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The Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) can be a finicky plant to look after and can be prone to several potential problems like yellowing leaves, drooping leaves, brown spots, and the presence of bugs. The most common causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig problems are overwatering or stressful shifts in its environment, such as intense or direct sunlight.
If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is starting to turn and you catch these symptoms quick enough, you can fix them.
However, it’s important to note that, unlike other plants, a Fiddle Leaf can take longer to recover, so please be patient with yourself and your plant.
There can be many reasons why your fiddle leaf fig is experiencing problems. So, let’s chat about the most common fiddle leaf fig symptoms, what their potential causes could be and how you can go about fixing them.
If your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves are turning yellow prior to dropping, overwatering may be the reason.
It’s important to note, leaf dropping every now and then is natural, however, frequent leaf drop is generally caused by getting too much or too little water.
But your Fiddle Leaf Fig might also be falling victim to a different problem – extreme temperatures.
It’s important to note that the Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is prone to leaf loss when stressed, but dropping leaves means the plant needs help speedily.
Because the Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves are large, it can take months or years to regrow lost foliage.
If your fiddle leaf fig is dropping leaves, remember that the quicker you diagnose the problem, the faster you can save your plant.
Your tree will be happiest when kept in consistent conditions. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. You can also mist your Fiddle Leaf Fig regularly to boost its humidity.
Earlier, we discussed that the two main reasons why your fiddle leaf fig leaves are falling off are either due to an influx of extreme temperatures or an inconsistent watering routine. But there is also a third possible reason for the problem – root rot.
Fiddle Leaf Fig root rot often stems from a combination of too much water and insufficient light.
A major sign of root rot is the fiddle leaf has brown spots. If your plant has dropped spotted leaves, take a look at your drainage and lighting situation.
It’s important to treat root rot immediately to protect your plant from becoming worse due to infection with bacteria, fungus, or pests.
Brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves are actually pretty common. But when it comes to trying to decipher the origin of this kind of infection, there could be a number of reasons for its occurrence.
Brown spots are usually due to a fungal infection from the roots sitting in too much moisture.
Overwatering and poor drainage may cause an infection that can spread to the leaves of your plant. Infections can be a very tricky problem to treat in Fiddle Leaf Figs, but it’s not impossible.
There are four leading causes of brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig plant: root rot, bacterial infection, dryness, and insect infestation.
As we’ve discussed with root rot, if you’re overwatering your plant or if it has poor drainage, root rot is probably the cause of your fiddle leaf fig having brown tips.
Brown spots on a fiddle leaf fig can start appearing around the edges or the base of the plant. An indication of root rot here is that the brown edging appears in a splotchy pattern.
If you’re unsure if your Fiddle Leaf Fig has a bacterial infection, one common symptom is that your plant is unresponsive to treatment for root rot. One key characteristic of bacterial brown spots is the presence of fewer black spots on the fiddle leaf fig and more brown spotting.
Another observation to note on your fiddle plant is that with root rot, the leaves will typically remain dark green with brown spots, but if the plant has a bacterial infection, the leaf will turn yellow as the brown spot spreads.
With both root rot and bacterial infection, it will cause the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig to fall off eventually.
Bacterial infection prefers feeding on new growth, so if your newer leaves are worse off than your older leaves, your fiddle leaf is most likely suffering from a bacterial infection.
A bacterial infection may be the most challenging fiddle leaf fig disease to treat. However, you can start by pruning your Fiddle Leaf roots by removing any mushy, rotten-looking roots before repotting them into fresh soil.
This is probably the most straightforward problem to notice on a fiddle leaf fig because the leaves will have a dry tan or have lighter brown areas that start at the edge of the leaf and cause the leaf to curl.
Overall, your plant will look wilted or dry at times, and the soil may start to crack and recede from the pot. Dryness can cause the water to run between the pot and the soil and never reach the root ball.
If you haven’t been consistent in your fiddle leaf fig watering routine, or the temperature surrounding your plant fluctuates from one extreme to another, then those two conditions could be the reason for the Fiddle Leaf Fig becoming dry.
To rectify this problem before it worsens, you can try moving the plant to another location if you feel that the fluctuating temperature is the problem.
Also, be sure to water your fiddle leaf regularly and assess if there is any improvement with your plant.
Fortunately, this issue is not as common on fiddle leaf fig plants as it is on other plants. But if it does occur, it’s obvious to spot.
To diagnose insect damage, you’ll notice small dark spots that damage the plant leaves that eventually turn into holes in the leaves. This tends to happen more commonly in the new growth.
You can look out for insects on your plant or any white or gray insect webs with a magnifying glass. If you find any evidence of insects living on your plant, you’ll know this is the cause of your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s browning leaves.
Luckily, it is easy to treat your fiddle leaf fig if it is struggling with an insect infestation. Most houseplant pests can be managed with a natural pesticide like insecticidal soap, neem oil, or an antiseptic.
Be sure to turn each leaf to spray the underside, and don’t forget to spray the area where the leaf meets the stem. Wait two weeks, inspect again, then repeat the spraying process if needed.
Fiddle leaf fig plants are prone to this type of problem due to being kept in direct sunlight. Essentially, your fiddle leaf is sunburnt. If your plant gets too much direct sunlight, the leaves can appear bleached.
Unfortunately, the fiddle leaf fig sunburn cannot be remedied. You will have to prune the sunburnt leaves with shear scissors to keep the overall look of the fiddle leaf fig tidy. An easy solution to this problem is to relocate your plant to another spot that doesn’t have direct sunlight.
White spotting usually occurs on the top leaves of the plant and can sometimes show some red or yellow coloring.
The most common cause for red spotting all over your fiddle leaf is Oedema. This ‘chickenpox’ for plants occurs when a plant’s roots accidentally take up more water than it can actually handle, the cells in the leaves burst, leaving red spots or blister-like spots.
Oedema can spread from one plant to another if not quickly spotted and treated. However, mild Oedema in your Fiddle Leaf is nothing to worry about.
Severe Oedema on your plant will need you to take a peek at your watering habits. Sporadic watering is a prime cause of moisture stress and in turn, Oedema.
It’s important to check the underside of the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig as well. Spider mites can also cause blemishes with a similar appearance to Oedema.
The best thing you can do to help any of the above problems with your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is to give it time and allow it to recover slowly on its own. Give it indirect sunlight and be sure to water once a week.
Remember, what is probably the most important when it comes to Fiddle Leaf Fig care is keeping the humidity in the room consistent.
Don’t feel discouraged if your fiddle leaf fig plant is struggling the first couple of weeks you have it. fiddle leaf figs aren’t the easiest indoor plants out there, so remember to exercise patience.