Houseplants forum: Help with Fiddle Leaf Fig

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Sep 23, 2017 2:13 PM CST
My fiddle leaf fig needs some help! Several issues seem to be going on:

1. Copper-colored large spots, some of which turn cripsy. What are these from? How do I make them better?

2. Tiny red dots on new leaves, which tend to grow out ok.

3. Mealy bugs (mild infestation, which I am managing with frequent neem oil sprays and leaf-wiping, plus manual removal). They are almost all gone now. Do the mealy bugs cause those tiny red dots?

4. Leggy trunks. I think this has to do with pruning ... but I'm afraid to prune this tree with all the other leaf problems going on. If I prune the ones at the top, then only the damaged leaves with copper spots are left, and it seems like that wouldn't be great for the plant.

See the photos for details. I have the plant in a sunroom (no windows on the ceiling, but the south wall is a 1 big window and the larger west-facing side is all windows. No windows on the north side). Lots of bright indirect light all year round, but I live in the PNW, so there are lots of clouds and not much light in the winter. Some direct light when the sun is shining through the windows. Temps get up to 90 degrees in the summer (but good ventilation with breezes blowing through), down to 40s in the winter. I use a soil moisture monitor and water whenever the plant is totally dry.

Any advice?
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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Sep 23, 2017 3:21 PM CST
My guess is lack of humidity. Physical damage? Do you have dog that wags it's tail when it walks by the plants? Leggy trunks is sort of normal especially when you do not have enough light. Again, I would not use a moisture meter and not let it go dry. Gene
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Sep 24, 2017 11:15 AM CST
The leaf spots are a generic symptoms with several possible causes, including inadequate light and improper watering. The brownish patches will never disappear so you might consider removing those leaves that are unattractive.

The mealybug juveniles are small, translucent and almost invisible to the naked eye. If you treat only the ones you see, you will miss the juveniles who will later reproduce and the problem will return. Wiping fails to get the ones that are in tiny crevices. Spray the entire plant so that all leaf surfaces are dripping wet with the spray. Thoroughness of coverage is the key to success.

Do whatever you can to maximize the light for your Fig. Disregard the moisture meter because they are notoriously inaccurate and misleading. Use your finger to pinch out the top half inch of soil. When it feels dry, then water the soil thoroughly until some water trickles through the drain holes.

New leaves only emerge at the tip ends of each stem and never lower down. Thus, pruning a leggy stem back is the only way to get new growth on the lower portion of the tree. Pruning will alter the way the plant looks, but it will not damage or harm the plant in any way.

This plant does fine in low humidity as long as it is watered properly. Fertilizer will not help. Focus on light and proper watering.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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