Can Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Be Saved?

We have received countless inquiries from our readers, both through email and our Facebook group, asking the same question: Can my fiddle leaf fig tree be revived? Interestingly, the condition of these fiddle leaf figs ranges from seemingly healthy plants with minor imperfections to completely dried-out sticks. At what point do we accept that a fiddle leaf fig is beyond saving? When is the point of no return?

Determining the Fate of Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

In simple terms, a fiddle leaf fig tree is beyond hope when it is dead, and its biological systems have ceased to function. But how do you determine if your tree is still alive? One method is to carefully nick the stem with a knife. If the plant is moist and soft inside, and oozes sap, there is still life within, and you might be able to revive it with some effort and dedication. However, if the tree is dry and does not produce sap when cut, it has reached the end of its lifecycle, and there is no way to bring it back.

Yet, even if a tree is still alive, it does not necessarily mean that reviving it is a task you should undertake. While it is indeed possible to bring a fiddle leaf fig back to life, it requires a significant amount of care and patience. In many cases, starting over with a new tree is a simpler and more convenient option. Additionally, there are instances where a tree’s decline is too rapid, and it is better to let go to prevent the potential spread of diseases to your other houseplants.

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Now, let’s explore several conditions that commonly afflict fiddle leaf figs and determine whether it’s worth persevering or if it’s time to part ways with your beloved plant.

Saving Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Mild to Moderate Root Rot

Root rot, while capable of spreading and causing plant death, is a treatable condition if caught early. Look out for brown veining, dark-brown, or black spots on the lower leaves – these are signs of root rot setting in. By using our Root Supplement or repotting the plant in fresh soil and a clean pot while trimming away any rotting roots, you can effectively combat root rot. Combined with proper watering, ample light, and our Root Supplement, your tree should regain its health within a few weeks or months.

Mild to Moderate Bacterial Infection

Similar to root rot, bacterial infections can be salvaged if detected in the early stages. Should you observe medium-brown spots appearing on leaves throughout the tree, remove the affected leaves with a clean pair of shears or a knife, ensuring they are disposed of properly. Repotting the plant in fresh soil and a clean pot, adjusting watering habits, and providing adequate light should aid in its recovery.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves are often an indication of overwatering or insufficient light, both of which have straightforward remedies. Additionally, your plant might be experiencing a nutrient deficiency, which can be resolved by incorporating a gentle liquid fertilizer into your care routine. We highly recommend using Fiddle Leaf Fig Food, a perfectly balanced fertilizer designed specifically for fiddle leaf figs. Simply add it to your watering routine, alleviating any concern about forgetting to fertilize!

Mild to Moderate Leaf Drop

Occasional leaf drop is a natural process as fiddle leaf figs shed their older, lower leaves. However, if your plant experiences a considerable loss of leaves, it could indicate issues such as root shock or dissatisfaction with changes in its care routine. Yet, losing a few leaves does not signify the demise of your tree. It should serve as a reminder to pay closer attention to your plant’s needs and adjust accordingly.

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If you have neglected your fiddle leaf fig’s watering needs or forgot to arrange for proper care while away, resulting in dry, light-brown spots on some leaves or occasional leaf drop, there is still hope. Simply resume your normal watering routine or increase it, closely monitoring the condition of the soil. Within a few weeks or, at most, a couple of months, your tree should recover, sprouting new, healthy leaves.

Starting Fresh with a New Fiddle Leaf Fig

Severe Dryness

In the event that most of your tree’s leaves have dried out due to severe dehydration, and several branches have died, it may be best to accept it as a lost cause and acquire a new fiddle leaf fig. While technically possible to revive your tree if part of the trunk or stem is still alive, the process requires significant time and care. It entails cutting off all dead parts and essentially starting from scratch, which many fiddle leaf fig owners find unappealing. Consider it a learning experience and begin anew with a healthy tree, ensuring proper watering this time around.

Severe Bacterial Infection

Once a bacterial infection has spread throughout most of the leaves, treating it becomes exceedingly difficult. Moreover, such infections pose a risk of spreading to your other houseplants. If medium-brown spots continue to spread despite your best efforts, it is advisable to let go for the sake of your sanity and the well-being of your other plants. Ensuring proper disposal, separate from other plants, and thoroughly cleaning the pot if reusing it, are imperative in preventing further spread.

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Severe Root Rot

If the majority of your fiddle leaf fig’s root system has succumbed to rot, or if the tree has lost nearly all of its leaves due to root rot, starting afresh with a new plant may be the more manageable choice. Though root rot does not spread as easily as other bacterial infections, it can still affect your other houseplants if precautions are not taken. Ensure that the plant is disposed of in a manner that prevents contact with other plants and adequately sanitize the pot before repotting to prevent the recurrence of rot.

Complete Leaf Loss

When your tree has shed all or most of its leaves, it may indicate a severe problem that could also impact the roots. Restoring the tree’s health and encouraging new growth will require a substantial amount of effort, and it will be quite some time before it regains its former splendor. If you find this task to be too demanding, do not hesitate to start anew with a fresh fiddle leaf fig. There is no judgment in opting for a new plant.

It is not uncommon for fiddle leaf fig owners to go through multiple trees before truly mastering the art of fiddle leaf fig care, and that is perfectly alright. If you find joy in reviving plants on the brink of death, by all means, breathe life into your fiddle leaf fig. However, if your desire is simply to have a vibrant green plant to enhance your living space, do not be disheartened by a few unsuccessful attempts. Remember, practice makes perfect!

For more guidance on fiddle leaf fig care, refer to the Fiddle Leaf Fig Resource Center Facebook Group or consult “The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert Book.” You can also participate in the Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Webinar for additional insights.