If Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees were the only houseplants in this world, we’d still be over the moon. Their incredible dark veined leaves and strong barky stems deserve a beautiful spot in your home to be marvelled at. However, if your incredible Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree is starting to develop yellow leaves, then it might mean that there is something wrong with either the environment or the care that your plant is receiving.
But don’t worry, as long as all the leaves haven’t turned yellow and fallen off your plant, then there is still a good chance that you can rescue your plant and bring it back to full health. In this post below we will take you through each of the different causes of yellow leaves on Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees so you can figure out what is going on with your plant.
Too much water can quickly cause yellow leaves
If the leaves on your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree have turned yellow from the bottom up, there is a good chance that you are giving your plant too much water. This is one of the main problems all plant parents face (yes, even the most experienced) with all houseplants because it can often be difficult to know exactly how much water they need.
Although Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees have quite sturdy roots in comparison to a lot of other houseplants, they still don’t like sitting in really soggy soil for too long. Over time, this can lead to the roots starting to rot which is why your plant develops yellow leaves. It can also lead to your plant becoming unstable so watch out for this too.
If there is a chance that your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree has been overwatered, check the moisture in the soil immediately using a moisture meter or through the chopstick method. If the potting mix is soggy and waterlogged, then replace it immediately to stop it from damaging the plant any further. At the same time as switching out the potting mix, it’s best to trim away the rotten roots so that your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree can focus on producing new healthy growth.
Not enough sunlight
If watering isn’t an issue with your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree and the soil doesn’t seem waterlogged and the roots haven’t started to rot, then sunlight may be the cause of the yellow leaves. If your plant isn’t getting sufficient levels of sunlight, then it will not only develop yellow leaves but you might also notice smaller or stunted growth.
If you suspect that a lack of natural sunlight is the cause of the yellow leaves, start by placing your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree nearer to a window. If this happens during winter, you can get away with placing it right by the window as the direct sun rays won’t be as intense as in summer. However, during summer, you’ll want to be a little more cautious as to how much extra sunlight you give your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree as too much light can dry out the plant and cause some other issues too.
A nutrient deficiency
Some yellowing can also occur on your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree due to a lack of nutrients. Over time, your potting mix will become nutrient deficient or too much water can also flush out a lot of the nutrients. It’s best to swap out some of the potting mix for fresh, nutrient-rich soil.
From there it’s good to consider the water you’re giving to your plants, if you’re from an area with particularly hard water your plants could be getting too much calcium. It’s rare that this causes any real issues for your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, but if you’re concerned make sure to replace your soil a little bit more often as calcium toxicity can reduce the root system’s ability to take up other nutrients.
Pests can also cause yellow leaves
Whilst rarer than some of the other factors we mentioned above, your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree’s leaves may be turning yellow due to a pest infestation. Pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, aphids or whiteflies can damage your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree and leave behind yellow patches or holes in the leaves. Get up close to your plants using a magnifying glass and inspect your plant to see if you can spot any insects.
Top tip: check the undersides of each of the leaves as this is where the unwanted visitors like to hang out.
There are a few ways to get rid of spider mites and other pests, including showering, neem oil and insecticide sprays.
If it’s only the lower leaves on your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree that are turning yellow, but there aren’t any issues with the watering or moisture levels in the soil, then it might just be caused by natural ageing. Over time, your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree will drop some of its oldest and smallest leaves in favour of growing bigger healthier new ones. This is completely natural and isn’t something you did wrong or anything to worry about.
It’s important that you monitor the rate of yellowing to see if it is speeding up or is above the rate of new growth as this is a sign that something might be wrong with your plant and it’s best to look over the issue above again.
Those are the most common causes of yellow Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree leaves. Yellow leaves are often an early sign that something is wrong with your plant (other than with natural ageing) so it’s important that if something needs to be adjusted that you do it straight away. This will allow your plant to recover and you don’t risk any other further damage to your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.
To learn more about how to best care for your beloved Fiddle, check out our Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree care guide!