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House Plants/Fiddle Leaf Fig


Hi Will~

I have a fiddle leaf fig that has recently developed large brown spots on the leaves.  I have the plant for over 6 months and it has done GREAT until now.  I only water it when the soil on top is dry and the tree get ample sunlight.  Any ideas??

Hi Johnny,

Brown leaf spots on Ficus lyratas are a generic symptom with no one cause. Improper watering is the most common cause, but inadequate light and using hard water may also cause these spots.

Let's start with light. I don't know what you mean by "ample light," but I do know that most folks tend to overestimate light intensity. Your Lyrata should be right in front of a sunny window that is completely uncovered throughout the daylight hours. If it is more than a few feet from the window or off to the side, it is probably not getting enough light. The symptoms of inadequate light develop slowly over several months or more.

You may not be watering enough. Assuming your tree is in its original nursery pot, then it should be watered as soon as the surface of the soil feels just barely damp. Apply enough water so that a small amount trickles through the drain holes. If your local tap water is hard, use filtered or distilled water.

The existing leaf spots will never go away. Your goal should be to prevent new spots. However, a certain amount of leaf spotting is inevitable because conditions in the home are always less than perfect.

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.

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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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