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Causes and Solutions for Brown Spots on Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Ahoy there, plant enthusiasts! Are you worried about brown spots on your Fiddle Leaf Fig? You're not alone. The Ficus Lyrata, commonly known as a Fiddle Leaf Fig, has taken the plant world by storm with its stunning foliage and ability to spruce up any living space.

However, like any plant, it has its fair share of problems, including pesky brown spots that can be a real eyesore. In severe cases, you might need to prune your Fiddle Leaf to give it the best chance of survival.

To identify and address the cause of the brown spots, you'll need to observe and inspect your plant closely for some specific signs. So, let's get down to business and figure out what's causing these brown spots.

Fiddle Leaf Fig brown spots

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Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots - Causes and Solutions


1. Does It Matter Where the Brown Spots Appear?

Yes, the location of brown spots on your Fiddle Leaf Fig can provide important clues about the underlying cause.

For example:

  • If the brown spots are primarily on the lower leaves of your plant, it may be a sign of natural aging and shedding.

  • If the brown spots are located on the upper leaves, it could indicate issues with lighting or pest infestations.

The number of brown spots can also be a valuable indicator of the severity of the problem. A few isolated spots may not be cause for concern, but something is likely amiss if most of your plant is covered in brown spots.


2. Check for Correct Sun Exposure

Sun exposure spots are caused by excessive exposure to intense sunlight, which can scorch and damage the leaves. If the spots are primarily on the upper leaves and there are signs of sun damage, the issue is likely related to sun exposure.

Sun exposure spots are typically:

  • Smaller

  • More uniform in shape.

  • Tend to appear on the parts of the plant that are most exposed to direct sunlight.

They can range in color from:

  • Light brown to dark brown.

  • Accompanied by yellowing or browning of the surrounding tissue.

To ensure your plant receives the correct amount of sun and avoid brown spots:

  • Place it near a window that receives at least four hours of bright indirect light daily. If the light is too harsh, hang sheer curtains to diffuse some of the sunlight.

  • Regularly check for signs of sunburn, such as dry patches, curling leaves, or faded colors.


3. Check for Overwatering

The most common culprit is overwatering. I know, I know, you were trying to show your plant some love! But unfortunately, too much water can lead to root rot and those unsightly brown spots.

Overwatering spots are usually:

  • Larger.

  • Irregular in shape.

  • On the lower leaves of the plant.

  • Accompanied by yellowing or wilting of the affected leaves.

  • Surrounded by overly wet or soggy soil.

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs a good drink, but not enough to cause the soil to remain consistently wet. So, step away from the watering can and let the soil dry out before giving it another drink.

Then, adjust your watering schedule so you only water when necessary.

  • Use a moisture meter to check your soil before giving your plant a drink.

  • Ensure your plant's pot has proper drainage so that no water accumulates in the bottom of the pot.

Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can also cause brown spots.


4. Check for Underwatering

Underwatering can also lead to brown spots because of dry soil and too little nutrition for the plant to thrive. Be sure to check the soil regularly and water as needed for the optimal health of your plant.

When your Fiddle Leaf Fig is dehydrated, the leaves become:

  • Dry

  • Brown

  • Crispy

  • Curled at the edges

Dehydrated leaves have the following:

  • Localized brown spots

  • Irregular shape

  • Wilting

  • Drooping

Check the soil moisture level and the overall health of the plant. For example, if the soil is dry and the leaves are crispy, likely, the plant is not getting enough water.

To remedy underwatering, make sure you:

  • Water your fiddle leaf fig regularly and consistently.

  • Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

  • Mist the leaves occasionally.

  • Increase humidity by adding a humidifier.

If the damage is severe, you may need to prune away the affected leaves and wait for new growth.


5. Lack of Nutrients

A lack of nutrients can also contribute to the development of brown spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves. Nutrient deficiencies can manifest in different ways depending on which specific nutrient is lacking, but in general, they may cause the leaves to turn brown, yellow, or develop spots.

Common nutrient deficiencies that cause brown spots in fiddle leaf figs include:

  • Potassium - brown spots or burnt edges.

  • Magnesium - yellowing or browning.

  • Iron - yellow with brown spots between the veins.

To remedy a nutrient deficiency, it's essential to identify which nutrient is lacking and take steps to correct it.

This involves:

  • Adding (homemade) fertilizer or supplements to the soil.

  • Adjusting the pH level - between 6 and 7.

  • Providing your plant with more appropriate light or water conditions.

It's important to note that over-fertilizing can also lead to brown spots and other issues in Fiddle Leaf Figs. Hence, following recommended guidelines and avoiding adding too much fertilizer to the soil is essential.

By ensuring that your Fiddle Leaf Fig is getting the proper nutrients in the right amounts, you can help keep it healthy and free from brown spots and other issues.

If you're unsure how to address nutrient deficiencies in your plant, consult a gardening expert or plant care professional for guidance.


6. Check for Pest Infestation

Pests are another common cause of brown spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves.

Some common pests that can infest fiddle leaf figs include:

  • Spider mites

  • Mealybugs

  • Scale insects

  • Thrips

These pests can cause brown spots, yellowing, distorted growth on the leaves, as well as the overall weakening of the plant.

To check for pests, inspect your fiddle leaf fig regularly, and pay close attention to the following:

  • The undersides of the leaves.

  • The joints of the stems.

Signs that indicate the presence of pests:

  • Webbing

  • White fluff

  • Sticky residue

  • Flies and gnats

To get rid of pests, you can use the following:

  • Insecticidal soap

  • Neem oil

  • Organic pest control methods

Treating your plant promptly and thoroughly prevents the infestation from spreading. You may also want to isolate the affected plant from other plants to prevent the spread of pests.

Preventing pest infestations in the first place is vital to keeping your fiddle leaf fig healthy and free from brown spots.

Prevent pests from taking hold by:

  • Regularly inspecting your plants.

  • Maintaining good hygiene practices.

  • Wipe down leaves.

  • Avoiding overwatering.

Taking proactive steps to prevent and treat pest infestations can help keep your Fiddle Leaf Fig healthy and looking its best.


The Bottom Line

Brown spots on Fiddle Leaf Figs can be caused by various factors, including overwatering, inadequate lighting, pest infestations, or a natural part of the plant's growth cycle. By following these expert tips, you'll be well on your way to keeping your Fiddle Leaf Fig happy and healthy.


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