How to Treat Scale on Fiddle Leaf Figs

Wondering how to treat scale on fiddle leaf figs? Click to learn what scale insects are and how best to rid your fiddle leaf fig of scale insects.

Most fiddle leaf fig owners are well aware of the more pervasive pests that can plague our precious fiddles, but there’s another insect that many plant parents overlook: scale.

This isn’t a super common pest for fiddle leaf figs (not as common as mealybugs and spider mites, anyway), but it can happen. So we want you to be ready! 

(Fun fact: mealy bugs are actually a species of scale, but they have legs and are a lot easier to identify!) 

So what on earth is scale, anyway? 

Wondering how to treat scale on fiddle leaf figs? Click to learn what scale insects are and how best to rid your fiddle leaf fig of scale insects.

Scale is a type of insect that can be tricky to get rid of once they infect your plant. 

There are actually thousands of different species, but most don’t have legs and will look like small brown bumps. 

Most species of scale will park themselves on a leaf or stem and create a hard shell to hide under. The female will lay her eggs under the shell, which causes the infestation to spread. They may even spread to other plants! 

Different species of scale might also produce a clear, sticky substance called “honeydew” which can attract ants, gnats, and flies, and even promote fungal growth. 

How to Spot Scale on Fiddle Leaf Figs

At first, it’s hard to tell that these are insects at all because they look like smooth, round, brown bumps.

These insects attach to leaves, stems, and even the trunk of your fiddle leaf fig and suck sap out of them. These insects don’t really move, so it’s easy to overlook them until your plant starts showing signs that it’s unhappy like yellowing leaves, stunted growth, etc.

Wondering how to treat scale on fiddle leaf figs? Click to learn what scale insects are and how best to rid your fiddle leaf fig of scale insects.

Some species of scale can also look like white bumps. 

Wondering how to treat scale on fiddle leaf figs? Click to learn what scale insects are and how best to rid your fiddle leaf fig of scale insects.

If left untreated, scale can stunt your plant’s growth and eventually kill it. 

How to Treat Scale on Fiddle Leaf Figs

As with all issues that affect fiddle leaf figs, it’s best to treat this early. Scale is far easier to treat if the infestation is light. 

If you notice scale on your fiddle leaf fig (or any of your plants!), try these four tips: 

Step 1: Quarantine the plant.

Scale can easily spread from plant to plant, so move the infected plant far away from your other houseplants to prevent spreading. 

Step 2: Pick them off.

If there are only a few scale spots here and there, you can usually pick them off without too much trouble. Just carefully remove them by hand or with a toothpick. 

If your infestation is severe, you may have to use more drastic measures. 

Step 3: Alcohol and neem oil.

Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol or neem oil and dab a little on each scale, which can smother and poison the insects. This works well for light to moderate infestations. 

Step 4: Prune.

If your infestation is more severe or if the other measures aren’t helping, it’s time to remove infected parts of the plant. With a pair of clean, sharp shears, prune off any infected leaves or stems, and even part of the trunk if necessary (cutting off the trunk may actually encourage growth once the tree recovers!) 

Bonus Tip: Release the ladybugs! 

Wondering how to treat scale on fiddle leaf figs? Click to learn what scale insects are and how best to rid your fiddle leaf fig of scale insects.

Ladybugs are natural predators of many harmful insects, including scale. You can order ladybugs online and let them loose on your fiddle to eat up any lingering pests. 

There are pros and cons to this method, so make sure to read our article on that here.

Pest infestations don’t have to mean the end for your fiddle leaf fig! The best way to deal with pests is to regularly inspect your plants for actual insects and signs of insects like small dots, webbing, or “honeydew”. 

To learn more about getting rid of pests, check out our Ultimate Guide to Fiddle Leaf Fig Insect Problems! 

Inspect regularly to stop infestations before they start! 

Want to chat with other fiddle leaf fig owners? Join our community on Facebook. 

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By |2019-10-10T04:36:08-07:00September 18th, 2019|Insects, Plant Care|0 Comments

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