Ask a Question forum→Fiddle Leaf Fig- Brown and Yellow Spots (image attached)

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Name: Chris
NJ
Image
indulgentskin
Jun 3, 2018 7:32 PM CST
Hi everyone! I got this fiddle leaf fig a month or two ago and it started to develop signs of random brown spots. The first and second leaf to fall were both from the bottom going up.

Now I have this one leaf that has brown spots and yellow spots, please help me figure out how to fix this. I love this plant and so badly want it to thrive. I've been giving it 1cup of water a week. I don't completely soak it because when I did that with my past fiddle leaf figs they both died within a week of getting it. This plant has been doing great until now. My window is also a South sweat facing window. It's a good distance from it. Enough to get sunlight but not enough to burn. I had a new little leaf sprout but it dried up and fell off. Also I have never fertilized it yet, any suggestions?

Thank you!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 4, 2018 1:08 PM CST
It is always easier to diagnose plant problems when a photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot, is available.

Let's start with light. "A good distance" from the window is too far. Your Fig should be no more than 3 feet from the south-facing window. Several hours of direct sun falling on its leaves is not a problem, as is commonly suggested.

It appears that you repotted your Fig into a bigger pot and that makes watering more difficult and increases the possibility of overwatering. When properly potted, most plants, including your Fig, can be watered thoroughly until some water runs through the drain holes. However, when a plant is moved unnecessarily into a large pot, the added soil tends to retain the water for too long and suffocate the roots. In addition, you may have used a potting soil that is too dense. Finally, you probably added new soil to the surface of the original rootball and that also tends to keep the soil around the roots too wet for too long.

I am concerned that the roots have been somewhat damaged during the repotting and/or by the excess soil surrounding the roots. Otherwise, new growth would be healthy and leaf spots would be minimal. Inadequate light may also be contributing to the problem.

If you can provide a photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot, then I may be able to give you more specific watering instructions. In the interim, remove all the soil that you added to the surface of the original rootball.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Chris
NJ
Image
indulgentskin
Jun 6, 2018 7:59 PM CST
WillC said:It is always easier to diagnose plant problems when a photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot, is available.

Let's start with light. "A good distance" from the window is too far. Your Fig should be no more than 3 feet from the south-facing window. Several hours of direct sun falling on its leaves is not a problem, as is commonly suggested.

It appears that you repotted your Fig into a bigger pot and that makes watering more difficult and increases the possibility of overwatering. When properly potted, most plants, including your Fig, can be watered thoroughly until some water runs through the drain holes. However, when a plant is moved unnecessarily into a large pot, the added soil tends to retain the water for too long and suffocate the roots. In addition, you may have used a potting soil that is too dense. Finally, you probably added new soil to the surface of the original rootball and that also tends to keep the soil around the roots too wet for too long.

I am concerned that the roots have been somewhat damaged during the repotting and/or by the excess soil surrounding the roots. Otherwise, new growth would be healthy and leaf spots would be minimal. Inadequate light may also be contributing to the problem.

If you can provide a photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot, then I may be able to give you more specific watering instructions. In the interim, remove all the soil that you added to the surface of the original rootball.



Hi Will!

Thank you for replying. When I bought my plant from the garden center it was the only fiddle left. The woman advised me to repot it into a pot two inches larger than the nursery pot since a lot of roots were growing beyond the drainage holes. The current fiddle is potted in a 10in pot.

When I repotted the plant I mixed organic cacti soil, organic potting mix and a hand full of perlite and filled the pot about 1/3 of the way. The rest of the pot I filled with the soil from the original nursery pot. I didn't add new soil to the top of the fiddle leaf fig. I moved my fiddle leaf fig a lot closer to the window. Please look at the photos.

Again, thank you for replying.


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 7, 2018 2:30 PM CST
HI Chris - Overall, I think your Fig is fine. The symptoms you are concerned about are due to the root disturbance during the repotting that really was not necessary. The pot it is in now is larger than ideal, but Fiddle Figs are more tolerant than most and it will adapt over time.

As soon as the surface of the soil feels almost but not quite dry, then add enough water so that it reaches that level of dryness again in about a week. Experiment with the volume of water to determine what the right amount of weekly water is. Ordinarily, it is best to add enough water so that some trickles through the drain holes. However, because of the excess soil in the pot, I am concerned that it would take too long for the soil to dry properly after such a thorough watering. Hence, the need to experiment a bit.

The location appears to be okay as long as the window is not covered any more than it is in the photo. Rotate your plant weekly so that it grows evenly. The leaves tend to orient toward the light. With all of that soil, it will not need fertilizer for at least a year.

For future success with new plants, keep them in their original nursery pots for at least six months regradless of what the retailer tells you.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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