White Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig (Causes and Solutions)

White spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves are something that every plant owner will easily notice. That’s because if instantly changes the look of your plant for the worse.

Since fiddle leaf figs are good sized plants indoors, it is easy to notice that something’s off.

Thus, if this happens, it is important to address the issue.

While not all the causes of the white spots are serious, it is still a good idea to start diagnosing the reason for the problem as soon as you can.

White spots on fiddle leaf fig plants are often caused by fungal disease, water quality issues, excess sunlight and pests.

Since the treatment for each of these issues varies considerably, it is important to identify can actual cause before trying to fix the problem.

What Causes White Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants?

White spots on fiddle leaf fig are often a result of basic care.

This is why some plant owners say it is easy to care for them while others say they are difficult to handle.

When it comes down to white spots on your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves, you want to focus on 4 things.

  • Water
  • Fungus
  • Lighting
  • Pests

As such, these are the things you want to master to prevent white patches or dots from blemishing your beautiful plant’s leaves.

Similarly, if you happen to see white spots develop, these are thing main culprits to fix.

Below, I’ll explain each of these four issues and how to solve them.


Using Hard Water or Highly Mineralized Water

Hard water or highly mineralized water contain chemicals. These can vary in what kinds of minerals and salts are present and how much.

In most cases, you’ll see chlorine and fluoride.

Other chemicals and minerals include sodium, calcium, magnesium, lime and iron as well.

As such, it is important to understand the kind of water you are using.

If your home is using hard water, this could be the cause of white spots on your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves. Similarly, if the tap water in your municipality has a lot of minerals and added salt, this can likewise happen.

With the latter, the tap water in different cities contain varying amounts of chemicals.

The local governments add these chemicals to make the water safe for people to drink.

Unfortunately, plants do not like these extra salt and minerals. And while they can tolerate them, some localities will add more than others.

So, if you happen to live in those localities, you may see side effects in your plant’s growth and leaf color.

If you happen to water your fiddle leaf fig with hard water or highly mineralized water, once the moisture evaporates, it is left with all the salt deposits.

Therefore, the next time you water, these salts will make it harder to for the roots to absorb moisture. That’s because salts draw moisture towards their own particles (and away from the roots).

The excess minerals in the salts or left on the leaves (if you water overhead) will likewise block nutrient absorption.

Note that this is also what happens when you apply too much fertilizer or do so too frequently.

Commercial fertilizers contains salts and will leave some excess minerals in the soil after the plant has absorbed the nutrients it needs.

Thus, the same effect can happen. And you’ll see white spots developing on fiddle leaf fig leaves.


How to Fix This

To fix the white spots, you have to consider two things.

One is prevention. This will allow you to prevent the problem altogether before it even happens.

The second is how to get rid of the white spots on your fiddle leaf fig in case they’re caused by water quality issues.

Let’s begin with the first one.

To prevent the white spots, avoid hard water or highly mineralized water. Instead, use soft water or filtered water.

With the latter, you use a faucet filter to purify the chemicals so the water you get will not contain any of the salts.

Alternatively, if you live somewhere with regular rain, you can set up a rain barrel and collect rainwater. This will let you use that water for your plants.

Rainwater is what the plants get in the wild. And it is free of any toxins or chemicals.

This makes rainwater the safest natural choice.

Another option that many home growers go with is using the tap water. But before you do, allow it to sit overnight at room temperature.

This will allow the excess salt and minerals in the tap to evaporate by morning.

The other thing to consider is not to over fertilize your fiddle leaf fig.

Instead, follow the instructions on the label of your fertilizer product.

Fiddle leaf figs do not need to be fed regularly. They only need nutrients when they are actively growing.

Also, use a high quality liquid fertilizer if you opt to go with chemical products. Low quality fertilizers tend to leave quite a bit more chemicals in the soil.

You can likewise go with organic fertilizer products to avoid the problem as well.


How to Remove White Spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig Due to Water Quality

There are three ways that I’ve found to be effective in getting rid of white spots on fiddle leaf fig caused by hard water and highly mineralized water.

Both have to do with dissolving the excess minerals and salt residue with water and then removing them from the plant.


Method 1:

This method involves flushing the soil.

Since the excess minerals and salt deposits have built up in the soil, the goal is to flush them out. This works just as well for excess fertilizing where you want to get rid of any accumulated residue in the soil.

To flush the soil, I like to use a garden hose.

Since the fiddle leaf fig is a big plant, you’ll need a good amount of water.

Start by running the water on the soil. Just rest the hose on the rim of the pot. You can reposition the hose to distribute the flow of water to different areas of the soil.

Let the hose keep running. You should see the water start dripping through the holes at the bottom of the pot.

Allow this to keep going for several minutes.

The goal here is to let the running water dissolve the chemicals, salt deposits and other small debris and carry them out with it through the pot’s drainage.

In doing so, you’re able to flush any build up in the soil.

After several minutes, allow your fiddle leaf fig to drain completely. This will take anywhere from 10 minutes for a smaller tree to 30 minutes or more for larger plants.

Don’t skip this step as you want the excess moisture to completely drain to avoid overwatering.


Method 2:

Method 1 is a more generalized method in that by removing the excess minerals and salt build up from the soil, you prevent the white spots from developing.

In case you don’t like to flush the soil and wait for the plant to completely drain, you have another option.

Repot the plant.

This is a simpler method. But you want to be careful when doing is especially if you have a larger plant.

When repotting, you’ll need to rinse the roots thoroughly with running water to remove all the soil stuck to them.

The soil will contain excess chemicals, minerals and salt deposits from hard water, highly mineralized water or excess fertilizer.

Then allow the roots to completely dry.

The bigger your plant, the longer the drying period goes. It can take a day or so for this to dry after rinsing.

Once the root system dries, you can repot.

But make sure to use new, fresh, dry soil. You do not want to reuse the old soil since it still contains all the excess stuff in it.

If you want to reuse the pot, make sure to rinse it first with soap and water. Then allow it to dry as well.

Otherwise, just go with a new, clean pot.

Doing this will let your fiddle leaf fig “start over” with new soil.

Then water the soil with filtered water or tap that has sat overnight.


Method 3:

Method 3 focuses less on the soil and more on the leaves.

This is a good option if you tend to water overhead and wet your plant’s leaves when you do.

By doing so, you not only have the excess salt residue in the soil but the leaves will likewise have these excess minerals as well once the moisture has dried.

Therefore, you’ll need to clean the leaves.

To do so, fill a spray bottle with water. Then start wetting the leaves.

The initial goal is to let the spray water to sit for a few minutes but not to the point where the droplets or moisture dries.

This will allow the water to start breaking down some of the dried up minerals. Thus, making it easier to remove them in the next step.

The next step involves mixing soap with the water in small pail or bucket. Then use a rag with the soapy water to wipe each of the leaves.

With the chemicals and salt residue dissolved in the water, it will be easier to wipe and remove them with soapy water from the leaves.

Be gentle as the leaves are partially damaged already due to the white spots.

You’ll also need to be thorough to get each and every leaf.

Finally, rinse the leaves to remove the soap. You can give your fiddle leaf fig a shower to quickly remove the soap.

I generally like to use a showerhead or garden hose for larger plants. You can use the sink if your plant is still on the small side.

Don’t forget to let the plant completely drain and dry after giving it a shower.


Powdery Mildew on Fiddle Leaf Fig

Another cause of white spots on fiddle leaf fig is powdery mildew.

This looks like white powder that has been sprinkled over your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves. They’ll start out as spots, then grow into patches.

If you don’t treat them, this fungal infection will keep spreading until the white powdery stuff covers entire leaves.

What’s worse is that it will keep spreading.

Not only will it spread and eventually cover all the leaves with the white powdery layer it also infects nearby plants.

Sadly, fungal diseases will keep damaging the plant and cause it to get weaker and weaker if not treated.

Therefore, it is very important to address this issue as early as you start seeing small white spots on any of the leaves.


How to Fix This

Powdery mildew is caused by overwatering. The damp environment caused by excess moisture makes the conditions conducive for the fungi to grow and thrive.

As such, try to avoid excess watering or watering your fiddle leaf fig more often then needed.

Additionally, try to avoid watering above the plant such that the leaves get all wet. This is okay when you give the plant as shower.

When the leaves get wet, make sure that the water droplets dry sooner than later.

If you water late the in the day when there is little sun, the moisture can take a long time to dry. Thus, this increases fungal infection on the leaves.

Similarly, avoid over misting the plant since excessively spraying the leaves with water also increases the odds of different leaf infections.

On the other hand, if your fiddle leaf fig has white spots due to powdery mildew, immediately quarantine it.

This is to avoid spreading the infection.

Powdery mildew spreads fairly quickly because it does so via spores that float through the air. Therefore, these spores can easily be carried by the wind to contaminate other plants.

Similarly, they can stick to gloves and other gardening tools.

Thus, avoid spraying or misting the plant once you notice powdery mildew present.

Don’t try to scrape or rub the white spots off as well. Doing so will increase the risk of spreading as well.

Instead, let the plant dry out a bit. Do not let it stay overwatered as the damp environment will let the fungi keep spreading.

Instead, choose a well-lit location with no direct sunlight. Ideally, an area with bright indirect sunlight that has warm temperature and good air circulation.

This will allow the excess moisture to dry.

You can likewise prune affected leaves. But make sure you sterilize your scissors first before cutting anything off.

Dry conditions will help get rid of the powdery mildew. But if you want something faster, you can mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 quart of water.

Mix this thoroughly in a spray bottle and apply on the leaves.

It will take a few applications to get rid of the powdery mildew.


Too Much Exposure to Sunlight

Fiddle leaf figs like plenty of light. They will thrive when kept is well-lit locations.

But keep in mind that too much light can damage their leaves.

It all depends on the intensity and duration of this strong light. Once the plant gets too much on a daily basis, you may see it experience sunburn.

There are different stages to this.

You’ll see the leaves get drier. Additionally, white spots on your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves will start developing as well.

Initially, the spots start out as brown spots.

But if the excess lighting persists, they will turn white, yellow or even reddish brown.

As such, when you see scorched leaves or white spots developing on your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves, consider checking how much light it receives.


How to Fix This

Fiddle leaf figs are somewhat tricky when it comes to lighting. That’s because there are so many different recommendations online.

What I’ve found is this.

Ideally, give your fiddle leaf fig bright, indirect light. The best spot is near an east facing window since the light coming in this direction is morning sun.

Morning sun is gentle. And the plant loves it.

In this location, it will be happy to receive 6 to 8 hours of sunshine on a daily basis with no problem.

You can likewise position your fiddle leaf fig facing south or west.

Here, some experts will caution you because of the direct sunlight.

Thus, you’ll want to monitor it initially.

From my experience, the plant likes good lighting from these directions. It can tolerate up to around 5 hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis.

And it does very well with some direct sunshine along with indirect sunlight for the rest of the day.

However, try to check on the plant during very hot summers. The sun can get very intense depending on where you live.

If this is the case, your fiddle leaf fig may experience sunburn.

So, while both the southern and eastern exposures work, you want to be careful when there’s very intense, harsh or hot sunlight coming in through these directions.

The spots I would avoid include a room facing north or window facing north. I’ve found that there isn’t enough light coming in from this direction to let your fiddle leaf fig grow optimally.

This is especially true during winter when there’s little sunshine.

Similarly, avoid low light locations or dim areas of your home.

That said, if your fiddle leaf fig has white spots due to excess sunlight exposure, move it to a spot that has less intense light.

Try to keep track of the light in its original spot.

By noting how much direct sunlight it receives in the morning and afternoon, you’ll have a good idea of what the plant cannot tolerate.

When unsure, choose a spot with bright indirect light.

This means a bright location where the sun’s direct rays do not touch the plant at any given time of the day.

This is usually a safe choice.

Note that sunburnt leaves will not heal or recover. So, the only option is to prune the affected leaves to encourage new growth.


Pest Infestation

Pests are the other main cause of white spots on fiddle leaf fig plants.

Unfortunately, certain pests tend to attack this plant. The most common you’ll likely experience are spider mites and mealybugs.

Both are different types of bugs.

Spider mites look like tiny spiders. But they are hard to spot because of their miniscule size.

As such, the main signs of spider mite problems are the webs they weave on the leaves and stems of your plant.

If you notice these webbings, try to look for small spider-like creatures. The most common are red spider mites which look like red dots.

However, many of them will look like white spots as well. That’s because there are many different varieties of spider mites.

Mealybugs are white cotton-like creatures. These look a bit more fluffy.

They are likewise harmful to your fiddle leaf fig because they suck the sap from the plant.

As such, they become a danger to your plant as they develop into infestations.


How to Fix This

If you notice any pests or bugs on your fiddle leaf fig, immediately isolate the plant from your other houseplants.

These insects are very capable of spreading from one plant to the nearby ones.

Therefore, separating the infected plants is vital.

Once isolated, begin treatment.

The quickest way to get rid of most of the bugs is to give the plant a shower. You can use a garden hose outdoors or a shower in your bathtub.

This will dislodge the pests and wash them down the drain.

However, there will be some bugs left. So, you can repeat the process every 3-4 days until you don’t see any pests left.

If some persist, you can create a neem oil spray. Make sure to dilute the neem oil enough if you’re using the concentrated version.

You don’t need to do this if you’re using the pre-mixed neem oil spray that’s sold in nurseries or garden centers. Those have already been diluted.

In cany case, spray the neem oil solution on the leaves and allow it to dry.

Don’t wash the plant as this will remove the solution.

Repeat the application every 4 to 5 days until the pests are gone.

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