Fiddle leaf brown edges – House Plant Journal

Fiddle leaf brown edges

Plant: Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)

How long have you had the plant? 6 months to 1 year


Brown edges and leaves dropping every week for the past couple of months:

Light Situation:

How do you determine WHEN to water? I follow the schedule I was told/researched for this plant: every 2 weeks.

Describe HOW you water: Bottom watering. I also mist the leaves when it’s hot during the day and it’s not time to water the plant yet

Fertilizer? I’ve never used fertilizer.


Darryl: the soil appears to be peat moss and perlite

Darryl’s Analysis

It appears that your fiddle leaf is a few feet from a small window and lit overhead by a ceiling light.  This is inadequate lighting for any satisfactory growth of a large fiddle leaf fig, which is why your plant has been mostly losing leaves for the duration you’ve owned the plant.  My lighting guide suggests a minimum of 400 FC of light (during indirect light times of the day) – if you don’t have a light meter, the kind of environment where the indirect light is around 400 FC would be right in front of a large floor to ceiling window that is mostly unobstructed.

Brown tips typically occurs when minerals accumulate in the soil and since leaves act as filters, the lowest leaves will be first to become brown.  When you bottom water, this doesn’t flush out the built up minerals, which is why I think so many of your leaves have brown tips.  At this point, there’s nothing you can do to reverse the browning.

I would suggest you move this plant to a much larger window where it will have as wide a view of the sky as possible – if the sun comes to shine on it for longer than 4 hours, then block it with a white sheer curtain.  Or you could get some powerful grow lights (like the Soltech or Sansi from this article) and have them shining on the plant at the recommended distance for 8-12 hours a day.  Without this level of light, your plant won’t completely die but it will lose 80-90% of its leaves, having just a few at the very top.

Light is the prerequisite for good growth.  Watering for a fiddle leaf fig is whenever its soil reaches just past halfway dry – observe the soil because that moisture usage won’t necessarily be every 2 weeks especially when you increase light levels.  Fertilizer is a must for long-term satisfactory growth – get some here.

The best way to avoid disappointment is to get a better understanding of how plants grow and what environments we can realistically provide in our homes – people who sell plants would rarely tell you when a plant just won’t work in a certain space.  Get clarity from my book or my online course.

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

2 responses to “Fiddle leaf brown edges”

  1. Hi, I have a follow-up question. I have a fiddle leaf that is also starting to get brown edges (it’s a fairly new addition). You said it’s due to mineral buildup… what can we do to help with this? Will misting help? Using distilled water? I live in an area with very hard water, so this would explain a lot of the issues I’ve had with indoor plants here (outdoors I’m a green thumb lol).

    Thank you

  2. Thank you so much for this info. I bought this plant abt a few weeks and my plant is still so small. Only a few feet tall. My plant also has brown leaves coming in slowly and I had it previously placed near two french windows and watered it quite frequently so I thot mayb too much direct sunlight and too much or too less water according to this article. Now its relocated abit further away from direct sunlight. I will monitor the water as well. I think I dont have to water every morning right? Your advise would be highly appreciated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *