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Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Turning Brown? (Causes+What To Do)

Fiddle leaf figs are famous for their leaves. The large fiddle-like leaves add to the aesthetic of the houses and look great in pictures also. But when those beautiful leaves start turning brown, it ruins the whole look of the plant.

Brown leaves in fiddle leaf figs are a sign that something is wrong with your plant. There can be one or many reasons for this, but you need to take a close look at your fiddle leaf fig to find that out why the leaves of your fiddle leaf figs are turning brown.

Overwatering and root rot is the primary cause of brown leaves in fiddle leaf figs. When the plant roots remain wet, it starts to decay leading to nutrient deficiency and brown leaves in fiddle leaf figs. Low humidity and a pest infestation can also lead to brown leaves in fiddle leaf figs.

Find out more about the issues that can cause brown leaves in your fiddle leaf fig and how to treat the plant if the leaves of your fiddle leaf figs start turning brown.


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Fiddle leaf figs turning brown

Let’s discuss all the causes of brown leaves in your fiddle leaf fig so that you can identify the cause and fix the issue of leaves turning brown.

Overwatering

Overwatering is a problem that is common in all plants. Fiddle leaf figs are no different.

Fiddle leaf figs don’t like to sit in water, so overwatering can be very harmful to the plant as it can even cause root rot.

Problems

Many houseplant owners tend to water the plants a little too much out of care and love. They fail to realize that it can have adverse effects on the plant.

If you notice that there are dark brown spots throughout the leaves starting at the bottom of the plant, this might be due to overwatering.

Overwatering can lead to root rot if not treated at the right time, and root rot can even kill your fiddle leaf fig.

Solution

Here are the steps that you can follow to make sure that you are not overwatering the plant.

  • Check the moisture of the soil before watering the plant.
  • You can dip your finger and scratch the surface of the soil to check the moisture. Or you can use a moisture meter to find this out.
  • Don’t water the plant until the soil feels cold and just a little moist. 
  • If you think that the soil still has some moisture, wait for a few days before watering.
  • You should also pick up the plant before and after you’ve watered it. However, this is not the most reliable method to do so.

Also read: How often should I water my fiddle leaf fig?

Underwatering

Fiddle leaf figs are tropical plants that enjoy their share of moisture. 

Fiddle leaf figs don’t like dried soil, so underwatering can make the soil dry, and the plant will show brown leaves as a sign.

Problems

Indeed, fiddle leaf figs don’t like sitting in water, but they also don’t like completely dried soil.

Signs like light brown spots or dry, crispy edges on the leaves mean that you are underwatering the plant.

If you don’t water your fiddle leaf fig sufficiently, the soil will get dry, and the plant will not be able to absorb enough water and nutrients that will make the plant weak and dehydrated.

Solutions

If underwatering is the problem, you need to readjust the watering schedule to ensure that the plant is getting enough water.

  • If your fiddle leaf fig is very dry, start giving it a little water every other day so that it can recover.
  • Giving a lot of water to it might seem like the best solution, but that will damage the plant.
  • After the plant has recovered, stick to a proper watering schedule so that the soil doesn’t go dry again.

Also read: Overwatering vs. Underwatering



Low Humidity

Fiddle leaf figs are tropical plants that love humidity. These plants grow fast if there is adequate humidity.

However, if there is low humidity in your area and house, the leaves of the plant will start turning brown.

Problems

Fiddle leaf figs like a humidity level between 30-65%. Anything below that will become a problem for the plant.

During the winter months, the air tends to get very dry, and the humidity gets very low. That is when you need to increase the humidity of your plant.

Solutions

There are many ways to combat low humidity. Let’s check those out.

  • You can prepare a pebble tray by placing some pebbles on a tray and filling it up with water. Then you need to place the plant on top of the pebble tray so that the drainage holes are inside the water. This will increase the humidity for the plant.
  • You can use a humidifier that will increase the humidity inside your house.
  • Misting the plant by spraying water on it every few days is a good idea.
  • You can even keep the plant in the bathroom, and hot water coming out of the shower will increase humidity.

Pest infestation in fiddle leaf figs

It is not a common reason but possible because your fiddle leaf fig may be having a pest infestation due to which the leaves are turning brown.

Problems

Pests like mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects can infest your fiddle leaf fig.

In such cases, the signs that you will notice are that there will be small dark brown spots on the leaves.

If you take a close-up look, you might be able to spot the pests.

Solution

You can get rid of pests if you follow these simple steps.

  • Shower the plant. Keep the shower pressure low as you wouldn’t want to damage the plant.
  • You can also wash the leaves with warm soapy water along with some neem oil.
  • Get rid of the old soil to make sure that the pests don’t come back.
  • Use organic insecticides on your plant to keep the pests away.

Root rot in fiddle leaf figs

Root rot is caused by overwatering, which can become a severe problem if it is not identified on time.

Once the plant gets affected by root rot, the leaves start turning brown and soon fall off from the plant.

Problems

If you notice that the leaves are turning brown, you can take a look at the roots, and if the roots are mushy and brown, you’ll know that there is root rot.

Root rot affects the older leaves first, and you will see brown spots on the leaves near the bottom of the plant.

The brown spots may turn into black spots and will start getting larger.

Overwatering, improper drainage, and lack of sunlight everything can contribute to root rot.

Solution

Follow the below-mentioned steps to get rid of root rot and have a healthy fiddle leaf fig again.

  • Make sure to have a pot that has suitable drainage holes that let excess water pass away. Use a fast-draining soil mix. If any of these are missing, you need to report the plant.
  • If there are only a few leaves with brown spots, you can let the plant dry for two weeks. You don’t need to report the plant. Remove the damaged leaves and make sure that the plant gets enough light.
  • If more leaves have turned brown, the issue might be more serious. You need to check the roots and prune the damaged parts. Then, repot the plant in fresh soil so that there is no chance of the plant getting affected again.
  • After repotting, follow a watering schedule so that you don’t end up overwatering and cause root rot again.

Bacterial Infection in fiddle leaf figs

Bacterial infection might be a reason for the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig turning brown.

Overwatering and root rot can be reasons for bacterial infections in fiddle leaf figs.

Problems

Bacterial infections will affect both older and younger leaves and cause brown spots in them. These spots don’t have a specific area and can occur anywhere in the leaves.

Along with brown spots, the leaves will also start turning yellow in such cases. The leaves will fall off from the plant eventually.

Solution

  • In case the damage is not extreme, prune the leaves with brown spots and repot the fiddle leaf fig with fresh potting soil. Give it enough light and go light on the water so that it can recover.
  • If you have a patio, you can put your fiddle leaf there. Make sure it is under a shade so that it doesn’t get direct and harsh sunlight. 
  • The temperature should be moderate, neither too hot nor too cold. This will help the plant to recover.
  • If there are too many leaves with brown spots, and the infection is going to spread, consider starting over with a new fiddle leaf fig.

Final Words

If you can diagnose the problem on time, you will be able to treat the fiddle leaf fig.

Keep checking your plant from time to time and maintain a watering schedule.

The brown leaves might not go back to being green again. But if the new leaves are green and healthy, your plant is recovering.

You need to prune the brown leaves or wait for them to fall off.

FAQ

Should I remove brown leaves from fiddle leaf fig?

Yes, removing the brown leaves from your fiddle leaf fig is an excellent choice to stimulate growth hormone. The plant can focus on growing new leaves instead of trying to provide energy to the brown leaves.


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


How do I get rid of brown leaves on my fiddle leaf fig?

To get rid of brown leaves on your fiddle leaf fig, use a sharp clipper and clip at the node. You must make sure to sterilize the clipper before using it so that there is no risk of disease spread from other plants.


Sources: CABI.ORGNew York Botanical gardenUniversity of Florida.