Fiddle leaf fig plants are pretty popular these days and many people like to keep them in their homes. These plants originally come from western Africa and they’re known to grow in rainforest environments.
One of the reasons why they have become so popular is that they grow quite tall. You’ll often see these beautiful plants grow to be six feet tall and they look quite impressive overall.
You might already know and love fiddle leaf figs but this doesn’t mean that you won’t have some issues with them. These plants can develop brown spots for several different reasons and you might be concerned about whether your houseplant is going to die.
What causes fiddle leaf fig brown spots, and what can be done to fix things once you notice them? Keep reading to get more information about these plants, why this happens, and what you can do to solve potential problems.
1 – Some Brown Spots Could Be Caused by Past Issues
Before going forward, it’s going to be important to recognize that brown spots that show up on fiddle leaf fig plants aren’t really going to go away. Therefore, if you recently purchased a fiddle leaf fig plant from someone, it’s possible that brown spots on the plant could be from past issues.
If the brown spots in question truly are from past issues that the plant experienced, you don’t have anything that you need to worry about. You essentially just have to watch the plant to ensure that the spots aren’t spreading.
It can be a bit frustrating to know that your fiddle leaf fig isn’t going to be able to recover from damage that occurred in the past. Even if the brown spots look a bit unsightly, they aren’t going to go away over time.
Now that you know this, you’ll be able to turn your attention toward trying to spot current causes of spots. It’s important to be vigilant when you’re caring for fiddle leaf fig plants and you’ll know a lot more about brown spot causes after reading the information below.
2 – Scorching Is a Potential Cause of Brown Spots
One of the most common causes of brown spots in fiddle leaf figs will be that the leaves have been scorched. When this plant is exposed to too much harsh sunlight, it will wind up getting scorched and brown spots will be the result.
These sunburned leaves can actually range in color from white to yellow and a light shade of brown. The brown spots will likely be crispier than spots that have other colors. It’s also possible that you might notice a yellow outline around the brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig. You should also know that all parts of the leaf can become sunburned.
Fiddle leaf figs that are out in nature are generally going to get direct sunlight but if your houseplant isn’t used to that, too much direct sunlight can cause issues such as this. You’ll have to be more careful and try to limit direct sunlight exposure by only allowing it to happen for one or two hours at a time.
It’s sometimes the case that fiddle leaf fig plants will get burned by the sun when the weather has been particularly hot. For instance, if you have recently experienced a heatwave in your area, it makes sense that direct sunlight would be more harmful to your plant than usual.
As long as you’re mindful of the signs that your fiddle leaf fig has been sunburned, you’ll be able to remedy the situation. All you really need to do is be more careful about placing your plant in direct sunlight.
3 – Not Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Enough
Another potential cause of brown spots is not watering your fiddle leaf fig enough. As you might expect, your plant is going to have certain watering requirements that need to be met to keep it healthy.
When a plant such as this is not receiving enough water, it’s possible that it could develop brown spots over time. You might be watering your fiddle leaf fig but it’s possible that you just aren’t watering the plant completely right.
The brown spots on your plant’s leaves will look very particular when underwatering is the cause. These brown spots are normally going to cause the leaves to be crispy and the spots will start at the edges.
Another sign to look out for is leaf drooping, which should be a huge indicator that your watering practices need to be altered. Try to pay attention to how the plant looks and once you realize that underwatering is the problem, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments.
If you’re unclear about how often you’re supposed to water your fiddle leaf fig, you should know that they need to be watered every two weeks on average. You can also place your fingers on the soil to judge whether the plant needs to be watered or not.
When the top two inches of the soil are fairly dry, it’s going to be time to water your plant. You never want the soil to get bone dry when raising these plants and if this is happening, you’re waiting too long to water your fiddle leaf fig.
4 – Watering a Fiddle Leaf Fig Too Much Is Also Bad
Sadly, there are also people who have the opposite problem and this means that they are watering their fiddle leaf figs way too much. When you water a fiddle leaf fig too much, it’s going to be possible for brown spots to start forming.
When watering a plant too much is the issue, you’re going to notice that the brown spots start to appear in the middle of the leaf quite often. Spots can also appear by the edge or even by the stem.
These spots are also somewhat distinct because they’re much darker than usual. Typically, these brown spots will be dark brown and some of them might even be close to black in color.
You essentially just have to do a better job of checking the soil of your plants before giving them water. If you use the top two inches of soil trick, you should be able to get things back to normal.
Wait for your fiddle leaf fig to dry out some before you try to water it again. Watering it too much is something that you can fix by just getting used to the routine of watering your plant when it actually needs it.
5 – Humidity Issues Can Cause Brown Spots
Humidity issues can be a real problem for fiddle leaf fig plants and this is something that you will want to figure out fast. As you heard earlier, fiddle leaf fig plants are originally from Africa and you find them in tropical environments that are very humid.
During the winter months, you might notice that your home is significantly drier than usual and this presents problems for these plants When the humidity levels drop this way, it’s going to make it tougher for your plant to thrive.
If you want your fiddle leaf fig to do well in your home, you’re going to need to keep the humidity levels up. Generally, you should ensure that the humidity levels in your home remain at 60% or higher when you’re raising these plants.
In many places, the humidity levels will dip way below this during the cooler months of the year but this doesn’t mean that you have to give up. There are things that you can do to raise the humidity level reliably.
One of the most practical options is to simply buy a humidifier that will change the humidity levels of your home. You can easily place your plant in the same room as the humidifier to get good results.
Some plant owners choose to mist their plants with water each day to give them the necessary humidity. You could also try to move your plants to areas of the house that have better natural humidity, but it might be easier to just buy a humidifier since they’re rather affordable.
6 – Root Rot
Root rot is a very serious problem that you will want to try to identify as soon as you can. These brown spots from root rot will actually look very similar to those that came from watering the fiddle leaf fig plants too much.
Essentially, root rot is something that can happen when you continue to water your plant more than you should. If you didn’t catch yourself before you went too far, root rot could be the result.
The best thing that you can do when this occurs is to cut off rotting sections of the plant. Try to identify any rotting roots and cut them before you go ahead and repot the plant.
When you’re repotting a fiddle leaf fig, it’s going to be best to try to remove as much of the old soil as you are able to. You should be able to remove roots that are being impacted by root rot using standard cutters.
Of course, if the root rot is very bad, your plant might be dying. It’s possible that you might not be able to save your plant from root rot but this really depends on how advanced it is. If you suspect that root rot is the cause of the dark brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig, you need to take the time to check the roots.
Under normal conditions, the roots of these plants will be very firm but root rot changes things significantly. When root rot sets in, sections of the roots will become soft and they might even wind up being slimy.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to save things before it gets to the point where your plant won’t survive.
7 – Not Getting Enough Light
Sunlight is essential for your fiddle leaf fig plant and it’s not going to be able to stay healthy if it isn’t getting much sunlight. If your plant is not in a good spot for getting sunlight, you might want to make some adjustments.
Ideally, you’ll want to give your fiddle leaf fig several good hours of sun per day. If things aren’t very sunny in your area, you might even wish to consider a grow light to improve the health of the plant.
It’s also worth noting that sunlight exposure can help to dry your plant out. This is going to help you out when you’re trying to keep from watering your fiddle leaf fig too much.
Try to position your fiddle leaf fig so that it is fairly close to a window. Most plant owners will position these plants within one or two feet from a window that gets plenty of sunlight.
8 – Edema
Finally, there is an issue known as edema that can cause fiddle leaf figs to develop tiny reddish-brown dots. These dots will be present on new leaves that are just growing and you’re going to see them more often toward the top of your plant.
This is something that usually happens when people aren’t consistent enough with their watering habits. If you water your plants too much a few times, you could wind up seeing edema signs as a result.
Thankfully, this isn’t a huge deal and you aren’t going to have to worry too much about this. You should notice that edema signs occur less and less as your plant continues to mature.
Just do your best to try to keep a consistent watering schedule that is meeting the needs of your fiddle leaf fig. If you are able to do this, you should get good results and you won’t see edema issues pop up any longer.
Now you know all about what causes brown spots in fiddle leaf fig plants. You should be able to take the necessary steps to identify what is happening to your plant so that you can make changes.
Whether you’re dealing with edema or you have a more serious issue, it’s going to be possible to do what you need to do for the sake of your plant. Raising fiddle leaf figs will be very satisfying and you’ll have an easier time with it moving forward.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.