Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Stem and Brown Spots [Reasons & Fixes]

Are you a beginner plant owner who has recently bought the fiddle leaf fig plant? Or an expert plant lover who doesn’t know how to deal with this temperamental plant? Fiddle leaf figs are known for their demanding requirements. Any negligence in its growing conditions and stable environment can read to rapid deterioration of its health.

Fiddle leaf figs natively belong to the lowlands and rainforests of Africa. If you wish to house this gorgeous plant indoors, you must provide it with identical humid conditions with adequate lighting, temperature, and watering schedule.

Since this plant is high maintenance, some common problems require urgent attention. One such problem is the fiddle leaf fig stem turning brown.

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Reasons for Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots

There are many reasons for the development of brown spots on fiddle leaf fig. The spots can range from tan to blackish brown and may appear on the new growth, older leaves, or stem.

If the fiddle leaf fig leaves start showing blackish-brown spots on their edges and middle surface, then it indicates that the plant is under a fungal infection attack.

Fiddle leaf plants prefer warm and wet conditions in their native habitat, and it is essential to mimic the same conditions when they are grown as houseplants. They require minimal watering, and plant owners must allow the soil to dry before watering it again.

Many houseplant owners make the mistake of overwatering their plants, as they think that the development of brown spots on the leaves means the plant is dehydrated. On the opposite, excessively watering the fiddle leaf fig plant will lead to oversaturation of plant soil, resulting in the plant roots being unable to breathe.

When the fiddle leaf fig plant roots have moist and wet soil in their surroundings, the water chokes the roots by filling up empty air spaces, leaving no room for the roots to breathe. The plant roots will not be able to transport nutrients to the rest of the plant, resulting in the leaves and stem suffering.

Root Rot

Root rot is one of the most deadly diseases that can kill your plant. The number one reason why root rot develops in plants is overwatering. The plant requires a small quantity of water every week and demands a well-draining and aerated potting mix.

If you are overwatering your fiddle leaf fig, or the water cannot leave the plant pot, and the plant keeps sitting in accumulated water for too long, it can attract fungal infections. The root rot infection affects the healthy roots, gradually moving up the trunk and the stems and leaves.

The most typical indicator that your fiddle leaf fig suffers from root rot is when the disease starts from the roots, moves upward, and attacks the older bottom leaves first. When the bottom leaves drop off the plant, the root rot starts targeting the rest of the plant leaves, eventually consuming the whole plant until it decays and dies.

The plant expresses its moisture stress by some telltale signs, and you must address the problem immediately. The plant will develop very dark brown spots that nearly seem black, and these spots affect not just the edges of the leaves but the whole leaf surface.

The black and brown spots will also target the base of the plant leaves, leading to a brown stem. The whole leaf will develop these brown spots until the entire bottom leaves succumb to the root rot disease. Eventually, the browning and decayed leaves will drop off the plant.

Fiddle leaf fig requires well-draining soil and a drainage hole in its container. If the problem is poor drainage, immediately repot your plant and allow it to dry out its soil before watering it again.

Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Stem Turning Brown?

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A mature fiddle leaf has a woody brown stem. It is normal to shed a few bottom leaves as they grow old since the plant channels its nutrients towards new growth on top.

A fiddle leaf fig brown stem is a regular occurrence. As the plant matures, its stems change their color and texture from green to a woody brown. The change starts from the bottom of the stem and gradually moves upwards. Eventually, the whole trunk will turn brown.

However, if you notice fiddle leaf fig brown spots on stem that look unhealthy and blackish brown, the problem could be overwatering or root rot.

You must assess the damage caused these reasons and take appropriate actions.

If the brown spots on your plant are due to overwatering, you can check it by dipping your finger into the soil. If the top two inches of the plant’s soil is wet and soggy, check for the proper drainage of the plant pot and allow the soil to dry out before watering it again. Using a moisture meter effectively prevents any further negligence that allows another episode of overwatering.

If the fiddle leaf fig brown spots on stem are due to root rot, this condition requires some deep treatment methods. Root rot can rapidly spread to other plant parts but originates from the roots. The best strategy is to repot the fiddle leaf fig plant, but before that, you will have to trim away the diseased roots.

  1. Gently remove your fiddle leaf fig from its pot.
  2. Remove excessive wet soil from the root ball and examine the roots thoroughly.
  3. Now look for the infected roots, which will appear mushy and black.
  4. Cut away the infected roots using a sterilized sheer.
  5. Now repot the fiddle leaf fig plant in a sterilized container, and ensure that it has a good drainage hole at the bottom.
  6. The new potting mix must be well-draining with high organic matter.

The perfect potting mix recipe for a fiddle leaf fig is 2/3 parts peat and 1/3 parts perlite. The peat moss improves soil drainage and prevents soggy soil, reducing chances of developing root rot disease in the future.

Perlite improves soil aeration and drainage and speeds up the rooting process of the trimmed roots. Perlite doesn’t break down over time and improves the flow of air and water in the potting mix so that the roots can breathe properly.

Other Reasons Why Fiddle Leaf Fig Have Brown Spots

Besides root rot and overwatering, other factors also contribute to the development of brown spots on your plant.

1. Underwatering

When brown spots start appearing from the edges of fiddle leaf fig leaves, giving the leaves a curled and crispy look, the plant is dehydrated.

An under-watered fiddle leaf shows browning of leaves from new to old growth, as the whole plant suffers from lack of moisture. The affected plants will eventually drop from the plant. Another symptom of underwatering is hard and dried-out plant soil that starts to recede from its pot edges.

To fix an under-watered fiddle leaf fig, you must start watering your plant consistently. Typically, a fiddle leaf less than 2 feet tall requires a cup of water every week, but you can listen to your plant’s needs and water it more than that if the dehydration symptoms don’t go away.

If the fiddle leaf fig is exposed to overly dry air, then you can provide it with a steamy and humid environment by misting its leaves after one or two days or increasing humidity in the surrounding air by placing a humidifier near the plant.

2. Excessive Temperature and Sunburn

When the fiddle leaf fig is scorched and sunburnt, the brown spots on its leaves will look bleached.

The plant prefers very bright light from an east- or west-facing window, but if the plant is exposed to intense direct sunlight for most of the day, the leaves and stems will burn.

A sunburnt fiddle leaf fig brown spots will also have red or yellow colored borders, which are more frequently found on outer exposed leaves rather than the hidden inner leaves.

Once your fiddle leaf fig leaves have turned brown, you cannot revive their original color. The only approach is to prune away the damaged leaves, then move your plant to a suitable location where it receives adequate light but is not intense enough to cause further damage.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Stem and Brown Spots
Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Stem and Brown Spots

3. Cold Spell

The fiddle leaf fig is overly sensitive to freezing temperatures. Many plant owners prefer to bringing it indoors in warm rooms at the start of winter, where they would not be exposed to a cold spell or sudden drop in temperature.

The browning leaves of a fiddle leaf fig exposed to cold draft look wilted, eventually dropping off the plant. It would be best if you placed your fiddle in a protected spot where there are no air conditioning or heating vents that fluctuate its surrounding humidity and temperatures.

Then remove the dead leaves from the fiddle leaf fig using clean and disinfected sheers.


A fiddle leaf fig is native to tropical environments and thrives in warm and wet humid conditions. Such environmental factors are often challenging to imitate when these plants are kept indoors, so you must always closely observe the signs of distress your plant is trying to show.

Knowing your plant’s symptoms will allow you to efficiently combat any problem, including fiddle leaf fig brown stem or brown spots on its leaves.

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