I wanted to write this post about preventing root rot in your Fiddle Fig Tree, in hopes it might help you understand your plant a bit better.
I brought home our new plant baby about a month ago, and was told to not water her too much and that she likes direct sunlight. I thought things were going great for us, until I got home from a weekend trip to find she had lost two leaves.
Upon inspection I found some of her leaves were turning brown and eventually falling off. I started researching and finding pictures of other fig trees with the same issues. Eventually I came to conclusion she had been over watered and because I had waited too long to repot her properly she was showing signs of Root Rot.
What you need to know about your Fiddle
I once read someone calling their fiddle a “treenager” and it’s stuck with me ever sense. They are rather tricky plants but once you understand what they like it becomes much easier.
Fiddle leaf fig tree’s love sunlight and need around 8 hours of direct and indirect sun. I choose to put mine in the sunniest spot of our house which is our south facing dinning room. As long as its happy and you turn it often (every month) it will start to sprout new leaves.
You can easily over water your plant and that in my opinion is worse than under watering. If the top few cm’s of the soil are dry you need to water, or if the leaves are turned down.
If you’re really concerned about remembering to water your new plant or unsure how to tell if it needs water you can purchase this Soil Moisture Meter.
What went wrong
I brought our fiddle home and tried to position it in the car that was less damaging. But even that ride alone was too much and it went into shock.
The fiddles initial home was my north facing office, that had windows looking into our porch. Even thou there was a lot of bright light during the day, there just wasn’t enough of it. Because of the position of our roof there were certain parts of the day where the sun was being blocked and our fiddle wasn’t happy.
If I had a nickel for every time I over watered my plants… I would forget the last time I watered them and would always do a round of water for my plants. At the time I had no idea how to check if she needed water or not (keep reading to find out how to check).
I never knew how important proper draining planters were until I got this fiddle. All my other plants like my pachira aquatica or “Money Tree” have been very durable and didn’t mind the pot they were in. It is essential to fiddles to have proper drainage which I will also tell you more about below.
Using Proper Soil
When I first repotted my plant, I used whatever soil I had laying around and ended up being a mix of peat moss and top soil. Its what I’ve used for almost every plant I have, and I never had a problem until now. After doing a lot of research I picked up ProMix from our local Canadian Tire, because it is a premium potting mix with fertilizer, nutrients and an increased water holding capacity.
What is Root Rot
Root rot is common in most house plants but it is especially predominant in Fiddle Figs. Its caused by fungus or bacteria that eats away at the plants roots sometimes quickly and prevents the absorption of essential nutrients.
The signs of Root Rot
You can see in my pictures above that I took of my plant, the ends of the leafs are dark brown and has spread. That tells me its not bruising or insect damage.
How to Fix Root Rot
Okay now the real reason were reading this blog post, to find out how to fix your root rot.
Prepping the Pot
Make sure you have proper drainage! That means using proper soil that has the nutrients Fiddle’s need, and use soil that is meant for potting indoor plants. It is also important to make sure you place gravel at the bottom of the pot, layered with peat moss.
Taking care of the root ball
Being careful taking your plant out of its previous home, check to see if the rootball is damp or wet. If it is start pulling out the wet soil from the roots. The tell tale signs of root rot is usually dark or black roots that are brittle. Healthy roots will be brown or see thru and strong. Tare apart the root ball being careful not to wreck any more roots.
After repotting your plant make sure you pat down the soil and leave no holes, some times its best to soak it completely to release the trapped air that could prevent proper nutrients and water.
If your home does not get 8 hours of indirect or direct sunlight you need to make sure you either don’t buy a fiddle or use a specific LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants.
Clean the Fiddle
My florist told me to wipe down your Fiddle’s leaves, using a wet cloth and carefully hold it so you don’t hurt it. I also make sure I mist it using a mixture of water and Schultz Fertilizer once a week or so.
I also cant recommend the FARMERLY Organic Seeds: Fiddle Leaf Food enough.
Now that you’ve done all you can with your Fiddle, stick to a watering schedule and DO NOT over water. A tip I was given was to make a note on your calendar every time you water it.
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