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House Plants/Fiddle leaf is getting spots


Spots on fiddle leaf
Spots on fiddle leaf  
Black small spots
Black small spots  
QUESTION: I suspect I over watered and have stopped that had this from a family member funeral 3 weeks... I do not want to lose it. It is getting small black spots on the green leaves that if scraped is like black soot it also is getting larger brown spots near the edge oh leafs I put marbles under the pot that sits inside a decorative pot for better drainage..but just did this 2 days ago. Please help me I have lost my mom in June and my mom in law 2 weeks ago so I'm not in a good mental capacity to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is wrong. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER: Hi Robin,

I am sorry about the recent deaths in your family. I wish I had a simple answer to your questions, but I really need more information to be able to properly diagnose the problem. Seeing photos of symptoms is not very helpful; seeing a photo of the entire tree including its pot would be much more revealing to me.

I understand you don't want to put much effort into this so I will simply explain how your Ficus lyrata should be cared for and hopefully that will help ease your mind.

If your tree was repotted, it should not have been. If it was, you have to be very careful not to over-water it because the excess soil added retains the water for too long and can cause root rot.

Ficus lyrata trees need to be close to a sunny, uncovered window. If yours is more than 4 feet away fro the nearest window, it is not getting enough light.

Assuming your tree is properly potted, the you should water thoroughly (until a bit of water runs through the drain holes) when the top half-inch of soil feels dry.

Leaf spotting is common with this particular plant. However, the spotting should be limited to the older, lower leaves. Leaf spots are a general symptom in response to inadequate light and improper watering, both over and under watering.

Finally, if your tap water is hard, it is best to use filtered or distilled. Fertilize very sparingly.

I have written a detailed article on Ficus lyrata care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and NOMINATION for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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Decorative pot over potted tree
Decorative pot over po  
QUESTION: Sent more pics leave blinds open but have porch with roof front of house so just light comes in small leaves at base of tree has the small black spot also is by front door abt 6 ft away. It is in original pot took tree out of original pot still very wet possible starting root rot

Hi Robin,

Thanks for the photos. They are not very clear, but I don't see enough leaf discoloration to be especially concerned. However, you will need to move it right in front of and close to the window for it to get adequate light.

The pot size appears to be about right. Leave it in that pot. When you water, be sure that excess water does not collect in the bottom of the decorative basket. Allow the top inch of soil to dry before adding any water.

Do those two things and I think your plant will be fine. The existing leaf spots won't go away, but you should see fewer new ones going forward.

~Will Creed

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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