Fiddle leaf figs can transform your home’s interior decor into a cheerful and bright space. However, these houseplants are finicky and need lots of care and attention.
Maybe you’re giving your fiddle leaf figs lots of love but still notice those dreary black spots. Knowing the causes of these black spots and their solutions will help you keep your fiddle leaf fig free glossy and happy.
An Overview of Black Spots on Fiddle Leaf Figs in California
Black spots occur for a myriad of reasons. In some cases, the leaves will make a full recovery because they continue to function as normal.
However, some reasons for black spots are more serious and should not be ignored. The treatment of the condition depends on the ailment, so figuring out the problem is essential.
The size and shape of the black spots also vary. Some are round; others may have irregular edges. It is unlikely for the black spots to disappear from the affected fiddle leaf figs.
However, any new foliage will be free of black spots once you remedy the cause. Healthy and robust fiddle figs are more resistant than we give them credit for.
They should recover and replace the damaged foliage with new leaves. Let’s take a look at common reasons why fiddle leaf figs develop black spots on their foliage.
Read: Why Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Lose Leaves, and Can This Recover?
The Foliage is Getting Older
Age affects houseplants too! Before you start fishing for clues as to why your fiddle leaf fig is looking worse for wear, make sure the foliage isn’t at an advanced stage of its life.
It is natural for Fiddle Leaf Figs to decommission older foliage and make way for newer, fresher leaves.
As the foliage gets older, it will develop an unsightly appearance that is very consistent with the decline associated with age.
While you can’t stop the aging process, you can certainly slow the process by taking good care of your fiddle leaf figs in California.
Pro tip: Ensure to clean the foliage and rotate the leaves so that all parts of the plant receive ample light for longevity.
This is a more serious problem that needs urgent attention. Root rot can lead to the plant’s death in some cases.
It mostly occurs because of overwatering. The damp conditions choke the soil and prevent the plant from ‘breathing’ in oxygen.
Over time, the soggy soil will restrict the roots from performing their functions. You will notice your fiddle leaf figs turning a shade of yellow, gradually worsening to brown and eventually black.
In the case of severe conditions, black spots will form on the leaves and stems. If you think your plants have a case of root rot, consider unpotting them to examine their roots.
If the roots give off a foul smell and have brown patches, they’re probably facing root rot. It may be too late to save the affected roots, and the best course of action is to snip them off.
Use some sterilized scissors to cut the affected roots. Report the fiddle leaf fig in fresh potting mix and a container with plenty of drainage holes.
Take good care of the plant to see the development of new foliage. Provide the fiddle leaf fig in California with the same amount every week.
More on watering fiddle leaf figs below.
The Plants are Overwatered
Overwatering may be worse than underwatering because it can kill the roots. Black spots on fiddle leaf figs are a desperate cry for help.
You can check to see if the plant is overwatered by uprooting the plant and making sure the roots are firm to the touch and give off an earthy scent.
Before your leaves turn black, however, they will develop yellow leaves and grow at a slower pace. Any new foliage will fall at an accelerated rate because they’re not receiving nutrients from the root system.
Check the soil regularly by inserting your finger about an inch or two to get a ‘feel’ for the moisture.
If the soil feels soggy, you are probably overwatering the plant. A more accurate way of measuring moisture levels is to buy moisture meters.
All you have to do is insert them in the root ball to measure the amount of water in the soil. We recommend investing in a moisture meter because it will take much of the guesswork out of the equation.
Inconsistent Watering Frequency
Be consistent with your watering frequency. For example, don’t shock your plants with a flood of water after weeks of dry spells.
Try to implement a consistent watering schedule to facilitate the beautiful growth of foliage. An inconsistent watering routine could result in the dehydration of the houseplant.
Consistency doesn’t mean you should water the plant at 6 PM every Monday on the dot. Ensure that your houseplant actually needs the water.
Use the soil testing method outlined above to see if your plant is ready for a new deluge. In general, fiddle leaf figs prefer weekly waterings, allowing their soil to dry out completely between each watering session.
As a rule, reduce the watering frequency in the winter months because fiddle leaf figs enter a dormant state.
Black spots are a common sight on fiddle leaf figs that have a fungal infection. Most fungal pathogens attack houseplants when they are overwatered.
Most fungal spores stay dormant until they receive water. If your fiddle leaf figs have a fungal infection, it means the houseplant is in a damp environment or that the moisture has stayed on the foliage for too long.
It is important to keep the plant in a dry condition and ensure the leaves don’t stay wet. This will go a long way in treating the black spots on the foliage.
Here are a few tips to prevent a fungal infection:
- Water your fiddle leaf figs at the base, not the top
- Schedule the watering session early in the morning
- Provide plenty of ventilation to the plant
- Try not to mist the leaves
Unfortunately, you will have to prune the affected foliage to ensure that the fungi do not continue to spread.
Once you have removed the affected foliage, the fungus will not cause any more damage to your houseplant in California.
Bacterial infections can also cause your fiddle leaf fig to develop black spots. Most cases of bacterial infection are devastating for the plant.
If you believe that your fiddle leaf figs have a bacterial infection, you should quarantine them immediately. Here are a few tips for managing bacterial infections:
- Isolate your plants away from affected fiddle leaf figs
- Sterilize any tools before and after pruning affected foliage
- Your plants are in a vulnerable state and need extra care and attention
You might be tempted to use chemicals to get rid of the bacterial infection, but chances are that it will also kill the plant. Your best bet is to isolate the fiddle leaf fig and prune any leaves that have black spots.
Pests on Fiddle Leaf Figs in California
Pest infestations can also cause black spots on your fiddle leaf figs. The most common pests that affect fiddle leaf figs include scale, spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.
Inspect your fiddle leaf fig regularly for signs of a pest infestation and act right away if you notice a pest colony.
The table below briefly examines common pests and how you can deal with them.
|Aphids||Clusters of aphids crowd young stems and leaves. This causes the yellowing of leaves and the formation of black fungus.||Use insecticidal soaps and essential oils (neem oil is best).|
|Spider mites||Almost undetectable without a microscope. These pests look like tiny white spiders that create webbings on the foliage.||Prepare a mixture of water and alcohol in a spray bottle. Spray both sides of the leaves to kill the pests.|
|Mealybugs||They look like masses of cotton forming around the joints and under the leaves of the plants. They suck the sap of the foliage, leaving them on the brink of death. Advanced stages of mealybugs will often result in the formation of black and sooty mold.||Use naturally occurring predator pests like ladybeetles and lacewings to effectively clear mealybug colonies.|
Exposure to Direct Sunlight
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will scorch and damage the foliage. Sunburn can result in the formation of black splotches on the surfaces of the leaf.
The best solution is to relocate the fiddle leaf in an area that recipes plenty of bright, indirect light.
Note that low light conditions are not recommended for fiddle leaf figs and could turn their foliage to a shade of yellow. Place the Fiddle Leaf Figs a few feet away from the windows.
For glossy-looking, shiny foliage, place light-filtering curtains that can filter the sun’s light for the plants.
So, there you have it, an in-depth look at the common reasons why the gorgeous fiddle leaf fig may develop black spots.
The houseplant is slightly difficult to look after, but they are well worth the extra effort that goes into caring for them.
Try not to overwater your plants and provide them with the best lighting for as long as possible. Finally, keep rotating the Fiddle Leaf Figs in-between watering sessions!
- Why Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Lose Leaves, and Can This Recover?
- Rubber Tree Vs. Fiddle Leaf Fig
- How to Make Fiddle Leaf Fig Grow Taller
- Spider Mites Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Why are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves So Small?
- The Basic Root Rot Treatment for an Indoor Potted Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
- How to treat Fungal Infection in Fiddle Leaf Fig [Helpful Tips]
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.