How & Why

Why Do Fig Tree Turn White?

Fig trees are beautiful when they’re in fruit, but they can’t exert themselves too much when they’re blooming.

If you’ve ever noticed fig trees in bloom – that time of year when their otherwise dark green leaves start to turn white – you may have wondered about the reason behind this strange phenomenon.

The answer is simple, though the explanation is a little more complicated. Fig tree leaves turn white because they can’t handle being so busy with both photosynthesis and flower production at once. When they’re busy blooming, the tree doesn’t have time to do much else.

The same concept applies to most flowering plants that produce flowers. During an individual flower’s life cycle, they spend most of their time producing seeds that will eventually grow into new plants. This is called seed set, and it can take an entire growing season for a plant to produce enough seeds to have one every year.

When a fig tree’s leaves are turning white during an individual bloom season, it is not necessarily because there are more seeds on them than usual – rather, the trees are simply unable to photosynthesize as much during this period of high energy consumption. Fig trees take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and water to make food, and can take up less CO2 when they aren’t growing seeds.

There are other reasons for this phenomenon, though. Since the energy cycle inside of fig trees is closely tied to photoperiodism – how light duration directly impacts plant growth – there may also be some sort of feedback occurring that provides the necessary energy boost during the blooming season that fig trees need to continue growing. Fig trees change their leaf color at night, which means they get more sunlight during the day. At night, photosynthesis slows down so much that it is actually possible for them to get too little light-energy required by the plant anatomy.