7 Causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Curling

7 Causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Curling

Fiddle leaf fig common name for “  Ficus lyrata”  is an indoor plant representing large, thick veined fiddle-shaped leaves that grow upright around a single stem branching out in multiple stems. In this article, I will explain the causes and treatment of fiddle leaf fig curling along with some general information.

Fiddle leaf figs, as the name shows their leaves have fiddle or violin shaped appearance with a long and broader spectrum of 12×5 inches. They have an upright growth habit with multiple branches emerging from the main stem reaching  heights of 6-10 ft. Besides its beautiful geometry it gives a glossy dark green appearance adding more significance to this plant.

Talking about its use, it is a popular indoor plant that adds a touch of  elegance and natural beauty to indoor places. Like every other indoor plant it also works as an air purifier improving indoor air quality by removing and absorbing pollutants and toxins from the air.

It also poses a positive impact on human mental health, reducing mental stress, enhancing mood and satisfaction and with its appealing presence that makes it a good choice as an indoor plant.  But, this plant needs proper care and attention or else it can deteriorate.

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Causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Curling:

Causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Curling

As described above fiddle leaf fig needs proper care. They prefer bright, indirect light and well drained soil. They need regular watering in pots and occasional fertilizer application during the growing season. With these right conditions provided it grows well and proves to be an  elegant and charming indoor plant.

If proper care is not provided I see there are various factors that can cause curling of our indoor  plant. These factors may include improper watering, insufficient light, low humidity, pests attack and diseases. The result is the plant leaves may narrow down and curl with ultimate browning and yellowing of leaves through the edges in response to these stressors.

Following the context I will explain the effects of each stress in detail;

1) Drought and Flooding Stress

Drought and Flooding Stress by the gardenation
  • Lack of moisture content in soil is not favorable for most plant species. And in case of fiddle leaf fig it can lead to curling. The leaves like to curl downward to conserve the remaining moisture in order to survive and indicate the problem. To conserve water plants will also close its stomata to reduce transpiration rate and hence it will not work properly as a purifier either. Undoubtedly, it will not be relaxing for its viewer either.
  • Where underwatering is concerned, overwatering can also be a serious concern for plants. Overwatering or flooding stress can lead a plant to anoxia and hypoxia state resulting in cell death if prolonged application of flooding of rootzone is continued. So this period of stress causes roots to become soft  and leaves to wilt. Eventually causing curls to drop off the plant.


The amount of water needed depends upon the size of the plant. Young fiddle leaf fig require frequent watering as they dry out faster due to their rapid growth. Check the soil if it’s dry water or one can also compare the weight of dry and moist soil in a pot to measure moisture content.

About overwatering, prevent watering daily especially during cold days. Don,t fill up the pot to its edge it can cause flooding in the root zone. And avoid watering if soil is already moist.

2) Lack of Humidity

Lack of Humidity by the gardenation

Besides moisture content in soil, moisture in air is also a serious concern. Fiddle leaf fig originates from tropical and subtropical humid climate zones, where humidity is high for most of the year. So lack of humidity can be a serious concern for fiddle leaf fig. Not only lack of humidity but consistency in humidity is also necessary. Because when there is low humidity it causes the  plant to curl its leaves with browning at the edges.


Fiddle leaf fig prefers humidity around 60%. So, one must maintain 40-60 percent humidity for their proper growth. If the air is dry and humidity can’t be maintained naturally, investing in humidifiers is recommended.

3) Pests Attack

Pests Attack by the gardenation

Fiddle leaf figs are subjected to various indoor pest attacks such as spiders, mites and mealybugs. These pests feed on plants resulting in leaves curling and damaged appearance. Mealybugs attack can be identified by the appearance of powdery mildew as in mangoes and spiders are easily noticed by their webs.


Once you have identified the pest, removing them is not a big problem. Use pesticides to control pests and prevent your plant from further damage.

4) Over-fertilizer

Over-fertilizer by the gardenation

Applying fertilizer properly is necessary and beneficial for any plant as it fulfills its nutrient requirement and enables it to grow well. but , as we know, excess of everything is bad. Where application of fertilizer is necessary for betterment of plants at the same place its improper application can lead to nutrient toxicity. It can cause discoloration and curling of leaves as well as stunted growth. So proper guidance of fertilizer application is also necessary for growers.


Now if one has made his soil nutrient toxic one will wonder how to fix this. Firstly, stop the further application of fertilizer for several months. Drain soil with water as water soluble substance will leach down making soil somewhat less toxic for plant.

5) Diseases

Fiddle leaf fig as an indoor plant is less affected by diseases but still various diseases like rot root, fungal and bacterial infection, viral diseases and so on. If I talk about curling of leaves, fungal and viral diseases are most likely to cause leaf curling and bacterial diseases come just next to them. These diseases can be identified by formation of spots, wilting, necrosis of leaves and curling. Root rot caused by water imbalance is also a major cause of leaf curling in fiddle leaf fig plants.


Incase of diseases, it is not easier to identify as well as treat. So one must consult a local nursery for this purpose. For first aid purposes remove infected leaves as soon as they are seen. It can save plants from further damage in a few cases. In case of fungal attack a little dose of copper oxychloride is recommended. Antibacterial dosage depends upon the bacterial infection. So, it’s better to consult before applying any kind of chemical treatment in case of diseases. We have also discussed 8 Causes Of Chinese Money Plant Leaves Curling. Do checkout!!

6) Nutrient Imbalance

Nutrient Imbalance by thegardenation

Like every other plant fiddle leaf fig also requires a variety of macro and micro nutrients for its proper growth. Each nutrient is required to its specific range known as critical nutrient range. Above and below this range of nutrients can cause nutrient imbalance.

Deficiency of nutrients can cause curling of leaves. Magnesium deficiency can cause curling of old leaves along with yellow patches while manganese deficiency can cause curling in new leaves. Calcium deficiency causes curling of leaves with brown edges. So an appropriate  balance of nutrients is needed.


This nutrient deficiency can be treated by adding a recommended dose of nutrient fertilizers. Different fertilizers containing different macro and micro nutrients are available. Identify the deficiency symptoms and add the required nutrient- avoid adding too much fertilizer as it can cause toxicity.

7) Temperature Stress

Temperature Stress by thegardenation

As described above fiddle fig leaf is a plant of warm humid climate. Too much elevated temperature and low temperature can be harmful for the plant. But what is more harmful is that sudden change in temperature. Sudden change in temperature can push our plant into a shocked state causing it to wilt and leaves to curl.


In this case proper care is recommended. Try to keep this indoor plant in a damp and warm place but not in direct sunlight. Try to maintain the room temperature by insulating walls and ceiling as it is good for plants and one’s own self.

8) Direct Sunlight

Direct Sunlight by thegardenation

Fiddle leaf fig in general is an indoor plant, best for internal decoration and air purification. These types of plants usually grow in low light intensity or low levels of light. Direct sunlight can harm its tissues and can cause its leaves to curl to reduce surface area of light absorption.


In this case just a simple step is required to prevent the leaf from curling. Move the plant from an area of high sunlight to a shady place. Don’t place it directly after the window. For more information related gardening you can also visit: Brown Spots On Snake Plant

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I Protect My Fiddle Leaf Fig from Curling?

Fiddle leaf fig leaf curling can be because of various reasons. You can best protect it from curling by proper watering, not too much and not too low.  Proper application of fertilizer and nutrients. Give plants proper care and treatment against diseases and pests. Keep in a warm damp place away from sunlight.


Fiddle leaf figs are a great choice as indoor plants providing elegance and aesthetics to the place as well as purifying indoor air. But one can see curling of its leaves due to various reasons such as; pest and disease attack, temperature fluctuation, water and nutrient imbalancement. But with regular care and proper treatment one can avoid this problem and can have a beautiful plant decorating one’s place proving it refreshing for mind and health.

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