have Yellow Leaves and Brown Spots?
Yellow leaves and brown spots can occur due to several reasons. Some of them include dehydration, too much water, or too little light. Acidic soil and too much fertilizer can also cause yellow leaves.
Brown spots usually appear due to fungal or bacterial infections in your fiddle leaf fig plant. They may also appear if you expose the plant to a lot of direct sunlight.
How do you fix yellow leaves on a fiddle leaf fig?
The first step in fixing yellow leaves on a fiddle leaf fig is identifying the cause. If it’s due to overwatering, reduce the amount of water and the frequency of watering. If it’s due to dehydration, try giving it some more water. Add some houseplant fertilizer to the soil if the plant lacks enough nutrients. If the yellowing is due to insufficient sunlight, place the plant where it can get more indirect sunlight daily.
Should I remove yellow fiddle leaf fig leaves?
In most cases, removing yellow fiddle fig leaves is unnecessary. As long as the yellowing is on a few leaves, your plant will likely recover on its own. However, if the yellowing is extensive or if the yellow leaves have brown spots, it’s best to remove them. This will prevent the spread of disease and allow your plant to focus its energy on new growth.
What do yellow fiddle leaves mean?
There are several reasons why your fiddle leaf fig leaves may turn yellow. It could be due to over- or underwatering, too much sunlight, lack of nutrients, or insect infestation. Try to identify the problem early to save the plant. The exact reasons answer why is Chinese evergreen plant turning yellow.
How toxic is fiddle leaf fig to pets?
Fiddle leaf figs are considered mildly toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. The plant contains a sap that can cause skin irritation and, if ingested, can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, pets may experience difficulty breathing and a drop in blood pressure.
Help Your Fiddle Regain its Lush!
If you’ve never dealt with yellow leaves on your fiddle figs, it can be daunting! Yellow leaves not only make your fiddle figs look unpleasant but also affect their health.
The best way to deal with this problem is to identify its cause first. Maybe you’ve been giving it too much water, or the plant is underfeeding. Sometimes, your houseplant is just undergoing natural aging.
Whatever the case, try to implement the best remedy discussed in this article. Within a few weeks, your fiddle figs will recover and regain their fresh and green looks.