White spots on fiddle leaf fig may be deadly or safe depending on the cause. The most common reason why fig leaf has white spots on is the powdery mildew attack.
However, your leaves may just be painted with non-toxic paint and you have nothing to worry about. To know the true cause of white spots on your figs, read this article.
- Why Are There White Spots on Your Fiddle Leaf Fig?
- How Do You Treat Your Fiddle Leaf Figs with White Spots?
Why Are There White Spots on Your Fiddle Leaf Fig?
There are white spots on your fiddle leaf figs because of powdery mildew attack, the use of hard water, or, among others, the white fig sap that fell on the leaves. Other reasons include too much exposure to sunlight, bacterial and other pest attacks, nutrient deficiency, and high humidity.
– It’s Powdery Mildew
Your fiddle leaf fig leaves turning white or developing white spots could be an indication that the fiddle leaf fig plants may have a fungal infection.
Powdery mildew on fiddle leaf figs first appears as white dots in the region of the leaves near their petiole and then spread to cover over half of the leaves’ surface. It is very deadly as misdiagnosis can lead to the death of your figs.
Figs that are growing outside or very close to open windows are often infected with powdery mildew as this fungal disease can spread by wind. If one plant is infected, other plants in your garden may also become infected.
– Could Be Hard Water
Another reason why your fiddle leaf fig tree leaves might have white spots is that you are watering them with hard water.
Hard water has a high concentration of minerals, so when you water the leaves, the water might evaporate and leave the white minerals on the leaves. The white or ash spots caused by hard water can easily fall off the leaves and become dust.
Other products that can leave white spots on your fig leaves are fertilizer (i.e. salt from fertilizer) and bug spray. If you made your bug spray with a high amount of soap, using it can cause harmless white spots on your plant’s leaves.
– Could Be the Tree’s White Sap
It is good practice to regularly prune plants so that they can stay in shape and size. However, when pruning the leaves of fiddle leaf figs, their petiole releases white sap which contains energy and nutrients sent from the leaves to the roots (and vice versa).
Did you recently prune your plants? If so, there is a high chance that the white spots on the leaves are just dried sap.
You can examine the spots, but please note that the fiddle leaf fig white sap can Irritate skins, you want to examine them with gloves on just in case. When examining, you can prune a leaf, smell the sap, and compare the smell with that of the spot on the affected leaves.
– Exposure to Too Much Sunlight
Another common reason why you should see white spots on your fig tree leaves is overexposure to direct sunlight.
This usually affects the upper leaves of trees that are growing outside and then the leaves nearest to the window for potted trees growing inside. While the spots may be white, pale, or yellow at first, they later become dark brown. A dark brown leaf will soon fall off.
Note that this problem usually occurs in the summer months when the temperature is very high. Also, it occurs if you fail to water the leaves of your trees just the way you water their roots.
– High Humidity
When you grow indoor plants in a place without proper circulation, they get drooping leaves and leaves with white spots due to fungal attacks.
You may also see fungus gnats on your fiddle leaves, especially if you overwater the plants. High humidity aids fungi and other microbes to grow, so growing your plants in excessively high humidity only exposes them to microbial attack.
The appearance of white spots on your fig leaves is a secondary sign of high humidity. You can tell that your plants are growing in a room with little air circulation when water droplets stay on their leaves for over four hours.
– Your Plant is Nutrient Deficient
When your fig trees suffer from nutrient deficiency, you will notice that they will develop pale or yellow leaves. This is because nutrients such as iron and nitrogen that help them to grow green leaves are missing. The older leaves will develop pale spots before they completely become pale, yellow, or white. This is known as chlorosis (i.e. the loss of color).
Other ways to tell that your trees are suffering from a lack of nutrients are when they appear weak and their leaves start to drop. When last did you feed your figs? What is the nutrient composition of the fertilizer that you used?
– Insect and Other Invertebrate Pests
Some pests can make your fig leaves appear white. For example, spider mites which are red cover themselves in wax-like silk, so you might think that there are white spots on the underside of your fig leaves. Insects such as scale insects, fig mites, and aphids can also appear white, so you need to carefully observe your trees if you want to know the actual cause of the white spots.
These insects on your fig may not necessarily create bite marks on the leaves as they are sap-sucking insects. Instead, they will make your plant leaves look weak and pale. Many of them do not have a preferred host, so they can move across the plants in your garden or home freely.
– A Bacterial Infection
If you do not care properly for your plants and protect them from sick ones, they might get infected with bacteria. You should notice some black or brown spots on fiddle leaf figs when they have a bacterial infection. Within these spots, there are tiny pale, white, or red spots that are flaky to the touch.
Bacterial infections and root rot are signs that you may be overwatering your plants or there are sick plants in your garden that you are yet to treat. Another major cause of bacterial infection is pruning the figs with unsterilized tools.
How Do You Treat Your Fiddle Leaf Figs with White Spots?
To treat your fiddle leaf figs with white spots you can do many things. For example, you should first isolate the tree and prune its sick areas. Here are some recommended ways to treat your figs with white spots or prevent them from getting white spots on their leaves.
– Isolate the Tree or Prune of its Sick Leaves and Branches
The first thing to do after seeing white spots on your fiddle leaf figs is to isolate the tree from others. This is easily achievable only when you are growing your figs in pots.
For plants that you cannot move, the best thing to do is to use clean pruning shears to remove the affected leaves and branches with the hopes that the disease does not spread to other branches and other trees.
Remember that the pruning shears must be sterilized so that the figs do not get secondary infections. After pruning the tree, it is time to treat it.
– Make Use of Potassium Bicarbonate
Looking for how to treat powdery mildew on fiddle leaf fig trees? Here is a recommended product that is proven to work for you. Potassium bicarbonate which you can easily get in stores is the active ingredient of some fungicides.
This chemical compound works by inhibiting the growth of fungi and some other microbes, so your figs suffering from powdery mildew will be safe when you use it.
When you get the powder form from a store, mix it with water to form a paste that you can easily spray.
Keep the paste in a spray bottle and spray the pruned branches of your figs. If you have not pruned the attacked leaves or branches, you can spray them too. To prevent the fungal attack from spreading, you should also spray some healthy figs around.
– Make a Baking Soda Paste
Just like potassium bicarbonate, a baking soda solution is also effective against fungal infections.
When you see white spots on fig leaves and are sure that they are caused by powdery mildew and other fungi, you do not need to search for very expensive products. Baking soda which is made of sodium bicarbonate is a good household product to inhibit fungi in your plants.
You only need the powder with water to make a paste. You should rub this paste on the cut branches if you pruned the trees or leaves if they are still intact. You can also make the solution lighter and spray it directly on the leaves of your infected and healthy trees.
– Spray Neem Oil on Your Figs
Neem oil is an organic pesticide made from neem seeds. It helps to repel and kill insects and other invertebrates and live on your figs or visit the trees regularly.
If you are having insect problems on your trees, neem oil is a cheap product that you can use. Only need to spray the leaves with the oil regularly. If pests attack your trees at night, spray the leaves in the evening.
– Wipe Your Fig Leaves Regularly
You should regularly remove dust, paint, and pests from your fiddle leaf fig tree leaves by wiping them with a cloth. Wiping helps to keep the leaves clean, healthy, and free from pests. You can dip the cloth into clean water so that it becomes slightly damp, but do not use a dripping cloth for the trees so that water does not stay on the leaves for hours.
– Ensure Your Plants Get Enough Nutrients
If the pale or white spots on the leaves of your figs are caused by the deficiency of one nutrient, you ought to feed your plants with a fertilizer immediately.
The fastest way to fix a nutrient deficiency in figs and other plants is to use a foliar fertilizer so that you can spray it on the leaves. You can also use granular fertilizer, but ensure that the plants get enough.
Note that excess fertilizer can burn your plants, so you ought to follow the instructions. Also, note that you should not use organic fertilizer to correct the deficiency because plants will not quickly receive the nutrients as they would from inorganic fertilizer.
If you want to stick to growing all your plants with organic nutrients, ensure to amend their soil twice yearly.
– Get Store-bought Fungicides
Well, the tips listed above are guaranteed to work. However, if the fungi problem of your figs continues, you should use chemical fungicides to solve the problem once and for all. There is a brand for each type of fungi that affects figs, so get it from a store and use it for your trees.
Note that using too much of chemicals can kill your plants, so you only want to follow the instructions. Also, please wear gloves and masks so that the chemicals do not come into contact with your body in any way.
Now you can grow your fiddle leaf figs without the fear of deadly fungi and bacteria.
Here are some useful reminders from this article:
- The major cause of white spots on your figs is the attack of the powdery mildew fungus.
- Some insect pests that are white and look like spots on your figs are scale insects and aphids.
- To ensure that no insect stays on your fig leaves for long, remember to wipe the trees regularly with a clean cloth.
- Sunburn and nutrient deficiency may give your figs chlorosis, but they will not cause the leaves to be purely white.
- Just in case the fungal attack persists on your figs, go to a store and make use of a reputable fungicide brand.
Now you know your fiddle leaf fig problems and solutions. Go check your figs right away and make sure that they are growing healthily in the right conditions.
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