One of the most common concerns that fiddle leaf fig owners face is brown spots on the beautiful leaves of their plant. The condition can be frustrating and confusing because it takes a bit of experience to determine what is causing the brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig. It’s important to diagnose the problem quickly and treat your plant to help it fully recover.
But how can you tell exactly what’s causing your brown spots? Is it dryness or over-watering? Too much sun or not enough light? I’ve found that the best way to tell what’s causing your brown spots is to review several photos of the most common conditions to identify the problem with your plant. Here’s your definitive photo guide to brown spots in fiddle leaf figs!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots From Root Rot
Arguably the most common cause of brown spots in a fiddle leaf fig is root rot from over-watering. Root rot is a fungal infection that takes place when the roots sit in water for too long and don’t have adequate drainage. Fiddle leaf fig roots in particular need fast-draining soil and ample drainage. If your fiddle leaf fig has brown spots from root rot, you’ll want to act quickly. Try our Root Rot Treatment to treat your infection before it spreads, and use our Houseplant Leaf Armor to protect your fiddle leaf fig from bacteria, fungus, and insects.
The telltale sign of root rot is very dark brown or black spots that spread throughout the leaf over days or weeks. If you see dark brown spots at the base of your leaf, root rot is likely to blame. Brown spots from root rot typically cause the leaf to eventually fall off. Here are some photos of classic brown spots from root rot in a fiddle leaf fig.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots From Bacterial Infection
Bacterial infections in fiddle leaf figs can be very frustrating and hard to treat. The problem mimics the symptoms of brown spots from root rot, but is often more difficult to fix. In a bacterial infection, the brown spots will be lighter in color than from root rot, ranging from tan to dark brown. They are typically spots across the leaf, not necessarily at the edges or the base of the leaf as with root rot.
This condition can also cause your plant to drop leaves both at the bottom and top of the plant, whereas root rot is more likely to cause leaves to drop at the bottom of the plant. Here are some photos of brown spots from bacterial infections. Whether your brown spots are from root rot or a bacterial infection, our Root Rot Treatment will help your plant recover, and our Leaf Armor will protect it from future bacterial infection.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots From Dryness
Very dry fiddle leaf fig plants can quickly develop brown spots, which typically are more tan in color than brown, and start at the edge of the leaf and spread inward. This can happen slowly or very rapidly on a hot day, like for the fiddle leaf fig pictured below, which was left outdoors on a 110-degree day. This leaf completely dried out in less than 12 hours.
In this next photo, you can see a completely dry plant that was left without water for over two months when its owner went on vacation. A telltale sign of dryness is the drooping of the leaves, which have lost their turgor pressure from lack of water.
Using a moisture meter like this one lets you know when your plant is thirsty. Consistent adequate water is essential for your fiddle leaf fig to thrive! Read our Ultimate Watering Guide for more information.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots From Physical Trauma
Brown spots on a new plant that show up a week or so after you move your plant are often from physical trauma. This is because the large leaves on a fiddle leaf fig are often damaged during a move and the bruises left of the plant will turn brown over time.
Often, these spots look like cracks or tears. Brown spots from physical trauma are certainly a bummer, but they do not need treatment and your plant will generally recover very well. The telltale sign of brown spots from physical trauma is that they appear on an otherwise very healthy leaf and plant.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots From Sunburn
If your plant gets too much direct sunlight, it can get a sunburn, which manifests as light brown spots that sometimes look bleached. These spots will appear predominantly on the top leaves and can even show some red and yellow coloring, depending on how recent the burn is. The leaves should be removed by pruning, and the plant should be relocated to a more protected location.
What Should You Do About Brown Spots on a Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Once you’ve diagnosed the cause of your fiddle leaf fig plant’s brown spots, you’ll want to correct the issue in a hurry to help your plant make a full recovery. Correcting your watering problems, providing proper drainage, using a fast-draining soil, and making sure your plant is getting the right amount of sunlight will stop the brown spots and keep them from returning. Make sure you are fertilizing properly and checking the condition of your plant once a week to stay on top of any problems.
If your fiddle leaf fig still needs help or you would like to protect it in the future, we’ve spent over a year creating a treatment to protect your plant from root rot infections. Our Root Rot Treatment is a natural plant bio-stimulator, enhancing your plant’s existing immune response and promoting growth.
It was designed with input from microbiologists, fiddle leaf fig growers, and botanists. It provides protection against the common Pythium, Pphytophthora, and pseudo-fungi that cause root rot in fiddle leaf figs. It’s gentle and safe for your plant, designed to be used every time you water, along with fiddle leaf fig plant food. Get your Root Rot Treatment today on Amazon.
Another incredible product we’ve designed is our Houseplant Leaf Armor, created to protect your plant from bacteria, fungus, and insects. As an added bonus, it also cleans and adds shine to your plant’s leaves!
Will the Damaged Leaves Repair Themselves?
Unfortunately, damaged fiddle leaf fig leaves will not repair themselves. If the brown spots bother you, you can remove the entire leaf from the plant with clean, sharp pruning shears. Take care not to remove more than 10% of total leaves at once to avoid shocking your plant.
How to Avoid Brown Spots in the Future
Proper care is the only way to avoid brown spots in the future. If your plant is suffering from root rot, you may need to repot it into a container with better drainage and fast-draining potting soil.
If a bacterial infection is to blame, correcting the watering conditions and waiting it out is your best bet. Very dry plants will recover after a good soaking and protection from too much heat.
Using our Houseplant Leaf Armor is a great way to protect your plant from bacteria, fungus, and insects, and it also cleans and shines your plant’s leaves in the process!
Physical trauma is the easiest condition to treat, as you just need to give your plant time and TLC to heal. Finally, sunburned leaves will need to be removed and the plant should be protected from the sun.
- Learn more about how to treat and prevent root rot and watch a helpful video by clicking here.
- Subscribe to our newsletter.
- To learn more, sign up for our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar or enroll in our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Course for advanced fiddle leaf fig care.
- Read The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now!
- Click to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.