Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot: Main Causes & 4 Helpful Methods

The fig tree is one of the susceptible crops to diseases, especially root rot. When the plant is healthy, the roots are very supple, but when the sources show signs of deterioration, they are pretty mushy and unpleasant. What causes fiddle leaf fig root rot? What are the methods to deal with root rot in figs? For more information about root rot in fiddle leaf fig, let’s read on to discover!

Main Causes Of Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot

What is the main cause? - Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot

What is the main cause of fiddle fig root rot?

Root rot treatment for fiddle leaf figs is quite complicated. So, like many other plants, to treat this plant, it is more important to find out the cause of the disease.

The leading cause of root rot in fiddle leaf figs can be overwatering poor drainage. However, the most common cause lies in plants with pythium and phytophthora.

Pythium and phytophthora are not fungi; they are just variant oocytes. So, you will not be able to apply a fungal treatment to these two organisms.

  • Pythium: This organism is more common than phytophthora and causes root rot in young fiddle leaf figs. It is not a specific disease but a family comprising 125 species. When pythium enters the plant, leaf drop and stem rot are the primary manifestations.
  • Phytophthora: It is less common than pythium. Symptoms, when they invade, are severe root rot.

In addition, one thing pythium and phytophthora have in common is that they thrive in high humidity conditions. The presence of moisture in the tree can easily be explained by the tree being over-watered or having poor drainage.

So, how does the plant behave after infection with pythium & phytophthora or root rot? Let’s find out below.

Some Common Signs

Easily noticed, it is difficult to identify signs of damage from the roots, and root ball. However, a few factors often come into play when roots rot.

First, their sturdy leaves will soon begin to droop. You might think your fig tree is wilting, but it’s a prime example of overwatering your tree.

More to read: 6 Reasons Why Hibiscus Is Wilting?

Sturdy leaves will soon begin to droop - Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot

Sturdy leaves will soon begin to droop

In addition, leaves droop in response to climate and humidity.

Besides drooping leaves, a few other symptoms that can also appear in your fig tree are leaves turning brown at the trunk or the whole plant.

These symptoms are all caused by a fungal infection from over-watering the plant, causing the plant not to be able to drain.

In general, the above manifestations are a minor fungal infection caused by too much water and not enough drainage. And you know what happens when a leaf isn’t green?

There is no chlorophyll responsible for absorbing light to transfer it to food.

How To Handle Root Rot?

We mentioned the causes and symptoms of root rot explicitly. So that you don’t have to wait too long, here are the steps to deal with root rot.

Remove fig leaves and clean roots

clean roots - Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot

clean roots

First, make sure you have entirely removed the brown fiddle leaf figs from its pot.

Next, you need to lift the plant to wash the roots and remove any excess soil clinging to the roots.

Once done, you can quickly tell if the roots are rotten from those still healthy.

Prune damaged leaves and roots

After removing the leaves and cleaning the roots, you need to prune the damaged leaves and roots so that they do not spread to the healthy parts.

In addition, you also need to prune old or damaged leaves to help the plant put all its nutrients to feed the young leaves.

It is not advisable to prune most of the plant’s leaves because it dramatically affects the plant’s photosynthesis. For the best of the plant, you should keep about 70% of the leaves on the plant.

Hydrogen peroxide base spray

Hydrogen peroxide base spray - Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot

Hydrogen peroxide base spray

Even with the rotten roots removed, some root rot organisms such as phytophthora and pythium can still attach to healthy roots and soon cause additional root damage as the young fig tree grows.

Therefore, all you need to do is use a hydrogen peroxide solution and spray it on the healthy root. This solution will work best if mixed with water in a ratio of 1: 2.

This solution will help you disinfect the pot and kill the fungus before placing the plant back in the pot.

Replace the soil mixture with a new one

Replace the soil mixture - Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot

Replace the soil mixture

Finally, you can place your plant in a pot. At this step, depending on your needs, you can replace the pot with a new one or keep the old one if you have sprayed it with hydrogen peroxide.

However, whether you use a unique one or reuse an old one, make sure your potting soil is brand new.

The ideal type of soil you should plant is a soil mix with good drainage to ensure it doesn’t retain excess water to prevent root rot. In addition, the pot also needs to have enough drainage holes for the best drainage.

If you’re using a homemade soil mix from compost, be sure to kill off pathogens with a hydrogen peroxide spray. For best results, water the plant with the solution about 2-3 times a day before replanting a week later.

How To Prevent Root Rot?

How to prevent it - Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot

How to prevent it

Figs are very susceptible to diseases. Therefore, your care process needs to be very careful to minimize the disease infection in the tree.

Here are a few tips we think can help you in the process of preventing root rot in fiddle leaf figs roots. Continue reading for a clearer picture:

Regular watering

First, you need to water your plants regularly but water with a moderate amount. Watering too much or too little will make the plant more susceptible to disease, significantly if watered a lot.

As you know, root rot organisms such as pythium and phytophthora are fond of moist soil conditions. So over-watering the plant is the most significant cause of root rot because the soil is too wet, and the drainage process is reduced.

On rainy days, you should also stop watering the plants because it is possible that your watering causes the plants to become saturated and unable to drain.

For the best and help you make sure the roots can dry out between waterings by checking the dryness of the potting soil using a soil moisture meter or poking the top two inches of the ground with your finger.

You also need to pay attention when soil conditions are too dry because it can also be a good condition for pathogens from the roots to penetrate deeper into the soil.

Provide drainage

Next, providing a regular water system for plants is extremely important, especially if you grow plants in containers or pots.

Ensure that the container or pot has enough drainage holes to allow the soil to aerate for better oxygen transport to the roots and allow water to drain at the correct rate.

Not only that, but it also avoids standing water for too long and causing severe problems, including root rot.

Regular check the soil

Checking the soil is a great tip to help prevent root rot. As soon as you water your plants, make sure to parallel the soil test.

When the soil is too wet, watering should avoid wetting the ground and allowing bacteria to multiply quickly.

You also need the soil regularly so that the soil can be loose and easily aerated.

More to read: Is Potting Soil Turning Bad?

Aerate the soil

Aeration of the soil will ensure that the plant gets enough oxygen and helps the roots grow. Besides, it also provides enough space for water and oxygen to circulate. Especially aerated soil also helps significantly reduce moisture accumulation in the roots.

For more tips, watch this video below:


Here are a few questions we frequently get when it comes to root rot in figs:

Can a fiddle leaf fig recover from root rot?

You can, of course, treat your young fig tree for root rot if you catch the disease early and your fig tree still has some healthy roots.

A few steps you can take to save your fig tree include: remove the seeds and wash the healthy roots, and then you need to repot and soil your tree.

Besides, it is also necessary to cut off the top of the tree to grow new foliage.

How do you fix root rot in a fiddle leaf fig?

Since there are many causes of root rot, the remedy for root rot will depend on the root rot condition of that plant. If your plant is poorly drained, repot or drain the container so the soil can drain more quickly.

Sometimes, if a fungal infection causes the condition, remove the plant from the soil and replant in new soil while removing the rotting parts of the roots.

In addition, if the tree is thick with leaves, it is also necessary to remove the leaves by pruning them.

What does root rot look like on fiddle leaf figs?

When fig trees show signs of root rot, their leaves may appear as small brown spots on their leaves and droop.

Can root rot heal itself?

Of course, this is not possible because the roots are in the ground. Without any intervention, the roots can quickly rot and cause worse conditions instead of going away on their own.


We have covered the complete information about fiddle leaf fig root rot and detailed how to deal with it and prevent it.

I hope it helps in the process of growing and caring for your fig tree. If you have any questions about gardening, feel free to leave your comments below this article.

Thank you for following the article!

Related articles:

How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Figs and Root Rot

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