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Solving Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots: Expert Tips

The fiddle leaf fig tree has beautiful large leaves and a striking appearance and has become a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts. However, like any living organism, it can suffer from some common fiddle leaf fig problems. One of the most common problems with fiddle leaf fig owners is the appearance of brown spots on the leaves as the leaf matures. These damaged leaves cause distress among plant enthusiasts but fear not; dealing with this common problem is easy.

If top leaves turn brown, it is caused by several factors, including over-watering, under-watering, root rot, brown spots from sunburn, or brown spots starting from pests. Typically, you can spot the crispy brown leaf edges of the leaves or on the underside of the leaf. The spots can vary in color, and you’ll see leaves are turning brown to almost black.

To treat brown spots, it is vital to identify the underlying cause. If the issue stems from over-watering or you have brown spots caused by root rot, adjusting your watering routine and repotting makes a difference.

Treating Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots

However, if sunburn is the culprit, consider relocating your fiddle leaf fig to a spot with filtered sunlight. In our ultimate fiddle leaf fig care guide, you can learn more about each potential cause of brown spots and practical steps to remedy the problem.

By the end, you’ll better understand how to promote new leaf growth and maintain the health of your fiddle leaf fig using our fiddle leaf fig care bundle. (Read Green and White Leaf Plant)

How to Identify and Treat Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots

Fiddle-leaf figs are beautiful plants that add tropical elegance to any space. But they can also be prone to some common problems, like brown spots on their leaves. If you notice brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig, or your fig may drop leaves, don’t panic. There are many causes and solutions for this issue. In the rest of this guide to fiddle leaf fig problems, you’ll see how to identify and treat fiddle leaf fig brown spots quickly.

What are Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots?

Fiddle leaf fig brown spots leave the leaves that appear discolored on your plant. They can cause dark brown, black, red spots, yellow or light brown spots. They can appear on any part of the leaf, but they are more common on the edges, tips, or middle of the leaf. They can also affect one leaf or multiple leaves, depending on the cause and severity of the problem.

What Causes Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots?

There are many causes of fiddle leaf fig brown spots, but the most common ones are:

Root rot: 

A fungal infection that affects your plant’s roots from over-watering, poor drainage, or contaminated soil can cause root rot. Spots from root rot will be dark brown from the edges or the base, as roots can’t take up water and nutrients. This can lead to brown spots to appear on your once-healthy fiddle leaf because of too much water.


Dryness is another common cause of dark brown spots. Fiddle leaf figs need consistent moisture in their soil, but not too much. If the soil is too dry, the lack of water will also lead to brown spots as the plant loses water. As a result, your fiddle leaf fig may develop brown spots that form in the center of the leaf and spread to cause brown edges.


Leaf fig brown spots caused by sunburn are less common. Sunburnt leaves come from too much direct sunlight. The leaves on your fiddle leaf figs like bright indirect light, but not direct sunlight. If your plant is exposed to too much afternoon sun, you could see brown spots from dryness, like lack of water. Besides leaves that develop brown spots, sunburn can cause the leaves to curl and fade rather than turn brown and crispy. (Read Brown Spots On Bell Peppers)

How to Treat Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots?

The treatment for fiddle leaf fig’s dark spots depends on the cause. Here are some general steps you can take to treat and prevent your fiddle leaf’s brown spots:

Check the roots of Fiddle Leaf Fig

Check the roots: 

The first step is to check your plant’s roots for signs of root rot. To do this, gently remove your plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Healthy roots should be white or light brown, firm, and plump. Rotten roots will be black or dark brown, mushy, and slimy. If you find any rotten roots, you need to treat root rot as soon as possible.

Treat root rot: 

To treat root rot, remove all the infected roots with a clean and sharp knife or scissors. Then, repot your fiddle leaf fig in fresh and well-draining soil. It would help to use a clean and sterilized pot with drainage holes at the bottom. After repotting, water your plant thoroughly and drain the excess. 

Adjust watering: 

You must adjust your watering routine according to your plant’s needs to prevent root rot and dryness from causing brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig.  Water your plant when the top 2 inches of the soil are dry to the touch. You can use your finger or a moisture meter to check the soil moisture level. You should also water your plant deeply and evenly until water comes from the drainage holes. 

Move your plant: 

You must move your plant away from direct sunlight to prevent sunburn from causing brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig. Give your plant access to indirect light for most of the day.  You can also use a sheer curtain or a blind to filter out some of the harsh rays during peak hours to protect your plants’ leaves. Also, leaves will often lean toward a light source, so turn your plant so all the sides of the leaves get access to light and promote even new growth. (Read What Causes Brown Spots In The Grass)

How to Remove Brown Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves?

If you have treated the cause of your fiddle leaf fig brown spots, you may wonder if you should remove the affected leaves. The answer depends on the damage’s extent and your plant’s health. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

  • If the brown spots are small and isolated: You can leave the leaves on your plant, as they will not affect its overall health or appearance. The brown spots may fade over time or remain on the leaves until they fall off naturally.
  • If the brown spots are large and widespread: You can remove the leaves from your plant, as they may affect its health and appearance. The brown spots may show that the leaf is dying or infected, and removing it can prevent further damage or spread of disease across the entire leaf. 
  • If the whole leaf is brown or has almost black spots: Remove the plant’s leaves, as they are dead or dying and will not recover. The leaf may also attract pests or diseases, harming your plant. 

How to Prevent Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots?

The best way to prevent fiddle leaf fig brown spots is to provide your plant with the optimal conditions for its growth and health. Here are some tips to prevent brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig:

  • Choose a healthy fiddle leaf plant: When buying a new plant, choose a healthy plant that has no signs of pests, diseases, or damage. Look for fig plants with glossy and green leaves, sturdy, and upright stems, and white or light brown roots. Avoid plants with yellow leaves, brown, or black spots, droopy or wilted stems, or black or mushy roots.
  • Choose a suitable pot and soil: Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the root ball of your plant and has drainage holes at the bottom. 
  • Choose a good location: Choose a spot for your plant that receives bright indirect light for most of the day. You should also avoid moving your plant too often, which can cause shock and leaf drop.
  • Fertilize regularly: Fertilize your plant monthly during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. 
  • Prune occasionally: Give your fiddle leaf fig a light prune to remove older leaves first or lower leaves too close to the soil surface. This improves airflow and light penetration to help prevent pests and disease from spreading. 

FAQs: Root Rot and Brown Spots on Your Fiddle Leaf

Here are some frequently asked questions about fiddle leaf fig brown spots:

Cut off brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves

Can I cut off brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves?

You can cut off brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves if they are small and isolated. However, you should not cut off large portions of the leaf or cut into the healthy tissue of the leaf. This can cause more damage and stress to your plant.

How do I know if my fiddle leaf fig has root rot?

Some signs of root rot in fiddle leaf figs are:

  • Brown spots on the leaves
  • Yellowing, wilting, or dropping of leaves
  • Mushy or slimy roots
  • Foul smell from the soil
  • Soft or soggy base of the stem

How do I fix sunburned fiddle leaf fig?

To fix a sunburned fiddle leaf fig, move your plant away from direct sunlight and provide it with bright indirect light instead. You should also regularly water your plant and mist it occasionally to increase humidity. (Read Rust Spots On Weed Leaves)

How often should I water my fiddle leaf fig?

It would help if you watered your fiddle leaf fig when the top 2 inches of the soil are dry to the touch.

Solving Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots Expert Tips