Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots: Causes And Remedies

Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots

Fiddle Leaf Figs (FLFs) can sometimes be fickle and tricky for some new owners to figure out. If one of their needs are not met, they will definitely show you. Many new or even experienced plant owners will face the issue of fiddle leaf fig brown spots or black spots popping up at least once.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots

It is important to know what causes this issue and how to prevent it from happening again and harming your beloved fig. Take the time now to evaluate any areas or likely causes for the spots. Take a mental note of the last time you watered, repotted, or moved your plant.

A few common causes for brown spots on a fiddle leaf fig include fungal root rot, a bacterial infection, underwatering, or a pest attack. Fiddle leaf figs can also sometimes react with browning or dropping leaves after moving the plant from its usual location. These issues can be corrected by treating them, placing your FLF back in its favorite spot, or ensuring the proper care is given long-term.


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Causes Of Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots

These are the most common reasons your fiddle leaf fig is experiencing brown spots or leaf drop. The faster you’re able to treat the core of any issues and provide top-notch plant care, the higher chance you have of keeping it alive. Some common cause of Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots along with their remedies are explained below:-

1. Root Rot

Root rot is one of the most common causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots, most often the lower ones. These sections of the leaf can be mushy. If the dirt in your plant’s pot smells rotten, take it out of the pot and check out the roots.

If the roots easily break apart with little effort, remove all rotten parts and repot it in an airier potting mix that doesn’t hold too much water. It will take some time for your plant to bounce back from this, but if it is given the correct care moving forward you will soon have a beautiful, thriving fiddle leaf fig.

2. Bacterial Infection

A bacterial infection is most commonly caused by fungus in the FLF’s root system. It results in yellow or brown leaves that are misshapen. A bacterial infection can be tricky to diagnose and treat.

The best course of action is to remove any afflicted leaves or roots and repot with fresh, airy soil, and water less often. The plant will have a better chance of survival if also given plenty of sunlight to soak up and fuel rehabilitation.

3. Sunburn

Another common cause for yellow leaves on fiddle leaf fig leaves is sunburn. This will look more like a tan coloration across a larger portion of a leaf. Yes, your plant can get a sunburn just like you can.

To fix this, move your plant somewhere where it doesn’t get as much direct sunlight, but still gets plenty of indirect sunlight. Also, consider removing any badly affected leaves so that the plant does not waste energy keeping leaves alive that are unable to photosynthesize.


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4. Underwatering

Yes, underwatering as much as overwatering can be just as damaging to your fiddle leaf figs foliage. Underwatering will slowly cause brown edges and drooping foliage. If the edges of the leaves are crispy, check your watering schedule.

The best tool if you’re unsure of whether your plant needs water is to get a moisture meter. This is a handy tool that tells you exactly what the moisture content of your soil is. Simply stick the moisture meter

Sometimes, old dirt can become hydrophobic over time which means that it no longer absorbs water as it used to. After watering, stick your finger a few inches into the soil to see if it has been properly saturated. If it is dry, repot the entire plant with fresh soil.

5. Pests

The most common pests that cause brown spots on FLF leaves are spider mites, aphids, and thrips. These pests can cause brown craters in the leaves of your FLF. The most common pest is spider mites and there are a few great pest solutions and ones made specifically for spider mites themselves that will eradicate them.

If you’re mixing a gallon of diluted neem oil solution a great recipe is one gallon of water, 1 tablespoon of concentrated neem oil, and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. Not only does neem oil kill pests, but it can also kill some fungal diseases.

You can spray the solution over the plant or soak a cloth and wipe every single one of the leaves down, front and back. Then, keep an eye out for the pests, and if they pop up again, repeat the process. It could take a few tries to fully eradicate them.

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6. Accidental Leaf Damage

If you accidentally rip even just a small section of one of your fiddle leaf figs leaves, the surrounding area could turn brown as the cells are now dead. If major damage has occurred to a leaf, it is best to remove the entire leaf so that the plant can heal and no infections can occur.

If your plant is mysteriously being damaged and you’re not touching or moving it yourself, make sure your furry friends are not munching. Not only is this horrible for your fiddle leaf fig, but the sap inside the leaves can also be harmful to the mouth, throat, and overall digestive system.

These are the major causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots. Now, Let’s move towards the care of fiddle Leaf so that you don’t get these problems.

Care Of Fiddle Leaf Fig To Prevent Brown Spots

The major factors for keeping a fiddle leaf fig happy are its lighting, water, soil, type of pot, and size. If one of these areas is not properly maintained then symptoms such as spots on fiddle leaf figs will appear.

Water

Fiddle Leaf figs like to dry out a bit between each watering and will give you signs that they need to be watered like their leaves slightly drooping. The schedule that you water on can vary greatly depending on the size of the pot your plant is in. Generally allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering.

When you do water your plant, take it somewhere where it can drain and let the water completely saturate all of the soil and completely flow through the entire pot for a bit. 30 seconds of allowing water to flow through will also help with mineral and fertilizer buildup. Highly concentrated pockets of minerals or fertilizer throughout the dirt can be another cause of brown spots.

Lighting

Like many plants, the fiddle leaf fig likes bright indirect light. Where the fiddle leaf fig differs, however, is that it can benefit from just a couple of hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive. The best place for this indoor plant is in front of a large window where it can see a view of the sky, an atrium with a diffusing skylight works as well.

Soil

Fiddle leaf figs need to be well-draining soil that is high in organic matter. Any soil that is too compact or holds moisture for too long can result in root rot or bacterial infections which leads to brown spots and eventually plant death.

The roots of a fiddle leaf fig are woody and thick and it would benefit greatly from larger additives in the soil such as orchid bark. Chunky additives ensure the roots get enough aeration and the soil drains faster.

Fertilizer

Brown spots due to a mineral deficiency are a less common occurrence, but can still happen. Fiddle leaf figs enjoy an N-P-K ratio of 3-1-2. If your fiddle leaf fig is not receiving enough nitrogen, this can cause yellowing of leaves.

Fiddle leaf figs enjoy receiving fertilizer around once a month in the growing season which is spring and summer. With the right amount of fertilizer, your plant will grow faster and larger. If your plant is healthier due to receiving enough fertilizer, it will also be able to better fight ailments should they occur.

Potting

A drainage hole in your fiddle leaf figs pot is absolutely essential. This ensures that no excess water is retained when you water. If water is retained within the pot over a long period of time, fungal infections like root rot can occur that will cause brown spots.

If you struggle with overwatering, choose a terra cotta pot or a quality fabric pot. Terra cotta absorbs excess moisture and actively pulls it away from the soil. Fiddle Leaf Figs prefer their soil on the dryer side, so this could be a great investment for your plant.

Repot

Check and make sure that your fiddle leaf fig is not root bound in its pot. As a general rule of thumb, fiddle leaf figs should be repotted every 1-2 years. A root-bound plant can eventually lead to underwatering or overwatering issues since some roots may be so tightly packed they’re unable to absorb water.

Remember: Treat Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots Before They Occur

Once the culprit of your fiddle leaf fig brown spots has been eradicated, treat future brown spots before they occur by continuing to provide proper preventative care. Even if your past fiddle leaf fig was too far gone and you needed to start from complete scratch with a brand new plant, you’ll now have better knowledge and will be able to succeed.

References

https://extension.umd.edu/resource/pot-bound-indoor-plants

https://www.almanac.com/n-p-k-ratio-what-do-numbers-fertilizer-mean

http://agebb.missouri.edu/agforest/archives/v10n2/gh14.htm

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/environmental/scorch.aspx

https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/plpath-gen-6

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