Leaf Drop: What's happening to my plant?

Leaf Drop: What's happening to my plant?

By Genevieve Mills

Leaf Drop: What's happening to my plant?

Let's talk about leaf drop, one of the most worrisome things to see as a plant parent.  There are a few different reasons why leaves may start falling off of your plant--don't panic yet!

Some interior plants may shed leaves when they first arrive in a new location--be it your home, or a commercial office setting.  The plants you buy in Ohio mainly come from Florida, where they are grown in bright, hot growhouses, or even outside. Arriving in the Midwest can be a bit of a shock to them, so certain plants, like fiddle leaf figs, may drop several leaves in their new home.  Assuming your plant is in a place with sufficient light, don’t panic...all the plant is doing is shedding some leaves so that it can concentrate it’s food-producing energy in fewer leaves as it acclimates to its new home. Once it settles in, it will push new growth. 

But (and relatedly)...leaf drop can also be caused by insufficient lighting.  If you notice your plant dropping a large number of leaves, see if there is a brighter spot that you can move it to within your space. This can be an issue in the winter months, as natural light in Central Ohio is generally less than during the summer.  If you move your plants outside during the summer, do so gradually--bringing them out for a few hours at a time over a few days, so they aren't shocked by the sudden change of light.  Do the same process in reverse when bringing them in for the winter--just make sure you leave yourself some time before nights get into temperatures in the 50s.    

Overwatering and underwatering can also cause leaves to drop. As a rule of thumb, let the top half of the soil dry out before you water your plant.  This could mean putting your plant on a weekly or biweekly watering schedule.

Check for pests.  Mealybugs, scale, and spider mites can cause leaf drop.  See our post about pests for treatment and preventative measures. 

Got nutrients?  If your plant leaves are turning yellow and then dropping, your plant may need a fertilizer boost.  Typically, the best time to fertilize your plant is at the beginning of its "growing season," that is, the spring/early summer months.  


We’re Here to Help 

If you have a specific question about your plant, email us at: greeninteriors@oaklandnursery.com for help.