Spider mites fiddle leaf fig is a lurking problem among many gardeners. Your fiddle figs are growing lush and gorgeous, except for one big problem: spider mites.
Fiddle leaf figs, like other indoor plants, can become vulnerable to attacks from mites and when left unattended, your fig plant may suffer stunted growth and leaves turning yellow, not to mention that it could die when the infestation gets too severe.
Not to worry — we’ll help you identify and deal with these pests!
- Why Are Spider Mites Present on Your Fiddle Leaf Fig?
- How Do You Get Rid of a Spider Mite Infestation?
Why Are Spider Mites Present on Your Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Spider mites are present on your fiddle leaf fig because they thrive on plants that do not hold much water or are water-stressed – like your fiddle leaf fig right now. Needless to say, these little pests like dry and hot environments.
They could grow in large numbers during the warm season like the hot and dry months of summer. Before you know it, they had already built a large colony within your plant.
Spider mites like to feed off of the big leaves of your leaf fig, and with their rapid spread, they can easily overwhelm your plant without you noticing it. If not immediately resolved, the infestation could lead to the total destruction of your leaf figs.
A single spider mite could easily transfer from one plant to another, even with just the gentle breeze of the wind or perhaps through the tools you used on one infested plant that you did not seem to notice. It can even occur when your fiddle leaf fig tree is situated near a spider-mite-infested plant. The mites could easily crawl from one leaf to another.
Warm and Dry Plant Environments
Spider mites love warm and dry environments, and plants that are underwatered are perfect hosts for them.
Indoor plants like your fiddle fig leaves might undergo insect infestations no matter how much care has been given to them. To be sure that it is really spider mites that have been infesting your fig leaf tree, there are some signs you can take note of.
- White cottony webs
Most people would detect that it is indeed spider mites that have been feeding on their fig trees when they see webs. Webbing happens on some parts or around leaf fig leaves. These webs are the by-products of spider mites that have been living on your indoor plant. Within these clumps of webs are the eggs and young spider mites. In other words, when webbing appears, this means that your plant is already heavily infested.
- Tiny spotting on the leaves
You may have noticed tiny spots on your leaf fig. They can be white, yellow, and even have brown spots. When you look closely, you would discover these tiny spots are moving and that they are indeed alive. Usually, you can notice them on the underside of the leaves of the tender fiddle leaf fig tree.
- Discolored and crinkling leaves
As the spider mites feed on the sap, which contains chlorophyll, of your leaf figs, discoloration takes place. Pale yellow to brown patches will be present on the leaves, which tells you that these insects are already finishing feeding in this area. In a week’s time, spider mites could immediately increase in numbers, and consequently, the damage and discolored leaves of your fig tree would also increase.
The leaves turning yellow indicates a severe spider mite infestation on your fiddle-leaf fig, such that you may no longer be able to salvage your plant. Then, these disfigured leaves would start to weaken. There will be leaves turning yellow, and soon, dropping leaves will be found near your plants.
You might think that overloading your plant with nutrients is a wise course of action, but this can actually be detrimental to the plant. Too much nitrogen in the plant and soil can lead to an excessive amount of compounds that make the plant sweeter. Because of this, sucking pests like spider mites are attracted to the sap.
You could always check whether spider mites have been hanging around your plants by doing a simple test. With a piece of white paper, shake the leaves or branches of your fig leaf plant. When tiny, crawling creatures mottle your piece of paper, then there is a spider mite infestation.
The moment you confirm that there are really spider mites on your plant, immediately separate your pots of fiddle leaf fig trees from your other indoor plants so as not to worsen the spread of spider mites among your other plants.
How Do You Get Rid of a Spider Mite Infestation?
To get rid of a spider mite infestation, you can use myriad remedies like neem oil. If it has wrought havoc on your beloved indoor plants, there is no choice but to apply some remedies and prevent spider mites from spreading to neighboring plants.
Use Neem Oil
Neem oil, also known as margosa oil, is considered to be an effective agent in pest control among many gardeners. Neem oil is used to eliminate pests like spider mites in all its stages, from eggs to adult-sucking plant mites. Being an organic horticultural oil, it works without damaging nearby spaces or parts of the plant that have not been affected.
To use it, neem oil is added to a water-detergent mixture. The water-detergent mixture serves as an emulsifier for the neem oil. One gallon of warm water is mixed with two teaspoons of detergent.
Then, add two to three tablespoons of neem oil. Mix thoroughly, then spray on the affected leaves until they are dripping wet. This is repeatedly done over one to two weeks.
One must observe the timing when applying this neem oil mixture. It is best to apply the neem oil in the afternoon or the evening when the sun is no longer shining, as sun exposure may contribute to the leaves getting burned.
Use Insecticide or Insecticidal Soap
There are various insecticides and/or miticides you could buy from garden stores that could treat spider mites infesting your plants, specifically your fig tree plant. Each insecticide has its own formulation that you could follow.
Another option is the use of insecticidal soap. As the name implies, it is an insecticide in a soap form. However, it must be used with caution as the regular application of these chemicals could lead to the pests that have been hanging around in your plant developing immunity. When immunity develops, the insecticide is no longer an effective treatment.
Physical Removal of Infected Plants
When the infestation is severe, it is best to put your fig plant in a secluded place so as not to facilitate the spreading of the pests to other plants. Extra care is necessary, as even a simple movement could enable the mites to travel from one plant to another.
With a big cellophane bag, enclose the whole plant before carrying it to its new secluded location.
Use a Dishwashing Soap Solution
There are numerous do-it-yourself solutions that can be used to ward off spider mites in an instant. Some even kill the mites instantly upon contact.
In a spray bottle, mix thoroughly one part of any available liquid dishwashing soap with three parts water. Shake the mixture thoroughly, and after mixing, spray it directly on the infected leaves, twigs, and soils. Constant application of this solution to your fiddle leaf figs would eventually deter the spider mites.
Isopropyl or ethyl alcohol can be used effectively in this case. Simply dampen a cotton swab or cotton ball with alcohol and wipe on the fig leaves where the spider mites are present. Do not try this on the young leaves though, as they may still be sensitive to the alcohol.
In the case of sensitive leaves, a one-is-to-three ratio of alcohol to water could also be used. After mixing thoroughly, spray it on the leaves affected by the mites.
Use a Jet Spray
Spraying the pesky mites away with high-pressure water is another way to make the spider mites get off your plants. Spray directly on the infected areas, and the minute animals will be carried away.
Also, they do not like getting wet, and they do not like water, so they might get killed the instant that water hits them. Make sure though that the leaves will not be bruised or damaged.
Check the Plant Regularly
Making sure that your gorgeous fiddle leaves will not be infested with spider mites can save you from so much trouble. Here are three easy steps to prevent spider mites from infesting your fiddle plants.
With a magnifying glass, make sure to keep checking the leaves of your indoor plant from time to time. Look closely, particularly at the undersides of the leaves where the mites would most likely start to hide.
Prevention is always better than cure. This first step is the easiest of them all. Doing this every so often can make a huge difference to your beloved plant and for you, too, compared to not doing it at all.
Keep Your Plant Well-hydrated
A well-hydrated fiddle plant is another way to make sure that spider mites will not be attracted to it. That is, observe the right rhythm in the watering of your plants. Overwatering it may lead to other problems like a bacterial infection or perhaps root rot. On the other hand, under watering could leave your plant dry, which attracts spider mites.
Placing your potted figs in a humid environment can save them from spider mites, too.
Always Clean and Trim
A well-maintained plant guarantees safety from pest infestations. Trimming off dried leaves and stems, dusting off the big fiddle leaves, and cleaning its location on a regular basis, in general, could help a lot in ensuring that spider mites and other pests do not live in your plants, their soil, and other nearby places.
Aside from having a good-looking fiddle plant, keeping it trimmed and clean can keep the mites away.
Spider mites are minute sap-sucking animals that attack almost all types of foliage, including your fiddle fig plants. Before you know it, they are already present and can quickly increase in numbers, so as the final thoughts, remember the following points to minimize or prevent further damage that spider mites may deal to your fiddle fig plants.
- Spider mites live well and proliferate fast in a dry and hot environment; thus, regulate the watering of your plant.
- When webs are present, expect that many parts of the plant have already been infected.
- Plant isolation and the application of neem oil, insecticides, and insecticidal soap are proven ways to treat the damage dealt by spider mites.
- Checking the plants regularly is the best way to prevent spider mites from infesting your plant.
Spider mites might prove to be a very difficult nemesis for your fiddle fig plants, but they are not invincible. Do not hesitate to do the necessary steps and care guide given above to terminate the spider mite plague.
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