Fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) rarely get infected by pests or bugs, but it can become quite damaging for the plant when they do. You might be wondering why the bugs attack your fiddle leaf fig and the ways with which you can keep them away. We are going to find that out.
Bugs such as spider mites, gnats, mealybugs, pillbugs, and even butterflies are attracted to fiddle leaf figs. Some of these pests like to suck on the sap of the plant. The common causes of pest infestation are overwatering, excess humidity, and lack of air circulation.
Use neem oil or organic pesticides to keep the pests away from your plant. Checking the plant from time to time, misting it with neem oil solution every month, and keeping any new plant away from your old plants for a few days will help control the pst issues in fiddle leaf figs.
If you keep a check on your fiddle leaf fig from time to time, you will be able to identify and get rid of the bugs so that your plant can become healthy again.
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Common bugs in fiddle leaf figs
Some of the common bugs that you can find on fiddle leaf figs are:
- Spider mites
Let’s understand how you can determine which insect is infesting your plant and what are the signs that your fiddle leaf fig is showing you.
- Extremely tiny bugs that look like brown, red, black, or yellow moving dots.
- Related to ticks and spiders.
- Visible only as dots to the naked eye.
- Found on the underside of the leaves.
- Suck on the plant fluids by piercing the leaves.
- Holes in the leaves
- Brown and tiny spots
- Curling of leaves
- Leaves falling off
- Weak plant
- Death of the plant
- Dark brown, tan, or yellowish in color
- Have long legs
- Very small, less than 1/4th inch long
- Loves humidity and moisture
- Reproduces very fast.
In the case of their larvae, you’ll notice:
- Shiny blackheads
- Extremely small and translucent
- Feed on algae, fungi, or roots
- Slow growth
- Yellow leaves
- Loss of vigor
- Damage the cuttings, seedlings, or young plants
- Decayed plant matter
- Soft, hairy, and sticky bugs
- Oval shaped
- Segmented body
- Feed on the sap of the plant
- Resemble cotton
Male mealybugs might not have the features mentioned above and look completely different.
- Have wings
- Resemble small flies
- Leaves falling off
- Yellow leaves
- Attract ants around the plant
- Start infesting the roots first
- Usually found on the undersides of leaves or cuttings on the plant
Some bugs may visit your fiddle leaf fig without actually causing any damage to it.
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- Oval body
- Seven hard plated back
- Seven pair of legs
- Black or dark brown in color
- About 3-4 inches long
- Love the moist and dark environment
The pill bugs feed on the dead parts of the plant and can create a fertilizer that can be beneficial for the plant.
You can allow these bugs as long as they are less in number and are helping the plant.
If they start growing more in number and start eating the live parts of your fiddle leaf fig, you need to get rid of them.
You may notice butterflies coming to your fiddle leaf fig once a while, and it is completely okay to let them roam around the plant.
Butterflies don’t cause any damage to the fiddle leaf fig, so you don’t need to do anything about it. However, be careful with the caterpillars. They might damage the leaves of your plants.
Why does my fiddle leaf fig have bugs?
Pest infestation is caused due to various factors. Some of the common issues are:
- High humidity
- Lack of air circulation
Overwatering is the root of most of the problems seen in a plant.
Overwatering creates the ideal environment for pest infestation.
Fiddle leaf figs don’t like to sit on the water and need a sound drainage system that lets the excess water drain out.
When you overwater a plant, and it ends up sitting on the water for too long, the roots get affected, and the chances of root rot increase. Root rot attracts pests and lets them thrive.
The plant suffers from root rot and pest infestation that increases the problems and might lead to the death of the plant if not identified and treated on time.
It would be best to let the soil dry out and let the excess water drain away before watering the plant. Ensure that the pot has proper drainage holes that are not blocked and working correctly.
Also read: How much water do fiddle leaf fig needs?
Fiddle leaf figs are humidity-loving plants, and they mostly need high humidity to do well.
It is advised that you increase the moisture for the plant during the winter when the humidity level is low.
Not all the methods you use to increase the humidity work well for your plant.
For example, misting is a way to increase the humidity for your fiddle leaf fig. However, it has disadvantages, one of which is pest infestation.
If your fiddle leaf fig is not getting enough light, the leaves will remain wet for far too long and attract pests.
You can use other methods such as using a humidifier or a pebble tray to increase the humidity for your plant.
Also read: Do fiddle leaf fig need misting? (+Ideal humidity)
Lack of air circulation
Plants need good air circulation to remain healthy. Fiddle leaf figs need aerated soil and proper airflow; otherwise, they will start attracting bugs.
Aerated soil will dry out quickly and not remain damp, which is the ideal condition for the growth of pests.
You need to use well-aerated soil and keep the fiddle leaf fig in an area where it gets enough moving air.
How to get rid of bugs on fiddle leaf figs?
It is crucial to get rid of the bugs before it is too late. Bugs can damage the plant in ways that will not let it recover. If you notice any signs of pest infestation, you need to take action immediately.
Inspect and isolate the plant
If you notice pest infestation on your fiddle leaf fig, you need to isolate it and keep it away from the other plants in your house so that the infestation can’t spread.
Prune the damaged parts
After you have isolated the infected plant, it is time to get rid of the infected parts. Use sharp and clean pruners to prune the damaged leaves or infested areas visible to you and dispose of them.
Don’t forget to use gloves or sanitize your hands. Disinfect the area where the plant was located previously.
Use Plant-based miticide
Using miticides can keep the pests away from your plant. Chemical miticides may be harmful to the plant, so using a plant-based one will be a better option.
Start by spraying the miticide on a plant leaf to make sure that it suits the plant. Then you can spray it on the entire plant.
Here are some of the options that you can select from.
- Neem oil – Neem oil can treat all kinds of pest infestations. Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree and works well if you want to keep the bugs away. You can apply it regularly on your fiddle leaf fig if you’re going to see it recover fast.
- Rosemary oil – Rosemary oil is known for its beautiful scent and is an excellent pest repellent. It can even work on the larvae of the bugs. Use diluted rosemary oil and spray it all over your fiddle leaf to get rid of the bugs.
- Cinnamate – Cinnamate is non-toxic to plants and is used to treat pests of all stages. Spray the solution all over the plant every three days to get rid of the bugs.
Household chemicals are equally effective
If you don’t have any miticide handy and need to start treatment fast, then you can use some homemade insecticides that are readily available in your kitchen!
- Dish soap – Take 1 tsp of dish soap and mix it with 1-liter water. Mix it well and spray it on your plant. After that, wash the plant in plain water. Do this regularly to get rid of the pests.
- Rubbing alcohol – Take rubbing alcohol and add water to it. You can use a 1:1 ratio. Spray your plant with it or wash the plant with this mix. After that, wash the plant with plain water. It would be best if you did this regularly to see results.
Herbal tea miticide is a fantastic homemade remedy
Herbal tea miticide is a DIY, and for this, you need to take 1 tbsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp cloves and add it to a quarter of water. Boil this mixture and let it cool down. Add garlic after it has cooled down.
Add some dish soap to it and spray this mixture on the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig. Do it every three days and watch your plant recover.
You may also try this fantastic Organic miticide available on Amazon.
Commercial Pesticides can also be used
There are many pesticides available in the market that will remove the pests from your plant’s leaves.
Make sure that you check the label and read the directions carefully before buying it. Please don’t buy it in case of any chances of damage to the plant.
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Shower the plant
If the fiddle leaf fig is infested with pests, you might want to give it a good shower.
You can shower it from all sides and make sure it is getting cleaned under the leaves as well, where most pests tend to stay.
After doing this, let the plant get enough indirect light for at least 6-7 hours to make sure that the water is drying up.
If you have tried every method and your fiddle leaf fig is still infested and not recovering, you might need to let it go. The chances are that the plant will not recover.
You need to get rid of the infected plant and disinfect the area where you had placed it.
Tips to prevent bugs on fiddle leaf figs
- Understand the water requirements of your plant and come up with a watering schedule according to that. Make sure you are not overwatering the plant.
- Ensure that the soil you are using is well-aerated and supports proper drainage of water.
- Avoid misting the plant if it is not getting enough light.
- Use miticides to make sure that the pests are not getting attracted to your plant.
- Use neem oil to prevent pest infestations.
- Keep the leaves and the plant clean.
Sources: Common insect pests and diseases.
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