Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping

Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Drooping

The fiddle leaf fig, or Ficus lyrata, is a tree that can be grown as a houseplant. It has become hugely popular the world over for its large leaves that grow from thin trunks. It is often a floor plant, because it can reach heights of over 10 feet tall.

The fiddle leaf fig is native to the tropical regions of Africa and its care requirements can be challenging when grown in a different climate. One of the most common problems encountered by owners of fiddle leaf fig plants is when their leaves start to droop. Such drooping is an indication that the plant is stressed due to an environmental factor that needs addressing.

The most common causes of drooping fiddle leaf fig leaves are not enough water, too much water, not enough sunlight, under-fertilization, recent repotting, low humidity, transplant stress, chemical burns, or just normal leaf development.

In this article, we will discuss each of these causes and how to fix them. So, if you are experiencing the same problem with your own fiddle leaf fig and you wish to learn more, just keep on reading.

Why are the leaves on my fiddle leaf fig drooping?

Not enough water

If you are not giving your fiddle leaf fig the right amount of water at the right time, it will become underwatered and its leaves will droop and lose their vibrancy.

Plants need water not only for hydration, but also as a vessel to transport water-soluble minerals and nutrients from the soil into the roots. Thus, if there is no water in the soil, the plant will also be deprived of essential nutrients, which is another reason for its leaves to droop.

If you think your fiddle leaf fig is underwatered, water it immediately. Soak all of the soil in the pot until the excess water is flowing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. 

Avoid underwatering again in the future by keeping an eye on the moisture in the soil. The best way to do this is to press your finger into the top layers of soil. If the top two inches of soil are dry, water the plant, but if the soil is still damp, wait one or two days before checking it again.

Too much water

Overwatering happens if a plant is given too much water each time you water it, if it is watered more often than necessary, if it is planted in poorly-draining soil or a pot with no drainage holes, or if you do not adjust your watering habits to changes in the weather, season or climate.

An overwatered fiddle leaf fig will have droopy leaves because, when its roots are constantly standing in waterlogged soil, they become oxygen-deprived and lose the ability to properly absorb nutrients and minerals from the soil.

The plant will therefore weaken and its leaves will start to droop.

If the plant is overwatered for long periods of time, root rot is likely to follow. This happens when the roots essentially drown in the soggy soil, and once dead, become susceptible to opportunistic pathogens like fungi and bacteria. The pathogens make the rot more aggressive, and it will eventually spread to the entire plant and possibly kill it.

A fiddle leaf fig with root rot will have yellow or brown leaves, and the foliage will feel soft and mushy to the touch. This is because the excess water in the soil has nowhere to go, and will continue to be absorbed by the plant until its cells burst from the overload.

If you think you are overwatering your fiddle leaf fig, stop watering it immediately and place it in a sunnier spot with good air circulation to allow the soil in the pot to dry out faster.

If you suspect root rot, you have to remove the plant from its pot. Gently wash off as much soil as you can from the roots and inspect them for sections that have turned brown or black. These roots are rotten; remove them using a sterile pair of scissors until only healthy, white roots remain.

After removing the rotten roots, place the plant on a dry surface to allow the roots to air-dry for a few hours, while you prepare a new pot by filling it two-thirds with fresh potting mix. Place the plant in the middle of the pot, cover the roots with soil, and water it until you see excess water flowing out of the drainage holes.

Place the plant in a spot where it can get lots of bright, indirect light.

The best way to avoid overwatering in the future, as with underwatering, is to check the moisture in the soil before giving the plant any water. If the top two inches of soil are dry, water the plant, but if the soil is still damp, wait one or two days before checking again.

Not enough sunlight

Another reason your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves may droop is due to insufficient light. This plant likes bright, indirect sunlight, which is what it gets in its natural habitat.

The fiddle leaf fig’s leaves will become droopy when there is a lack of sunlight because they need the light in order to photosynthesize. The inability to photosynthesize will mean the plant cannot produce the chlorophyll it needs for energy, hence the drooping.

If a plant gets insufficient light for too long, it will also become etiolated, meaning that it grows in the direction of the nearest source of light, out of desperation. This leaning or stretching toward the light source causes it to grow asymmetrically, which in itself does not harm the plant, but continued light deprivation can be fatal for it. No light means no energy and no food for the plant.

If your plant is getting plenty of bright, indirect light, yet its leaves are still drooping, check if the leaves are dusty. The large leaves use their surface area to receive light, and dust can obstruct much of the light from reaching the leaf. It is therefore a good idea to wipe the dust from the leaves every once in a while.

If you think your fiddle leaf fig is not getting sufficient light, transfer it to a sunnier spot. The ideal is a north- or east-facing window, which lets in gentler light. If the only available window lets in harsh light, hang a sheer curtain over it to lessen the light’s intensity.

If you live in a place where light is scarce during the winter, you can help your plant by using a grow light.


If your fiddle leaf fig has not been repotted in a long time, its drooping leaves might be due to a lack of nutrients in the soil.

Over time, and the older the plant gets, the more nutrients and minerals it will absorb from the soil, and these substances need to be replenished.

Give your plant fertilizer once a month during its active growing period during the spring and summer. In the fall and winter, only fertilize it every three months as it will not be actively growing at that time.

Keep in mind that overfertilization can cause a buildup of minerals in the soil, which leads to soil toxicity and root burn.

If you think you have given your plant too much fertilizer, you can flush the excess minerals out of the soil by letting large amounts of water flow through the potting medium. Soak the soil until you see the excess water running out of the drainage holes of the bottom of the pot, and repeat this four more times to remove the bulk of the excess fertilizer in the soil.

Flush the soil every few days until your fiddle leaf fig has fully recovered.

Recent repotting

An indoor fiddle leaf fig will occasionally need to be repotted in a bigger pot when it has outgrown its current one. It is not healthy to keep the plant in a pot that is too small for it, because the roots will start to grow around themselves which can cause complications.

In especially bad cases, water poured into the soil will no longer reach the roots at the bottom of the pot because the root mass has become too dense.

The new pot should not be too big, however, because a larger pot needs more soil to fill it. More soil means more moisture is retained, and thus overwatering and root rot are more likely to happen.

After repotting the plant, its leaves might droop. This is not a cause for concern; it is the plant’s stress response to the repotting process. Its roots have been pulled out of the soil and transferred to a new pot and soil, so naturally they will need some time to adjust to their new environment.

Give the plant some time to recover and continue caring for it as you always have. Within a few days, it should make a full recovery.

Low humidity

The fiddle leaf fig is native to the tropical regions of Africa, where it flourishes in the high humidity of the jungle. Thus, if the humidity where you keep your plant is low, one of its symptoms will be drooping leaves.

Try to maintain a humidity level between 40 and 60 percent at all times.

You can help your plant out by misting its leaves every once in a while, or place its pot on top of a tray filled with pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, it will moisten the plant’s leaves, as well as the soil in the pot.

You can also place the plant in one of the more humid rooms in your house, such as the kitchen or the bathroom.

If you have other plants in your home that also enjoy high humidity, place them close to your fiddle leaf fig so they can all create a microclimate around each other.

Finally, if you have the means, you can buy a humidifier to automatically regulate the humidity around your plant.

Transplant stress

Another reason your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves might droop is if it has not yet adjusted to being in a new environment. If you have just brought it home from the store, for example, chances are it is still acclimatizing to the living conditions in your home.

Remember that the plant has been growing in a nursery where the living conditions are controlled and close to ideal. The moment it leaves the store, it is exposed to different temperatures, lighting and humidity. These sudden changes can be overwhelming for the plant, and this stress will manifest as droopy leaves, wilting, and even the yellowing or browning of the leaves.

This is called transplant stress and is completely normal.

Provide your plant with living conditions that are as close to ideal as possible, and give it time to adjust to its new surroundings. After a few weeks, it should have acclimatized and made a full recovery.

Chemical burns

One of the least likely causes of drooping fiddle leaf fig leaves is chemical burns, but it should be considered if all other causes have been ruled out.

Chemical burns are typically caused by concentrated pesticides applied to the plant’s foliage. To avoid these burns, use organic pesticides or home remedies rather than commercial pesticides that contain strong chemicals that might damage your plant.

If none of the organic pest control measures work, use a commercial pesticide sparingly and do not place the plant directly under sunlight after applying it.

Normal leaf development

Drooping leaves on your fiddle leaf fig might also be completely normal.

When new leaves first appear, they are weak and soft and can appear to be drooping. Over the next couple of weeks, they will become more rigid and start to look more like the plant’s mature leaves.

Also, the plant’s younger stems might have a hard time supporting such large leaves.

If this is the reason for your drooping leaves, it is nothing to worry about; it is just part of the plant’s normal leaf development.


The fiddle leaf fig is a popular houseplant with large, vibrantly green, fiddle-shaped leaves.

This plant is native to the tropical regions of Africa, which can make them challenging to grow in a North American climate.

One of the most common problems reported by fiddle leaf fig owners is drooping leaves, which is an indication that the plant is stressed by some or other factor in its environment. 

The most common causes of drooping fiddle leaf fig leaves are not enough water, too much water, not enough sunlight, under-fertilization, recent repotting, low humidity, transplant stress, chemical burns, or just normal leaf development.

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