Brown leaves on a fiddle leaf fig are most frequently caused by a fungal infection from the roots sitting in excessive dampness.
Root rot is brought on by excessive watering and inadequate drainage, and it spreads from the plant’s roots to its leaves. A fiddle leaf fig’s roots need to somewhat dry out between waterings for healthy growth. The fungal infection will eventually cause the leaves to slowly turn brown and then fall off.
Removing the pot and looking at the roots is the only way to be confident that your plant has root rot.
Potential Cause 1: Root Rot
Brown stains on the roots from a fungus caused by too much moisture. Root rot is brought by by over watering and bad drainage, and it eventually affects your plant’s leaves.
How to Correct It
Removing the pot and looking at the roots is the only way to be confident that your plant has root rot. Root rot is at blame if the roots are mushy and discolored. Let your plant dry out for around two weeks if there are only a few brown patches on the leaves so that the roots have enough time to heal.
Make sure your plant gets enough light, and remove any damaged leaves. If there are several brown patches, you should remove any brown, mushy roots and the affected leaves before repotting the plant and being careful not to overwater it in the future.
Potential Cause 2: Bacterial Infection
In addition to the brown spots, your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s leaves will yellow as a result of bacterial leaf spot. In contrast to bacterial leaf spot, which causes the leaf to turn yellow as the brown spot spreads, root rot often causes the leaves to remain dark green with brown patches. Your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s leaves will eventually drop off due to both bacterial leaf spot and root rot. Since bacterial leaf spot tends to feed on new growth, it is likely to be to fault if your younger leaves are suffering more than your older leaves.
Unfortunately, this is the Fiddle Leaf Fig condition that is most difficult to treat. It can already be too late for your plant, even with the right care and watering. Cut off all of the leaves that have brown spots if the damage is not severe, then repot your plant in new, sterile soil. While it is healing, give it lots of light and don’t water as frequently.
Potential Cause 3: Insect Damage
Although uncommon, insect illnesses leave clear signs. Check your plant for webs or insects using a magnifying glass. Small patches that develop into holes on the leaves are a sure sign of insect damage.
Treatment for insect infestations is simple. Use neem oil products made specifically for indoor plants. Alternately, you might make your own cure by mixing a few teaspoons of mineral oil and baking soda in a spray bottle with water. Spray the entire affected area of the plant after thoroughly shaking the solution. Your other houseplants should not be near diseased plants. Neem oil has an overpowering odor, so move your plant outside if you can. Spray your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves with a strong mist. Don’t forget to spray the area where the leaf meets the stem after turning each leaf to cover the underside. If more spraying is required, wait two weeks, inspect once more, then repeat the process.
Potential Cause 4: Your Plant is Too Dry
Dry tan or brown regions that originate at the edge of the leaf and force the leaf to curl make dry plant brown spots simpler to identify. Your plant will occasionally appear dry or wilted overall, and the dirt may have retreated from the pot (shrinkage). This may result in the water never reaching the root ball and instead running between the pot and the soil.
Consider transferring your Fiddle Leaf Fig to a more moderate area if it is currently close to a heater or in an extremely dry environment. When the soil is 50 to 75 percent dry, water as needed, and keep an eye on your plant to make sure it’s getting enough hydration. Use a humidifier close to your plant or try misting it once to three days. Make sure the root ball of your plant is completely submerged in water by giving it a long sip. Make sure the pot’s bottom is dripping with water. Before placing the plant back on its saucer, let it to rest and drain any extra water.
Should I prune my fiddle leaf fig’s dark leaves?
Like grooming your dog or cat, pruning your plant is crucial to keeping it healthy and attractive. Pruning your fiddle leaf fig prevents weed growth and maintains its health. You should prune your plant for a number of reasons.
Remove Damaged Leaves and Stems
To promote the general health of your plant, you can safely remove any leaves with significant brown spots or holes. A damaged or ill leaf depletes your plant’s nutrients and increases the risk of infection. Any time of year, get rid of any leaves that are broken or ill right away.
Keep Your Plant From Getting Too Tall
Healthy fiddle leaf fig plants have a tendency to grow aggressively toward the sun, which could cause them to become too big or tall for their environment. You should cut back any growth over that height since plants look their best when their upper leaves are at least 8 to 10 inches below the ceiling. You can make your plant stronger and more compact by trimming it to prevent it from growing too tall.
Give Your Plant Balance
Your plant might grow sideways towards the direction of the closest window depending on where it receives its light, which could make it asymmetrical or unbalanced. Rotate your plant frequently so that it develops symmetrically to avoid this. Even after pruning, plants can still go out of balance, which will assist prevent uneven growth.
Decrease Crowded Areas
To stay healthy, fiddle leaf fig leaves require airflow and room. The leaves on your plant may become damaged by rubbing against one another if it becomes overly compact and crowded. Pruning will help to spread out crowded regions.
Shape Your Plant
Due to their restricted exposure to sunlight when grown indoors, fiddle leaf fig plants can develop unique morphologies. They might develop sideways rather than upwards toward the sun as they would if they were growing outside.
The lowest leaves will also fall off in the wild because of a lack of sunshine. Lower leaves, though, may still receive plenty of light inside and stay on the plant. The desired tree-like shape may be destroyed as a result. You should cut off lower leaves and branches that are spreading out too much in order to shape your plant so that it looks best in the area where it is placed.
How can a fiddle leaf fig from Browning be preserved?
Secret No. 6: Avoid letting a sick fiddle-leaf fig tree fully dry up. Make sure any extra water drains out the bottom of the pot when watering it once or twice per week. (I water mine in the shower and keep it there for a couple of hours so the pot can drain, then I put it back on the plant saucer.)
Secret No. 7: Even if the container is so tight that roots are visible at the surface, wait to transplant it until you notice fresh growth.
In conclusion, letting your fiddle-leaf fig tree heal slowly on its own is the greatest thing you can do to ensure its survival. Give it filtered sunlight, water once a week, and warm environments (a room temperature between 60 and 90 degrees would do). Furthermore, if there is even a remote chance that the temperature may drop below freezing overnight, don’t leave it outside.
Are you also attempting to preserve your fiddle-leaf fig? The Fig and I: 10 Tips for Caring for a Fiddle-Leaf Fig has more advice. Visit Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees: A Field Guide in our selected plant guide for Tropicals 101 for additional growing, maintenance, and design advice.
Finally, consult our Creeping Fig: A Field Guide for additional guidance on how to effectively plant, nurture, and maintain a creeping fig.
Get additional tips on planting, growing, and caring for fiddle-leaf fig trees by reading our Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree: A Field Guide.
Finally, use our Houseplants: A Field Guide to learn more about how to grow and care for different houseplants.
Are you looking for additional tropical plants for your indoor or outdoor space? With the help of Tropical Plants: A Field Guide, you can learn more about how to cultivate and care for different tropical plants.
Finally, consult our Vines & Climbers: A Field Guide for more guidance on how to cultivate and maintain a variety of vines and climbers.
What does a fiddle leaf look like when it is overwatered?
Brown patches towards the center and around the edges of the leaves of Fiddle Leaf Figs are a telltale indicator of excessive water and/or root rot. Too much water is nearly always indicated by many yellow.
A general browning with small dark patches or shaded areas that can swiftly spread from one leaf to another over the course of a week is another sign of overwatered fiddles.
You might also see that your plant loses its lower leaves first, as was indicated before. Given that plants typically safeguard their new growth and shed their older leaves first, this could be an indication of root rot.
How frequently should fiddle leaf figs be watered?
Overwatering or failing to provide adequate drainage are the two most common ways to destroy a fiddle leaf fig. About once every 10 days or once a week, water your plant. As we just discussed, FLFs are accustomed to receiving a massive amount of water with intermittent dry spells because they are native to a rainforest-like habitat. Therefore, it’s recommended to water indoor plants until the soil is barely dripping before letting the soil dry fully in between applications.
There are two ways to accomplish this. Bring the plant inside after watering it and letting it drip for an hour or two outside or in the bathtub. Place your FLF on a plant stand above a drip tray if you don’t want to carry it back and forth to be watered. Make sure the roots don’t spend a long period sitting in extra water, whichever method you pick.
Watering a Fiddle Leaf Fig
Overwatering or failing to provide adequate drainage are the two most common ways to destroy a fiddle leaf fig. About once every 10 days or once a week, water your plant. As we just discussed, FLFs are accustomed to receiving a massive amount of water with intermittent dry spells because they are native to a rainforest-like habitat. Therefore, it’s recommended to water indoor plants until the soil is barely dripping before letting the soil dry fully in between applications. There are two ways to accomplish this. Bring the plant inside after watering it and letting it drip for an hour or two outside or in the bathtub. Place your FLF on a plant stand above a drip tray if you don’t want to carry it back and forth to be watered. Make sure the roots don’t spend a long period sitting in extra water, whichever method you pick.
Not sure of the next time to water? Simply press your finger into the soil’s top 2 inches. If it’s still wet, don’t touch it. Don’t believe in yourself? Purchase a cheap soil moisture meter, and water when it indicates that the soil is practically dry.
Having trouble deciding when to water your fiddle leaf fig? Simply press your finger into the soil’s top 2 inches. If it’s still wet, don’t touch it. Don’t believe in yourself? Purchase a cheap soil moisture meter, and water when it indicates that the soil is practically dry.
Are fiddle leaf figs tolerant to harsh sunlight?
Fiddle Leaf Figs need to be thoroughly watered about once a week to match their love of natural light. You should modify the amount of watering based on the size of the plant and, consequently, the size of the roots. As a general rule, water the plant thoroughly only after the top 2 to 3 inches of soil have dried up. This entails watering it till water drips out the bottom if it’s in a planter with a drainage hole. However, avoid letting the drip tray fill up with water for too long because root rot can readily develop in this situation. Remember to water the plant slowly and in a circular motion around it, making sure to wet all of the soil. Water will then reach all of the roots rather than just some.
A Sustee Aqua-meter is one of the greatest instruments for determining how frequently your Fiddle Leaf Fig requires water (available for purchase in our shops). We have discovered that there are particular seasons of the year when our plants are significantly more thirsty than usual since we started using these in our stores. The Sustee changes color from blue to white when the soil is sufficiently dry to prevent overwatering from occurring after it has become saturated with water.
You should water all tropical plants with water that is room temperature. A plant will undoubtedly experience shock if exposed to hot or extremely cold water, just as it would if the same conditions existed outside.
Prior to watering, aerate and break up the soil to improve water absorption. In order to ensure that water reaches all of the plant’s roots rather than draining out along the planter’s edges, we also advise watering very slowly around the top of the soil.
Fiddle Leaf Figs need some routine care, just like most other plants. One crucial maintenance procedure for your fiddle leaf coincidentally involves its leaves, which are also its most noticeable feature. Wonderful duty in the shape of routine dusting comes with great leaves. Fiddle Leaf Figs require frequent dusting due to the size of their leaves. As dust builds up on plant leaves, dust particles interfere with the plant’s ability to absorb sunlight and carry out photosynthesis. Given how much Fiddle Leaf Figs adore light, giving your plant a frequent dusting will go a long way toward keeping it healthy.
Rotating your plant monthly or biweekly is a good idea in addition to dusting the leaves. By rotating your plant, you’ll ensure that it receives an equal distribution of light, preventing one side from growing much faster than the other and resulting in a solid, symmetrical Fiddle Leaf Fig.
There are a few things you can do to encourage your Fiddle Leaf Fig (or any tree, for that matter) to start developing branches. First, try providing your plant with additional light. Trees naturally sprout branches, and if they have a lot of natural light, they may have more energy to devote to doing so. Cutting off your plant’s highest point of growth is another approach to promote branching. As a result, the plant will be forced to start branching out from the sides rather than continuing to grow vertically. Visit our pruning journal entry to find out more about pruning and branching.
Aerating the soil once every few months prevents the soil from being compacted for people who don’t already do so. The ability of your plant to absorb water is one of many factors that can be badly impacted by compacted soil, which eventually forms tiny pockets of soil where water never penetrates. It is possible to aerate using a variety of tools, including chopsticks and official soil aerators that are of a similar size and shape. To avoid destroying too many roots, gently press the aerator deeper into the earth as you go. By breaking up any areas where the soil has clumped together, do this a variety of times around the soil to keep your plant healthy and happy.
Last but not least, we advise using a “less is more” philosophy when it comes to fertilizing your Fiddle Leaf Fig and other indoor plants. It’s advisable to avoid providing your plants with too many extra nutrients at once. In the spring and summer, we strongly advise adding a slow release pellet fertilizer, such as the Osmocote Plus Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food, into the top layer of the plant’s soil. These pellet fertilizers typically last for a few months.
Winter is a challenging season for indoor plants, including Fiddle Leaf Figs, because of the obvious lack of natural light and the cooler temperatures. As indicated above, keeping an eye out for cold windows is a smart place to start, but there are other things you can do to keep your Fiddle Leaf content throughout the chilly months.
People frequently experience problems with heating vents during the winter, but since they aren’t used for more than half the year, it’s simple to forget about them. Plan to relocate all of your plants away from any heating vents when it is time for them to turn on. Repeated hot air bursts have the potential to scorch leaves and quickly dry out your plants.
Break up the dirt a little with your fingertips before watering your plant in the winter. Soil is easily clumped and compacted in winter due to the dry indoor air. By lightly breaking it up with your fingertips, you can prevent water from dripping through the soil and out the sides of the planter.
It’s also important to note that a humidifier can benefit Fiddle Leaf Figs and other tropical plants all year long, but particularly during the winter when the indoor air turns dry. Your plants are able to flourish as they would in a rainforest thanks to the continuous increase in moisture circulating in the air, which prevents browning leaf tips.
Fiddle Leaf Figs need a lot of natural light and do best when placed directly in front of a window.
Once a week, thoroughly water the soil, allowing the top few inches to dry out before watering again.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about caring for fiddle leaf figs below, in person at one of our stores, or by contacting us.