Fiddle leaf figs ( Ficus lyrata) are amazing house plants because they grow up to be tall ones that embellish one whole corner of your room. But what good are they when they are leaning to one side?
Here, it’s not just about their beauty, a leaning fiddle leaf fig can break off very easily at one point as it becomes very heavy. So, to save it from ruining you have to jump right in to help them before it’s too late.
The good news is, you can get the leaning fiddle leaf figs to a straightly growing one and stop it from leaning in the future if you are careful about some common factors and in this article we are going to talk about all of that.
- Poor Sunlight
- Improper Watering
- Unsuitable Soil
- Nutrient Deficiency &
- Incorrect pot size
These are the 5 most common issues that are causing the leaning of your fiddle leaf fig. So, without making any delay let’s see what we can do about it–
Explained About Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Leaning?
1. Insufficient Sunlight
If most of the leaves of your fiddle leaf figs are sticking up then most likely the problem is with the amount of light it’s getting. Usually, when the leaves don’t get enough sunlight they tend to stick up toward the light source.
When the sunlight is not enough the plant doesn’t receive much energy from it and as a result, they grow up to be weak plants and lean towards the light source.
Sometimes due to insufficient sunlight, the leaves start to grow at a distance pointing up and this disrupts the total balance of the main trunk.
The main problem here is if the fiddle leaf figs lean too much the plant will go off balance and break off and most importantly you won’t be able to fix the trunk at the end.
Since these plants are from tropical rainforests they love bright sunlight but this has to be indirect otherwise they easily get sunburnt.
This is why the best location for your fiddle leaf figs is near an east-facing window because this will make sure your plant is getting some direct yet mild morning sun and again it will get indirect but bright sunlight during the evening time.
You can also put it near the south or west side of your window too but in this case, you have to make sure there is a curtain to filter out the harsh midday sunlight.
But if you have no such windows in those places then having some LED grow lights is the best option for you. In this case, make sure the grow lights are at the right intensity and turned on for at least eight hours every day for the best results.
Another thing is that you have to keep rotating your plant after some weeks because this will make sure every part of your plant gets an equal amount of light. Otherwise, one part of your plant will receive more light and the other part will lean towards the light source naturally.
2. Improper Watering
Though watering is the most basic plant care, it still is the root of most of the problems. This is because water is needed to perform all kinds of activities of the plant and it plays an important role in their growth and development as well.
You see, if your fiddle leaf figs are watered they can easily develop a weak trunk that becomes unable to support the plant. As a result, the fiddle leaf figs lean to one side.
On the other hand, overwatering can also cause leaning in the plant. Because if you water them too much the roots will be damaged and this will prevent the roots from uptaking their required water and nutrients.
As a result, the trunk of your plant will grow as a weak one and lean on the heavier side.
One of the smartest ways of watering is checking the soil water condition beforehand. If the top 2-3 inches of the soil surface is dry then your plant is ready for a drink. To determine the soil moisture you can either use a moisture meter or stick your index finger in the soil. (Our Pick: XLUX Soil Moisture Meter)
You have to water your fiddle leaf figs every 7-10 days interval. Remember that the amount of water they need will depend on the plant’s size, soil type, weather conditions, and season of the year as well.
Rather than watering randomly, try to keep an eye on the above factors to schedule your watering. For example, during the summer season when the temperature is very high then water your plants a bit more than usual but again when the winter season is approaching, reduce the watering gradually.
3. Unsuitable Soil
This thing is very closely related to watering because when the soil is not the right type, no matter how carefully you water it, it’s bound to create some problems.
If the soil has too much clay fraction then it will be muddy and will not drain out the water easily. So, the roots of your fiddle leaf figs will be in the water for too long.
As a result, even if you water them the right amount the soil will retain the water, and your plants will suffer from over-watering issues and fall victim to root rot.
Make sure you use a good potting mix that is specially made for houseplants and has a well-draining capacity (our pick: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix). When the soil is the correct one, it will prevent many kinds of diseases, and fungal attacks and also help in growth and development as well.
Also, you have to pick a suitable pot for your plants according to their size and stature. Because if the pot is too small the soil will be compact and pressurize the roots from all sides and this will cause your plants to develop very slowly.
Again if the soil is compact the surface of it will dry out quickly but it will stay wet under a few inches from the surface.
So, anyone would think of watering them by seeing the dry surface but in reality, the soil at the root depth will still be wet and this extra water in the already wet soil will cause the plant to be overwatered.
Besides, make sure your plant pot has enough drainage holes at the bottom, and after watering try to observe if the extra water is seeping quickly through the hole. If not, you either have to make some more holes in the pot or change the pot altogether.
4. Nutrient Deficiency
When your fiddle leaf figs are low in nutrients they will grow as weak plants with small leaves. Moreover, these small leaves won’t be able to produce enough food for the whole plant and it can cause even a weaker trunk in the plant.
Due to nutrient deficiency, the trunk of your fiddle leaf figs can lean on one side where there are more leaves.
A deficiency of a particular nutrient element can be very difficult to trace just by looking at the plant rather it will need further chemical analysis. But luckily in most cases, some common major nutrients like Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus deficiency occur the most.
If your leaning fiddle leaf figs have yellow and smaller new leaves that are sticking up along with a very slow growth rate then it’s definitely due to the deficiency of common nutrients.
In this case, you have to use a good houseplant liquid and slow-release fertilizer that has an NPK ratio of 3:1:2 every one or two months during the summer and spring seasons. (our pick: Espoma Organic 8 Ounce Concentrated Indoor Plant Food)
However, avoid fertilizing totally during the winter and fall season because they are dormant during this period. And make sure you gently water your fiddle leaf figs after every time you apply fertilizer.
Also, you can use coffee grounds, banana peels, ground eggshells, and rice water as a homemade source of fertilizer occasionally for the soil in addition to the store-bought fertilizer.
5. Incorrect Pot Size
The thing is with optimum conditions, your fiddle leaf figs can grow very tall (up to 6 feet) with time. Eventually, the plant becomes very heavy with this increased size.
So, if they are in a smaller pot than their size and height it can cause pressure on the branches that are too heavy and cause them to lean on one side.
Here, the best option is to keep changing the pot when they grow out of the previous one. But always be sure to have a pot of proper size. This will also prevent the soil from being hard and compact.
As a thumb rule, you have to use a pot that is almost double the size of the plant. However, we know that it’s not always possible to change the pot very frequently. In this case, you have to prune the heavier portion of the plant to create a balance that will prevent it from leaning.
How To Fix A Leaning Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant?
Now that your fiddle leaf fig has already leaned towards a direction, let’s see how you can fix this thing–
- First, rotate the pot and make sure you have moved the side that does not lean towards the direction of the sun.
- If the current location of your plant is not in a bright area then move it somewhere it can get more sunlight, preferably near an east-facing window.
- But when you place it on the brighter side make sure you do it very slowly, taking a few weeks to increase the amount of exposure to avoid shock.
- After that, you have to rotate the pot in the opposite direction every week so that all the sides of the plant get the same amount of sunlight. If you don’t rotate it will lean again.
- For better results, you can use a support stake to help the trunk to grow straight in the future. But make sure while installing the stake you don’t end up injuring the root system of the plant.
- Place the stake deep enough into the soil and right beside the truck and tie it with a fabric strip to make sure it allows some movement. Remove it after a few weeks.
- When the plant becomes much bigger then you have to create a balance and for this, you have to prune out some branches that are putting pressure on the trunk from one side.
- However, avoid pruning very small plants because it can put them in shock.
- While pruning, make a cut just above the node so that it will encourage new growth in the future.
- Don’t prune too much at the same time because it will put the plant in shock and your plant will take a long time to recover from it.
- Also, be sure not to prune out the lower leaves because they are more mature leaves and provide most part of the energy to the plant.
- Again if you remove the lower leaves then the top portion will become heavy which can lead to a breakoff of the trunk.
- Sterilize the pruning shears beforehand to protect the plant from the transmission of fungal and bacterial diseases.
To get an even more clear idea about the pruning procedure of your fiddle leaf fig you can watch this video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What does a fiddle leaf fig look like when it needs water?
For starters, check if the top few inches of soil are dry. Then if they are in need of water for too long the leaves will start to look floppy and droopy. Moreover, the leaves might start turning yellow around the edges or tips.
Should I mist my fiddle leaf?
Since the fiddle leaf figs prefer a humidity of around 60% in most cases you can mist them when the weather is very dry. However, avoid misting too much because if the leaves stay wet for too long it can encourage fungal growth.
Why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig’s leaf sticking up / pointing up?
When your fiddle leaf figs are getting inadequate sunlight their leaves start sticking up in search of more light. So, when the leaves are going upward you have to expose them to more bright light and rotate the plant periodically.
Leaning fiddle leaf figs are a sign that they are not being taken care of properly. But if you are ready to invest a little of your time then you can easily fix this leaning problem.
Provide them with balanced sunlight from all angles and water them as much as they need along with a monthly dose of fertilizer. Aside from that, try pruning it in the right way and your fiddle leaf fig trunk will start to grow straight in no time.
I hope this article has guided you in the right direction and a thorough fixing guide about the leaning fiddle leaf figs has helped you to get your fiddle leaf fig plants growing straight up.
For any further queries about your leaning fiddle leaf figs please send them in the comment section and don’t forget to share them with your houseplant enthusiast friends.
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