19 Common Fiddle Leaf Fig Problems and How to Deal with Them

It’s common to have Fiddle Leaf Fig problems. This is what comes with owning these majestic plants!

When the conditions are favorable, fiddle leaf figs grow rapidly. However, if you mess with their consistency, they will let you know. You will notice that your fig plant isn’t doing well if it drops leaves, changes color, or just looks bad.

Several problems occur with fiddle leaf figs, but most of them are fixable. However, most problems are caused by improper care, including irregular watering, uneven lighting, temperature changes, and others.

Additionally, fig growth can be significantly impacted by these small changes in care. Thus, I will walk you through all the problems with fiddle leaf figs, what causes them, and the diagnosis of fiddle leaf fig problems in this article.

Common problems with fiddle leaf fig

Problem#1: Root rot in fiddle leaf fig plant


You can spot root rot if you see dark brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig, often around the base or the edges in a splotchy pattern. 

Fiddle leaf figs can suffer from root rot, which is a serious condition. When this problem occurs, take a look at the roots as soon as you can. Your tree might be in trouble if you notice any blackness or mushy parts.

Causes of root rot

  • Overwatering fiddle leaf fig plant
  • Using the poor or wrong type of soil
  • Improper drainage system

How to fix

Remove the damaged roots and repot the fiddle leaf fig in fresh soil. Moreover, water only when the top few inches of soil have dried completely. 

For good drainage, you can use a mix of succulents and cacti. Also, you can add bulk to your potting soil by adding grit or perlite. This will surely improve the drainage system. In the end, it is important to avoid the potting soil holding too much water.

Also Read: Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot – Causes, Signs, and How to Fix

Problem#2: Sunburn issue in fig plant


Sunburn is a common problem with fiddle leaf figs. If your fiddle leaf is sunburned, it will appear light brown or bleached at the tops of the leaves. Moreover, the spots may also appear red or yellow.


  • Direct sunlight burns fiddle leaf figs

How to fix

With clean shears, remove any damaged leaves. Next, move your Fiddle Leaf to a more protected area that receives bright, but not direct sunlight.

Also Check: Our blog post on Fiddle Leaf Fig Sunburn – How to Identify, Treat & Prevent it

Problem#3: Dark brown spots on leaves


If you are noticing small brown spots then it might be a pest infestation. Whereas if the spots are larger in size it may indicate a disease.

The common indication of dark brown spots on leaves is root rot. If you want to confirm root rot then pull out your fiddle leaf fig plant and see if the roots are mushy brown and smelly. If you notice this sign then it is root rot.


  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Pest infestation
  • Poor drainage system
  • Using the wrong type of soil

How to fix

Trim off the brown leaves and repot the fiddle leaf fig plant. If you notice signs of pests then consider using pesticides or organic products such as neem oil on fiddle leaf fig.

Also, check our blog on Repotting Fiddle Leaf Fig – When, Why, and How to Re-pot

Problem#4: Black spots on leaves 


Besides brown spots, mushy roots can also lead to black spots on fiddle leaf figs. 

There are times when brown spots appear darker, almost black. Watering too much leads to this fiddle leaf fig problem.


How to fix

Only water your fig plant when the topsoil is dry. After trying this, if the problem remains, consider holding water until your brown and droopy leaves recover.

Otherwise, a wise option is to repot the plant. Also, while repotting don’t forget to trim damaged roots. 

Problem#5: Brown and dried leaves

Brown and dried leaves

This is also one of the common problems in fiddle leaf fig. Eventually, every fig leaves turn brown and dry. 

When their growing condition suddenly changes, fig plants show brown and dried leaves. Since figs love consistency, moving them causes a change in temperature, which causes them to suffer.


  • Natural aging
  • Sudden change in temperature
  • Relocating fig plant

How to fix

The important thing to know is that as long as there’s new growth at the top, then it’s normally not a problem that needs fixing.

As fiddles love consistency, moving them to a new location with a change in temperature or light levels can force them to adapt. It can lose leaves quite quickly during the adapting process. Hence,  find a new location that meets all the required care needs.

Problem#6: Brown edges


Leaf edges that are brown and crispy are one of this plant’s biggest problems. If you want your plant to look lush all year long, you should avoid letting these edges turn brown and start to flake off.


How to fix

Tropical trees like figs prefer humidity conditions between 60% and 70%. In the native area, your figs are accustomed to very high levels of humidity. Hence, during prolonged periods of low humidity, leaves experiences moisture issues. So, provide your fig with a 60-70% range of humidity.

You should also ensure that your plant is well-watered and in a proper environment to prevent these issues in the future.

Also, learn in detail Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots – Causes and How to Treat Them

Problem#7: Leaves with black or purple markings

Leaves with black or purple markings

If the temperature falls below 10°C (50°F), rapid black or purple markings will occur. In some cases, it takes only a few hours for it to occur. 

Even if your plant isn’t outside, it can get these markings. During Winter, this can also happen if a leaf is pressed up against a cold window.

Moreover, this can occur when there is too much water around the roots for a prolonged period of time. You might notice the soil is very wet and that some of the roots may be mushy or rotten if you pull the plant out of its pot.


  • Placing fiddle leaf fig in cold temperature
  • Too much watering around the roots

How to fix

Firstly, if there are any brown leaves on your Fiddle Leaf Fig, cut them off with clean shears. Next, place them in a warm, protected place.

Problem#8: Leaves with red markings

Leaves with red markings

Like black or purple markings, your fig can also have red markings on its leaves. 

If you see red spots on fiddle leaf figs or brown spots, they are likely Edema. Generally, it only occurs on newly growing leaves. So if it’s on very established leaves, it might be rust.

It may be worrying to see, but it’s nothing to worry about. Over time, the red or dark brown marks may fade or disappear completely.

In some cases, the damage may be permanent, but your plant is not harmed and no leaves need to be removed.


  • High humidity
  • Too much moisture
  • Overfeeding

How to fix

A lack of consistency in the watering routine results in these tiny spots. Rather than fluctuating between underwatering and overwatering every few weeks, they prefer regular watering. Additionally, direct sunlight makes these spots more likely to appear.

So, every 2-3 days, test the soil with your finger to prevent these markings on the leaves. Once the top layer of soil has dried, water again. Additionally, water slowly in winter. 

Problem#9: Leaning or bent fiddle stem 

Leaning or bent fiddle stem

Most of the time, the main stem will grow upwards, unless your fig is dealing with some problem. 

Any side shoots or secondary branches almost never grow upward. When the leaves grow sideways, less light competes with them for light, and more light falls onto them.

In response to light sources, leaves and branches will grow and bend. It’s not a problem when the light comes from overhead, the plant will grow straight up. However, when it’s from a window, expect some bending.


  • Natural growth
  • Direction of light

How to fix

Every two weeks rotate your plant 1/4 turn to prevent the central stem from bending.

Probelm#10: Leggy fiddle leaf fig plant


When grown outside, plants are exposed to harsh conditions, including strong winds. When the wind blows, plants will adapt and grow thicker stems to help support themselves and prevent snapping.


  • No wind

How to fix

During the warmer months of the year, place your plant in a secure outdoor location to give it some wind training. As your plant is exposed to the elements, its thickness will gradually increase.

If you can’t find an outdoor space, try the “shake method”. If you shake the stem gently but vigorously once a week, you will encourage stronger roots and branches in your plants. However, it’s not as effective, but it works.

For more information, check our detailed blog post on How to Fix a Leggy Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Probelm#11: Discoloring of leaves

Discoloring of leaves

This problem occurs when the soil stays moist and humid. Additionally, fiddle-Leaf Figs generally thrive in these conditions.

Furthermore, there are many pests that can cause the leaf to lose nutrients, resulting in leaf discoloration.


  • Bacterial infection
  • Overwatering
  • Pest infestation

How to fix

It is best to remove all of the diseased leaves in order to combat bacterial infection. You might also want to consider repotting your plant and letting the soil dry out a little more before watering.

Probelm#12: Small new growth

Small new growth

Isn’t it exciting to see a new leaf emerge on your Fiddle Leaf Fig? However, we are frustrated when these tiny new leaves remain tiny instead of developing into the full leaves we eagerly await.

Low-light areas tend to cause this problem for Fiddle Leafs. To grow best, these plants need bright indirect sunlight all day. In the absence of photosynthesis, any growth will be greatly impacted. In fact, new leaves may not grow beyond that point for a long time.


  • Placing fiddle leaf fig in a low-light area

How to fix

Move your plant gradually into an area with bright indirect light. Even a few hours of direct sun in the morning won’t damage them. Moreover, the problem won’t be resolved immediately, but the situation will improve over time.

Problem#13: Lack of growth

Lack of growth

Or perhaps your Fiddle Leaf is not growing. This is totally normal during cooler months. You will see new growth in spring and summer if your plant is doing well.


  • Low light area
  • Nutrient deficiency 

How to fix

Repotting may be necessary if your Fiddle Leaf has been in the same pot for a long time. If all the space in the pot is taken up by roots, the plant will slow down significantly until it has more space to grow. 

To prevent these problems, repot every 2-3 years or more often if the plant is young and growing quickly.

Problem#14: Lopsided growth

Lopsided growth

The position of large, branching Fiddle Leaf Fig trees can cause them to become uneven and lopsided quickly. 

There may be branches that grow longer and have more leaves packed closely together, while the other side appears weak and diminished.

Growth is uneven due to uneven sunlight exposure. On one side of the plant, there is more light, causing it to grow faster. It gets worse as the leaves grow larger and shade on the other side of the plant.


  • Uneven sunlight exposure

How to fix

Rotate your pots every week so all parts get equal sunshine exposure. Moreover, when the growth is uneven, the plant will fall over.  You can prune one side and propagate new fiddle leaf fig plants from the cuttings.

Problem#15: Pest infestation

Pest infestation

Sadly, pests of all kinds are possible visitors on your fiddle leaf fig. Good news! You can solve this, and if your plant doesn’t have too many leaves, you can treat the entire infestation quickly.


  • Thrips: Since they are so small, they can be easily missed. It may appear as if they are dust particles.
  • Scale: They look like natural blemishes because they hide, stick to leaves, and don’t move. You can notice sticky sap or blemishes mainly on the leaf’s veins.
  • Mealy bugs: Often found in little nooks of plants, these large bugs look like cotton wool. Due to their pure white color, they will stand out. To learn more check our article on Mealybugs On Fiddle Leaf Fig – Causes and How to Treat!
  • Spider mites: They are small and hard to see. This pest is identifiable by its tiny webs that hang over the leaves and stems. To learn more check our article on Spider Mites Fiddle Leaf Fig – Causes and How to Treat!
  • Gnats: They live in the soil, not on your plants. While harmless, they can cause a lot of irritation once they fly indoors.

How to fix

The best way to treat these common pests is with chemical or organic methods. You can apply insecticidal soap or neem oil to your plant. 

Problem#16: Yellowing of leaves


Generally, the oldest leaves are the first to be yellow. When excess water is involved, the whole leaf usually yellows at once, rather than in specific areas.


  • Fiddle Leaf sitting in water
  • Sudden change in temperature

How to fix

Ensure that the top layer of soil is always dry before watering and that the pot has drainage holes. After 30 minutes of watering over a drip tray, pour out any excess water to keep the soil from becoming soggy.

A sudden dip in temperatures or a strong cold draft can also cause the leaves to yellow. So, make sure your plant’s environment hasn’t changed. Additionally, replicate the previous conditions it was used to.

To learn more about yellow leaf check our blog on Fiddle Leaf Fig Yellow Leaf – Causes and How to Fix Them!

Problem#17: Dropping of fiddle leaves


Leaf drop is probably one of the more common problems that Fiddle Leaf Fig owners face. In a few days, many leaves will fall off your plant, which is the most shocking and devastating.

A fiddle likes consistency. Hence, moving an established plant in a big way will cause it to go into shock, so choose your spot carefully. You might notice this with a new plant you brought home.

Also, in severe cases of underwatering, leaves will eventually drop in mass.


  • Moving the plant to another location
  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering

How to fix

Don’t move an established plant radically. Regardless, make sure it receives the care it needs in its new home (lighting, temperature, etc.). After it has adapted, it should grow again.

Look at the roots of the plant after you remove it from its pot. As long as they are intact, your plant should recover in time, just be careful not to overwater it again.

If your roots are mushy or rotting, chances are your plant will not survive. So, take stem cuttings if any upper stems are intact and the leaves are healthy and firm.

You can only hope for the best at this point by watering your plant thoroughly. In time, the leaves still attached should bounce back. When there are no leaves left, it’s time to buy a new one.

Still, you can wait a few weeks in case the bare stem sprouts new leaves. To test this, make a small notch in the main stem. If there is white sap on your plant, it’s still alive. 

Learn in this blog about Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves – Reasons And How To Prevent It

Problem#18: Curling of fig leaves


It usually occurs under humid conditions and when the soil is moist. In most cases, this is what the Fiddle-Leaf Fig prefers as mentioned earlier.

Also, it is common for pests to drain the leaf of nutrients, resulting in discoloration, as well as many other symptoms.


  • Bacterial or fungal infection
  • Overwatering
  • Insect damage
  • Sunburn

How to fix

Since the infection is usually concentrated in the affected leaves, the best way to combat it is to remove them all. Consider repotting your plant and drying out the soil before watering it again in the future.

If there is too much water in the soil, root rot can develop, which damages the leaves. Some of them can get mushy or lose their green color. It is also common to see black or brown markings and splotches. 

Burns may occur when your plant isn’t used to direct sunlight and you suddenly expose it to too much of it. So, avoid placing the fig in direct sunlight

To learn more about curling leaves check this blog: Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Curling – Causes and How to Fix It.

Probelm#19: White patches on leaves


Again the problem is sunlight. If the patches on your plant’s leaves are closer to white or tan than yellow, a large amount of direct sunlight is to blame.

In their native habitats, they receive some direct sunlight. However, plants we purchase for indoor growth, have typically been raised in shady situations, making them sensitive to direct sunlight. As a result of sudden exposure to the sun, their leaves become scorched, resulting in white or tan patches in the closest leaves.


  • Too much direct sunlight

How to fix

Avoid direct sunlight, unless it’s a gentle morning sun for only an hour or two. 

Increasing your tree’s exposure to more full sun can improve its growth, but this should be done gradually over a few weeks rather than all at once to prevent damage.

Also, check our detailed blog post on White Spots On Fiddle Leaf Fig – Causes And What To Do

Few questions on fiddle leaf fig issues

Q1. How can I tell if a fiddle leaf fig is unhealthy?

Ans. When your Fiddle’s leaves grow large and strong, that indicates your plant is thriving. New growth is always a sign of health. Alternatively, if your plant’s new leaves grow small and stunted, nutrient deficiencies could be to blame.

Q2. How do I fix a sick fiddle leaf?

Ans. To help your fiddle-leaf fig tree thrive, leave it alone to recover slowly on its own. Water it once a week, keep it in indirect sunlight, and keep it warm.

Q3. Should I cut off damaged fiddle leaf fig leaves?

Ans. Yes, pruning regularly is a good way to remove damaged leaves and stems. To improve your plant’s overall health, remove any leaves with large brown spots or holes. If your plant has an injured or sick leaf, it drains its resources and can cause an infection to spread.

Q4. Will a fiddle leaf fig regrow leaves?

Ans. Figs do not regrow lost leaves. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep them healthy because once the leaf is gone, it is gone for good.

Q5. Should I cut the roots of my Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Ans. Roots need trimming. This will prevent root rot and ensure the fiddle leaf fig gets the moisture it needs from the soil. So, cut the roots back to about an inch from the pot with a sharp knife or pruning shears.


These were all the common problems associated with fiddle leaf fig plants. It is likely that you have noticed that most of the problem is caused by overwatering. Therefore, you should be mindful when watering your fiddle leaf fig.

Another common cause of problems in fiddle leaf fig is lighting and temperature. The fig plant is known for its love of consistency. So, whenever you change their care, they seem to show problems. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t alter their care. A few changes may be needed, for example, moving a plant into a bright location. But, when you move the plant, the temperature might fluctuate. When that happens, you just need to take care of the location where your fig will recover or adapt quickly.

Overall, taking good care of fiddle leaf figs will prevent most problems. However, some of the unwanted guests such as mealy bugs, aphids, and scales can be prevented using neem oil or any other pesticides.

So, what are your questions? Feel free to ask me in the below comment section. And don’t forget to pass this article on to 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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