Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle Leaf fig) mysterious brown spots!!

laxflameAugust 13, 2014

Hi I just purchased this fiddle leaf fig about a week ago and I'm noticing more and more brown spots. One leaf near the bottom was half covered in brown and when i touched it, it fell right off. The newer sprouting at the top are a very light greenish yellow and have browning at the edges. I don't know what it can be! i haven't watered it yet since I bought it either.

Any advice would help!


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you haven't watered it since you brought it home and it still doesn't need water, your soil is going to be fighting you for control of your plant's vitality until you take back control. Soil that remain wet and soggy for that long limit growth and vitality. The symptoms of their limitations are seen in/on the leaves. The smaller blemishes are probably the aftermath of oedema, which affects individual cells or small clusters of cells and results in a few to many water filled pustules that morph to lots of small ugly spots that might be described as wart-like lesions. The larger areas of dead tissue at the distal ends of leaves and leaf margins are probably the result of impaired root function due to an excess volume of water in the soil and/or a high level of salts in the soil due to improper watering (i.e.not flushing the soil when you water).

Sometimes leaves will be shed when the plant is moved from a high light location to low light, but that transition usually doesn't show up for 3-6 weeks after the move, but that doesn't mean you couldn't be seeing symptoms made manifest after the move from the production facility (greenhouse op) to the POS facility (where you purchased the plant).

Sometimes, when the actual cause is difficult to pin down exactly, a review of good basic growing practices can reveal the likely source of the problem by way of eliminating some of the things you know AREN'T causing the problem - sort of like 'the last man standing is the culprit'.
Reviewing the info at the link I left below might help you isolate the issue. If it doesn't, adopting the practices discussed should help you avoid all the issues that so frequently bring growers here seeking remedial advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click me and I'll take you to what he was talking about.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:07PM
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thanks! so should i hold off on watering it for another week? i bought the FLL last tuesday and haven't watered it at all. if i should water it, should i flush out the soil to make sure there aren't high levels of salts in the soil?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:40AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Sorry for the tardy reply, I've been off on a plant adventure since last Thu.

So should I hold off on watering it for another week? Generally speaking, watering on a schedule doesn't do the plant justice unless you're using a soil that allows you to water on a schedule w/o having to endure the limitations (of your plants) that accompany over-watering. It's best to check your plant for moisture levels and water on an 'as needed' basis. Copy/pasted from a offering I left on another thread:

Many years ago, in a bonsai workshop led by a Japanese master (Ben Oki), one of the participants asked a question: "How often should I water my juniper?" His (Mr. Oki's) expression never changed at all as he answered in Japanese accented English, "Wait until plant become completely dry - then water day before." To this day, I'm not sure if he was serious or it was his brand of humor, but the advice is sound for most plant material.

Water your trees on an 'as needed' basis. When the soil is dry, water until a tiny bit of water runs from the drain holes, allow them to rest for a few minutes, then water again, applying less water than the first time - just enough to flush accumulating salts from the soil. This will be about 10-15% of the original volume of water applied.

At first, use a chopstick stuck into the soil to tell you how damp the soil is. If the stick is dark or wet, don't water. If it's damp or dry - water. Heft your pots often if your plants are small. Soon, you'll be able to tell by their weight what plants need water. Over-watering carries different but just as serious consequences as under-watering, so try your best to avoid both. Given a choice, it's better to under-water by a little than over-water.

If you think your soil is too water-retentive to allow you to flush the soil every time you water, your soil is inappropriate. Using a wick, and tilting your pots at a 45* angle after watering are BOTH very helpful ways to drain excess water from too-heavy soils. Let me know if you need/want this explained. I bought the FLL last Tuesday and haven't watered it at all. If I should water it, should I flush out the soil to make sure there aren't high levels of salts in the soil? If you're using an appropriate soil, you can make flushing the soil a part of your regular watering routine. If you're not, things become more difficult; but you should either use a soil that allows you water to beyond the saturation point at will (much preferred) or have a plan in place that allows you to either maintain an appropriate level and ratio of nutrients in the soil or to flush the soil regularly, which is sort of like pushing the fertilizer 'Reset" button. If you need help with that part, I can guide you in the right direction.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 7:07PM
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