5 Reasons For Black Spots On Fiddle Leaf Figs-Solutions

The fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) are a popular choice for the houseplant enthusiast because of their attractive large and shiny foliage. But what good are they if they have dirty black spots on those glossy leaves?

The main problem is that they fall victim to some pathogenic diseases very easily that cause these black spots. However, they can be cured successfully, only when they are treated in the right manner. 

Overwatering, Fungal infections, Viral problems, Pest attacks, and Bacterial infections are the 5 major reasons that cause black spots.

The good news is, in this article, I am going to talk about each of these problems with their detailed solutions so it will be much easier for you to figure out what actions to take.

So, without making any delay let’s get straight to business–

Why Does My Fiddle Leaf Fig Have Black Spots?

1. Overwatering

When it comes to having black spots on the fiddle leaf figs, overwatering is the first thing to blame.

If you have watered your fiddle leaf figs too frequently before the soil had a chance to dry out completely then the excess water will rot the root.

As a result, the plant will not be able to take up enough nutrients and end up having yellow or brown spots on its leaves. Eventually, these spots turn black and the leaves will start to fall off from the plant.

Control Measure

The first thing you need to do is stop watering it for now. After that, inspect the water content of the soil. If it’s too wet then you have to change this wet soil before it does any more damage to the plant.

In this case, remove some surface soil and gently lift the plant from the pot and plant it in a good houseplant potting mixture that drains the water very nicely. (our pick) 

And don’t forget to pick a pot that has a couple of drainage holes at the bottom. If the soil is slightly wet then you have to immediately put it under sunlight so that it can dry out as soon as possible. 

When it comes to watering, make sure you water your fiddle leaf figs only when the surface soil is dry to the touch. Try to water them once a week depending on the soil moisture. Soon after a couple of weeks, the black spots will start to improve 

2. Fungal Problems

Fungal attacks are one of the worst enemies of your fiddle leaf figs. It’s very closely related to overwatering and high humid conditions.

You see, too much water facilitates the survival and movement of the fungal spores and helps them to spread over a distance very easily. 

The fungal attacks make black, brown, and yellow spots on their leaves and make the whole leaves look very dirty with mold growth. If these fungal infections are not treated in time the whole plant can die within a few days.

In severe cases, the black spots can coalesce and make a huge portion of the leaf into a black and rotten patch.

Fungal problems like root rots are more prominent during the summer and spring seasons because of the hot and humid conditions. 

To be more clear if your fiddle leaf figs have root rot issues you can watch this video below-

Control Measure

First off, remove all the infected leaves that have black spots on them and dispose of them very carefully.

Besides, make sure the air circulation around your plant is enough to let the leaves dry within a few hours of watering.

And try to water them during the early morning so that the leaves can have more time to dry up under the hot sunlight.

Now get the best fungicide for your fiddle leaf fig that is equally effective against fungal attacks and safe for other houseplants, humans and pets. (our pick)

Spray thoroughly on both sides of the leaves and don’t forget to follow the package instructions on your fungicide label very carefully before mixing. Repeat the spraying every week as long as the problem persists.

Always avoid overwatering and make sure the extra water seeps through the bottom of the hole. Also, don’t let your plants be too much crowded in one place because it can create a high humid condition too.

You can also use some natural means of fungicide that you can easily make in your home. The recipes are given below–

#Recipe 1:-Cinnamon Spray Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons of Cinnamon powder
  • 1 Liter of water

Steps

  • Mix water and cinnamon powder together and shake very well
  • Let the mixture sit overnight or at least for 7-8 hours
  • Now, strain the mixture with a fine cheesecloth
  • And put the solution into a spray bottle 
  • Spray it on your fiddle leaf figs carefully on both sides of the leaves twice a week until the fungal problem is gone
  • You can store the leftover solution into a separate bottle to use in the future
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3. Viral Infection

Viral infections can also cause black spots on your fiddle leaf figs. The viruses usually enter into the plant system through open wounds and disrupt the whole growth and development of the plant. 

Most viruses are typically spread by insects that suck the cell sap of the plant. So if you have seen insects on your plant followed by the black spots then it can very well be a viral infection.

Apart from the black spots, viral infections can cause discoloration of the leaf into yellow along with crinkling. Even some viruses can end up killing your precious plant very rapidly.

Control Measure

Sadly, there is no total cure for viral infections. Once the virus gets in the plant is pretty much done for. 

What you can do is prevent the spread of the virus and for this, you have to dispose of your virus infected plant so that the rest of the healthy plant can be saved. 

Meanwhile, you have to maintain a good hygienic condition for your plant including sterilized garden tools and equipment.

Since viruses are mostly spread by insects, you have to prevent pest attacks at any cost. For this, you can regularly use some natural means of insecticides. (the recipes are given in the following section)

4. Pests Attacks

Black spots are a common doing of sucking insects like aphids, scale insects, and spider mites. Aside from black spots their feeding also discolors the leaves, makes brown spots, turns the leaves yellow, and makes their growth stunted as well.

These insects are very small and that’s why they mostly go unnoticed until they have done their fair share of damage. To identify them it’s a good idea to use a magnifying glass.

Besides, due to the sucking of these insects, one kind of mold growth occurs at the leaf surface which is called sooty mold.

It comes from a secretion of honeydew from the insect body that is sticky so in humidity fungus grows over it and makes the leaves look black and dirty.

Normally it’s not that harmful but it definitely blocks sunlight in a greater part and causes the leaves to turn yellow and brown.

Control Measure

When you have confirmed the presence of these pesky pests you have to isolate your plant from the other plants in your home to prevent the spread of these pests into the healthy ones.

You can wash the plant with a strong spray of water but this will only be a temporary solution. To get rid of them for good use a good insecticide that is safe for houseplants on your fiddle leaf figs every week until they are all killed off. (our pick)

However, follow the package instructions very thoroughly and avoid any overuse of the product as it will do more harm than good. An overuse of insecticide will burn the leaves down. 

Good thing is that you won’t have to take any additional measures to get rid of the sooty mold problem because once the insects are gone the mold will gradually fade away on its own. 

However, to make your plant look more attractive you can use a washcloth and wipe out the mold with a mild soap and warm water solution.

Here are some natural and homemade recipes below that can kill the aphids and spider mites very effectively– 

#Recipe 1:- Onion Garlic Pepper Insect Spray Recipe

Ingredients

  •  A small bulb of garlic
  • A medium sized onion
  • 1 teaspoon of dry pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
  • Half a gallon of water

Steps

  • Put the onion and garlic together in a mixer and blend them together 
  • Then add the dry pepper and mix very well
  • Let this mixture sit overnight
  • Strain the mixture with a fine cloth
  • Now add the liquid dish soap and mix thoroughly
  • Finally pour in the water and put the mixture in a sprayer
  • Spray it on both sides of your fiddle leaf fig leaves once or twice every week
  • Be cautious about the hot pepper as it can irritate the skin so be careful and wear disposable gloves while spraying this solution.

Note: Before applying this onion garlic homemade insecticide to the whole fiddle leaf fig plant try it on a small leaf area. Because sometimes the homemade solution can cause irritation to the plant. 

After applying it to a small leaf, wait for some time to see the reaction. If there is no bad reaction then apply it to the whole plant. But if the leaf seems to be burned or curled up after applying the homemade insecticide then dilute it with more water and try again.

5. Bacterial Infection

Like fungal and viral attacks, bacterial infection can also make black spots on your fiddle leaf fig. It also causes yellowing leaves, wilting and stunted growth of the plant. 

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Bacterial attacks are very dangerous because in severe cases the entire plant can die. Like fungal and viral infections, bacteria also spread with air, water, and insects so the precautions are almost the same.

The most common bacterial disease in your fiddle leaf fig is bacterial leaf spot which makes yellow spots that gradually turn brown and black.

Bacterial infections are even harder to get rid of than fungal root rot. One way to tell the bacterial infection is that in this case, the soil will spread a very bad smell.

Control Measure

When you suspect a bacterial infection, the first thing you need to do is isolate the plant from the other houseplants to prevent the disease from spreading.

The next thing to do is, remove all the affected leaves and dispose of them carefully away from the healthy ones. Then you have to start the treatment as early as possible and for this, use a good bactericide on them. (our pick)

To prevent any future bacterial attack make sure your houseplants have enough ventilation around them and for this, you can keep them near an open window. Also, be careful not to overwater them and make sure to let the soil completely dry before each watering.

Besides, don’t keep your fiddle leaf figs under scorching sunlight for a long time as it will burn the leaves down and make them more susceptible to bacterial attacks.

If the infection seems to be in severe form, report the plant in a fresh potting mixture in a pot with a good drainage system.

You can also make a homemade solution of bactericide using baking soda. The recipe is here below–

Recipe 2:-Baking Soda Bactericide Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Half a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
  • Half a teaspoon of any cooking oil 
  • a liter of water

Steps

  • Add baking soda and cooking oil in a mixing bowl mix it well with a spoon
  • Now add the liquid soap and water one by one
  • Then stir slowly so that everything gets mixed thoroughly
  • Then pour the mixture into the sprayer
  • Spray on both sides of your fiddle leaf fig leaves up to twice a week as long as necessary

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do fiddle figs need full sun?

Your fiddle leaf figs need a lot of indirect and filtered sunlight but they don’t prefer direct sunlight. So, it’s best if they get an afternoon sun from a south-facing window. But too much exposure to sunlight is very harmful to them. 

Should I remove spotted leaves from fiddle leaf fig?

Once the leaves get the spots they usually don’t recover from them so it’s best to remove the affected leaves to help get your plant enough sunlight. If you want to keep them in a brighter location, take your time and gradually increase the exposure under the sun.

Can I put olive oil on my fiddle leaf fig?

Olive oil can help you get your plant some temporary glossy effect but it’s not best for the fiddle leaf figs. Because the oil clogs the pores of the leaves and as a result, respiration and photosynthesis are hampered. Moreover, the oil will make the dirt particles adhere to the leaf surface and cause suffocation.

Conclusion

Getting rid of black spots on your fiddle leaf fig will definitely take some of your time and care. But when your plant will shine with its lush leaves in a corner of your room then all the efforts will be worth it.

Water them on a right schedule and keep an eye for the fungal viral and bacterial attacks, use a proper insecticide from time to time and that’s all they need from you.

In this article I have tried my best to explain why the fiddle leaf figs have black spots on their leaves and discussed how they can be easily recovered by figuring out the actual problem. I hope you found this piece helpful.

If you have any further questions shoot away in the comments and I’ll be sure to get back at you with their solutions. 

Rimon Chowdhury

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