Fiddle Leaf Fig Sunburn – How to Identify, Treat & Prevent it

Are you aware that fiddle leaf figs can suffer sunburn just like humans? Did you know that a lot of direct sunlight can harm your fiddle leaf fig plant?

The plants’ glossy, dark green leaves are susceptible to sunburn due to the large surface area they cover. There are dry, almost crispy light brown spots on fiddle leaf figs affected by sunburn. 

Additionally, leaves will have discolored or browned edges and tips. Also, the leaves can be curled or crinkled. And as soon as they appear, these spots damage leaves irreversibly.

Hence, it’s important to act immediately if you suspect your fiddle leaf fig tree has sunburn. Today, in this article, I will provide you with all the information that you need to know on fiddle leaf fig sunburn about identifying and treating them! Let’s begin! 

How to identify sunburn on fiddle leaf fig?

Your fiddle leaf fig may like being close to the window, but too much sunlight and heat can damage it. To check if your fiddle leaf fig has sunburn, look out for the following signs!

1. Brown and crisp edges on fiddle leaf fig leaves!

Brown and crisp edges on fiddle leaf fig leaves!

It is common for fig leaves to have brown, crispy edges or tips due to sunburn. Usually, this occurs because of too much direct sunlight. This makes the leaves’ edges dry out and turn brown.

Additionally, this sign is more noticeable on the newer leaves. However, it can also affect the older leaves of the plant.

2. White or Brown Patches on fiddle leaf fig Leaves!

White or Brown Patches on fiddle leaf fig Leaves!

Another sign of sunburn on your plant is white or brown patches. These are caused by the sun’s UV rays. In fig leaves, these UV rays damage the cells. Also, there is bleaching of the chlorophyll in leaves, leading to patches of white or brown.

Often, the edges of sunburned leaves will be brown or black.

3. Fiddle Leaf Figs with brown leaf tips!

Brown leaf tips usually indicate dehydration in figs. The sun will make your plant thirsty if it spends a lot of time outside.

Additionally, the heat of the bright rays can cause your dog’s food production to go into overdrive. Thus,  dehydrating your fiddle leaf fig plant.

4. Bleached leaves of fiddle leaf fig plant!

Fiddle Leaf Figs will be completely bleached in the worst-case scenario. During noon, sunlight can destroy the pigments in leaves, as well as their structure.

There is no doubt that fig leaves that appear washed out, gray, or white have been exposed to too much direct sunlight.

5. Dryness of soil of fiddle leaf fig plant!

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is exposed to strong light, it will drink whatever water it can find to stay hydrated. This makes the soil light and dry. The roots may lose grip on larger figs, causing them to fall out. 

Also, crumbly, dry soil indicates your fig is struggling to live.

6. Leaves drooping and wilting of fiddle leaf fig plant!

Drooping, and wilted leaves are other signs of dehydration. To fill out its leaves, your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs water. When the leaves lack that water, they become floppy.

7. Discoloration of fig leaves of fiddle leaf fig plant!

Discoloration of fig leaves of fiddle leaf fig plant!

If your fiddle leaf fig plant’s leaves turn yellow or brown, it likely has sunburn. It usually occurs on leaves facing the sun, and it can occur gradually or suddenly. 

The discoloration is a sign that your plant is receiving too much UV radiation, so you need to act immediately if this happens. When the leaves are severely burned, they may fall off.

8. Leaf Loss of fiddle leaf fig plant!

Fiddle leaf figs can lose all their leaves when they are severely sunburned. Usually, sun damage causes the leaves to lose their ability to hold onto the plant.

Now that you have identified these signs on your fiddle leaf fig, it is time to treat it. The sooner you take action, the easier it will be to prevent further damage.

How to treat sunburn on fiddle leaf fig?

You don’t have to give up if your fiddle leaf fig leaves look a little worn from the sun! The following steps will help you with your plant’s recovery.

  1. Put your plant in a shady spot or inside where it won’t get direct sunlight. During the day, place it in an east-facing window where it will receive indirect sunlight.
  2. If any leaves are severely damaged or browned, remove them. Unless these leaves are recovered, the rest of the plant will continue to lose energy.
  3. Once the leaves have recovered, reduce watering slightly. Also, keep an eye on the soil regularly and only water when it’s dry on top.
  4. Wait until the plant has recovered before fertilizing. Once the leaves have grown back green, you can resume fertilizing as usual.
  5. Pay close attention to your plant for signs of new growth. It indicates that the plant is improving and is on its way to recovery.

These are only a few things you can do if you have a sunburned Fiddle Leaf. Unfortunately, once a leaf has been sunburned, it will not be able to recover fully. For Fiddle Leaf Figs, sunburns can cause serious damage. Additionally, the plant exerts a great deal of energy trying to repair sunburned tissues to survive.

Depending on how severe the burn is, you might see some improvement over time, but it would cost a lot of energy.

For a better understanding of the severity of fiddle leaf fig sunburn, I have categorized it as follows:

1. Mild fiddle leaf fig sunburn

You can cut away only the sunburned portions of each leaf when you have mild sunburns. It’s okay to have a few half-cut leaves, as long as the cuts heal and the rest of the leaf is used for photosynthesis and respiration.

It may be hard, but pruning away any burned portions of your Fiddle Leaf Fig will help it recover from its sunburn.

2. Fiddle leaf fig Sunburn that is more intense

In the case of more intense sunburns that affect the entire leaf, you should remove the leaf right away rather than wait for the plant to attempt to heal itself. 

Your Fig might look bare, but the energy it would have been wasting repairing burnt leaves can be redirected to new growth.

3. An extreme case of fiddle leaf fig sunburn

Consider pruning back some lower branches on the plant if you have an extreme case of sunburn. 

In most cases, lower portions of the plant are more protected by branches and leaves above, so sunburn isn’t as severe. 

It may be best to cut back your Fiddle Leaf to healthy, unaffected stems if the top of the plant looks bad. Though it may seem a drastic move, your plant will eventually branch at the cuts and grow back out.

How to prevent fiddle leaf fig sunburn?

How to prevent fiddle leaf fig sunburn

1. Prevent sunburn by acclimatizing your fiddle leaf fig

Hardening off, also known as acclimatization, is one way to prevent sunburn on figs.

This process will take some time to help your Fiddle Leaf Fig adjust to the new light levels. Yet, your figs won’t mind high levels of light as long as you are careful and handle it with ease.

Move your plant gradually from a shady area to a sunny one. Let it adjust to this new location for a few days or a week. When it acclimates, move it again to a brighter area.

Depending on your light levels, your fig may adapt in a few weeks.

2. Fertilize the plant during its early growth phase

Between fall and spring, you should fertilize your fiddle leaf fig every month since they are restricted to the nutrients in their pot. This is a period when your plant requires extra care and attention. Once a week, water your fig plants with a specialized fig fertilizer.

Without these nutrients, growth will slow down. A fine fig will become brittle and more sensitive to sunburn if exposed to light. This is especially true when your fig is young.

3. Water your plants according to the season

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig will need more water during the summer. Also, it uses extra light to stimulate growth, another activity that consumes water.

Your fig may need two waterings per week if you keep it in a bright location. During this period, pay close attention to the moisture level.

4. Provide shade to fiddle leaf fig

Provide your plant with a shady spot in a bright environment. When the sun is at its hottest, consider closing the curtains or blinds. 

If you want to provide shade during the day, place your fig near a statuary, bookcases, or other plants.

Few questions on sunburnt fiddle leaf fig leaves!

Q1. Should sunburnt fiddle leaf fig leaves be cut off?

Ans. A plant’s growth depends on its leaves. Consider both pros and cons before removing damaged leaves.

Only leaves with less than a third of the damage should be left to continue their work. To remove crispy tips, use clean shears or scissors and follow the leaf’s natural shape.

Make sure you don’t cut into the healthy green tissue of the leaf. If you do that, you will end up with a delicate amount of brown edge.

If you want to remove the whole leaf, you can always do that. In stressful conditions, Fiddle Leaf Figs are notorious for dropping leaves without hesitation. They don’t worry about losing a few leaves, so neither should you.

Cut them off with clean shears at the base. Wear gloves when handling these figs since the sap is toxic and irritating.

Q2. Can fiddle leaf figs get too much sun?

Ans. While you can acclimate them to full sun (and it’s a good idea), your fiddle can suffer if it gets too much light.

Q3. Will my fiddle leaf fig recover from sunburn?

Ans. If the damage is not too severe, a fiddle leaf fig can easily recover from sunburn. Give your plant a chance to heal by moving it out of direct sunlight. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the affected leaves as they won’t recover.

Q4. Should I cut brown spots off fiddle leaf fig?

Ans. Yes, if your plant has affected leaves, remove them and make sure it has enough light. The brown spots should be cut off, followed by repotting your plant, taking care not to overwater it in the future.


As with many houseplants, Fiddle Leaf Figs can get sunburned. If this happens, remove the plant from direct sunlight as soon as possible and remove any severely damaged leaves, even if it is hard. Likely, they won’t recover, and your plant can put that energy into new growth instead.

Lastly, remember that your Fiddle Leaf Fig can be acclimated so that it won’t burn as easily. You will find that with gradual exposure to more intense light, your plant becomes accustomed to and even thrives in many hours of direct sunlight. It’s all about keeping an eye on your Fiddle Leaf Fig and introducing changes slowly.

We have another helpful article about fiddle leaf figs that you may find useful if you are a fan of figs. So, take a peek before you go!

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you’re looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with. Also, 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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