Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Cracking [6 Causes & Solutions]

Most gardeners love looking after fiddle leaf figs despite all the care requirements. In fact, the Fiddle Leaf Bug is a demanding plant that requires constant vigilance.

But the hard work pays off in the end because of its stunning and showy foliage. Due to their extensive care requirements, it is incredibly common for fiddle leaf figs to wilt or die outright. This article will take a look at why your fiddle leaf fig leaves may be cracking.

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Quick Answer: Why do Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Crack?

The primary reason why Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves crack is because of overwatering and low humidity levels.

Other less common causes include nutritional deficiency, bad lighting conditions, stress, and pest infestation.

The following sections will explore all the possible reasons why your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves in the united states of America are cracking.

1. Root Rot

Root rot directly affects the roots of fiddle fig leaves when they are growing in wet or damp soil. This disease can be devastating for your houseplant and shares many symptoms with pest problems and other diseases.

The leaves will start to crack and curl, leading to poor growth. Some leaves will drop and the plant will eventually die.

The main cause of root rot is overwater soils. The soggy conditions prevent the roots from absorbing oxygen they need to survive.

As the oxygen starved roots die, they spread the rot to healthier roots even long after you’ve rectified the overwatered conditions.

The weakened roots are highly vulnerable to soil fungus which can perpetuate root rot disease. Making diagnosis of soil fungus even worse is the fact that it can stay dormant in the soil for a long time.

When the soil gets waterlogged, the fungus comes to life and attacks the roots, causing them to die.

If the plant’s root system is dead, it stops functioning. This will prevent the roots from absorbing water and food from the soil.

At this stage, all your revival efforts will fail. It won’t be long before the plant itself becomes different in water and nutrients.

The leaves will eventually turn yellow and dry. Due to lack of moisture, they will eventually start cracking.

What’s the Solution?

The best way to fix root rot is to use well-draining potting soil. Make sure that the pot has plenty of drainage holes. Time your watering frequency in a way that part of the soil can partially dry.

Once you have determined that that plant is suffering from root rot, it’s time to pruner away the rot.

Unpot the plant and inspect its roots. You will notice black roots that give away a foul smell. Prune the rotten roots and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.

Allow the plants to recover before watering the soil. Finally, trim the cracked leaves because they won’t heal again.

1 Ficus lyrata, Fiddle Leaf Fig Live Plant #TMB137

2. Low Humidity

A prominent reason why fiddle leaf fig leaves often crack is low moisture levels. The houseplant thrives in the humidity range of 40% to 70%.

It does tolerate humidity levels below 30%. However, if you go any lower, the plant’s leaves will start cracking.

Another symptom of low humidity is the appearance of brownish tips on the edges of the leaves. They will eventually turn a darker shade of brown.

The biggest culprit for low humidity is the winter months or indoor cooling. Cooler temperatures remove moisture from the air and can choke up the plant.

We recommend setting up a humidity monitor near your plant to keep track of the moisture levels.

You can also use the more expensive but highly accurate digital hygrometer. They provide readings quickly and accurately. Armed with the informant, you now know what steps to take to protect your fiddle leaf fig plant.

The scorching summer months can also decrease humidity. The leaves will start to crack and curl due to the lack of moisture.

Other threats include radiators, air conditioners, and heaters. Using these appliances will disrupt the room’s humidity.

What’s the Solution?

The quick fix is to buy a hygrometer and place it near your plant. You should also keep the Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves away from heaters, air conditioners, and vents.

Install a humidifier in the winter months to improve the humidity levels of the room. A more primitive, but effective method is to lightly spray the plant’s leaves with water every now and then.

3. The Leaves Have Been Physically Damaged

Sometimes the most common cause for Fiddle Leaf Fig leaf cracking is stress caused by physical damage.

The sensitive leaves are prone to getting damaged. This can be done by you, children, pets, and visitors.

It is not recommended to place your Fiddle Leaf Fig in regions of the house that receive a lot of foot traffic.

Most people would unknowingly brush against the leaves and cause cracks and tears in the leaves.

What’s the Solution?

Do not place your Fiddle Leaf Fig houseplant in entryways and hallways because a lot of people move through every day.

Once damaged, the leaves are very unlikely to make a full recovery. The best way to fix the cracking is to trim the damaged sections.

The next step is to place the Fiddle Leaf Fig in a safe place where it is less likely to get damaged.

Make sure to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets!

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4. Bad Lighting

Fiddle leaf fig plants thrive when they receive abundant bright, indirect sunlight. However, placing them in direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and cause them to track.

It is recommended to keep fiddle leaf fig leaves in rooms that receive harsh indirect light.

For outdoor gardens, keep the plant in a shaded region. Keep the fiddle leaf fig away from harsh, strong and intense light. Direct sunlight could be a death sentence for your plants.

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will damage the leaves – beyond repair. Another sign that your plant is receiving too much light, besides cracking, is the yellowing of leaves as they get dry.

What’s the Solution?

The quickest fix is to place the plant away from direct sunlight. Fiddle leaf fig plants can tolerate a few hours of bright light but doing this for prolonged periods of time will damage the leaves.

Ensure that the plant receives indirect light. Do this by placing the plant in an area of the house where direct sunlight never can reach the leaves.

5. Bacterial Disease

It is not uncommon for fungi and bacteria to attack the leaves directly. The plant’s leaves will develop dark spots if they are infected by bacterial infections.

They appear near the leaf nodes and closer to the veins. Overwatering creates the ideal conditions for fungi and bacteria to thrive and attack fiddle leaf figs.

How to tell if the leaves are infected by fungi or bacteria? Bacteria will usually cause lesions to appear near the edge of the leaves. Furthermore, these lesions are brighter.

If allowed to go untreated, these lesions will dry up and result in the cracking of fiddle leaf fig leaves.

What’s the Solution?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for plants that have been thoroughly infected. Instead, these leaves should be discarded. You can pick off individual leaves that have developed spots.

Quarantine the fiddle leaf fig leaves to prevent the spread of disease. Now minimize the chances of infection by lowering the humidity and increasing air circulation.

Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Cracking
Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Cracking

6. Pest Infestation

Fiddle leaf fig leaves cracking may be a symptom of pest infestation. Insects are known for feeding on the leaves.

The injured leaves turn darker and develop cracks over time. The most commonly reported pest is the highly pervasive mealybug.

These bugs are harder to detect because they hide on the undersides of the leaf. They feed on soft tissues by injecting their saliva, which leads to the curling of the leaves.

Without intervention, mealy bugs will result in delayed growth and make the plant vulnerable to diseases.

Another pest that you are likely to miss is the notorious spider mite. This creature is extremely small and not easy to detect by the naked eye.

You may be alerted to its presence with the appearance of webs. These pests may be found on the leaf’s underside.

What’s the Solution?

Most of these pests can be removed with the use of natural and organic insecticides. We recommend using neem oil spray. Gently mist the plant with neem oil to kill pests.

If the pest infestation is on a smaller scale, you could try to remove them manually. Dab the mealy bug or spider mite with some isopropyl alcohol to kill it.

Finally, make sure to quarantine the plant. These pests will eventually spread to other houseplants as well. By quarantining the Fiddle Leaf Fig, you will be able to contain the pest infestation.        

An isolation period of about 3 weeks should be enough for Fiddle Leaf Figs.

Wrapping Up

Looking after Fiddle Leaf Figs is challenging because of the complex care requirements and the long list of potential threats.

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