What causes fiddle leaf fig brown spots and how do you prevent them? Gardeners weigh in

With tips from our in-house experts, fiddle leaf fig brown spots won't faze you in the least

A closeup of a fiddle leaf fig houseplant
(Image credit: Nataliia Tymofieieva/Getty Images)

We can't guarantee you’ll avoid fiddle leaf fig brown spots, but we can be here with experts tips to help nurse your green baby back to health. 

Plant parents have setbacks from time to time, but most can be fixed. Our gardening experts have shared their wisdom on why fiddle leaf fig plants develop grown spots and how to get them sorted.

If you're planning to add the fiddle leaf fig to your collection of indoor plants, here's what you need to know. 

How to prevent fiddle leaf fig brown spots

Gardening in an apartment or small space is a blast, but every now and then, there's a not-so-easy houseplant that gives you a run for your money (we bet you can tell where we're going with this).

"Taking care of a fiddle leaf fig isn’t always straightforward, but with a little patience and attention, you can keep it thriving," says Bryan Clayton, CEO and co-founder at Green Pal

There are a few warning signs to look out for with fiddle leaf figs that might indicate brown spots are imminent. 

"Dropping leaves is a big red flag. It's the plant's way of saying, 'Hey, I'm not happy here,'" Bryan says. "Could be water issues, or it might need more light. These plants are like Goldilocks — they want everything just right."

Speaking of wanting everything right, these popular plants for indoor gardens will likely turn brown if you drench them. We know a plant parent's instinct is to be giving, but don't overdo it. 

"Overwatering is a common mistake, and these plants don’t like their feet wet," Bryan adds. "Too much water leads to root rot, which shows up as brown spots on the leaves. You gotta let the soil dry out a bit between waterings."

And for insight on how often to water a fiddle leaf fig, we have you covered.

"Water it whenever the top two inches of soil are dry," says Skylor Young, the co-owner and COO of The Plant Doctors. "Depending on the time of year, the amount of sunlight it gets and the humidity in the home, that could be anywhere from every one to two weeks."

But don't skimp on its hydration, either. That might cause another browning issue.

"If you don’t water them enough, the leaves start dropping and turning brown," Bryan adds. "It's about finding that sweet spot in watering."

Although you might feel inclined to immediately sort the situation out, Bryan recommends tackling one issue a a time. 

Move the position of the plant. Choose different lighting. Opt for a new watering schedule. Test out a variety of plant accessories. Give the plant a chance to respond before deciding what isn't working, and adjust from there.

Bryan Clayton
Bryan Clayton

Bryan is the CEO and co-founder at Green Pal, a platform connecting customers to lawn care experts in their area throughout the United States. Given all types of environments he's worked with, you can feel confident that he is well-versed in all types of floral and plant-care needs. 

The Plant Doctors
Skylor Young

Skylor Young is the co-owner and COO of The Plant Doctors, a women-owned business founded in 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Services include plant care for homes and businesses, as well as routine plant maintenance.

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How do I fix brown spots on my fiddle leaf fig?

First you need to discern the issue: are they turning brown because they're being overwatered? Are they turning brown and dropping off the stem because they're under-watered? See what the issue is and adjust accordingly before deeming whether or not you need to repot the plant.

Should I cut off brown leaves on fiddle leaf fig?

You may cut the brown spots off of a fiddle leaf fig — but don't cut the whole thing. They can be repaired in time, so don't jump to a permanent solution. Cut the brown spot out, and leave the rest to readjust in time.

Have a growing collection of green babies? We've rounded up the best grow lights for indoor plants under $30 on Amazon to keep all of your green beings healthy and well.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.