Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots: How To Treat And Fix

Fiddle Leaf Fig

It’s important to diagnose what caused the fiddle leaf fig to brown spots so that you can find the appropriate way to treat and fix it. There are actually 7 main causes of brown spots: watering problems, root rot, bacterial infection, insect damage, Sunburn, leaf bruising, or disease.

The Causes And Solutions

1. Underwatering

Brown spots are frequently caused by too much water, but Fiddle Leaf Figs also turn their leaves brown in response to dry weather. Low humidity or inadequate hydration may be to blame for this. The edges of the leaf will turn brown, but brown spots will also appear in the leaf’s center.

How To Identify

  • In addition to the brown spots in the center of the leaves, look for crispy edges and wilting.
  • Lifting the plant out of the pot will allow you to inspect the soil for dry spots that aren’t absorbing moisture.

How To Fix

Not necessarily more frequently, but more thoroughly. Try placing the plant in a tub and filling it with water. Depending on the size of the root ball, give the plant 10 to 30 minutes to soak. Use a small humidifier to raise the humidity, or move the plant near a source of humidity, such as a bathroom with a shower.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

2. Overwatering

One of the most frequent causes of problems with indoor plants is overwatering.

How To Identify

  • Check to see if the soil is completely wet by sticking your finger into it. If it still hasn’t dried out a few inches deep even after a week, a better draining soil mix might be required.
  • As signs of too much moisture, look out for mold and fungi in the pot.

How To Fix

Fiddle Leaf Figs must only receive water after the top two inches of soil have dried out completely. Avoid watering based solely on appearances or your schedule. Give a plant that has been overwatered a week or two without any watering so the soil can dry out. If the issue persists, think about changing to a soil combination with better drainage. The plant shouldn’t be left to stand in a saucer or other container that collects runoff water.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

3. Pest, Disease, Or Bacterial Infections

A Fiddle Leaf Fig can be attacked by a variety of pests, and each of them over time causes sunken brown spots in the middle of the leaves. Aphids, spider mites, and thrips are the most prevalent. Brown spots and leaf drops are additional symptoms of bacterial infections. To some extent, all of the leaves will be affected by the browning, which will initially start on the leaf’s edges.

Fiddle Leaf Figs also develop browning on their leaves in response to dry conditions, although brown spots are frequently caused by too much water. Low humidity or inadequate hydration may be to blame for this. The edges will turn brown, but the leaf’s center will start to develop brown spots as well.

How To Identify

  • Search the undersides of any leaves that are still healthy for tiny black, white, or brown specks. These can either be the actual pests or the harm that their attacks have caused.
  • Check the leaves for stickiness, which is a sign of insects like aphids that produce honeydew.
  • Inspect the soil for signs of mildew or webbing across the top surface.
  • Keep an eye out for multiple, lighter brown spots on each leaf, which signify bacterial infections.

How To Fix

Pests must be treated according to their particular species, but the majority can be controlled with horticultural soap and some thorough hand-cleaning. Less watering and brighter lighting may help bacterially infected leaves that are browning, but the discoloration won’t go away.

Depending on the species, different treatments must be used for different pests, but for the majority, horticultural soap and careful hand-cleaning will suffice. Less watering and brighter light conditions may help browning leaves recover from a bacterial infection, but the discoloration won’t go away.

4. Sunburn

Although this type of houseplant prefers bright light for at least six hours a day, they don’t like direct light for more than a few minutes at a time. Sunburn, also known as sun-scald, is caused by too much exposure to the sun. The damaged area of these leaves will probably first turn yellow and droop in a small area before becoming flat and brown.

How To Identify

  • Beware of healthy leaf color fading and yellowing in isolated areas.
  • As the season’s change and the sun’s angle fluctuates, make sure that the amount of exposure to the sun hasn’t changed significantly.
  • Fiddle Leaf Figs react in this way to any significant change in light, so expect some leaf drops after moving a plant or burning your skin.

How To Fix

Fiddle Leaf Figs should not be placed near windows that may receive excessive direct sunlight. All you can do after sunburn develops is stop further injury. A leaf may become discolored from minor damage, but it is unlikely that it will fall. Leaf fall will be caused by larger burns.

For more information, see our comprehensive guide to the ideal location for Fiddle Leaf Figs in the home.

5. Root Rot

The outer roots of the Fiddle Leaf Fig plant suffocate and rot when the soil mixture surrounding the plant’s roots is left wet for an extended period of time. Root rot is difficult to spot until spots on the leaves turn very dark, almost black. The Fiddle Leaf Fig’s loss of leaves is another indication that it has gotten too much water.

How To Identify

  • Check the plant’s outer roots after removing it from the pot. Rot is the issue if you see slimy, darkened, or dead roots.
  • Despite receiving plenty of water, look for wilting leaves, which point to root rot.
  • Keep an eye out for spots in the center of the leaves that are very dark, almost black, and for leaf drop.

How To Fix:

In general, root rot is easily treated, especially if it is discovered early.

You should immediately address your drainage since root rot is typically a problem of poor drainage. Make sure your container is well-draining, your potting soil is quick-draining, and you aren’t watering your plants too frequently.

In order to proceed, you should first evaluate the damage. Your plant does not require repotting if there are only a few brown spots on the leaves. Allow your plant to dry out for at least two weeks to give the roots enough time to heal. Make sure your plant gets enough sunlight and remove any damaged leaves.

Use a moisture meter to check that the roots of your plant are drying out between waterings if you’re unsure whether it’s receiving too much moisture. After that, with the right drainage and watering, your plant should recover. For more information on how to water plants correctly, visit our ultimate watering guide here.

You should perform root surgery and repot your fiddle leaf fig, though, if the damage is severe or moving quickly. To do this, take your plant out of its pot and hose down the root ball. Remove any mushy, brown roots. Make sure your drainage is adequate and repot your house plants in soil that dries quickly. To prevent the issue from recurring in the future, adopt good watering habits.

6. Lack Of Light

Similar to how watering causes discoloration, exposure to too little or too much light can both cause it. These dark, soft, or sunken spots develop close to the leaf’s stem or veins.

How To Identify

  • On the plant’s shaded side, look for leaves that are a lighter shade and have less sheen.
  • If lighting problems are the issue, rule out other typical causes first.

How To Fix

Do not attempt to rotate the plant so that all of the leaves receive light. As turning the plant only results in leaf drop, only artificial lighting will promote more even growth. If necessary, move the plant nearer to a window or buy new plant lights to promote a healthy new growth.

It’s also advisable to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves of dust once a month.

7. Over Or Under Fertilizing

In the course of the summer, fiddle leaf figs only require one or two applications of fertilizer. Brown spots on the edges and centers of the leaves are frequently the result of over-fertilizing. The houseplant develops light-colored browning from the veins outward when insufficient fertilizer is given.

How To Identify

  • Look for browning coming from the veins outward to indicate under-fertilization or from the edges inward to indicate overfertilizing.

How To Fix

With a dose of balanced houseplant fertilizer, under-fertilizing is easily remedied. Start with a diluted application and then apply a full-strength application two months later. If you think there has been a problem with the potting mix, stay away from overfertilizing and replace it.

8. Leaf Bruising Or Disease

Given that root rot is the most prevalent disease that affects fiddle leaf figs, when there are any obvious dark spots, they most likely have this condition. Brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig, on the other hand, could also be the result of leaf bruising (where a leaf has folded over or cracked), or from a specific leaf-focused disease like bacterial leaf spot.

Brown spots are typically present along with yellow leaves in the latter scenario. The leaves have a noticeable discoloration before developing brown spots.

How Can The Brown Spots On My Fiddle Leaf Fig Be Removed?

You must take immediate action to address the problem if the brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig leaves are causing them to drop from the plant. Brown spots, which are frequently (but not always) caused by root rot, can quickly kill your Ficus if left untreated.

Let’s look at removing brown spots from a fiddle leaf fig.

Inspect your fig’s roots – Usually, brown spots result from a fungal or bacterial infection in your fiddle leaf fig. To find out if root rot is the issue, you must examine the roots of your plant.

Prune away decaying or necrotic roots – Pull apart the root ball and remove any mushy or rotten roots after determining whether your fiddle leaf’s root system is unhealthy and requires treatment.

Test the integrity of your drainage system – You need to make sure that fiddle leaf figs have excellent drainage because they are prone to root rot. For a sick plant, check that the pot’s drainage system is adequate to prevent waterlogging (gravel and lots of drainage holes are helpful).

Replace the soil – The best soil for fiddle leaf figs is well-draining and well-aerated. Repotting and re-soiling your plant is almost always advised if it has brown spots.

Removing damaged leaves – You must eliminate infected leaves in order to aid your plant’s recovery and stop brown spots from spreading. Over 50% browning of a leaf indicates that it cannot be saved and must be removed. That being said, don’t cut back more than 50% of your plant in total, potentially even leaving you with a fiddle leaf fig with no leaves, as it will take much longer to recover.

Consider a root rot supplement – You should be able to pick up a root rot supplement at your neighborhood nursery or garden center as an extra precaution on the road to recovery for your fiddle leaf.

Fiddle Leaf Fig


Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Occasionally Have Brown Spots?

Large, sunken, flaky, or dry brown spots on the Fiddle Leaf Fig are signs that something is wrong. However, very minor discolorations, particularly on the underside of the leaf, may be normal and not cause for concern.

Edema, which is what these minuscule brown to red spots are, simply show that the plant absorbed a lot of water at once. They are frequently mistaken for insect damage because they can fade to a silver or light brown color.

These purely natural brown spots are not a problem unless you notice other pest indications.

Will The Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves That Have Been Damaged Recover?

Sadly, harmed fiddle leaf fig leaves won’t heal on their own. With clean, accurate pruning shears, you can remove the entire leaf from the plant if the brown spots bother you. To avoid shocking your plant, be careful not to remove more than 10% of the entire leaf canopy at once.

How To Avoid Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots In The Future

Future brown spots can only be prevented with proper maintenance. If your plant has root rot, you may need to repot it into a container with better drainage and soil that drains well to stop excess water from causing root issues.

Correcting the watering conditions and waiting it out are your best options if a bacterial infection is to blame. After receiving a good soak and being shielded from excessive heat, very dry plants will recover.