Floppy Leaf The difficulty in resolving fig brown spots is mostly due to the variety of causes of browning leaves.
The fact that some of the causes are diametrically opposed to one another doesn’t help either!
The good news is that depending on where they are, what color they are, and how you take care of your Fiddle Leaf, there are techniques to recognize and address the causes of various brown spots.
Keep a watch on any brown spots on a Fiddle Leaf Fig you’ve recently purchased to see whether they spread or get worse.
As long as they don’t spread, brown patches brought on by previous problems don’t need to be attended to. Imagine them as a scar. Unfortunately, damaged leaves won’t grow back. Therefore, it’s crucial to prevent things from getting worse.
Identifying the cause of your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s Brown Spots
Don’t let the numerous reasons for brown spots deter you! Once you start to recognize the various varieties, it will be simple for you to evaluate your FLF and restore it to full health. The leading causes of brown stains or damage are listed below, along with solutions.
The appearance of sunburned leaves can range from white to yellow or light brown. Sunburned brown spots may become crispy and develop a yellow ring around the edge of the brown. Sunburn does not only affect particular areas of a leaf, such the edges.
How to spot a FLF with sunburn:
- Does direct sunlight reach your FLF? Only exposure to direct sunlight, whether from the outside or a window, can result in sunburn.
- Has your FLF received more sun recently than usual? Although fiddles are naturally full-sun plants, they must gradually become accustomed to direct sunlight. If your FLF is brand-new, be careful not to expose it to more than 1-2 hours of light morning sun at first (unless you are certain that it was in direct sun prior to purchase)!
- Does your FLF receive direct sun, but you’ve just experienced really hot weather? If these plants aren’t accustomed to intense sun, they still risk burning. My outdoor Fiddle sadly received some burns from the intense sunshine following a heatwave of 38C (100F).
- Are the sun-exposed locations where the brown spots are located? Leaf burn won’t happen if it is buried under other leaves. This is a reliable approach to confirm that sunburn is to blame. It frequently appears on taller leaves or in exposed locations where the sun shines.
Floppy Leaf Underwatering in figs usually results in brown blotches because the plant is excessively dry. Depending on whether the issue has been resolved or not, under watering brown spots are crisp, light brown, and typically begin at the leaf’s outside margins before moving within. A shortage of water will frequently cause the leaves to droop.
How to spot a FLF with insufficient water:
- When you water a plant, do you completely saturate it? Unfortunately, just providing FLFs with a small amount of water, or x-number of “cups,” results in a lot of underwatering. Keep in mind that every time you water, the entire root ball should be soaked. An accurate moisture meter can automate this process for you if you’re unclear about your watering strategy and schedule.
- Have you watered your plants in more than two weeks? The frequency of watering your FLF will depend on a variety of environmental factors, but they will typically dry out mostly in two weeks.
- Is the dirt dry to the touch? Watering is often recommended when the top two inches of soil are mostly dry. Your fiddle is way too dry if the ground is bone dry!
Brown spots from dryness appear because of dry air, much as underwatering. Tropical plants known as fiddle leaf figs prefer a humid habitat. Although they may adapt to lower levels of humidity, an optimal humidity level is above 60%. Low humidity or being in the draft of a heater or air conditioner might cause the plant to become dry.
Some people advise watering plants to prevent dryness, however this only slightly raises humidity for a brief period of time. Additionally, if the leaves are misted frequently, they may be susceptible to bacterial illnesses! Consider purchasing a humidifier to raise the humidity in the room if your house is overly dry. Run it near your plant, but keep it away from it.
How to tell if a FLF is dry:
- Check out the advice on under-watered FLFs above. Make sure your Fiddle is receiving enough water first because the symptoms of dryness are identical to underwatering.
- Are the leaves crumpling or are the edges of the leaves becoming brown? The edges of the leaves will first become dry, and this may also cause the leaves to begin to fold.
- Does your fiddle have any form of air blowing on it or sit near a heater? Dry air striking your plant can undoubtedly be a major contributor to dryness. Move it away from the draft to a new spot.
- The humidity may be too low. Although they can adapt to low humidity, fiddles do best in environments with humidity levels above 60%.
Brown stains on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves brought on by overwatering might begin anywhere on the leaf. Accordingly, the spot may show up in the center of a leaf, next to the margin, or nearer the stem. Overwatering brown blotches have a murky appearance and are quite dark, almost black. Give your FLF at least a week to dry out if you overwatered it before watering it once more. The brown spots ought to halt growing.
How to spot a FLF that has been overwatered
- Before watering, do you make sure the top two inches of soil are largely dry? Between waterings, fiddle leaf figs prefer to mostly dry out. You should only water them when the top two inches of soil are dry. If you are unfamiliar with caring for these plants, a trustworthy moisture meter can assist you with a watering regimen.
- Do you water your FLF more frequently than once per week? While the frequency of watering will vary depending on your environment, FLFs typically only require a weekly watering.
- Does your pot have a hole for drainage? For FLF health, a draining pot is essential. Since these plants don’t like to “sit” in water, this enables extra water to drain. You’ll need to repot your plant if yours doesn’t.
Why are the edges of my fiddle fig leaves becoming brown?
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.
How frequently should a fiddle leaf fig 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.
How can a brown fiddle leaf fig be revived?
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.