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House Plants/Fiddle-Leaf FIg- Is it Dead? Can I save it?


Tree in it\'s environment
Tree in it's environme  

roots/ soil
roots/ soil  

I have a fiddle-leaf fig tree that I "rescued" from a dumpster at the office I work in. (To clarify, it was not IN the dumpster but sitting in a pot next to the dumpster.)  I have no idea how long it was outside, unwatered and exposed to elements (this was the beginning of summer.)  I now have the tree in my home, before reading that it may be harmful to re-pot, I took the tree out of its pot and gave it some new organic soil and then put it back into the same pot.  It is now in a room with direct sunlight in the morning and diffused light for the majority of the day.  I water it about once a week or whenever the top of the soil is dry.

So that is all the background info now here is my question,  after looking at the pictures I have provided, do you think my poor rescue tree is dead?  The leaves have many brown spots and the stalk is "flaky."  It has not however, dropped any leaves whatsoever.  If you do not think it is dead, do you have any suggestions of what I can do to help it get better?  

Thank you!javascript:void(0)

Hi Anna,

You have a tough  Ficus lyrata! You should add some soil on top of the rootball and press it down in tight between the outside of the rootball and the inside of the pot. The tree also should be within a couple of feet of an uncovered sunny window, not across the room or off to the side of the window.

Theses trees are slow growers and new growth is always at the very ends of stems and branches. The only way to eliminate the bare stems is to prune them back. New growth will then emerge on the stems just below the pruning cuts.

The bark is naturally flaky and the leaf spots are common and will not ever go away. New leaf growth should be healthy, however.

At best, your tree will recover very slowly, so you will have to be patient.

I have written detailed articles on pruning and on Ficus lyrata care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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