Fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) are popular indoor plants from the Moraceae family known for their large, glossy leaves.
But sometimes, these dark green leaves can develop brown spots.
There are a few different reasons this might happen, including sun damage, underwater, or pests.
Luckily, a few simple treatment options can help eliminate the brown spots and keep your plant healthy.
Here’s everything you need to know about brown spots on fiddle leaf figs, including various causes and how to treat them.
What Causes Brown Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves and How to Get Rid of Them
There are many reasons why brown spots may appear on the leaves of your Ficus lyrata.
To treat the problem, it is essential first to identify the cause.
Doing so will allow you to take the necessary steps to fix the issue and prevent it from happening again.
Some of the most common causes of brown spots on fiddle leaf fig trees include:
Fiddle leaf figs are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa.
In their natural habitat, they are used to living in conditions where they receive indirect sunlight.
When placed in a new environment, such as a home or office, they may need more time to adjust to the change in lighting conditions.
If your fiddle leaf fig plant is placed in an area that receives harsh direct sunlight, it may experience sunburn.
Leaf burn often appears as light brown spots on the leaves with a yellow ring around the edges.
The fiddle fig leaves will turn brown and may even fall off.
How To Treat Sunburned Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves
If your fiddle leaf fig leaves have been damaged by sunburn, it is best to cut off the affected leaves.
You can do this with a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears.
Once you have removed the damaged leaves, you should move your fiddle leaf fig plant to a partially shaded area that will receive bright indirect sunlight.
The best place for your fiddle leaf fig is an east- or west-facing window, as the sun will not be as harsh in these areas.
You can also use a sheer curtain to filter the light.
Once you have moved your fiddle leaf fig to a different location, give it a few days to adjust to the new light conditions.
The leaves should start to grow back after a few weeks.
One of the most common reasons for brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig tree is underwatering. This means that you are not giving your plant enough water, and it cannot absorb the moisture it needs to stay healthy.
Inconsistent watering can cause brown spots on the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig tree.
You can also tell if it is not getting enough water if the Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves are drooping.
How To Treat an Underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig
If you think your fiddle leaf fig is underwatered, you first need to check the soil.
The soil should be moist but not soggy.
If it is dry, water your plant immediately.
You should also check the drainage of your pot.
Make sure the pot has holes in the bottom to drain the water.
If the pot does not have holes, your plant’s roots will start to rot, and the plant will die.
Once you have checked the soil and drainage, you should water your fiddle leaf fig once a week.
Be sure to give it enough water, so the soil is moist but not soggy.
After you have watered your fiddle leaf fig plant, give it time to dry before watering it again.
Overwatering is a serious problem that causes fiddle fig brown spots. This happens when you give your plant too much water, it has poor drainage, and the roots cannot absorb the soil moisture.
The excess water will pool in the pot, and the roots will begin to rot.
When the roots start to rot, they will not be able to take in the nutrients they need to survive, and the leaves will turn brown.
You can tell if your fiddle leaf fig is being overwatered, if the leaves are wilting or if the pot is constantly wet. Leaf drop and yellowing of the leaves can also be a sign.
How To Treat an Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig
If you think your fiddle leaf fig is getting too much water, you first need to stop watering it.
Let the pot dry out completely before you water it again.
You may also need to repot your plant in a pot with drainage holes to help the excess water drain out.
Once you have repotted your plant, water it only when the top two inches of soil are dry.
Fiddle leaf figs are finicky plants that require just the right amount of humidity to stay healthy.
If the humidity levels drop too low, the leaves will turn brown and drop off. This is because low humidity causes the leaves to lose moisture faster than they can replace it.
As a result, the leaves become stressed and start to die.
In addition to causing dry brown spots and crispy brown leaf edges, low humidity can make the leaves more susceptible to pests and diseases.
How To Treat a Fiddle Leaf Fig with Low Humidity
If the humidity levels are too low, you can do a few things to raise the humidity.
One way to do this is to mist your plants with water daily.
You can also place your plant on a pebble tray.
Fill a tray with pebbles and water, and place your plant on top of the pebbles.
The water will evaporate and raise the humidity around your plant.
You can also try using a humidifier.
Not as common as the other reasons on this list, nutrient deficiencies can also cause brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig. This happens when the plant is not getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, or Phosphorus are the most frequent nutrient deficiencies that cause brown tips.
The lack of these nutrients is usually caused by the plant not getting enough water or the soil not having enough nutrients.
How To Treat a Fiddle Leaf Fig with Nutrient Deficiencies
If you think your plant is not getting the nutrients it needs, you can try fertilizing it.
Fertilize during the growing season using a half-strength fertilizer.
Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for the best results.
You can also try using a liquid fertilizer.
Add the liquid fertilizer to the water when you water your plant.
You should also make sure that you are watering your plants enough.
The water will help the plant absorb its nutrients to stay healthy.
Fertilizer burn is another common reason for fiddle leaf fig brown spots. This happens when you use too much fertilizer or fertilize too often.
The fertilizer will build up in the soil and burn the plant’s roots.
As a result, the leaves will develop dark spots and brown edges.
You can also get fertilizer burn if you use a too strong fertilizer.
How To Treat Fertilizer Burn on a Fiddle Leaf Fig
If you think your plant has fertilizer burn, you must stop fertilizing it.
Let the soil dry out completely, and then flush it with water to remove the excess fertilizer.
To prevent fertilizer burn in the future, use a half-strength fertilizer and follow the instructions on the package.
Fertilize your plant during the growing season and take a break during the winter.
You should also make sure that you are watering your plant enough.
The water will help dilute the fertilizer and prevent it from building in the soil.
Pests are another common problem that causes brown spots on fiddle leaf figs.
Aphids, spider mites, fungus gnats, and scale insects are the most common plant pests that attack fiddle leaf figs.
These pests suck the sap out of the leaves, causing them to turn brown and die.
In addition to causing brown spots, pest damage can also cause distorted or yellow leaves.
Pests can also spread diseases from one plant to another.
How To Treat a Fiddle Leaf Fig with Pests
If you think your plant has pests, you first need to isolate it from other plants. This will prevent the pests from spreading to other plants.
You can treat most pests with natural remedies such as insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Mix the insecticidal soap or neem oil with water according to the instructions on the package.
Spray the mixture on the plant, covering all of the affected areas.
You must treat your plants every few days until the pests are gone.
Leaf Spot Diseases
Leaf spot diseases are another common reason for dark brown or black spots on fiddle leaf fig plants.
These diseases are caused by fungi or bacteria that infect the plant’s leaves.
The fungi or bacteria will cause the leaves to turn brown and die.
In some cases, the entire leaf may turn brown and fall off.
The most common leaf spot diseases include:
- Bacterial Leaf Spot
- Fungal Leaf Spots
How To Treat a Fiddle Leaf Fig with Leaf Spot Diseases
If you think your plant has a leaf spot disease, you first need to isolate it from other plants.
This will prevent the disease from spreading to other plants.
Make sure that the plant is getting enough natural light.
Leaf spot diseases are often caused by too little light, so increasing the amount of light your plant receives can help to prevent the disease from spreading.
Water the plant from the bottom up, ensuring the roots absorb moisture before the leaves do. This will help prevent the leaves from getting too wet, which can exacerbate the fungal and bacterial spots.
Also, remove any affected leaves and dispose of them properly.
These simple steps can help your fiddle leaf fig recover from leaf spot disease and stay healthy.
Fungal Root Rot
Fiddle leaf figs are susceptible to root rot, which can cause brown tips and small black spots on the leaves.
Root rot is caused by overwatering, which can lead to fungal growth.
When the plant’s roots are waterlogged, they can’t get the oxygen they need to function correctly. This can damage and kill the roots and cause the leaves to turn brown.
You can tell if your plant has fungal root rot if the leaves are wilting, yellowing, or browning and a bad smell is coming from the soil.
The fiddle leaf fig leaves may also fall off. If your plant has root rot, you should take it out of the pot and check the roots. If they’re mushy or black, they’re probably rotting.
How To Treat a Fiddle Leaf Fig with Root Rot
If you think your plant has root rot, the first thing you need to do is remove it from the pot.
Be careful not to damage the roots.
Once you’ve removed the plant from the pot, check the roots for signs of rot.
If they’re mushy or black, they need to be removed.
You can do this by cutting them off with a sharp knife.
Once you’ve removed the rotten roots, you can replant the plant in a fresh, well-draining potting soil mix.
Be sure to water it regularly and avoid overwatering it.
These simple steps can help your fiddle leaf fig recover from root rot and stay healthy.
Fiddle leaf fig brown spots are also caused by frost damage.
Frost damage occurs when the plant’s leaves are exposed to cold temperatures.
This can cause the leaves to turn brown and die.
Protecting your plants from the cold is vital if you live in an area with frost.
You can cover them with a sheet or tarp when the weather is cold.
You should also move them indoors.
How To Treat a Fiddle Leaf Fig with Frost Damage
If you think your plant has frost damage, the first thing you need to do is remove it from the cold.
Bring your outdoor plants inside, and move indoor plants to a warmer location.
Once the plant is in a warm spot, check the fiddle leaf fig leaves for signs of frost damage.
If they’re brown and wilted, they need to be removed.
To remove a damaged leaf, use a sharp knife or pruning shears.
Cut the brown leaves off at the point where they meet the stem.
Once you’ve removed the damaged leaves, let the plant rest in a warm location until new growth appears.
How To Prevent Brown Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants
Fiddle leaf figs, the Ficus lyrata, are a popular type of houseplant. Still, when the growing conditions aren’t right, they can suffer from various problems, including brown spots on the leaves.
Fortunately, there are some tips you can take to help prevent and treat these common issues.
Here are a few tips:
- Give your plant enough water. Fiddle leaf figs need to be watered regularly, about once a week. Water them deeply until the water comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Allow the soil to dry out in between waterings.
- Place your plant in the correct location. Fiddle leaf figs need bright indirect light. They can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much sun will cause the leaves to turn brown.
- Prune your plant regularly. Pruning helps to encourage new growth and also gets rid of any dead or dying leaves that could potentially cause brown spots.
- Inspect your plant regularly for pests. Fiddle leaf figs are susceptible to mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. If you see any of these pests on your plant, treat them immediately.
- Be careful when fertilizing. Too much fertilizer can burn the roots of your fiddle leaf fig and cause the leaves to turn brown. If you fertilize, use a half-strength fertilizer and apply it every two weeks during the growing season.
- Protect your plant from drafts. Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to cold temperatures and can be damaged by drafts. Keep them away from windows, doors, and any other draft sources.
- Avoid using chemicals on your plant. Chemicals can damage the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig and cause brown spots. Try to use only organic products on your plant.
- Get rid of any dead leaves. Dead leaves can harbor pests or diseases, which can then spread to the rest of your plant. Remove dead leaves from your fiddle leaf fig as soon as you see them.
- Practice good plant hygiene. Keep your fiddle leaf fig clean by dusting the leaves regularly. This will help to prevent any pests or diseases from attacking your plant.
- Don’t stress your plant. Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to changes in their environment. Try to keep their location and care routine consistent to avoid stressing the plant.
Following these tips, you can prevent brown spots on your houseplant leaves and keep it looking its best.
Brown spots on fiddle leaf fig trees are not something to worry about.
They are caused by various factors, including too much sun, lack of water, or even pests.
However, there are ways to treat and prevent fiddle leaf fig leaves from turning brown.
Following the tips in this article, you can keep your fiddle leaf fig tree healthy and free of brown spots.