The root ball was completely wet, dripping water when she removed it from the pot. The drainage that she thought was adequate was not, even with a week between waterings, the soil was not drying out at all. Sections of the roots were brown and mushy, as the infection spread through the roots and up to the leaves of the plant.
How to Save Your Fiddle Leaf Fig from Root Rot
The best way to save your fiddle leaf fig from root rot is to recognize the signs quickly and act fast. Remove your plant from its pot and take a look at the root ball. Is it wet? Are the roots sitting in moisture? Are they turning brown and mushy? If so, you’ll want to take action.
Rinse off the root ball and inspect the roots. Remove any that are brown or mushy with a sharp pair of pruning shears. Then, start from scratch with a container with excellent drainage and a fast-draining soil. Consider adding some gravel or packing peanuts to the bottom of your container to improve the drainage and act as a ballast to keep your plant’s root ball dry.
Be sure to choose a container that isn’t too large for your plant. Large containers can retain too much water and take too long to dry out between waterings. The ideal container is just 4 to 6 inches larger in diameter than the container your plant arrived in.
You’ll also want to make sure that your plant is getting enough light. Even fiddle leaf figs that have adequate drainage can suffer from root rot if they’re not getting enough light.
Repot your fiddle leaf fig with fresh potting soil in the well-draining container. Then, water once and make sure the excess water is draining out of the bottom of the container. After that, wait. Do not water again until you’re sure the roots have had a chance to dry out.
It may be more than a week before the roots have a chance to dry, depending on the size of your plant, how much sunlight it gets, and the configuration of your container. You can use a moisture meter to check the bottom of the root ball to see how wet it is. Don’t water until you get a reading of 4 or lower at the root level.
Resume watering once a week or less and your plant should stabilize. You can remove the damaged leaves with sharp pruning shears, taking care not to remove more than 10% of the total leaves at once. Given enough time and TLC, your plant can make a full recovery.