Fiddle Leaf Lower Leaves Browning – House Plant Journal

Fiddle Leaf Lower Leaves Browning

Plant: Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)

How long have you had the plant? (no data provided)


Seems healthy but the bottom branches as dropping and they looked like this attached picture:

The plant gets a lot of indirect light and it is in a position where it is not disturbed:

How do you determine WHEN to water: (no data provided)

Describe HOW you water: (no data provided)

What fertilizer do you use? (no data provided)

Overall Plant:


Thanks for providing your photos.  Dark browning of a whole leaf typically occurs when the soil is waterlogged, which results in cells rupturing in older leaves (lower on the stem).

Traditional advice would call this “overwatering” but correcting watering practices (watering less frequently or less deeply) won’t solve the problem…the underlying problem is lack of light.

Here’s a perfect example of why the concept of “bright indirect light” is confusing and leads to disappointment.  You say you’re getting a ton of indirect light but from the photo of where the plant is placed relative to the window and the window size, I know it’s not enough.

How do I know?  I measure light.

Even though I haven’t measured your exact space, I’ve measured often enough to know that indirect light will only be in the 400-800 FC (around 80-160 µmol) right in front of a very large window – and, according to this table, a fiddle leaf fig will grow well if its indirect light is above 400 FC most of the day.

So the first step is to move the plant right in front of your windows – which seem sufficiently large.

In terms of WHEN and HOW to water: when the soil reaches roughly halfway dry, water all parts of the soil so that it is evenly moistened all the way through and let excess water drain away.  Be sure to use a fertilizer, ideally with NPK ratio 3-1-2 – more on fertilizers here.

With these steps, there should be fewer dropped leaves but, as I always say, leaves still have a limited lifespan.  The long term journey with a fiddle leaf fig is as it grows taller, lower leaves will inevitably fall off.  At some point, you will want to cut it back so the new structure is a more pleasing shape.

If you want to develop strong fundamentals in plant care, my book and online course will guide you in the right direction – instead of useless tips and tricks.

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