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Why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig Getting Brown Spots?

If you’ve landed on this article, then there’s probably a reason: your usually beautiful and thriving Fiddle Leaf Fig plant (known scientifically as the Ficus lyrata) has a problem. A pretty fussy house plant which is often riddled with problems, one of the most common issues plant parents will face is that of brown spots on the usually green leaves.

The patches can often spread across the leaf if not treated rapidly, leading to crispy fiddle leaf fig leaves, and in worst case scenarios, lead to the loss of leaves on the plant. This article will discuss what causes brown spots on the leaves of your Ficus lyrata, as well as how to prevent crispy leaves!

Why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig Getting Brown Spots?

Why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig Getting Brown Spots?

There are actually a number of different reasons that the Fiddle Leaf Fig can develop brown spots. Some are more common than others, and they all have varying symptoms, which means you should (fairly) easily be able to deduce the problem your plant is facing.

#1 The plant is not receiving enough water

Though it’s always better to underwater than overwater a plant in order to prevent root rot, Ficus lyratas are particularly fussy when it comes to their watering requirements. In order to tell if your plant is getting enough water, feel several inches down into the pot.

If the soil is bone dry, then your plant may well not be getting enough water. I personally check on my Fiddle Leaf Fig at least once a week during the winter, and even more so during hot spells in the summer months in order to ensure that it’s receiving adequate amounts of water.

When watering, you must ensure that, rather than following online advice of ‘x’ amount of water, which will not be specific enough for your particular plant, you soak the entire root ball with water. I personally allow my plant to just about dry out before fully saturating the plant in water. With this being said, you should never allow your plants to sit in standing water as this can lead to root rot.

Why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig Getting Brown Spots?

#2 The plant is receiving too much water

Unfortunately, brown spots can appear on the Ficus lyrata as the result of both too much water and too little water. If the plant is overwatered, then this can lead to root rot, from which it is pretty hard for the plant to recover.

If the soil seems to be wet to the touch, then the plant may be receiving too much water. In order to tell if this is the case further, then be sure to remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. If they are mushy and brown, then your plant is suffering from root rot. Stop overwatering the plant immediately and allow it to adequately dry out before resuming a lighter watering schedule.

#3 Your space is too dry for the fiddle leaf fig

As well as requiring exacting amounts of water, the plant will also suffer if the humidity of the air surrounding your plant is too dry. Too little humidity in the air will case the leaves to dry out and brown spots to develop.

This is a particular problem during the winter months when central heating can dry out the air in your home. If you live in a place with air conditioning, then the summer months can also cause issues for the Fiddle Leaf Fig.

In order to resolve this problem, mist your plant on a regular basis. When you’re misting, this is also a good time to turn the plant, which should be done on a regular basis in order to ensure that the plant grows evenly. You should also be sure to wipe down the leaves on a fairly regular basis as they are prone to accumulating dust. 

Why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig Getting Brown Spots?

#4 Pests and disease

Yet another cause of Fiddle Leaf Fig brown spots, though likely less common than some of the other Ficus lyrata problems listed here, are pests and disease. If you notice that the brown spots on the leaves are towards the edges of the leaves, as opposed to in the centre, then the cause of the problem might be Leaf Spot Bacteria.

The symptoms of this Bacteria are typically different from the other plant problems that the Fiddle Leaf Fig faces, and so it should be easy to tell if your house plant is suffering from this bacteria. Typically, the plant will develop yellow spots.

If you suspect that the plant has developed Leaf Spot Bacteria, then it should be isolated from all other plants in your collection immediately so as to prevent further contamination. Liquid Copper Fungicide is usually used to treat the plant.

fiddle leaf fig

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About Author

Sophie Nadeau is a travel, pizza, and history lover who is currently based in Paris, France. A keen indoor gardener, she spends her time at home reading books, looking at too many dog photos, and growing an indoor jungle in her tiny flat!