White spots on ficus leaves indicate that your plants may be under pest attack or are growing in the wrong growing conditions.
No matter the reason why your ficus tree leaves have white spots, you can easily treat them. To know why the tree leaves have white spots as well as how to treat them, read this article.
- Why Are There White Spots on Ficus Leaves?
- How Do You Fix White Spots on Ficus Leaves?
Why Are There White Spots on Ficus Leaves?
There are white spots on your ficus leaves because of a few major reasons: bacterial, fungal, and viral attacks. Your figs may also get white spots due to poor growing conditions – humidity and light exposure. The white spots could also appear because you are watering your plants with hard water.
– Powdery Mildew Attack
If you see white spots on your ficus leaves, powdery mildew should be the first thing to think of. You should think of powdery mildew first because it is a popular fungus that attacks a wide range of plants and grows white mold on the leaves of the plants. Powdery mildew often attacks weak plants that are growing in the wrong conditions.
Other fungi such as root rot also attack a wide range of plants including ficus trees, but they do not cause white spots. This means that the presence of a white spot is an indication that the fungal attack on your plants is indeed powdery mildew.
– You Water Your Ficus Trees With Hard Water
What happens when you water your trees with untreated tap water? Well, you might be exposing them to hard water.
Hard water is water with high concentrations of any type of mineral. What happens in your figs is that when you water them with hard water, some of the minerals are deposited on their leaves when the water evaporates. The hard water spots on fig trees look like powder.
Well, if hard water is truly the problem, you should also see the same spots on other types of plants in your garden or home and not just your ficus trees. Also, hard water can cause your ficus leaves to curl up or look burnt.
– High Humidity Problems
When you grow your ficus trees in excessively high humidity, you will see some spots on the leaves. The spots could be caused by water trapped in the leaves.
When the humidity is too high, water will be trapped because not all could evaporate off the leaves through transpiration. This can lead to the bursting of the cells in the leaves, causing the white spots.
White spots on your fiddle leaf figs could also be secondary infections. When the cells of the leaves burst, it exposes the plants to fungal and bacterial attacks. Note that indoor plants often have humidity problems.
– Light Problems
When plant leaves go pale or white, one very important environmental factor that you should consider is the amount of light that the plant receives.
While ficus plants love sunlight, they do not like growing in direct sunlight as it can burn their leaves. If your ficus plants have more exposure to light than they need, you should see white spots around the edges of their leaves. Also, the leaf tips will look burnt.
This does not mean that ficus trees should grow in a dark place. If they do not have enough light, their leaves will turn pale and the tree stems and branches will look stretchy.
– Nutrient Problems
Your ficus leaves turning white or yellow spots on ficus leaves could be a result of nutrient deficiency in the plants.
If plants do not get enough nitrogen, magnesium, iron, and other important nutrients, they can let you know through their leaves. Note that old leaves turn pale before new leaves if your plants are suffering from nutrient deficiency.
Another nutrient problem that your ficuses can face is when you give them more nutrients than they need at the time. This can burn their leaves or make them look pale because instead of absorbing water, the plants will release water and absorb more nutrients.
– Pest Attack
What if the spots that you are seeing on your ficus leaves are just pests such as insects and other invertebrates? For example, many types of weevils lay their white eggs on your ficus petioles and lower leaves.
Also, spider mites that live in white silk attack your plants from the bottom sides of their leaves. Insects such as fig mites and scale insects which can be white also attack ficus leaves.
As you can see, there is a possibility that the white spots are caused by insects. You need to examine the spots carefully to know the type of insect as most of these insects do not bite the leaves to produce bite marks. They attack your plants by sucking nutrients off the leaves and this can cause the leaves to become pale.
– Bacterial and Viral Infections
Other pests that attack your ficus trees are bacteria and viruses. Bacteria mostly cause black or brown spots, but they sometimes appear as white, yellow, or pale, especially when they have been in the leaves for a long time.
When plants detect bacteria, they stop sending nutrients and water to the parts of the leaves with bacteria and those parts will look very dry, giving the spots their pale looks.
Viruses such as the mosaic virus also attack plants. These viruses come in different colors, so you may see spots of different colors in your plant leaves. Many viruses are soil-borne, so your plants mostly get infected when you grow them in poor soil or when you prune them with infected tools.
How Do You Fix White Spots on Ficus Leaves?
You fix white spots on ficus leaves by first of all growing your ficus in the right conditions and also cleaning the leaves regularly, you should also grow it in the right conditions and properly feed the plant, another idea is to inhibit fungal growth with baking soda.
– Isolate and Prune the Ficus Trees
As soon as you see white spots on ficus elastica leaves, take the pot to another place immediately.
Isolate the plant so that if it is infected with fungi, bacteria, or viruses, it will not spread them to other plants. If you are not growing your ficus plants in pots, you may prune off the branch with white spots and treat the plant.
After isolating the plant or pruning the branch off, examine the spots and try to know their cause.
Consider the growing condition of the plant as well as the type of soil in the pot. Only when you know the cause of the spots can you treat the plant. Well, you may also dispose of the plant if it is the only one with white spots.
– Inhibit Fungal Growth With Baking Soda
Who knew that the baking soda kept in your kitchen is such a fine product to use for your garden plants?
Baking soda can prevent fungi and other microbial pests from attacking your fig leaves, keeping the leaves green and healthy. You only need to pour the baking soda into a spray bottle and add water to it. Spray your ficus leaves often, especially in the morning and night.
While baking soda is made of sodium bicarbonate, you may look for potassium bicarbonate in gardening stores nearby. Both products are effective, but potassium bicarbonate is more effective (depending on the type of fungi). The same method of using baking soda applies to potassium bicarbonate.
– Make Use of Neem Oil or Soapy Water
Neem oil keeps your fig plants safe from insect pests and is a recommended type of organic pesticide for gardeners interested in growing organic crops.
You can use the oil on the leaves of your plants, but do so only at night or in the morning when it is cool. If you want to use the oil during a hot day, you can dilute it with water.
As for soapy water, it is also effective against insect pests. You can use it at any time of the day. You can use any type of soap that you find or search for plant-safe soaps in gardening stores.
– Grow Your Ficus Plants in the Right Conditions
Ensure that your ficus plants grow in a room with proper air circulation. While they love light, they need to grow in a place with indirect but bright sunlight.
You can also grow them in a well-lit room with ten to twelve hours of light (not direct sunlight). You also want to put their temperature and humidity needs into consideration.
Depending on the type of ficus that you are growing, the plants need 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and 40-50 percent humidity for optimal growth. Also, ensure that their substrate is well-drained.
– Properly Feed the Ficus Plants
Do you want your ficus leaves to stay green and fresh? Feed the plants properly. When you give your plants just the right amount of nutrients when they need them, you will not see any spots or patches on the leaves.
Also, you can easily correct the nutrient deficiency in your ficus plants by feeding them with foliar fertilizer or any water-soluble nutrient that you’d spray on the leaves.
It is important that the substrate is nutrient-rich. This means that you should grow your figs in a compost or rotted-manure-rich substrate so that they can always have nutrients around their roots. Note that you can help your fig to get rid of pests quickly by feeding them with phosphorus and potassium-rich fertilizer.
– Clean the Leaves Often
As a plant owner, it is your duty to always clean the ficus leaves. Cleaning the leaves helps to remove dust, pests, paint, and other spots on your plants. If there are water spots caused by humidity, you can clean the ficus leaves with a dry cloth so that water droplets do not stay on the leaves for long.
If you want to use a wet cloth for the plants, please use it in the morning so that the excess droplets can evaporate before noon. Be gentle with the leaves and do not scrub them with the cloth. If you do so, you might damage them and expose them to microbes in the air.
Ficus trees are truly easy to care for and grow without white spots so long as you grow them in the right conditions.
Remember the following from this article:
- The major cause of white spots on the ficus trees is the attack by powdery mildew, other fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
- You need to check the light exposure, temperature, and humidity levels of your ficus plants to know if they are growing in the right condition or not.
- To repel insects, you can make use of soapy water and neem seed oil.
- Ensure that you clean your ficus leaves often to remove dust and pests.
- Just in case your plants are not responding to treatment, dispose of them far away so that others do not get the white spots.
Now you know how to resolve the common issues of your figs as well as other plant care tips. Go check your plants right away to know the cause of their white spots.
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