Is Fertilizer Starving Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?

Is Fertilizer Starving Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?

Have you ever had your thriving fiddle leaf fig tree suddenly start turning yellow, brown, drooping, dropping leaves, or dying?

It goes like this...

Your beautiful houseplant is in a perfectly lit spot, getting the perfect amount of bright, indirect sunlight. You give it the perfect amount of water at the perfect time. You fertilize your plant at the perfect time, every time.

Now, despite making no changes to this perfect environment and regimen, your precious plant suddenly starts dropping leaves, drooping, turning yellow or brown. This problem can happen with any plant, but is very common in tree varieties, such as your Ficus lyrata.

Yes, your pride and joy is suddenly struggling to survive for no obvious reason whatsoever.

You feel like a plant parent failure.

nutrient deficiency fiddle leafNutrient deficiencies can display themselves as changes in color, or shape and size of new leaf growth.

What happened?

It's probable that your plant is experiencing a pH problem and/or an accumulation of insoluble residues. "Huh?" you say? Well, essentially, the acidity or alkalinity level of your plant's soil determines your plant's ability to absorb nutrients, and/or your plant could be experiencing a buildup of harmful minerals. 

Many fertilizers contain metallic compounds that can accumulate in the soil over time. Although your plant may initially appear to be flourishing, it can eventually become anemic, toxic, or malnourished, despite being fertilized. 

These insoluble residues, which are common in tablet fertilizers and slow-release plant foods, are difficult to detect because their effects are gradual. Unfortunately, the convenience of these fertilizers can have a negative impact on your plant's health in the long run. As a result, your plant may be unable to digest or absorb nutrients.

So, what's the answer?

The answer, as well, may be in your fertilizer. But, if you're at the malnourished stage, you're probably going to need some major intervention. 

Here's what to do to give your plant the best possible chance at recovery...

Step 1: Testing the soil

Get yourself a pH meter to test the soil. They're relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Simply place the probe into the soil and check the reading. In soil, your Ficus will do best when the pH level is between 6.5 to 7 (in semi-hydroponic settings it likes a more acidic environment). If your soil pH is below 5 or above 8, it's time to intervene. 

If getting a pH meter is too extra for you, you can simply skip forward to changing out the soil completely.

pH meter

STEP 2: Amend or Change the Soil

Depending on how far out of whack your pH is, you will decide to use soil soil amendments to adjust the soil pH or perform a soil change to remedy the situation. In many cases, it's best to remove the toxic soil altogether with a fresh batch.

When changing the soil, fully remove as much old dirt as possible, taking care around roots. This is also an opportunity to check for other underlying issues, such as root rot, mold, fungus, and other miscellaneous problems. 

Note: If you can time this project around Spring or Summer, your plant will fare better. Try to avoid winter interventions.
soil change ficus houseplants

STEP 3: Root Inspection and Repair

With roots cleaned off and exposed, it's time to give them a little TLC. Spray the roots generously with Big Leaf Energy® wellness spray, and then soak them in a solution of Grow Goodies™ (1 teaspoon per gallon of water). This will help address any root pathologies and help resist the shock of soil upheaval. 

Now, fill in around the roots with the fresh soil of your choice.

STEP 4: Foliar Feeding

Bless Your Soil® fertilizers are optimized to feed your plant through stems and leaves when necessary, as well as though soil. Because your plant is starved out, the roots may still be weak. Spray the Grow Goodies solution onto the leaves and stems. This will further improve nutrient deficiency.

foliar spray fertilizer

STEP 5: Soil-up and Feed

Carefully transfer your plant to its new pot with fresh soil and give it a good watering with Big Green Leaves. This special formula is specifically designed to provide continuous nourishment for houseplants kept in containers. Its balanced consistency will aid in maintaining your plant's microbiome, ensuring that it remains in top condition and promoting optimal plant health.

You can read more about the importance of a healthy plant microbiome in this article and keeping your plant's pH in check.

And, remember, what you feed grows!

Share this article with a fellow plant nerd... it's good plant luck.🍀


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