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How To Treat Sunburn On Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Fiddle leaf figs are popular among houseplant lovers for their large beautiful leaves. But if the leaves start getting sunburnt, they will not remain attractive, and it will affect the overall health of the plant.

Sunburn can happen if your fiddle leaf fig has suddenly got more sun than usual or has been exposed to direct sunlight. Scorched leaves can have light brown to dark brown color depending upon the intensity of the sunburn.

To treat sunburn in your fiddle leaf, you must move it away from direct sunlight to prevent further damage. Then prune the scorched leaf as it has a significantly less chance of recovering. You must also consider increasing the humidity and watering the plant as needed to help with the recovery.

Sunburn destroys the plant’s healthy look, and it can be sad when you notice leaves that have started getting brown due to sunburn.

Today we will discuss the causes, solutions, and precautions that you can take to save your fiddle leaf fig from sunburn.

Fiddle leaf fig sunburn

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Can a fiddle leaf fig get too much sun?

Fiddle leaf figs are from the African Tropical region, where they get a lot of light, and they thrive in that. That might not be the case if the fiddle leaf fig is placed indoors.

The direct and harsh sunlight can be damaging for your fiddle leaf. Indirect and bright light works best for fiddle leaf figs.

The placement of the fiddle leaf fig also determines the amount of sunlight it is being exposed to.

For example, if you keep it near an east-facing window, it will get the soft morning sunlight that would be great, but it will not get enough sunlight throughout the day.

Similarly, if you place it near a west-facing window, it will only get the harsh afternoon sunlight.

Usually, a south-facing window will provide enough sunlight to your fiddle leaf fig throughout the day. But make sure you keep the plant a few feet away from the window or use a sheer curtain to curtail some harsh lighting conditions.

If you place your fiddle leaf fig on the balcony or outside your house, it will get too much sun. If you have to keep it outside, you should keep it under shade so that it doesn’t get exposed to too much sun.

Fiddle leaf figs need consistent indirect sunlight for at least 6-8 hours every day for a healthy life and growth.

Also read: How Much Light Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Need?

Signs of sunburn on fiddle leaf fig

If you notice, the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig have started showing little brown spots, which means that you have a sunburnt fiddle leaf fig.

The spots can start from yellow or white and turn to dark reddish-brown depending upon the sunburn’s intensity.

The spots become crispy, and there is hardly any chance of recovery for such leaves. The spots are not subjected to any particular area and can appear anywhere on the leaves.

Usually, the top of your leaf will show spots because that is the part that was exposed to the sun. But sometimes, the leaves might show marks underneath if the sun hits the leaf from a different angle.

Other than turning crisp and dry, the leaves will eventually fall off from the plant as such leaves don’t usually recover.

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Causes of sunburn on fiddle leaf fig

Fiddle leaf fig light

If you see signs of sunburn on your fiddle leaf fig, you need to identify the cause first. Let’s understand the causes so that you can stop them from happening again.

Direct sunlight: In the wild, the fiddle leaf figs get direct sunlight, and that doesn’t cause any problem for the plant. However, it might not be used to or comfortable with direct sunlight if the plant is indoors.

If you have placed your fiddle leaf fig near a window or outside it, it may be getting direct sunlight. If it is subjected to direct sunlight for a while, the leaves will start getting scorched.

Sudden exposure to the sun: Fiddle leaf figs love consistency. If you have placed your plant indoors and give it the perfect indirect light, but suddenly you decide to put it outside under the sun, it will have sunburn.

Few hours of harsh afternoon sunlight is enough to get it sunburnt. The fiddle leaf figs need time to adjust to different conditions, so bringing a significant change to its environment all of a sudden will not only damage but also cause stress or shock to it.

Identifying the brown spots: Brown spots on the leaves of the fiddle leaf figs do not mean that the leaves are sunburnt. There can be other reasons for the browning of leaves.

If it is a sunburn, then the leaves hidden behind or below other leaves will not have brown spots on them. If you notice that only the upper leaves exposed to the sun show the spots, you can be sure that your fiddle leaf fig is sunburnt.

What do you do with a fiddle leaf fig sunburn?

The sad thing with a sunburn is that the leaves don’t recover. So the only thing you can do is to prune off the leaves that are sunburnt and avoid the mistakes that led to sunburn in the first place.

Whenever you are pruning any part of the fiddle leaf fig, make sure that you are using a sharp and sterilized tool to do it. And the cut should be clean.

Note: Don’t forget to use gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after touching the fiddle leaf fig.

The other points that you need to take care of are:

  • If your fiddle leaf fig is getting direct sunlight, remove it from there and place it in an area where it gets bright and indirect light.
  • If you want to change the light conditions for your fiddle leaf fig, don’t do it suddenly and make small and consistent changes so that the plant gets time to adjust.
  • If the weather is getting too dry, it can add to the sunburn. Adding a humidifier will help in this case.

Tips for placement of fiddle leaf fig

It would be best if you considered a few factors before deciding the placement of your fiddle leaf fig.

The first thing to consider is light. Fiddle leaf figs love light. So select a place where the plant will get bright and indirect sunlight throughout the day.

Placing the fiddle leaf fig near a south-facing window would be the best. And if you can’t provide a bright spot for the plant in your house, you can use artificial light.

The next factor is temperature. Fiddle leaf figs don’t enjoy sudden rise or drop in temperature. The ideal temperature for these plants is 65-75°F.

Fiddle leaf figs will develop problems if the temperature falls below 50°F and will show brown spots on the leaves. You can use a room thermometer to keep a check on the temperature.

Humidity is another important factor as fiddle leaf figs love humidity and get a lot of it in the wild. Maintaining a humidity level of 40-60% will work well, but during the winter months, the humidity level drops.

There are a lot of ways to increase humidity. You can use a humidifier or a pebble tray. And you should avoid keeping the plant near the window so that it is not exposed to cold drafts.

Since fiddle leaf figs are mildly toxic, you should keep them away from children and pets.

Children are sensitive, and the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that can be harmful to the children. They can develop skin irritation upon touching the plant and have oral irritation or diarrhea if they ingest the plant.

Pets can have the same problem as calcium oxalate is toxic for pets, so if they take a bite of the leaves, they can have oral irritation, swelling of the mouth or tongue, and drooling. Therefore, you can place the plant at a height or any place that is not accessible to your pets.

It would be best if you did not keep the fiddle leaf fig near the fireplace because the heat and the dry air coming from the fireplace can easily damage your fiddle leaf fig in many ways. The warmth of the fireplace can even burn the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig.

If you are placing your fiddle leaf fig in your bedroom, don’t let the AC’s cold air hit the plant as that would make the plant dry.

If your home doesn’t have enough humidity for the fiddle leaf fig, placing it in the bathroom can be a good idea as the shower’s moisture will provide humidity to the plant. Make sure that the plant is getting light if you are placing it in the bathroom.

Final Words

If you don’t want to get your fiddle leaf figs sunburnt, keep it indoors and provide it bright and indirect light. Don’t let it get exposed to the harsh sunlight for long.

And if you have sunburnt leaves on your fiddle leaf fig, prune them as soon as possible as they will not recover, and the plant will not waste its energy in trying to heal those leaves.


Sources: CABI.ORGNew York Botanical gardenUniversity of Florida.

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