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

Fiddle leaf fig plants can face several issues if you keep them as a houseplant in your home. Fiddle leaf fig root rot is characterized by mushy roots and brown leaves. Additionally, root rot leads to bad odors as well as stem drops.

It is common for fiddle leaf figs to suffer from root rot. In any case, if left untreated, your gorgeous plant could die within a week. Overnight, your fig plant or tree can go from flourishing to dropping all of its leaves.

There are several reasons why fiddle leaf figs develop root rot. However, the most common reason is overwatering. Other causes include incorrect soil mix and inadequate drainage.

Whenever you notice roots rot on your fiddle leaf fig, take it out of its pot, prune the damaged roots, and repot it with fresh soil.

Today, in this article, we will discuss how to determine if your fiddle leaf fig has root rot and how to fix it. Let’s begin!

But before that, let’s find out the causes of root rot in your fiddle leaf fig plant and what are the signs of root rot! 

Causes of root rot in fiddle leaf fig!

Causes of root rot in fiddle leaf fig!

It’s tricky to treat fiddle leaf fig root rot. Hence, to treat this plant, it’s more important to find out the cause than to treat the symptoms. Check out the causes below!

1. Overwatering fiddle leaf fig

This is the main reason for root rot. Therefore, it is important to water your fiddle leaf fig according to its size. You can begin by giving your plant one cup of water every week. Later, you can adjust the watering if you encounter any problems.

However, do not forget to check the soil before watering. Water your fig plant if the soil is cold or a little damp. But avoid watering when the soil is moist. Also, it is okay to water the plant throughout the growing season. However, do not water it during the dormant season as watering during that time will only cause root rot.

If you don’t know the water requirement of your fiddle leaf fig, consider using a moisture meter.

2. Choosing the wrong soil mix

Choosing the wrong soil mix might retain too much water, causing root rot in your fiddle leaf fig. For healthy roots, fiddle leaf figs need well-draining soil with adequate aeration. Figs do best with soil that has a pH of 5.5-7. If you want to create a soil mix for your fiddle leaf fig, you can use two parts cactus mix and one part compost or peat moss.

Additionally, you can mix a little bit of perlite with organic potting soil, and peat moss to make a soil mix for your plants.

3. A poor drainage system

Root rot is more likely to occur when there is no proper drainage system since excess water sits on the plant and exposes it to root rot. Fiddle leaf figs will not be able to drain away water effectively if they don’t have drainage holes or have the wrong size holes.

4. The spread of pathogenic bacteria

Fiddle leaf fig root rot can be caused by pathogens in the soil. When the fiddle leaf figs are overwatered, these pathogens can grow and thrive, causing the infection to spread faster.

5. Size of the pot

Pot size may play a role in causing root rot. Hence, use a pot that is neither too big nor too small for the plant. Choosing the right-sized pot will reduce the chances of root rot and water retention. Additionally, the pot should have drainage holes to allow the water to drain properly.

As you now know what causes fiddle leaf fig root rot, let’s see what signs indicate root rot in fiddle leaf figs.

Signs of root rot fiddle leaf fig!

Fiddle leaf Figs can show a variety of symptoms of root rot. Since these are found in the leaves and stems of the plant, transplantation may be too late to save the plant. Thus, it’s best to act as soon as the soil remains moist. Let’s check out the signs below!

1. Roots with a mushy or slimy texture

Ideally, the roots should be crisp and dry. When it becomes mushy or slimy, it is a sign of root rot. 

Likewise, the color is an indication, as healthy roots are white, whereas ones susceptible to root rot will turn brown or black. And unhealthy roots are the major sign of root rot.

Roots with a mushy or slimy texture

2. A bad odor from the soil

When root rot occurs, there is usually a damp smell. On the surface of the soil, you might smell a musty odor. 

A musty or damp smell will come out if you take the plant out of the pot if there’s no smell on the surface. And clearly, this is root rot.

3. A drooping stem

Fiddle leaf figs can display drooping stems as a sign of root rot. 

There are often drooping stems on fiddle leaf fig plants because of the larger leaves on top. However, there could be root rot if you observe an increase in drooping branches.

Whenever you notice your stems drooping or getting soft, check the soil and roots.

A drooping stem

4. Dark brown or black leaves

You can also see signs of root rot on the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig. Initially, you will notice small brown spots on the leaves. As the spots grow, they will become dark brown or black. 

Spots can show up anywhere on the leaves. Sometimes they will show up on the edges, and sometimes they will show up in the middle.

Dark brown or black leaves

5. Algae or mold around the base

Around the base of your fiddle leaf fig, you might see mold or algae. If you overwater, you will create the perfect environment for this, and the roots might rot.

Now you know the signs and causes of root rot in your fiddle leaf fig plant, let’s check out the solutions below to fix these issues!

How to fix fiddle leaf fig root rot?

How to fix fiddle leaf fig root rot

Often, fiddle leaf fig root rot results from overwatering or excessive moisture in the soil. If the root system was damaged somehow, poor watering and fertilizing would be more difficult for it to handle.

In Fiddle Leaf Figs, root rot is not necessarily fatal, but catching it quickly is imperative to save the plant. So, check your plant’s roots as soon as it shows signs of distress. Do the plants have accumulated moisture at their bases? Has the root become mushy or dark brown? 

But if you act fast and follow these steps, you might be able to fix your fiddle leaf fig from root rot!

Step 1: Take your plant out of its pot and inspect the roots

To save your fiddle leaf fig, watch out for the signs of root rot mentioned above and take immediate action if you notice them.

Step 2: Remove as much soil as possible from the root ball

Clean off the dirt by rinsing the root ball with room temperature water. After it has been cleaned off, you can examine the roots more closely.

Step 3: Identify brown or mushy roots and remove them 

Using pruning shears or scissors, cut away the rotten roots and prevent them from spreading. 

To grow new roots more easily, you will want to remove the damaged roots and preserve the root ball as much as possible.

Step 4: Put your plant in a bigger pot 

After you have removed the dead and rotting roots, it’s time to replant your fiddle leaf fig in a new pot. Make sure the new fiddle leaf fig planter you choose is larger than the old one and has drainage holes at the bottom. 

Alternatively, you can add graven to the bottom of your container if that is not an option. A layer of one to two inches can improve drainage and keep the roots from getting soaked by standing water.

Step 5: Make sure the pot isn’t too big 

It is important to allow room for new roots to grow in the pot, but it is also important not to have an overly large pot. There is a great risk of overwatering again if the pot has too much empty soil in it. 

Thus, it’s ideal to choose a pot with a diameter that is just 4-6 inches larger than the previous pot or larger than the root ball.

Step 6: Move your plant to bright, indirect light after repotting

Ensure that your fiddle leaf fig gets enough light. If fiddle leaf figs don’t receive enough light, even with proper watering and drainage, they can develop root rot. 

It is best to keep it near a window so that it receives long periods of morning or evening light or at least a couple of hours of midday sunlight.

Step 7: Give your fiddle leaf fig a drink

It is important to ensure the water drains out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. After that, wait a while. Allow the root system to completely dry out before watering again. 

To find out how fast the soil will dry out and how much water you should provide your fiddle leaf fig, invest in a moisture sensor.

How to prevent root rot in fiddle leaf fig?

How to prevent root rot in fiddle leaf fig

Monitoring your watering habits closely is the best way to prevent root rot in fiddle leaf figs. 

The most common cause of fiddle leaf fig root rot is overwatering. Yet, fiddle leaf figs are nearly 100% immune to root rot if you prevent soggy soil and overwatering.

Below I have compiled a few tips for preventing root rot in fiddle leaf fig roots. Let’s check out below!

1. A regular watering schedule

Water your plants regularly, but with a moderate amount. Overwatering or underwatering makes the plant more susceptible to disease.

Phytophthora and pythium, are two organisms that cause root rot, like moist soil conditions. Therefore, over-watering causes root rot since the soil gets too wet and drainage is reduced.

Additionally, you should stop watering the plants on rainy days to avoid the plants becoming saturated and unable to drain.

If you are not sure about the dryness of the soil, poke it with your finger or use a soil moisture meter. Moreover, make sure the roots have time to dry between waterings.

Also, pay attention when the soil is too dry because pathogens can penetrate deeper into the soil when the soil is too dry.

2. Ensure a good drainage system

A well-draining container or pot with enough drainage holes allows oxygen to reach the roots more efficiently and allows the water to drain properly.

Furthermore, by preventing standing water for too long, it avoids root rot, which can cause severe problems.

3. Check the soil regularly

A great tip for preventing root rot is to check the soil. Immediately after you water your plants, conduct a soil test.

Moreover, if the soil is too wet, watering should be avoided to prevent bacteria from multiplying quickly. Additionally, you need to aerate and loosen the soil regularly.

4. Improve soil aeration

By aerating the soil, you ensure that the roots receive enough oxygen and can grow. Furthermore, it allows water and oxygen to circulate freely. Also, aerated soil reduces moisture buildup in the roots.

A few questions on fiddle leaf fig root rot!

Q1. Can a fiddle leaf fig recover from root rot?

Ans. Yes, if root rot is caught early, a fiddle leaf fig can recover. If the leaves start to fall or turn brown, inspect the root ball. In the case of diseased roots, wash and trim them immediately, and repot the plant. A plant can quickly die from root rot if it is not detected early enough.

Q2. How do I fix root rot in a fiddle leaf fig?

Ans. There are many causes of root rot, so the remedy for root rot will depend on the plant’s root rot condition. Repot the plant or drain the container if the soil is poorly drained.

If a fungal infection causes the problem, the plant may need to be removed from the soil and replanted in new soil while the roots are being removed.

Q3. How does fiddle leaf root rot look?

Ans. The leaves of fig trees can show signs of root rot when they display brown spots and droop.

Q4. Do root rots heal on their own?

Ans. This isn’t possible since the roots are underground. If the roots are not treated, they can quickly rot and cause worse conditions instead of dissolving on their own.

Q5. Can other plants be infected by root rot?

Ans. Without treatment, root rot will not only kill your precious fiddle leaf fig but will also spread to other plants in your home.


Root Rot on Fiddle Leaf Figs can kill your plant if you don’t treat it right away. Also, it can be difficult for new plant owners to identify root rot because the condition often originates in the root ball. However, take immediate action if you notice signs of root rot, such as brown leaves and constantly wet soil. 

You will then need to rinse the roots and trim any brown ones before repotting them in a new container with new soil. After it has been planted, give your plant one generous watering, and allow it to dry out for two weeks before watering again.

Also, taking preventative measures is the best way to keep fiddle leaf figs from root rot. Certainly, you can prevent fiddle leaf fig root rot by following the tips listed above. It only takes a little care such as regular watering, good drainage, and aerated soil to prevent root rot.

This is all that needs to be done to save your fiddle leaf fig from root rot. I hope you found this article useful. I would appreciate it if you shared it with other fig lovers. Also, if you have any questions related to fiddle leaf fig plants, please leave a comment down below!

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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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