Why does my Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina) have brown leaves?

Last Updated: January 12, 2022

This fast-growing, adaptable plant never really gets enough credit in the houseplant world. They add that touch of wilderness to your home, without being super needy. This makes them perfect for office spaces too, where conditions aren’t always ideal and no one wants to take much responsibility!

However, although they are adaptable, they are still susceptible to problems if the environment or care isn’t ideal for longer periods of time. It can happen that your Weeping Fig starts to develop brown leaves as a sign that something isn’t right. Light and watering issues are what you need to look out for after spotting brown leaves on your Weeping Fig and we will go through each of the causes in more detail below. 

Direct light can burn the leaves

Weeping Figs need bright but indirect light to really thrive, especially when it comes to growing new stems and healthy leaves. Whilst they are great at adapting to lower light levels, you will start to notice brown leaves if they are exposed to too much light.  

If your Weeping Fig is sat right next to a window, then it may be experiencing sunburn during summer. This is because the sunlight is too intense – yes there is such thing as too much light for a plant! If they receive an hour or two of direct light that should be fine, but any more can cause some real issues such as brown leaves. 

If you think that direct sunshine is causing the brown leaves on your Weeping Fig, try to move your plant a little bit further away from the window so that it doesn’t receive any direct sun. You’ll still want them to be getting plenty of sunlight but it needs to be indirect.

Overwatering is another cause of brown leaves

If your Weeping Fig’s leaves are turning brown and the plant is drooping down, it is most likely due to overwatering. This tends to be the most common reason why Weeping Fig will die because although they are quite hardy plants, they still can’t overcome a rotting root system. 

Once the root system has started to rot after being in waterlogged soil for too long, it means that your Weeping Fig is unable to take up water or nutrients. This is what causes the leaves to turn brown. It can also mean that your entire plant droops, turns soft and actually loses leaves as well. 

If you think that you may have overwatered your Weeping Fig, inspect the moisture levels in the soil and replace immediately if waterlogged.

Moving forward, to avoid your Weeping Fig developing more brown leaves due to overwatering, it’s crucial that you only water your Ficus Benjamina when it needs it. Make sure to check the moisture at the top of the soil before watering, if it is still damp then wait a few days. 

Your watering schedule will need to change throughout the year depending on the growth seasons and environmental changes. Weeping Fig plants really don’t need much water at all during autumn and winter, once a month is usually enough!

Underwatering can also cause brown foliage

If you notice that your Weeping Fig is developing light brown spots or dry crispy edges on the leaves, then it may be that you are underwatering your plant. Although too much water can cause issues for your plant, too little can too and will result in light brown leaves that are very frail to touch and break easily. 

The easiest way to tell is again just by checking the moisture in the soil and adjusting your watering schedule accordingly. If your Weeping Fig feels very dry, water it a little every other day for a week to slowly moisten up the soil. Drowning it in water straight away could shock your plant which can cause them to lose some leaves. 

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 Weeping Fig isn’t resting in stagnant water – eliminating the risk of root rot!

Those are the 3 main factors that can cause Weeping Fig plants to develop brown leaves. It’s important to diagnose the problem as soon as you spot the browning as watering issues can quickly kill your plant. We always recommend removing as many of the brown leaves as you can as, unfortunately, there is no reversing them and they’ll never go back to the luscious green they once were. Removing the brown leaves allows your Weeping Fig to put all of its energy into getting back to full health and producing new stems and leaves. 

Check out our Weeping Fig care guide for all the information you need to best care for your plant and keep it happy and healthy!

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