Calling all arborists!

A few weeks ago we posted about fiddle-leaf fig trees and what a great impact they can bring to a room (you can read it here). This image (below) from Lonny was one of our early inspirations:tree1
We decided to buy one for the apartment with instructions to water once a week until you can just see water pooling in the dish, and to keep it in direct sun light (check and check). Our tree was looking good for its first few weeks, but the side of the tree not directly exposed to the sunlight from the window started to brown around the edges of its leaves after about three weeks. So we turned it around so that the browning side faced the direct sunlight while Lauren was away in Brazil for the past ten days. Upon her return, the one browning side had gotten significantly worse and numerous leaves had fallen off. Does anyone know how to remedy this situation?! (Below left, the “good” side, Below right, the “bad” side).treeleavesWe’re so disappointed by our lack of green thumbs we’ve already started contemplating buying a silk tree–though we’re learning that they can be ridiculously expensive (check out this site). Here’s a close up of what most of the browning leaves look like:tree2
Can anyone help us with our pathetic fiddle-leaf fig tree? We’re not ready to give up just yet!!

  • Linda Branagan

    Sunburn- direct heat is not good. Rather bright indirect light is the proper site.

  • Liz Green

    mine did the EXACT same thing! and it wasn’t in direct light – but a room that gets a light during the day. sad sad sad πŸ™

  • Tonya Renee

    This is a good post about taking care of them that I found just googling. I want to buy one too and plan to refer back to it many times once I get one.

  • Bethany – Powell Brower Home

    this happened to mine too (a shame, these pups are expensive) and it ended up dying.. we ended up calling it the finicky leaf fig

  • Kristen

    I have had mine for a year and don’t put it in direct sun…just indirect! My mother-in-law put it OUTSIDE in ARIZONA while I was away for 3 days and mine now looks TERRIBLE. I can’t tell you how bummed I am. I am trying to nurse it back. Keep us posted on how your does!

  • Monica

    I know you live up north. Is your house very dry with the heat on during this cold winter? Maybe the plant needs more humidity. You could try misting it with a spray bottle. I agree that direct sunlight may be burning the leaves. It would do better with good light but not sun. These leaves are damaged and will not heal, but try the above and see what the new growth looks like.

  • Lauren

    Thanks Monica! Do you think we should remove the damaged leaves to allow for regrowth?

  • Erika G

    I feel your pain- with limited funds I bought a 1ft tall fiddle leaf in the hopes I could grow it into something amazing. When i took it out of the box it definitely had some browning and I was paranoid it had bugs- it didn’t- eventually this went away but then I started noticing small holes all over the leaves and I was paranoid about bugs all over again. Turns out MY CAT was chewing on the leaves- it took me catching her in the act to realize it! Now it sits on top of the bookshelf in indirect light. I’ve been watering every time the top soil gets completely dried out and this plan seems to be working so far- its about once a week, but mind you my plant is MUCH smaller..

    Good luck with yours! Would love to see you guys continue a blog series of caring for the design minded house plants! Orchid growing tips next??

  • Monica

    I wouldn’t stress the plant more by removing leaves. I’d place it in bright indirect light, mist it daily and see how it does.

  • CourtneyOutLoud

    How often are you watering it? If the bottom is sitting in a puddle of water, then it may also effect the plant — it doesn’t like to sit in any type of pool I found out. I went to Home Depot and picked up a small rubber gasket for like $4 for the pot to sit on between the drainage pan. Second, is it near any type of draft – mine dropped leaves and turned brown because I realized I had it under a heat vent and the hot air blasting was killing it.

  • Tiffany Leigh

    I have no advice, but I’ve heard tell that these fiddle trees are rather fiddly when it comes to upkeep. I too suffer from a lack of green thumb. I recently tried to raise a little fern of my own, but like Matthew M. in How to Lose a Guy, I killed that love fern. Good luck! They really are such stunning trees!

  • Dagmara Lewkowicz

    I didn’t water mine enough one week during the humid summer and the same thing happened and the leaves dropped at the touch. It is right up against a window right now and I water it once a week and make sure the material it was potted in doesn’t dry out. I managed to salvage it but it’s very slow to grow and I have only spotted one new leaf in months. I don’t let the water pool at the bottom though. Maybe that’s the problem as another poster mentioned. My kitchen is uninsulated and pretty chilly right now (I live in Toronto) but it doesn’t seem to mind. I hope to relocate it to a window in my bedroom and hope it transitions.

  • Design Chic

    Oh no, we had the same problem. I don’t have a green thumb anyway, but really tried to do everything that was advised with the fiddle tree and it still died…loved reading all the advice from everyone else…keep us posted on your!!

  • Patricia Hall

    check this link for fiddle leaf care info. Possibly overwatering … . If all else fails, try something less fussy to grow?

  • Leslie

    Perhaps the tree is stressed due to the small container it’s in? It is tough to keep any tree healthy in our heated dry winter inside environs! I also have thought of a fake one, but they require upkeep too… dusting

  • Rosie

    Mine did the same! It started out full, like yours, and now after a year it is a bit more sparse, but still alive. Survival of the fittest leaves, apparently. I would advise not to overwater, as mine only seems to require a drink about once a month.

  • Gina Z

    I bought a fiddle leaf fig in November and the lower leaves started getting brown spots and dropping by the end of December. Even the top larger leaves were very dry and brittle. I could see these dimple like patch-ey indents that appeared to be brown spots in the making. I LOVE my plant already so I I went into panic mode and started researching. I had only watered once so it couldn’t have been overwatering. One site said that they need humidity so regular misting is recommended in cooler dry climates. I live in Michigan and it’s winter now so it’s very dry and I keep the temp down to 60 while I’m at work. I started misting the leaves twice a day. I actually use a squirt bottle and spray each individual leaf generously. Even after two days I can tell it’s working! The leaves are way more healthy looking – green, shiny, and supple again. It’s not out of the woods yet but I think with continued misting it will be all good in no time. I wish I had started on day one! I don’t think I can reverse the current brown spots but I am pretty sure I have solved the problem of creating them. It’s also pretty overcast most days lately so I am keeping a light on during the day close to the plant. I read low light can cause the spots as well. I would definitely recommend the misting as I think it’s been a big help to mine! Good luck, it’s funny how attached I got to this plant, it’s like a pet now haha. I’m sure you feel the same so I hope you can save yours!

  • Gina Z

    I just realized this post was 10 months old! lol Obviously your site was one that came up during my research and I wanted to pass long my success but it may be too late. If you haven’t caved in to the silk tree yet try again and mist, mist, mist!