7 Signs Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Requires More Sunlight

Are you a proud owner of a fiddle leaf fig plant? If so, you’ve probably encountered a few challenges in keeping your green companion healthy and vibrant. Luckily, we have a unique resource for fiddle leaf fig enthusiasts like you – the Ames Farm Center’s Fiddle Leaf Fig Resource Group on Facebook. In this thriving online community, you can share pictures of your plant and receive instant advice from fellow fiddle enthusiasts on how to care for it.

One recurring issue that many fiddle leaf fig owners face is their plant’s need for more consistent exposure to bright sunlight. Although it may be a surprise to some, these plants are actually full-sun organisms. Originating from the rainforests of western Africa, they thrive in warm, well-lit environments with high humidity levels.

When your fiddle leaf fig doesn’t receive adequate sunlight, it lets you know by displaying certain signs. In this article, we’ll explore seven telltale signs that indicate your ficus lyrata could use more sun exposure.

1. Slow Growth

Fiddle leaf fig trees are known for their rapid growth. If your plant seems to be growing at a sluggish pace, it’s likely recovering from a recent change or stressor, such as relocation, insect infestation, or root rot treatment. However, if there are no apparent reasons for its slow growth, it’s a clear indication that your plant isn’t receiving enough light to thrive. In ideal conditions, fiddle leaf figs can grow between five and eight feet per year!

To promote faster growth, ensure your plant receives ample bright light, along with proper watering and well-draining soil in a container with adequate drainage holes.

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2. Leggy Appearance

A fiddle leaf fig that lacks sufficient sunlight will exhibit leggy growth, with larger gaps between leaves. In contrast, a well-lit fiddle leaf fig will have leaves clustered close together, allowing for healthy growth without suffocation. Picture this: a beautiful fiddle leaf fig that had been thriving in a greenhouse, enjoying abundant sunshine. However, when it was relocated to a home with limited sunlight, its branches began to stretch and reach for light.

If your fiddle leaf fig displays a leggy, “reaching” look, it’s time to relocate it closer to direct sunlight, preferably in a west-facing window for afternoon sun. An east-facing window could also work well.

3. Dull Spots on Leaves

When a fiddle leaf fig lacks sufficient sunlight, its leaves may develop dull, grayish spots. These spots are not brown, crispy, or dead, but rather lackluster in appearance. They are more noticeable on mature, dark leaves and are typically circular in shape, ranging from the size of a dime to a baseball. If you’re unsure whether your fiddle’s dull spots are due to lack of sunlight, you can seek confirmation from the Ames Farm Center’s Fiddle Leaf Fig Resource Group by posting a picture.

4. Leaning Toward Windows

One obvious sign that your fiddle leaf fig needs more sunlight is when it starts leaning, turning, or bending toward the nearest window. This behavior clearly indicates its desire for more sunshine. If your plant is already positioned in front of a window but still leans, consider using a trendy mid-century modern container placed on an elevated surface to maximize its exposure to sunlight.

While some fiddle leaf fig owners rotate their plants weekly to provide equal sunlight exposure, if your plant is leaning, it’s best to find a new location that offers optimal sunlight.

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5. Difficulty Adjusting to Changes

Fiddle leaf fig plants can be sensitive to changes in their environment, particularly when it comes to light. However, with sufficient daily sunlight exposure, they can tolerate various environmental changes. For example, your plant should withstand being moved indoors temporarily during tornado or hurricane season without wilting. It should also remain sturdy when placed in a windowless shower for watering or when shifted away from a window for hosting guests.

To help your fiddle leaf fig adjust to environmental changes, gradually acclimate it to increased sunlight exposure. This gradual approach will ensure a more favorable response from your plant.

6. Yellowing Lower Leaves

If you notice yellowing of the lower leaves on your fiddle leaf fig, don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s under-watered. While insufficient watering can indeed cause yellowing, it’s important to consider another essential factor: light exposure. Inadequate direct sunlight prevents the soil from drying uniformly, leading to root rot in some areas and drought in others. This lose-lose situation can severely impact your plant’s health, resulting in yellow leaves.

To remedy this issue, provide your fiddle leaf fig with more direct sun. Additionally, create a watering schedule that suits its needs, and consider using a humidifier to maintain the necessary humidity without risking root rot. In some cases, repotting your plant in fresh soil may be necessary to restore its health and return its leaves to vibrant green.

7. Small New Leaves

If your fiddle leaf fig’s new growth appears smaller than expected, it could be an indication that it’s not receiving enough light. However, it’s crucial to note that sudden exposure to direct sunlight without a gradual acclimation period can harm your plant. Strive to find a balance by gradually increasing its exposure to light while optimizing other factors such as humidity, temperature, and watering routine.

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To recap, here are the seven signs that your fiddle leaf fig plant requires more sunlight:

  1. Slow (or no) growth
  2. Leggy appearance with larger gaps between leaves
  3. Dull spots on leaves
  4. Leaning, turning, or bending toward light sources
  5. Difficulty adjusting to changes in environment
  6. Yellowing of lower leaves
  7. Small new growth

If you notice any of these signs, providing your plant with more access to sunlight may be the key to its well-being. Share your plant’s progress with our community and let us celebrate its transformation together!

Next Steps

For more tips on creating the perfect environment for your fiddle leaf fig to thrive, we recommend reading “The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert.” This comprehensive guide offers valuable insights and practical advice for growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. You can find it on Amazon in full-color paperback or Kindle edition.

To ensure your fiddle leaf fig receives optimal care, consider obtaining the essentials from Ames Farm Center, including premium potting soil, plant food, root rot treatment, houseplant leaf armor for protection against pests, and a moisture meter to monitor its watering needs.

For further learning opportunities, sign up for our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar or enroll in our comprehensive Fiddle Leaf Fig Course. Stay connected with us by subscribing to our newsletter and join our active community on Facebook – the Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.

Remember, your fiddle leaf fig deserves the best care, and with the right amount of sunlight and attention, it will flourish and become the centerpiece of your indoor jungle.