Save Fiddle Leaf Fig from Sunburn- Everything You Want to know About them

I had kept my fiddle leaf fig inside the house, giving it indirect sunlight for several years. However, five days ago, I moved the plant outside where it started receiving direct sun, assuming it would be suitable for outdoor conditions. Today, after returning from vacation, I noticed that all the leaves exposed to sunlight had become crispy and brown. Do you think this damage is permanent, or have I killed my plant?

Luckily, I haven’t killed my fiddle leaf fig; it was actually sunburned. There are solutions to help plants recover from sunburn. Curious about how I saved my plant? Stay connected and scroll down.

In this article, I explain various aspects related to sunburn on fiddle leaf figs, including how to identify sunburn, its causes, consequences, prevention methods, sunlight requirements for these trees, tips for managing sunlight exposure, and more. Keep reading to learn how to protect your fiddle leaf fig from sunburn.

Quick takeaways:     

  • The fiddle leaf figs prefer to grow in bright but filtered light and giving them no more than a few hours of direct sunlight during the morning.
  • If you provide them direct sunlight it will cause figs to burn then move the sunburned fiddle leaf figs to a less sunny location, where water them thoroughly and make sure to remove damaged foliage.
  • The fiddle leaf figs do have textured leaves that beg for boldness during the summer sun which used to crave the limelight.

Identifying Sunburn on Fiddle Leaf Figs:

Sunburn is the most common issue a Fiddle Leaf Figs tree has to deal with which leads to a slow growth process and development. Although it is possible to cause Sunburn on Fiddle Leaf Figs trees every growing season don’t get worried you just need to identify sunburn to solve the problem and prevent it from occurring in the future. here are some ways that will help you to recognize Sunburn on fig trees:

The appearance of sunburned leaves: 

  • The leaves that are Sunburn are used to display various discolorations & patterns, for example, darker colors light spots, silverish patches, and brown areas.
  •  the color is changed because the leave gets exposed to excessive sunlight that results in damaging the cells and the ability of photosynthesis is also affected 
Save Fiddle Leaf Fig from Sunburn- Everything You Want to know About them

Leaves falling off: 

  • The sunburn on Fiddle Leaf Figs leaves will cause the leaves to fall off.
  • The tree actually rejects all the damaged leaves that are not able to photosynthesize effectively which results in leaves falling off or dying.

History of light exposure:

  • In the case of moving trees from a low-light environment to a highlighted environment hence you can find sunburning signs.
  • The change in the light exposure to the tree causes stress to the tree and the Three major causes are sudden increase in sunlight.

Causes of Sunburn on Fiddle Leaf Figs:

Here are some common causes of sunburn on Fiddle Leaf Figs:

Rapid transition from low to high light conditions:

  • This is the most common cause of sunburn on fig trees because moving them too quickly from a low-light environment like a place under shade or indoors to a high-light environment having direct sunlight will give the leaves shock.
  • Mainly the young one will be affected and need time to acclimate to changes in the light intensity.

Insufficient acclimatization: 

  • If you are not giving the Fiddle Leaf Figs time to acclimate to increasing sunlight levels then it is possible the leaves may not develop the necessary protective mechanism that helps them to handle direct sun exposure.
  •  The same is true in the situation of humidity shock and transplant shock where the plant undergoes with same phenomenon of drastic changes in sunlight.

Intense sunlight: 

  • Providing the leaves with intense sunlight makes the fig tree more vulnerable to sunburn.
  • Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight makes the tree leaves overheat causing damage to cells which results in discoloration because of sunburn.
  • Keeping the plant on a cloudy or overcast day will not lead the plant to the same vulnerability

Lack of proper shading or protection:

  • Not Providing the Fiddle Leaf Figs with adequate shading or protection from direct sunlight, the plant to suffer from sunburn.
  • Proper shedding is very important for young trees in which there is no development of strong tolerance to heat.

Consequences of Sunburn on Fiddle Leaf Figs:

The following are some consequences of sunburn on Fiddle Leaf Figs that plant will suffer:

Loss of Photosynthesis:

  • The sunburn will damage the cells in the leaves which helps in the photosynthesis process due to which the photosynthetic capacity of the plant is reduced.
  • This makes the plant have slow growth and less vigorous development.
  • This is more effective for the young trays because they depend on their leaves for energy, production, and growth.

Delayed Growth and Fruit Production:

  • Sunburn will make the leaves fall off the tree, which results in reducing the ability to generate energy and the potential to stunt growth.
  • All of these factors delay the establishment of the young Fiddle Leaf Figs and make it more difficult to reach the trees to their full potential if talking about size and fruit production.

Lower Fruit Quality:

  •  The Fiddle Leaf Figs that deal with sunburn may produce Fruit because of the stress caused By the damaging of the leaves.
  • The fruit will not be developed to the optimal size, taste, or texture After going through the sunburn experience.

Aesthetic Impact No: 

  • The sunburned leaves will detract from the overall appearance which makes them less visually appealing.
  • Although it does not directly affect the health of the tree, but it can be a concern for the gardener who is used to maintaining an attractive landscape in their garden.


  • The plant going with the recovery process largely depends upon the damage extent and the overall health.
  • In most cases, the sun-burned leaves get shredded and grow new healthy foliage.
  • The new growth allows the tree to regain its photosynthetic capacity and the growth of the tree.
  •  in case the tree is weak and not able to begin the recovery process you will end up losing the tree.

Ways to recover the fiddle Leaf Figs:

Here are some essentials to provide for supporting the fiddle Leaf Figs recovery with proper care:

1. Maintain consistent watering: 

  • Make sure the tree gets adequate water which will prevent the tree from additional stress of water shortage.
  •  you need to keep the soil moist but not water-logged.  doing this will help in promoting the root growth and overall health of the tree.
  •  in case the tree is losing the leaves make sure not to over-water the tree because it will make the soil too saturated which will lead to root rot.

2. Fertilize responsibly:

  • Make sure to provide the tree with a balanced slow-release fertilizer that will help in supporting the recovery process.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing the Fiddle Leaf Figs which will cause further damage to the plant.

3. Don’t remove any leaves: 

  • All those sunburned leaves do not have the ability of photosynthesis but don’t remove any leaves let the Fiddle Leaf Figs decide themselves because there can be leaves still providing some amount of photosynthesis to the Fiddle Leaf Figs.

4. Monitor progress: 

  • You need to take care and keep a close eye on tree recovery like watching the new growth and overall improvement in the tree which will help you to adjust the caring requirement and plan accordingly.

Although the Fiddle Leaf Figs suffering from Sunburn damage is quite disheartening but is a piece of good news that the plant still has the potential to recover. They are resilient plants that have the ability to bounce back from this situation of sunburn damage.

Preventing Sunburn on Fig Trees:

The following are some steps to prevent fiddle leaf figs from sunburn:

  • In case you are moving the trees from a low-light environment to a high-light environment you need to allow the trees to acclimate to increased levels of sunlight over some time not exposing them to direct sunlight.
  •  Doing this will help the plant to adjust to the change in light conditions and will reduce the risk of sunburn.
  • In case you are growing the tree in shade conditions outdoors then move it into a new location so that it gets 1-2 more hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • After passing 2-3 days you can move again to a location getting 2 hours of direct sunlight per day and then ending with reaching the maximum sunlight hours per day at that location.
  • In case you grow fiddle leaf figs indoors repeat the same method but here you need to place the tree in a location where there is no direct sunlight for 2-3 days.
  • If you do not have a shady location you need to use shade cloth, umbrellas, or other shading devices that will help in blocking intense sunlight during peak hours.
  • Using them will help to prevent sunburn conditions and allow them to develop a tolerance for sunlight.

How to save a Fiddle Leaf Fig from Sunburn:

Here are steps you need to follow to save a fiddle leaf fig from sunburn:

  • First, you need to remove the tree from the light source, where the tree will need a limited amount of filtered sunlight for a couple of weeks, after that you can return the plant to a spot that is receiving only indirect sunlight upto 5 hours per day.
  • Now you need to provide the tree with thorough watering, especially for the damaged trees you need to water them at the bottom. To execute bottom watering, fill a bucket or large container with water.
  • Keep the tree in a container having drainage holes in the water and make it drink as much as the soil takes.
  • Keep the plant in water for around 15 minutes and then let the excess water drain out for another 15 minutes.
  • In case the tree is too large to lift water the soil from the top. Only make sure the plant gets plenty of water.
  • You need to inspect the damage and remove severely damaged leaves. Make sure to check each leaf before you start pruning it off.
  • In case you find more than half of the leaves are still green you can leave it on and still use that leaf.
  • If you have over half of the leaf brown and crispy then prune it off using sharp pruning shears.
  • After the tree gets to recover it will begin to grow new leaves and then start to remove all previously damaged leaves.
  • You can also use the cutting for propagating new trees. Many people decide to start over using new cuttings for which you need to use a 6-inch cutting that actually has the healthiest looking limb then dip the cutting end into rooting hormone and afterward place the cutting in a fresh pot of clean potting soil or place it a vase that is filled with water.
  • You can also use rooting hormone that will promote the growth of roots in water.
  • In case of not using cuttings for propagation, use the propagation promoter on the ends of the branches that will signal to them to grow in that area.
  • You need to maintain a regular watering schedule for growing fiddle leaf figs by watering the plant once a week but must check the moisture level of the soil before you start to water the tree using a moisture meter.
  • In case of having a lot of moisture in the soil, stop watering for a few days before watering the plant again.

Sunlight Requirements of Fiddle Leaf Fig:

The Fiddle Leaf Figs tend to crave bright, indirect light similar to a cat craves a sunbeam but there is a plus point that they can handle some direct sunlight too.

Natural Habitat vs. Indoor Reality:

  • Fiddle Leaf Figs grown in the wild used to receive a kaleidoscope of light patterns through the canopy. 
  • Planting them indoors you need to provide them with their comfort zone of light.
  • They love to get a few hours of direct sunbathing.

Direct Sunlight: Friend or Foe:

  • Providing the plant with direct sunlight is not a must but it acts like a performance enhancer to fiddle leaf fig.
  • It will help boost the growth and grow into big, glossy leaves.
  • However, providing the plant with too much direct light can be painful and counterproductive.
  • You need to place the fiddle leaf fig in a place where it gets 4-6 hours of light.

Lux Levels: The Nitty-Gritty:

  • Providing the fiddle leaf fig with a minimum of 5000 lux keeps them growing a fit but if you want the plant to thrive you need upto 40000+ lux.
  • If you do not have a light meter dont worry the plant itself will speak using its leaves.
  • In case the plant thrives in big and perky leaves it means you are going in right way.
  • If growing leggy and sad it means you need to change the light situation.

Low Light: The Compromise:

  • Yes, fiddle leaf figs can survive in low light like living on ramen noodles but here the plant will not live its best life.
  • Providing the plant with bright light equals a happy plant life.

Window Direction and Sunlight Exposure:

Here I have explained about the impact of window direction on Fiddle Leaf Figs’ growth and happiness:

South-Facing Windows:

  • Here you get the brightest and longest sunlight exposure but you need to beware of it. 
  • If you place the plant too close the plant will have a crispy plan. 
  • You need to maintain a certain distance from the glass of the window to avoid the Fiddle Leaf Figs sunburn.

East-Facing Windows:

  • Placing the Fiddle Leaf Figs in an east-facing window gives them get morning wake-up call with early sun.
  • Here the sunlight quality gets lower by the day so make sure the plant is getting 6 hours of sun.

North-Facing Windows:

  • The north-facing windows are underdog of sunlight which may work in sunnier climes.

West-Facing Windows:

  • If you are keeping the plant in west-facing windows you need to keep the plant a few back unless the plant simulates a desert experience.

Tips for Regulating Sunlight Exposure:

The following are some you need to grow through to regulate sunlight exposure:

  • You need to rotate the plant at each watering which will prevent the plant from leaning into the light similar to a sunflower.
  • You can use sheer curtains which will diffuse the harsh rays most important for those who are placing the pot in south and west windows.
  • In case the Fiddle Leaf Figs are kept in a dim corner you need to consider reflective surfaces to bounce light around the plant.
  • Make sure to observe the plant response such as finding new growth is good news with no brown, crispy leaves not much.

Managing Sunlight Exposure for Fiddle Leaf Fig:

Here are some ways to manage sunlight exposure for fiddle leaf fig trees:

Understanding Indoor Light Conditions:

  • Talking about the light requirements actually is not just about quantity it’s the quality of light that the plant gets.
  • The main factor affecting the light is the seasonal changes making the plant yo get less light in winter and too much in summer.

Seasonal Adjustments:

  • You need to make adjustments according to the seasonal changes such as during winter grow lights that act as lifesavers for plants.
  • During summer you need to provide the plant with a sunglass vendor that will provide shade to the plant to avoid the situation of leafy sunburn.

Window Coverings: The Plant’s UV Filter:

  • Using sheer curtains acts like an unsung hero which is used to filter harsh rays to a gentle level.
  • They are used to prevent the dreaded leaf scorch without leaving the plant in the dark.

Strategic Placement: The Real Estate of Sunlight:

  • After potting the plant where you keep it is really important in short the placement.
  • According to me, a south-facing window is like prime real estate.
  • Keeping the pot in an east-facing spot you need to keep the pot a few feet away.
  • The location where you keep the plant makes a difference in having a thriving Fiddle and a crispy one.

Environmental Adjustments: Playing Mother Nature:

  • In case the Fiddle Leaf Figs is dropping leaves it’s high time to relocate or rotate the plant.
  • Always maintain dusting, which is like a spa treatment to the leaves that makes them breathe and soak in the sun.

Acclimating to Full Sun: A Gradual Tan:

  • You need to think like it’s a tan to provide the plant with a full sun taste.
  • The sunlight in the morning hour is the best level after that it slowly increases so adjust accordingly.

Monitoring and Adjusting: The Art of Plant Parenthood:

  • If you take a closer look at the Fiddle Leaf Figs it will give you a sign if it’s had too much sun or not enough.


So, fellow plant lovers, I think now you may learn why did fiddle leaf fig got sunburned and more importantly how to save it from sunburn. All these mentioned factors will help in maintaining the best bloom of fiddle leaf fig.


Is misting fiddle leaf fig a good option?

Fiddle leaf loves to be placid in a humid environment where you can mist the plant frequently place the plant close to the other plant or place it on a pebble tray that should be filled with water.

What’s the ideal temperature range for fiddle leaf fig?

Fiddle leaf figs love not too hot, not too cold weather i.e. 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).

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