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Trouble Shooting Tuesday: Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Figs are one of the most popular indoor plants, but they can be a little fickle. The way they will tell you they are unhappy is through their leaves.

So, how do you read the signs for what they want?

Root Rot

Dark brown to black spots, often on the lower leaves. Repot and asses the soil - is it thick, clogged, clay-like or clumpy? Cut some of the roots, if they are mushy and not crisp to cut there is a good chance you have overwatered your plant and it now has root rot.

Cut back all affected roots and repot using well-draining soil however there chance your plant may not recover.

Under/over watering

Tan, brown colour spreading from the leaf edge, often accompanied by curling, drooping and dropping.

Figs love a big drink but only when the soil is completely dry. For best results, take your fig out of the decorative pot and either hose it down outside or in your shower ensuring all leaves are wet and the soil is completely drenched. Keep watch of how quick the water flows through the pot and out the bottom - if it takes a while, soil compaction in the bottom drain holes may be the issue.

Not enough light

Similar reaction to a watering issue, leaves will slowly turn brown spreading from the leaf edge, then drop. The main difference is that thirsty figs will droop their leaves downwards before they drop. If the fig is in a spot that is too dark, the leaves will just drop. Figs need very bright light, and won't do well otherwise.

Bacterial Infection

Shows as light to dark brown and yellowing on leaves throughout the plant, particularly on the edges.

This is hard to treat. You can try repotting, and a good solid chop of the plant can help (be ruthless) but don't have too much hope!


Bleached tan, brown, yellow spots on leaves, particularly in small spots or patches in the middle of leaves.

Move the plant to a more shaded spot and ensure no direct sunlight beams are hitting the plant. Just like us, plants will burn!


Check for bugs on the underside or the leaves; they can be very small but keep on the look out for white mites, barely-there webs or scale. An infestation will eventually lead to browning leaves from the stem outwards and leaf loss.

Use neem oil or insecticide directly onto the leaves and wipe with a microfibre cloth.

Leaf damage

Physically damaged areas (ie during transport) will turn brown and unfortunately will not recover.

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