How to revive a dying Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Last Updated: March 4, 2023

It can happen sometimes that we are too busy to give our Fiddle Leaf enough care, but don’t worry as there are some really simple things you can try to help nurse your Fiddle back to full health. Even if you think it is too late, it probably isn’t as Fiddles can come back to life even if all of their leaves are snipped off. It’s pretty incredible.

How proper watering can save your dying Fiddle Leaf Fig

If you have been neglecting your Fiddle Leaf, then watering will need to be your first port of call to prevent it from dying. But double-check that it actually needs watering because overwatering can be a sudden cause of plant death too, surprisingly too much love isn’t great either!! If your plant has developed dry and brown leaves and the soil is light and dry (you can check this using a moisture meter) chances are your plant definitely needs watering. But before you quickly give your dying Fiddle Leaf Fig a bucket load of water, hold off for a second as there are some special techniques that will help get your Fiddle looking and feeling healthier.

Fill up a bucket with room temperature water and soak your plant for around 30 minutes before letting it drip dry back in its pot and saucer. Then continue to water it little and often over the course of the next week or two before taking up a normal care routine once again. If you feel as though the root system is still pretty dry, you can soak for half an hour a few times in the first week to make sure that the moisture in the soil is increasing. Be careful when lifting your Fiddle as they can get pretty heavy, especially after being soaked for a good half an hour!

Soaking is super important when reviving a dying and neglected Fiddle Leaf. It works a lot better than just giving it a lot of water as the water will run out into the saucer straight away and leave the root system just as dry as it was before. So you want to make sure that the whole soil is moist throughout.

If you just can’t get on the right watering schedule it could be worth investing in a good quality self watering plant pot, these take all of the trouble out of the process and will make sure that your Fiddle isn’t resting in stagnant water – eliminating the risk of root rot or other watering based issues.

How plant maintenance can help revive your dying Fiddle Leaf

It is also really important to not only focus on the roots when trying to revive your dying Fiddle, but also giving the leaves some needed TLC. Because of the size of Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves, they are prone to build up dust pretty quickly. To remove this build-up gently wipe down the leaves with soapy warm water. This is really important to allow the plant to photosynthesise fully again and also leaves them looking shiny and brighter. Try to do this once a month as the leaves will quickly start looking quite dull in colour and a lot of dust does block out much-needed sunlight.

It is also a good idea to prune the dead leaves so that the plant can focus its nutrients on producing new healthy growth. Carefully cut away the dead leaves with clean sharp shears. Never pull or tug at the dead leaves as this can cause damage to the main plant which you don’t want to be doing when it is vulnerable (or even if it is healthy!).

It is also a good idea to give the leaves a once over to check for any pests or signs of further problems to prevent it from dying but we touch on this little more throughout the post.

Increasing humidity could save your Fiddle Leaf

Alongside watering, it is important that you try and increase the humidity for your Fiddle Leaf to get it back to tip-top condition and stop it from dying. Often our homes can have quite dry air, especially in the winter months where we often have the heating on for most of the day. A lack of humidity in the air can cause the leaves to be a little limp and droop down. Luckily increasing the humidity of your home is pretty easy, below are some of our suggestions.

Misting the Leaves

One of the simplest ways to increase the humidity for your houseplants is to mist them with a spray bottle a couple of times a week. You can pick up great amber glass spray bottles here, they’re great quality and a quick solution for humidity problems and can go a long way to reviving your dying plant.

Make a Pebble Tray

Place your houseplants over a tray of pebbles with fresh water over the top. Over the day water from the tray will evaporate giving the plants above exactly what they’re looking for.

Give your Fiddle Leaf a Shower

To quickly raise the humidity and wash down your Fiddle of any long-standing dust, you can always give them a quick shower. Simply pop them in the shower and wash them down with lukewarm water, this will clean off the leaves and give the soil a good soaking. Just make sure the water pressure isn’t on full and you should be good to go.

Move your Fiddle Leaf to the Bathroom

If you’re lucky enough to have great lighting in your bathroom you can move your dying Fiddle Leaf Fig in there to increase the humidity. The running hot water from your showers means your bathroom is probably one of the most humid in your home. This is a great passive option to help prevent your Fiddle from dying.

Invest in a humidifier

They’re relatively affordable little devices and they make keeping a consistent humidity level so much easier, this one is our personal favourite. Most will allow you to place them on a timer so they run on a fixed schedule, and some will even have a built-in monitor so they automatically turn on and off to keep the humidity exactly where you want it.

Want to know more about how to raise the humidity for your Fiddle Leaf and other houseplants? We have written a whole guide on this.

Make sure the environment is right can save your dying Fiddle Leaf Fig

Whilst this can’t undo any of the damage caused to the plant already, making sure that the plants are in their ideal environment is important to help it regain strength and healthy growth.

Check the Lighting Conditions

If your plant has been left near a window for long periods of time, it may be receiving too much direct sunshine (especially over the warmer months). If you spot bleached, burnt-like patches on the leaf then it may need to be moved further inside the room, away from the windows to prevent it from dying from this intense light.

If your dying Fiddle Leaf was left in dark corners of the home/office, chances are it needs more light to thrive. In this case, move it to a sunnier spot but be careful of direct sunshine – it’s all about the right balance. You can use a light meter to accurately determine how much light your plant will get in various spots in your home.

If you’re struggling to find a spot with better lighting or if you live in an area that doesn’t get a whole lot of natural light through the colder darker months, it could be worth looking into and investing in a quality grow light. These are a great year round solution and can come in handy for any propagation projects too.

Check for heating/AC vents

Radiators, heating vents or AC systems can be quite harmful to your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree as they create extreme temperatures and drafts. You want them to be close to natural sources of sunlight, but never directly below a vent or next to a radiator so it might be time to find a new spot for your tree to stop it from dying.

Check for pests

One thing to look out for when giving the leaves a once over is a pest infestation. It can happen that pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects and more can take hold of your Fiddle Leaf. If you do spot pests, this is not game over for your plant as there are some really simple ways to get rid of them and stop your Fiddle from dying from this infestation!

First off we recommend wiping down the leaves with soapy warm water. We also always try and give the whole plant a shower, but again be careful when lifting as they can be pretty heavy. They have quite hardy leaves so can withstand the shower better than some other more delicate plants. Make sure the shower isn’t on full pressure and you should be fine. Then it is time to replace the soil. Just be careful not to damage too much of the root system whilst you do this. Alongside these methods, you can also treat your dying Fiddle Leaf Fig tree with neem oil to fight the infestation.

Make sure to check over your other plants in the room to see if any other plants have pests. Keep your infected Fiddle a good distance away from any of your other plants as you don’t want the pests to spread.

Repotting can help save a dying Fiddle

Another way to give your Fiddle some love and prevent it from dying is to repot it into fresh soil. This wouldn’t be a good idea for the first week or two of trying to revive the plant as this may cause some shock so it is better to leave your tree for about two weeks of good care in an ideal light environment before repotting. Using a high-quality mix (like this one from Miracle Gro) will help give your Fiddle the right nutrients

When you do replace the soil, make sure to gently rub all the old soil from the root system by running your fingers through it. Don’t be alarmed if some of the smaller roots come with the soil, this is natural and they will regrow pretty quickly. If you notice that some of the roots are rotted and dying, snip these away with some clean scissors.

If you are repotting your plant into a larger pot, make sure it is no more than 5cm larger in diameter. If you repot your plant into a pot that is a lot bigger than the previous one, the roots will struggle to fill out the pot and stabilise the plant. When repotting, we also recommend switching from plastic pots to terracotta ones if you haven’t already. They allow some of the excess water to evaporate out of the sides which helps avoid root rot in future. Our plants love these terracotta pots. 

Don’t use fertiliser on a dying Fiddle Leaf Fig

There is some mixed information on whether fertilisation is a good idea or not when trying to revive your dying Fiddle Leaf, but we always recommend you steer clear of it for the first few weeks. You don’t want to shock the plant into trying to produce rapid new growth so it is best to wait a bit before adding in some water-based fertiliser. You want to make sure that the roots and soil are moist and your plant is in the right environment before fertilising. When you think the time is right for your Fiddle to receive some fertiliser, stay well below the recommended amount for the time being.

Reviving any of your dying houseplants can often be difficult, especially if they have been neglected for long periods of time. If you find yourself always forgetting to take care of it, try adding watering to your calendar every week or asking a family member or housemate to lend you a hand. Alternatively, it’s also worth looking into low-care houseplants as some really do thrive from being neglected. But don’t give up on your plants too quickly, they may look like they are dying or already dead and past revival but will actually start to grow again with the right care. So be patient, treat them well and they may reward you with new healthy leaves!

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