Why is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Drooping After Repotting?

Fiddle leaf figs are popular houseplants. But they can be picky when it comes to their care. If you recently repotted this popular houseplant and notice it's drooping, there could be a couple reasons behind it. In this article, gardening expert and houseplant enthusiast Madison Moulton examines why these plants may droop after repotting.

fiddle leaf fig drooping after repotting

As popular as they are, Fiddle Leaf Figs are susceptible to an impressively long list of problems. From yellowing to brown leaf tips, leaning and more, every Fiddle Leaf Fig owner is likely to encounter one of these problems at some stage in their growing journey.

One of the most common problems is drooping leaves. Although usually a sign of underwatering, this issue commonly pops up after repotting. It prompts many indoor gardeners to try a range of fixes that end up not helping.

In this article, we’ll break down the real reason behind drooping leaves after repotting, with some tips on how to prevent the issue from occurring in the future.

Short Answer

Leaves drooping soon after repotting your Fiddle Leaf Fig is completely normal. These plants are sensitive to changes in environments and will respond to the stress of repotting by drooping. As long as other factors of care are kept consistent, the plant should recover in a few weeks. You’ll see their leaves return to their upright position.

Long Answer

Struggling Plant in Container
Any sudden change in habitat can stress can result in drooping leaves.

Thanks to the power of social media, these popular houseplants have become one of the most widely purchased and grown houseplants around the world. They are loved for their long upright leaves and expansive branches that can easily fill an entire corner.

Unfortunately for beginners, these houseplants are not the easiest to care for. Not only is it difficult to replicate the exact environments they prefer indoors, but any sudden changes in this environment – even small ones – will leave your plant stressed.

One of the first signs of this stress is drooping leaves. It takes the plant quite a bit of effort and energy to keep the massive and heavy leaves upright. When environments change and your plant becomes stressed, it stops prioritizing new growth. They can even shed some leaves altogether to conserve energy for survival.

In the long list of things that can dramatically change the plant’s environment and lead to stress, repotting is at the top. The roots are exposed to the air for short periods and disturbed heavily, and the soil is completely replaced. Not to mention, the pot size changes at the same time. All these factors combined make for a pretty stressful situation.

Luckily, as fussy as they are, they are also able to adapt. As long as there are no other factors affecting drooping, the leaves should return to normal once the plant adapts to its new environment. Most new plants just need time to recover from any transplant shock.

About Fiddle Leaf Figs

Plant with drooping leaves
These popular houseplants have large attractive lush leaves, do not need much water, and prefer mild morning sun.

Fiddle Leaf Figs are part of the popular Ficus genus. They are from the same family as other common houseplant favorites like the Weeping Fig and Rubber Tree. These trees can grow to an impressive 40 feet in their native habitats in West Africa. They are restricted by pot size and ceiling height, but can still get quite tall when grown indoors.

Their size – both in leaves and overall – is just one of the reasons why these trees are so well known. They also have a fascinating shape that you can’t really find in any other houseplants. With the right care, the leaves always appear lush, adding a softness to more structural interior designs.

They are known to be tricky plants, needing environments as close to their natural habitats as possible to grow their best. Fiddle Leaf Figs prefer a full day of bright indirect sunlight, with an hour or two of gentle morning sun for the quickest growth. They don’t need water very often, especially in large pots, and benefit from a regular fertilizing routine.

As long as you keep conditions consistent, these plants shouldn’t give you any trouble.

Repotting

Repotting Houseplant in Pot
Younger plants will require frequent repotting, while established plants need to be repotted every few years.

Repotting time depends on the age of the plant and the speed of growth. They don’t mind being confined to a pot for short periods but need to be moved when roots begin to grow through the drainage holes or above the soil line.

Younger plants require repotting more frequently as they grow quickly and need more space to expand. More established plants only require repotting every few years, either when they have outgrown the pot or when they need a soil refresh – whichever comes first.

It’s important to only repot when absolutely necessary. Disturbing a plant’s roots, exposing them to open air and handling them directly are all conditions they are not used to. Some will recover from this stress quicker than others. Unfortunately, Fiddle Leaf Figs are not one of them.

They are highly susceptible to a problem known as transplant shock. As they are sensitive to sudden changes in conditions, the process of repotting causes them to go into shock, slow growth and focus on adapting.

Part of this shock is drooping leaves. In severe cases, the leaves may begin to yellow, and some may even drop off the plant completely. But no matter the severity, some struggle soon after repotting is completely normal.

Fixing a Drooping Fiddle Leaf Fig

Close up of drooping leaves on Fiddle Leaf Fig
The best way to fix drooping in a fresh transplant is often to just give it time.

The most important thing to do when you notice drooping, as counterintuitive as it sounds, is nothing. Drooping leaves is a normal response to repotting, and most plants generally just need some time to adjust to their new surroundings. As long as you’ve watered after repotting and haven’t changed any aspects of care, the plant should recover successfully.

The worst possible way to resolve the problem is to try a bunch of new remedies that end up changing the conditions even more than repotting did. Don’t water any more than usual, give them different lighting conditions, or fertilize within two or three weeks after repotting to avoid making the recovery process that much longer.

If the problems last longer than a few weeks, repotting may not be the only issue. After this point, you can try diagnosing the problem and applying the proper fixes.

It’s important to make any changes slowly, giving your Fiddle Leaf time to adjust and react before you move on to the next solution. With too many dramatic changes at once, you may be unknowingly causing the problem that you are trying to resolve.

How To Prevent Drooping When Repotting

Man Repotting Houseplant Indoors
To prevent problems, replant quickly, maintain stable conditions, and choose a slightly larger pot than prior.

Rather than dealing with the problem when it occurs, it’s best to take steps to limit the chances of drooping when repotting. The key is to repot as quickly as possible and keep conditions as consistent as you can.

Start with the pot size. Don’t choose a pot that is far larger than the existing one. Go up a couple of sizes at most as the additional space will absorb more moisture than the plants are used to, leading to shock and potentially rot.

Next, try to match the new soil mix you’re using to the original soil mix as much as possible. Identify the different components and the texture and mix your own soil to replicate the same soil type. Houseplant soils are usually made up of a combination of potting soil, compost, peat moss or coir, bark, perlite and sand. Pick which elements you see in the soil and use similar ratios to keep the soil mix as consistent as possible.

When repotting, limit the time the plant spends out of the pot. Prep the soil mix beforehand and fill the pot to the right level so the roots can go straight from one container to the other. Immediately after repotting, water to allow the roots to settle and move your Fiddle Leaf to the same position it was in previously.

Keep in mind that even if you are as careful as possible, the leaves are still likely to droop slightly. But, these steps will help your plant recover much faster and hopefully prevent permanent damage like dropping leaves.

Final Thoughts

Drooping leaves can be a tricky sign to decipher on your Fiddle Leaf Fig. But, when it comes to repotting, this side effect is completely expected. Try to limit changes in conditions where you can, provide routine care, and give the leaves some time to adjust. With a little TLC, they should be back to normal soon.

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