Fiddle leaf figs are prone to root rot, a condition which, if not treated properly, can quickly kill your plant. If you notice signs that your fiddle leaf fig is suffering from root rot, such as brown or falling leaves, or constantly wet soil, take swift action. Remove the plant from its pot, rinse the roots and trim any brown ones, then repot the plant in a new container with new soil. Once it is situated, give your plant one generous watering, and allow it ample time (up to two weeks) to dry out before watering again.
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6 Steps to Fix Root Rot in a Fiddle Leaf Fig
Overwatering is the most common cause of root rot in fiddle leaf fig plants, and once it starts, it can kill your plant quickly. Watering too often or too thoroughly can cause your fiddle leaf fig’s roots to sit in standing water or wet soil, resulting in soggy, diseased roots.
If you know what to look for and follow these steps at the first sign of trouble, it’s possible for your fiddle leaf fig to make a full recovery.
Know the Signs of Root Rot
Knowing what to look for is half the battle. If your plant’s leaves have brown spots or are falling off, it could have root rot. First, check the soil. If it is visibly wet, or has an unusual smell, your plant may be in distress. The only way to know for sure is to take your plant out of its pot and examine the root ball. If the roots are brown or soggy, your plant has root rot.
Clean the Roots
The first step in reversing root rot is to expose and wash the plant’s roots. Use clean water at a mild temperature. Water that is too hot or too cold can harm the sensitive roots. Be sure to remove any film, wet soil, and residue from the root ball to give your plant a chance at healthy roots.
Trim Off Diseased Roots
It’s very important to remove any part of the roots that are diseased. Otherwise, the disease can spread throughout the plant, and may eventually kill it. You can tell where the affected areas are because they will be brown or black and soggy. Use this sharp pair of shears to trim off all damaged roots. When you are finished, the remaining roots should be firm, dry, and light-colored.
Replant Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
To avoid further spread of root rot, it’s best to use new soil and a new pot when replanting your fiddle leaf fig. The new pot shouldn’t be much bigger than the old one. 3–4 inches (7.5–10 cm) in added diameter is all your plant needs. Using a pot that is too big can cause moisture to lock in, creating an opportunity for your fiddle leaf’s plant roots to be affected again.
- Plant your fiddle leaf fig tree in a new pot with fresh soil.
- Use a new pot with a diameter of 3–4 inches (7.5–10 cm) larger than the old pot.
- Pour a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot before adding soil—this ensures adequate drainage.
Be sure to use fresh, well-draining soil, and don’t pack it in too tightly. You want to be sure to leave room for some air circulation. Additionally, it may be helpful to put a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot before adding soil. This helps moisture to drain out more efficiently and prevents roots from sitting in pooled water.
Thoroughly Water Your Plant
Once repotted, give your plant one generous watering. This helps it settle into its new environment. Watch the drainage holes at the bottom to make sure excess water is able to escape the soil. If no water leaks out the bottom despite ample watering, your soil may be packed too tightly.
- Water your plant immediately after repotting.
- Check the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot after watering.
- If water is not draining from the pot, improve the soil and repot your fiddle leaf fig.
If your soil is packed too tightly, remove your fiddle leaf fig tree. Then, mix the potting soil with perlite or coconut coir to make sure it drains more effectively.
After you’ve watered your newly repotted plant, put it in an area where it receives lots of indirect sunlight, and leave it alone. Most fiddle leaf figs need 1–2 weeks to dry out between waterings, depending on their size, and the environment in which they’re grown. It may be tempting to water the plant once the top layer of soil dries out, but don’t do it. The soil underneath may still be damp. As a rule, when in doubt, underwater your fiddle leaf fit rather than overwatering it.
Can a Fiddle Leaf Fig Recover from Root Rot?
A fiddle leaf fig can recover from root rot, but it’s essential to catch the problem early. At the first sign of brown or falling leaves, check your plant’s roots. If they appear diseased, take immediate action to fix them. Rinsing and trimming the roots and repotting it can remove the root rot and allow your plant to make a full recovery.
- A fiddle leaf fig can recover from root rot, but only if the problem is caught early.
- At the first sign of brown or falling leaves, examine the root ball.
- If the roots are diseased, immediately wash and trim them, and repot the plant.
- Root rot can be hard to detect early on, but can quickly kill the entire plant.
- Time is of the essence. If you act quickly, your plant can make a full recovery.
Root rot can be undetectable in its early stages but spreads quickly. If not treated, the entire plant will die. Addressing the situation in a timely manner gives your fiddle leaf fig its best chance at a full recovery.
Can You Fix Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot Without Repotting?
One of the key steps to fixing fiddle leaf fig root rot is repotting the plant in a new container. This new container should have fresh soil. Repotting in this manner ensures that the plant and its growing environment are free of diseases and bacteria. Skipping this step can put your plant at risk. To save your fiddle leaf fig, it must be repotted.
How Do You Fix Root Rot in a Fiddle Leaf Fig?
The keys to curing root rot in a fiddle leaf fig are early detection and prompt treatment. Be on the lookout for signs that your plant is in distress, like brown leaves, falling leaves, or an unusual odor. If, after examining the root ball, you determine your plant has root rot, act quickly. Thoroughly rinse the roots, and trim off any brown or damaged areas with pruning shears. Then, repot your plant in a new container with new, well-draining potting soil. Consider putting a layer of rocks or gravel in the bottom of the pot for better drainage and protection. Water your repotted plant once, and then give it 1–2 weeks to dry out before watering it again.