Fig tree with several bare branches

Asked March 14, 2019, 2:01 PM EDT

Do you have any suggestions on how to revive this beautiful tree?

Clermont County Ohio

1 Response

Thanks for using Ask a Master Gardener with your Fig question.

The tree appears to be a Fiddle-leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata. The first question I would ask, was the plant always in this location or has it been moved recently? Did you have the plant outdoors before the winter?

Figs are notorious for dropping leaves when they have a location change. So that is my number one thought. When the plant acclimatizes to the new location, it should begin to regrow leaves from buds that exist at the base of the shed leaves.
If the plant was outdoors and brought in for the winter, then the leaves formed outside would require a higher light intensity than you can provide inside, resulting in those older leaves being shed. Again, you should expect new leaves to form as the Spring arrives and the growing season for the fig occurs.
If the bare stems are still flexible and not brittle, you should expect new growth. If brittle, you may be too late to expect new growth.

Other causes can be too much water, not enough water, drafty sites, too little light, or repotting the plant.

Looking at your photo, please cut and remove the plastic tie where the tree begins to branch. It appears that the tree has already begun too grow around it. That will cause girdling of the tissue in the stem and prevent water and nutrients from moving in the tree.

The care of the fig should be bright filtered light or up to 4 hours of direct sun, evenly moist at all times (do not let it dry out or stand in water), fertilize every two weeks with a diluted water-soluble fertilizer during growing season (not yet), and a high humidity location. If it is near a furnace vent that is forced air, that may be your cause of the leaf drop also.

Here is a fact sheet about growing figs.

I trust this will give you some direction on returning your Fig to the beautiful tree you had. Thanks for your question.