8Holes in fiddle leaf fig is a common problem caused by pests, nutrient deficiency, low humidity, root rot, or physical damage.
If determining the leading cause of the holes in your fiddle-leaf fig has been challenging, our article will help you. We will mention the reasons for the tiny holes and give the solutions to the problem.
- What Are the Causes of Holes in Fiddle Leaf Fig?
- How To Fix Holes in Fiddle Leaf Fig?
What Are the Causes of Holes in Fiddle Leaf Fig?
The causes of holes in fiddle leaf fig are pest and insect infestation, low nutrients, and root rot. On the other hand, it would be even due to a tear because of a physical damage, or as result of the lack of humidity.
– Pests and Insects Infestation
Pests and insects are the first suspects when a plant has holes in the leaves. The pests feed on the leaf tissues, and others sack the sap, creating holes in your leaf fig. Most culprit insects are spider mites, leaf miners, snails, and aphids.
Some signs of insect leaf infestation are discoloration, tissue damage, and tiny crawling animals on the plant. Check for aphids, snails, or webs on the leaves and stems. Also, if you notice insect poop, your plant could be pest infested.
Caterpillars are more significant plant pests and are easy to spot. If they are present in your plant, you will notice that the leaves have chewed edges or are turning yellow. Caterpillars are fast feeders; besides creating holes in the leaf fig, they can feed on the entire foliage.
While the holes on the fiddle leaf fig could be tiny at first, failure to treat them can lead to the death of the plant. This is because leaves photosynthesize the plant’s food which helps in its growth. Without food, your plant will stop growing and die.
Mealybugs, spider mites, and fungal gnats mostly attack your tree. These insects feed on the plant, causing small holes that extend with time. Failure to eradicate the insects can cause your plant’s death.
Spider mites are small dark red or brown insects attacking plant leaves. When you look with naked eyes, they appear as red or brown dots, but you can see them crawling under a magnifying glass. Although these tiny insects eat the plant’s leaves slowly, they can cause the leaves to dry, leading to the death of the plant.
– Low nutrients
Nutrient deficiency can cause holes in your leaf fig leaves, these pants require minerals to grow and maintain healthy leaf tissues. Without the nutrients, the leaf tissue will start changing. You could notice discoloration and change in texture. Leaf figs also show signs of nutrient deficiency through holes in the leaves.
When the fiddle leaf figs is lacking nutrients mainly due to using potting soil with few micronutrients. This happens if you fail to fertilize the plant or change the topsoil after the specified period. The soil depletes its nutrients, and the fig starts dying.
Some essential nutrients for the growth of leaf figs are zinc, copper, and Boron. Zinc helps with chlorophyll production, a significant ingredient in photosynthesis, by the same token, when the fiddle leaf is without zinc, and it lacks it, that is when it starts turning yellow, as a result, some spots on the leaves become brown and die, creating holes.
On the other hand, copper also helps in the manufacture of chlorophyll in the plant, and it is responsible that none of the leaves would lack their green color. However, without these nutrients, the fig leaves start deforming and could die.
In addition to these, boron is also a nutrient that would help in the action of transportation of minerals to other parts of the plant and cell expansion, so that the plant would not develop patches.
However, with the absence of boron, your fiddle leaves won’t grow efficiently because of a lack of cell expansion, as other signs of lack of boron are dark leaves, deformed leaf growth, and tissue death.
– Root Rot
Besides nutrient deficiency and pest infestation, root rot is a common fiddle leaf problem. Roots rot due to overwatering or using the wrong soils or pots. When the soil is waterlogged, it becomes densely packed, causing a lack of oxygen and suffocating the roots.
Too much water in the soil could also cause bacterial and fungal infections in the roots, causing them to rot. These roots are, therefore, incapable of transporting oxygen, nutrients, and water to the leaves. Low water supply in the leaves causes them to dry and crack, getting holes.
Most signs of rot in plants are black spots on the leaves, which will start showing on the lower part of the leaf. You will also see some holes with brown edges will be formed, which is the result of fungi in the soil. The tiny holes continue to spread to other areas if you don’t find a remedy for the root rot.
If you suspect the root rot is due to overwatering, check for other signs like yellow and drooping leaves and stems. Yellowing of the leaves reduces the amount of chlorophyll, affecting photosynthesis, but as it would continue, the cells would be stressed, and would start to crack up holes.
– Tear Due to Physical Damage
Physical damage on fiddle leaf fig indoor plants could be due to higher light levels or attacks by pets. Small pets like dogs could try to chew the leaves to taste them, or due to anxiety. Their sharp teeth create holes in the leaves, and some pets could tear the entire leaf.
Leaf figs also suffer physical damage on the leaves during pruning and repotting and when being transferred to other rooms, even though the leaves are thick, but when it gets folded, it might get a fracture, and this would cause a hole to develop. Punctures on the leaves cannot be repaired, and to some extent depending on how bad the damage was.
In addition, you must also be careful with how much sun your fiddle leaf figs get. Although they like the sun, exposing them to high-intensity sunlight can damage the leaves. The scorching sun causes the leaves to become thin, especially if they don’t have enough water. Some leaves start cracking, leading to unrepairable holes.
– Low humidity
Fiddle leaf figs grow in tropical areas with high humidity levels. Even as an indoor plant, the fiddle leaf fig needs high humidity above 40 percent to thrive. Without it, you will notice stunted growth and discoloration of the foliage.
Low humidity also causes the newly developing leaves to struggle to unfurl from the sheaths, since they are dry, the tissues are less flexible and tear as they unfold from the leaf bud. These tears are unrepairable and become bigger as the leaf grows.
When moisture is lacking on fiddle leaf figs is mainly noticed on the young leaves, because they are sprouting with some weakness that has been developed from the older ones.
Other signs your plant needs higher humidity levels are browning in the foliage edges and thin leaves. The older leaves can also be affected by low humidity levels. They become brittle and are more likely to suffer physical damage, and through it you will see tiny or bigger holes.
How To Fix Holes in Fiddle Leaf Fig?
In order to fix holes in fiddle leaf fig, you should provide safety and care for them, also spread neem oil, insecticides, or soap solution, if the case is through insects or pests. You should schedule the watering, replace the soil, increase the humidity, and fertilize it properly.
– Provide Safety and Care
If you notice that your little dog friend plays with the fiddle leaf fig when excited or nervous, keep the plant away in a safer corner, and make sure when you are moving it, the leaves do not get caught in any corner. You can place the pot on a higher shelf or keep it in the bedroom or another safer room.
If the cause of holes on fig leaves is too much sunlight, transfer the plant to a moderately lit room to prevent leaf scorching. You can also keep your indoor plant in a different spot away from the scorching daylight.
Sometimes a leaf fig tree gets holes due to poor handling. This can happen during pruning, repotting, or transferring it to a different location. Handling the plant with care and leaving only the professionals to prune it will keep the leaves healthy and free from holes.
– Spread Neem Oil
Neem oil helps to remove pests from fiddle leaf plants by suffocating the insects. The oil covers the bodies of the insects, blocking their breathing openings, and it would repel them in the long run. It also stops eggs from hatching, preventing the spread of pests.
When applying neem oil on your fiddle leaf, you must make sure that you use it on all the parts. Spray the top and even some on the underside of the leaves and along the stems. You should also spray the surrounding area and the topsoil.
However, ensure you follow the instructions for spraying neem oil on your plants. on the other hand note that too much of this oil on the plant creates a thin layer of oil on the leaves, blocking their stomata and pores, you would see it through the translucent spots. This can reduce photosynthesis and transpiration, leading to the death of the plant.
– Apply Soap Solution
Soap solution can act as an alternative to neem oil. Spraying soap on the pests washes off their outer waxy cuticle causing them to dry up and die. The soap could also damage the insect’s nervous system, leading to death.
One significant advantage of using soap is it does not leave a residue on the plant, so there are few side effects. However, you must use the recommended soaps because some have harsh chemicals.
Create a soap spray by mixing equal ratios of dish soap and water. Spray the solution on the top and underside parts of the leaves, as you would ensure you spray it on the stem and soil to kill any aphids and mealybugs specifically.
– Spread Insecticides
Use insecticides if you don’t trust soap solution to finish the pest infestation on your fiddle leaf fig plant. Insecticides are available in varieties, and they are made for specific plants. Therefore, identify the type of pests on your plant to know which insecticide to buy.
You must also follow the instructions on the pesticides carefully. Dilute it with the correct water ratio and spray it on specific plant areas according to the instructions. Using too much or the wrong insecticides can cause slow growth or kill your plant.
– Use Traps
Failure to use insecticides, soap, and neem oil correctly to control pests can damage the plant. An alternative to these chemically made products is using natural methods to eliminate insects, like handpicking them.
This is keen especially if you have slugs and snail infestation, you can eradicate them by avoiding overwatering your plants. This is because snails and slugs are attracted to wet areas, so if the topsoil or leaves are dry, they won’t have a place to live.
You can also handpick the slugs, which is a very easy thing, you can wear gloves to protect your hands. Check all possible places they can hide, like under the rocks, the underside of the leaves, or the mulch. You can also trap them using a saucer filled with beer or buy a snail and slug trap.
On another note, if caterpillars attack your fiddle leaf fig, handpick them or introduce parasitic wasps and larvae-eating birds to feed on them. You can protect your plant from fleet beetle by covering it with a drawstring or setting up yellow traps.
– Scheduled Watering
Overwatering a fiddle leaf fig leads to the development anaerobic bacteria and fungi that can feed on the roots. Too much water also suffocates the roots by occupying the pore spaces, reducing oxygen intake.
When the roots don’t function properly, they cannot transport water and nutrients to the leaves, leading to brown spots and holes. Dying roots cannot also transport water to the other parts of the plant, leading to its death.
Ensure you water your fiddle leaf fig only when necessary. First, check if the soil is dry before pouring more water. Other signs that the plant needs water are dropping leaves. Also, if the foliage is withering, prepare to water the plant.
Another safer way to prevent waterlogging in the soil is creating holes in the plant’s pot. The openings let the extra water out, leaving only the right amounts in the topsoil. This helps the plant to breathe normally and prevents root rot.
– Replace the Soil
Old soil can cause holes in your fiddle leaf fig foliage, if you feel like it isn’t nutritious enough for your plant. It happens when the nutrients are too low due to failure to change the soil. You can add more nutrient-rich soil to the plant’s pot or transfer it to a new and a sterilized pot in addition to some new soil.
When choosing soil for your fig tree, use soil that drains properly, so that nothing would harm the roots. This soil type is hard to get waterlogged, keeping your roots and leaves safe. Well-draining soil does not hold excess water, leaving sufficient space for the roots to breathe.
In addition, you can also plant your indoor plant in a sizeable pot, as a big pot allows the roots to spread ideally, supporting the plant’s growth.
However, ensure the planter is not massive because it causes the soil to dry too quickly, forcing you to water more frequently. On another note, a tiny pot can suffocate the roots, which is why you must get a medium pot with drainage holes.
– Isolate the Plant
If the holes on your fiddle leaf fig are due to pest manifestation, keep it away from other plants. Placing the plants apart stops the spread of the pests, reducing the damage. You can also leave the leaf fig in a separate room and treat the insect-affected plants until there are no more aphids.
Using a magnifying glass or flashlight, you can check for insects on plant leaves and stems. Ensure you examine the top and bottom sides of the leaves. Other signs of pests are raised brown bumps, cotton-like stuff, and sticky residue.
– Increase Humidity
Fiddle-leaf fig trees get holes in the leaves due to low humidity. Low humidity could be due to air conditioners that heat the air, reducing humidity levels. Dry climates also suffer low levels of humidity, or hot seasons like summer.
Low humidity levels cause drying of the leaves, leading to easy tearing. You can add humidity levels using a humidifier or place the leaf fig on a pebble tray with some water in it. Another way to add humidity is by misting the plant’s leaves to keep them moist, and the plant would get the right humidity levels, you may even wipe them with some damp cloth.
– Proper Fertilization
Besides replacing the soil with a more nutrient-rich one, you can pour fertilizer into the existing pot.
There are many fertilizers for different plants, so you must get the right one for fiddle leaf figs. Make sure that the fertilizer is rich in the element of boron and copper, because these are the ones that would help your plant on the long run to provide the rich and green foliage.
You must follow the instructions when fertilizing your plant to pour the right quantities. If you use liquid fertilizer, first dilute it with the required water ratio. Too much compost can damage the roots. Alternatively, use slow-release pellets or general-purpose compost for tropical plants.
Avoid fertilizing your fiddle leaf figs during winter. Plant growth is slow during this season, so your leaf fig won’t use most fertilizer. Too much of the compost could cause root damage, leading to the death of the plant. Instead of factory-manufactured fertilizer, you can use manure to increase nutrients in the soil.
Now that you have read the causes of holes in fiddle leaf figs and the solutions, you can easily care for your indoor plant.
Let us look at some critical points to consider to prevent spots in your leaf fig:
- Avoid overwatering, pests, low humidity, insufficient nutrients, and exposing the plant to too much sunlight.
- You can use soap, insecticides, or neem oil to control pests and increase humidity levels by using humidifiers.
- Choose fertilizers suitable for fiddle leaf figs, and follow the instructions.
- Keep your indoor plants away from pets and small kids, as they can tear the leaves.
- Isolating the plant prevents the spreading of pests and insects.
Our guide on the causes of holes in fiddle leaf figs and solutions will help keep your plant healthy.
- Grow Mango Tree Indoors: Best Tips and Tricks For You - September 21, 2023
- Are Lilacs Deer Resistant? 10 Other Deer Resistant Plants - September 19, 2023
- 7 Plants With Red Stems To Add Color to Your Garden - September 18, 2023