Understanding and Addressing Brown Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves

The fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is a popular houseplant cherished for its large, glossy leaves and elegant presence. However, one common issue that can plague fiddle leaf fig owners is the appearance of brown spots on the leaves.

These brown spots can be distressing, as they detract from the plant’s beauty and may indicate an underlying problem. In this article about fiddle leaf fig leaves turning brown and falling off, we will explore the various causes of brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves, along with effective prevention and treatment methods.

Brown Spots Fiddle Leaf Fig: Causes & Solutions

Overwatering and Poor Drainage: One of the primary causes of brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves is overwatering. Fiddle leaf figs are native to tropical rainforests and prefer moist but well-draining soil. When the roots sit in waterlogged soil for extended periods, they become susceptible to root rot, leading to brown spots on the leaves. Poor drainage in the pot exacerbates this issue.

To prevent overwatering, ensure that your fiddle leaf fig is potted in a container with drainage holes. Use a well-draining potting mix composed of peat moss, perlite, and bark. Water the plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry, and avoid allowing excess water to accumulate in the saucer.

Underwatering and Low Humidity: On the contrary, underwatering and low humidity levels can also cause brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves. If the plant is consistently deprived of water, its leaves may develop dry patches that eventually turn brown. Additionally, low humidity levels can cause the plant to lose moisture rapidly, leading to leaf dehydration and brown spotting.

To prevent underwatering, check the soil moisture regularly by inserting your finger into the top inch of the soil. If it feels dry, water the plant thoroughly until water drains out of the pot’s bottom. Increase humidity around the plant by misting its leaves with water or placing a humidifier nearby.

Exposure to Direct Sunlight: Fiddle leaf figs thrive in bright, indirect light. However, excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause brown spots on the leaves. Direct sunlight can scorch the delicate leaves, leading to discoloration and browning.

To protect your fiddle leaf fig from direct sunlight, place it near a north or east-facing window, or use sheer curtains or blinds to filter the light. If the plant has already been exposed to excessive sunlight, move it to a shadier location and prune off the affected leaves.

Related: How Often to Water Fiddle Leaf Fig? Frequency Explained (FAQ’s)

Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutritional deficiencies can manifest as brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves. Lack of essential nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, or iron can result in leaf discoloration and brown spotting.

To address nutritional deficiencies, use a balanced fertilizer formulated specifically for houseplants. Dilute the fertilizer according to the package instructions and apply it to your fiddle leaf fig during the growing season. Additionally, consider adding organic matter, such as compost or worm castings, to the soil to provide long-term nutrient enrichment.

Pests and Diseases: Various pests and diseases can afflict fiddle leaf figs, leading to brown spots on the leaves. Common pests include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects, which feed on the sap of the leaves, causing damage and discoloration. Fungal and bacterial infections can also result in brown spots and leaf deterioration.

Inspect your plant regularly for signs of pests, such as webbing, sticky residue, or visible insects. If detected, isolate the affected plant to prevent the infestation from spreading and treat it with organic insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. For fungal or bacterial infections, remove the affected leaves and improve air circulation around the plant by spacing it away from other plants.

How Do I Fix Brown Spots on my Fiddle Leaf Fig?

To fix brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig, start by identifying the underlying cause. If the brown spots are due to overwatering, adjust your watering routine by allowing the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.

Ensure the plant is potted in well-draining soil and a container with drainage holes. If underwatering is the issue, increase the frequency and amount of water you provide, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.

If the brown spots are a result of direct sunlight, move the plant to a spot with filtered or indirect light. Address nutritional deficiencies by fertilizing the plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer according to the package instructions.

If pests or diseases are present, treat them accordingly using organic insecticidal soap or appropriate measures recommended for the specific issue. By addressing the underlying cause and providing the necessary care, you can help your fiddle leaf fig recover and prevent further brown spots from appearing.

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Will Brown Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Go Away?

Whether brown spots on a fiddle leaf fig will go away or not depends on the underlying cause. If the brown spots are due to temporary factors like overwatering, underwatering, or exposure to direct sunlight, they may fade or disappear as you address the issue and provide proper care.

However, if the brown spots are a result of more serious issues like root rot, nutrient deficiencies, or pests/diseases, they may persist until the root cause is resolved and the plant regains its health. It’s important to identify the cause of the brown spots and take appropriate measures to treat the plant.

With proper care, including adjusting watering habits, improving lighting conditions, addressing nutritional deficiencies, and treating pests or diseases, you increase the chances of the brown spots gradually fading and the plant recovering its healthy appearance.

Are Brown Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Bacterial Infection?

Brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves can be caused by various factors, including bacterial infections. Bacterial infections can occur when the plant’s foliage is exposed to excessive moisture, especially in warm and humid conditions. The bacteria can enter the leaves through wounds or natural openings, leading to the development of brown spots.

Bacterial infections often present as irregularly shaped brown spots that may have a water-soaked appearance. Over time, these spots may enlarge and merge together, causing further deterioration of the affected leaves. In severe cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the plant, causing wilting or leaf drop.

To determine if the brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig are caused by a bacterial infection, closely examine the affected leaves for any signs of lesions, ooze, or foul odor. If you suspect a bacterial infection, it is advisable to isolate the plant from other healthy plants to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

Treating bacterial infections in fiddle leaf figs can be challenging. It is best to prune off the affected leaves, making sure to disinfect your pruning tools between cuts to prevent further contamination. Improve air circulation around the plant by providing proper spacing between plants and ensuring adequate ventilation.

While there are no specific chemical treatments available for bacterial infections in fiddle leaf figs, you can try to minimize the risk of infection by avoiding overhead watering and providing good drainage for the plant.

Maintaining a healthy environment, with appropriate lighting and watering practices, can also help strengthen the plant’s natural defense mechanisms against bacterial infections.

If you suspect a bacterial infection on your fiddle leaf fig, it is recommended to consult with a plant professional or a local horticulturist who can provide specific guidance and potential treatment options based on the severity of the infection.


Brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves can be indicative of various underlying issues, including overwatering, underwatering, inadequate lighting, nutritional deficiencies, pests, or diseases.

By understanding the causes and implementing appropriate preventive measures, you can maintain a healthy and vibrant fiddle leaf fig. Regularly monitor your plant’s watering needs, ensure proper drainage, provide adequate humidity, and protect it from direct sunlight.

Address nutritional deficiencies with suitable fertilizers and promptly treat any pest or disease issues that arise. With proper care, your fiddle leaf fig will regain its beauty, displaying lush, green leaves free from brown spots.


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