Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots – Causes and How to Treat Them

Being a fig lover, I know how disheartening it is to see brown spots on fiddle leaf figs. Even worse, brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves are difficult to treat unless you know what is causing them. 

Overwatering and poor drainage are the main causes of fiddle leaf fig brown spots. However, there are more causes for fiddle leaf fig brown spots. In this article, I have discussed all the causes of brown spots on fiddle leaf figs.

For you to detect the cause, you need to pay close attention to your plant and examine what’s wrong. After examining your brown spots and reviewing their symptoms, you need to figure out what caused them. And fix it immediately.

So, let’s take a look at what causes brown spots on fig leaves and how to fix them!

What inside this?

Causes and treatment of fiddle leaf fig brown spots!

1. Overwatering fiddle leaf fig plant

Overwatering fiddle leaf fig plant

Figs suffer from overwatering. Root rot can occur if your plant receives too much water. Moreover, you will probably see spots and leaf drops on older leaves first.

Signs of Overwatering:

  • Leaves with brown spots in the middle or around the edges
  •  Yellowing of leaves
  •  Dropping of leaves (lower leaves fall first)

How to treat overwatered fiddle leaf fig plants?

Don’t rewater your plant until it has completely dried out. Additionally, give it plenty of indirect sunlight. Using clean shears, trim off brown edges, and spotted leaves. Additionally, remove brown, mushy roots.

2. Underwatering fiddle leaf fig plant

Underwatering fiddle leaf fig plant

Without adequate water, figs will develop dry, hard soil that recedes from their pots and shrinks.

Signs of underwatering:

  • The edges of fiddle leaf fig leaves have brown spots
  •  Inward curling of leaves
  • Dropping of leaves (can affect all leaves, not just lower leaves)

How to treat underwatered fiddle leaf fig plants?

Keep a regular watering schedule. Water Fiddle Leaf Figs once a week or when the top inch of soil is dry. Moreover, keep the surrounding air humid. To do this, you can use a humidifier nearby. Another option is to mist the leaves with water every 1-3 days. 

As fig trees prefer consistent watering schedules, you can set a reminder once a week to give your Fiddle Leaf water. Moreover, it will help you avoid overwatering or underwatering your plant. However, you may need to adjust your watering schedule if your plant’s pot lacks proper drainage.

3. Sunburned fiddle leaf fig plant

Sunburned fiddle leaf fig plant

Getting too much direct sunlight can burn fig plants! They prefer bright, indirect light and should be kept in a room that is well lit, but not directly in the sun.

Signs of fiddle leaf fig sunburned:

  • Light brown spots
  • Leaf tops look bleached
  • Red and yellow spots may also appear on the leaves.

How to treat sunburned fiddle leaf fig plants?

With clean shears, prune away any damaged leaves. Next, relocate your Fiddle Leaf to a more protected location that receives bright, but not direct sunlight.

4. Cold exposure to fiddle leaf fig plant

Cold exposure to fiddle leaf fig plant

Fiddle Leaf dislikes a cold breeze. Winter cold drafts are caused by repeatedly opening doors and sitting near cold windows. Additionally, summer cold drafts are caused by the A/C running. Due to their tropical origins, fiddle leaves need a warm and humid temperature. 

Signs of cold exposure:

  • Browning leaves
  • Drooping, and dark leaves

How to treat brown spots on fiddle leaf fig plants caused by cold exposure? 

With clean shears, remove any brown leaves from your Fiddle Leaf Fig and keep it protected from cold drafts.

5. Brown spots on fiddle leaves due to root rot

Brown spots on fiddle leaves due to root rot

A fungal infection caused by too much moisture in the roots usually causes brown leaves on a fiddle leaf fig.

Your plant develops root rot if it is overwatered and does not have adequate drainage. To function properly, fiddle leaf fig roots need to slightly dry out between waterings. As the leaves become infected by the fungal infection, they gradually turn brown and eventually fall off.

You can only tell if your plant has root rot by removing the pot and inspecting the roots. Check for the below signs

Signs of root rot in fiddle leaf fig plant:

  • Mushy and brown roots
  • Small black spots on leaves
  • Leaves with brown spots(affects older leaves first)
  • Drooping leaves

How to treat tiny brown spots on fiddle leaf fig plants caused by root rot?

Poor drainage is often the cause of root rot, so you need to fix it immediately. Make sure your container drains well, your potting soil is fast-draining, and you aren’t overwatering.

Next, assess the damage. If your plant just has a few brown spots on its leaves, it doesn’t need repotting. However, make sure your plant dries out for two weeks or more to allow the roots to recover. Also, take off the affected leaves and make sure the plant gets enough light.

You can use a moisture meter to check if your plant’s roots are dry between waterings. Once your plant is properly watered and drained, it should recover. 

In cases of severe or rapid damage, you will want to repot the tree. Take your plant out of its pot and hose the root ball down. Cut away any brown roots that are mushy and brown. Next, re-pot with fast-draining houseplant soil. Additionally, be sure to follow good watering practices in the future.

6. A bacterial infection on Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves

A bacterial infection on Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves

Some of the most stubborn and frustrating problems to deal with are bacterial infections.

Your fig plant may have a bacterial infection if it has some symptoms of root rot but doesn’t respond to treatment. In terms of color, bacterial brown spots are less black and browner.

Signs of fiddle leaf fig bacterial infection: 

  • Small leaves with stunted growth
  • Yellowing and brown spots on small leaves
  • Many brown spots on each leaf
  • Irregular brown margins on the leaves

How to treat brown spots on fiddle leaf fig plants from a Bacterial Infection?

Before the spots spread too far, you must treat them as soon as possible. Similar to root rot, you need to let your plant’s roots dry out between waterings. Additionally, make sure it gets lots of sunlight.

Remove all of the leaves with brown spots and put the plant in a container with good drainage and repot it with fresh, sterile soil. Until it recovers, give it plenty of light and water slowly.

Depending on your climate, you can also put your fiddle leaf fig outside in the shade to recover from bacterial infections. Getting enough sunlight, fresh air, and warm conditions can help your plant. Just make sure your plant does not get too cold (below 50 degrees) or too hot (above 95 degrees).

Moreover, if more than 50% of the leaves are affected by brown spots, it may be better to start over. Get a new specimen and discard the old one. 

7. Brown spots on fiddle leaves due to dryness

Brown spots on fiddle leaves due to dryness

Often, the fig looks wilted or dry and soil may recede from pots (shrinkage). It can result in water running between the soil and the pot but never reaching the root ball.

In a very dry environment or if your plant hasn’t been watered regularly, brown spots can appear. You may need to mist your fiddle leaf fig or move the plant if the relative humidity in your home is much lower. It is recommended to have a relative humidity of between 30 -65% for fig plants.

Signs of dryness in fiddle leaf fig: 

  • Curled leaves
  • Dry tan or light brown spots

How to treat dry fiddle leaf fig plants?

Whenever your soil shrinks,  repot your plant so that its roots can get enough water.

Ideally, you should move your fiddle leaf fig from an area that is very dry or close to a heater. Also, make sure your plant gets enough moisture by watering it regularly (once a week).

If you have a very dry home, you can mist or use a humidifier near your plant, though this isn’t usually necessary unless you have a heater running.

8. Fiddle Leaves with brown spots from insect damage

Fiddle Leaves with brown spots from insect damage

Thankfully, fiddle leaf fig plants are rarely damaged by insects.

Insect damage is easily diagnosed by small dark spots on the leaves that turn into holes. 

It occurs more frequently in new, tender growth. Use a magnifying glass to check for insects on your plant or white or gray webs. 

Signs of insect damage on fiddle leaves:

  • Small dark spots on leaves
  • Small holes in the leaves
  • White or gray insect web

How to Treat fiddle leaf fig brown spots on leaves from insect damage?

Apply a thorough insecticidal spray to all the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig. Don’t forget to spray the underside of each leaf and where it meets the stem. After two weeks, inspect again, and repeat the spraying process if necessary.

9. Brown spots on fiddle leaf figs caused by physical trauma

Brown spots on fiddle leaf figs caused by physical trauma

You may see brown spots on your new plants a week or so after moving them. A fiddle leaf fig often gets damaged during a move, so the bruises left on the plant turn brown.

Signs of physical trauma in fiddle leaf figs:

  • Brown spots looking like cracks or tears

How to treat physical trauma in fiddle leaf fig plants?

There is no need to treat brown spots that result from physical trauma. Your plant is likely to recover well.

10. Brown fiddle leaves due to temperature fluctuation

Brown fiddle leaves due to temperature fluctuation

Our heaters and vents send air out to regulate the home’s temperature. Air like this is usually very dry, so your Fiddle’s leaves can crack! 

Signs of temperature fluctuation:

  • Dry and cracked fiddle leaf fig leaves

How to treat fiddle leaf fig temperature fluctuation?

Humidity is low in dry air. So, place a humidifier near your plant to improve the surrounding air’s humidity. Also, you can increase humidity in its environment by misting its leaves regularly every 1-3 days. 

Moreover, a Fiddle Leaf Fig grows best in temperatures between 60 -75℉. However, you can usually keep them happy at your home’s average temperature. 

Indirect sunlight is also beneficial to them. If they do not receive enough light, they shed their leaves. So, make sure they are protected from the harsh sun.

However, it is always best to prevent fiddle leaf fig brown spots. So, let’s see what you need to do to prevent brown spots on the fig leaves in the next section.

How to Prevent Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots?

Only proper care will prevent brown spots. Here are some tips for preventing brown spots:

Few Questions on fiddle leaf fig brown spots!

Q.1 Can I cut brown spots off fiddle leaf fig?

Ans. Yes, whenever a leaf is diseased or dead, you can cut it off. It’s better to get rid of these harbingers of sickness or infestation sooner rather than later. So, cut off any yellow, brown, or diseased leaves with a clean, sharp pair of pruners.

Q.2 Why is my fiddle leaf fig getting brown spots on the leaves?

Ans. Dark brown spots appear on fiddle leaf fig leaf due to root rot. A brown spot on fiddle leaf fig leaves is probably the result of overwatering or poor drainage. Additionally, it can get worse without enough sunlight.

Q.3 Can the damaged Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves be repaired?

Ans. There is no way for damaged fiddle leaf fig leaves to be repaired. If you are bothered by brown spots, you can remove the entire leaf. However, don’t remove more than 10% of your plant’s leaves at once to avoid shock.

Q.4 How Can I Avoid Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots in the Future?

Ans. To avoid brown spots in the future, proper care is necessary. If your plant has root rot, you might need to re-pot it in a container with better drainage.

In the case of a bacterial infection, you can correct the watering conditions and wait it out. 

Very dry plants can recover with a good soak and protection from excess heat.

Moreover, you only need to give your plant time to heal from physical trauma. Lastly, it is also important to remove sunburned leaves and protect the plant.


One of the most confusing things about fiddle leaf figs is brown spots. Brown spots on fiddle leaf figs have so many causes that it is hard to pinpoint what causes them. 

So, whenever you notice any brown spots on your plant run your finger down the signs of brown spots mentioned above. Once you detect the cause, take immediate action to save your plant’s beauty.

Additionally, if you take good care of your fiddle leaf fig plant, you can prevent brown spots. It’s just a matter of following the watering schedule, providing plenty of sunlight and good drainage, and fertilizing your plants. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for insect damage to your plant. 

Also, I hope you enjoyed reading this article, if you have any doubts, feel free to comment down below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!

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  • Prachi Parate

    Prachi Parate is an enthusiast writer. She is a native of a science background, where botanical science was one of her favorite subjects. It was always Prachi's dream to combine her passion with a career. Hence, her fascination with plants led to a career as a writer. Also, she believes that taking good care of yourself is key to happiness. Time spent in nature is one of her favorite self-care practices. It is her goal to transform her learning into content that helps readers.

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