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December 26, 2022

Fiddle Leaf Fig Edema

Fiddle Leaf Fig edema is a relatively common problem that concerns houseplant lovers. This blog post will teach you what causes edema in Fiddle Leaf Fig, how to recognize the signs, how to treat your Fiddle Leaf Fig, and how to prevent this nuisance.

Edema (or oedema) is a physiological disorder frequently found in houseplants. The disorder is caused by plant roots absorbing more water than the leaves can transpire. This surplus of water creates pressure and eventually ruptures the Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves’ cells. As a result, dead cells appear as tiny red or brown spots, mostly on the undersides of the plant’s leaves.

The hand holds green Ficus Lyrata leaves with brown and red spots that indicate Edema.

Tiny red and brown spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaf indicate edema

Red spots, especially on younger Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves can be caused by spider mites. You can distinguish between damage caused by spider mites and edema if you take a close look with a magnifying glass. If you see tiny insects and webs, you’re dealing with spider mites.

What Causes Edema On Fiddle Leaf Fig

Edema on Fiddle Leaf Figs is often caused by moisture stress, which occurs when the soil is moist and warm, and the air is cool, especially in winter and during long periods of cloudy weather. This kind of environment leads to the rapid absorption of water from the soil and slow water loss through the leaves. Edema can also develop as a reaction to some sprays, such as fungicides or insecticides.

Why Does My Fiddle Leaf Fig Have Edema?

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree has edema likely due to one or multiple of the following environmental conditions:

  • lack of bright indirect light
  • inadequate airflow
  • rapid temperature fall

These conditions can reduce the rate of water loss through transpiration, which leads to edema. To put it simply, roots take the water, but the leaves don’t ‘’breathe it out’’ at the normal rate. This water has to go somewhere, so it forms fluid-filled blisters which turn into red and brown spots on the affected leaves.

What Does Fiddle Leaf Fig Edema Look Like?

Edema on Fiddle Leaf Fig looks like tiny red or brown spots. They usually form on the undersides of the leaves, especially on young leaves, where they are more prominent. In older Ficus Lyrata leaves the red spots darken and turn brown. These red and brown spots caused by edema are usually just cosmetic issues and they luckily don’t affect the Fiddle Leaf Fig plant’s health.

Does Edema Go Away?

No, edema on Fiddle Leaf Fig plants can’t go away, because the leaves’ cells are damaged and they can’t heal. However, as the affected Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves get older, edema will be less noticeable. The red cells will become brown and thus less prominent.

Plant's dark green leaves in the foreground

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig will have new healthy growth without brown spots after you take steps to prevent edema

If you find out what’s causing edema on your Fiddle Leaf Fig, and address the issue promptly, edema spots won’t form on the new growth. It’s important to avoid moisture stress caused by incongruent watering as well as rapid temperature changes to prevent edema in the future.

How Can I Treat/Remove Edema On Fiddle Leaf Fig?

You can’t remove edema on Fiddle Leaf Figs once the spots have formed. The plant’s leaves tissue is damaged, and it cannot be repaired. You can prune the affected leaf or the affected part of the leaf if you don’t like how it looks. However, this is just an aesthetic issue, it doesn’t affect the Fiddle Leaf Fig health.

Pruning shears laid on a yellow gardening glove next to a flower pot

Edema in Fiddle Leaf Fig is just a cosmetic issue, but if you don’t like how the affected leaves look, you can prune them

How Can I Prevent Edema On Fiddle Leaf Fig?

You can prevent edema on the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree by making sure the following requirements are met:

  • Using well-draining soil
  • Using pots with good drainage holes
  • Slightly reducing the watering
  • Watering the plant in the morning, instead of the evening
  • Providing good air circulation
  • Providing enough bright indirect light
Fiddle Leaf fig plant in a big black flower pot in the bright room with two huge windows

Too little light can exacerbate edeme in Fiddle Leaf Fig, so make sure to provide it with enough light

A well-draining potting mix will ensure that your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree doesn’t stay in soggy soil. It helps reduce the chances of edema and root rot. In combination with pots that have functional drainage holes, it ensures the roots will get enough oxygen and be more resilient to fungal diseases, that are associated with overly moist soil. You can check the best potting soil for a Fiddle Leaf Fig here.

To prevent edema from forming on Fiddle Leaf Figs, watering should be slightly reduced in cool temperatures and higher humidity. Always check if the soil has dried out all the way to the bottom of the pot before watering. It’s a good idea to water Fiddle Leaf Figs in the morning. During the night the roots continue to take water, but the transpiration is reduced, which raises the risk of edema. By watering your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in the morning, you will give the soil plenty of time to drain.

A black garden trowel in soil mix next to two terracotta pots.

Using well-draining, porous potting mix will keep your Fiddle Leaf Fig vigorous

Good airflow and ventilation are important since they help Fiddle Leaf Figs transpire which lowers the chance of edema. Bright indirect light will help soil dry out faster and prompt Fiddle Leaf Fig tree to photosynthesize and transpire.

Conclusion

Although edema on Fiddle Leaf Fig plants might look concerning, it’s primarily an aesthetic issue, and it doesn’t hurt the plant. It’s important to know that edema is a physiological disorder, and not a disease, which means that it can’t be spread from one Fiddle Leaf Fig to another. Luckily, if you follow tips from this blog post, you will be able to put a stop to edema. Your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves will be lush, green and spotless after minor care adjustments.

Yours Truly,

Mr.Houseplant-signature-tr

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