Brown edges and brown tips are some of the most common problems you will encounter while caring for your fiddle leaf fig.
Fiddle figs are notoriously picky about water and light; if your plant is not happy, it will not hesitate to show you!
In other words, if your fiddle leaf fig has brown edges or brown tips, you probably need to change its location, lighting, or the way you water it.
Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Getting Brown Edges?
Inadequate watering is the most common cause of brown edges in a fiddle leaf fig.
Other causes of brown edges and brown tips have to do with light.
Your fiddle leaf fig might not be getting enough light, it might be getting too much light (sunburnt), or it may need filtered light instead.
Is Bottom Watering Causing Brown Tips on My Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Bottom watering can cause brown tips on your fiddle leaf fig.
Unlike other plants, fiddle figs do not like to be bottom watered. Although your plant will absorb water through drainage holes at the bottom of its pot to survive, it will not get all of the benefits it needs from regular watering, and brown tips are bound to appear.
Top watering allows your fiddle leaf fig to flush out minerals in the soil. Without this opportunity, salt and minerals could build up and dry out your plant. When your plant dries out due to accumulated salt and minerals, brown edges will show up.
This is your plant’s way of asking for help – or a different style of watering.
How to Fix My Fiddle Leaf Fig with Brown Edges
Because underwatering is the leading cause of brown edges & tips in fiddle leaf figs, start by giving your fig some water and adding regular misting into its watering schedule.
Try watering your fiddle leaf fig in the bathtub or shower, where you can saturate the soil and let it drain completely. Repeat this process every 2 weeks – or every time your plant’s topsoil starts looking dry.
After watering and draining, return your fiddle leaf fig to its regular home and give it a gentle misting daily. If you do not have time to mist every day, add a humidifier to the area where you keep your plant instead.
When our weeping fig started having problems last year, my housemate installed a humidifier nearby, and the difference was remarkable!
What If Watering and Misting Do Not Work?
If watering, draining, and misting your fiddle leaf fig does not stop your plant from forming brown edges, your plant may be complaining about the light.
Check to make sure your fiddle leaf fig has enough light. Many plant keepers suggest fiddle leaf figs hang in front of floor-to-ceiling windows to get light from all sides (and the top).
The bigger your fiddle leaf fig, the more light it will need.
Filtering Sunlight for Fiddle Leaf Figs
If you think your fiddle leaf fig has enough light, the problem may be coming from the quality of the light, not the light itself. Consider installing a white, translucent curtain to filter the light that comes through.
You can keep the curtain open during the morning and evening but close it during the hottest, brightest parts of the day.
Fiddle leaf figs in harsh, direct light can get sunburnt, which can cause brown edges and brown tips. Filtering the light will prevent future sunburns.
Please note: fiddle leaf figs should not be kept outside in hot, dry climates (even on the porch or patio). Do not leave your plant in direct sunlight, even if you live somewhere cooler.
The combination of misting and filtered sunlight will make your fiddle leaf fig feel at home, ultimately helping it thrive.
Should You Trim Brown Leaf Tips Fiddle Leaf Fig?
So, you’ve stopped new brown leaf tips from forming on your fiddle leaf fig. Now, you’re wondering what to do with the leaves that have already suffered damage.
Unfortunately, the damage is done, and brown edges and brown tips on a fiddle leaf fig are irreversible.
If the unsightly foliage bothers you, you can trim the brown leaf tips on your fiddle leaf fig. You may choose to remove the entire affected leaf or slice off the brown edges.
Whatever you do, trim with sharp, clean garden shears to prevent infection. Also, if you decide to keep the leaf, cut along the brown edges and leave a tiny bit of brown to prevent new wounds.
Remember, trimming and pruning your plant is a personal choice that is totally up to you. If you remove a damaged leaf, your plant won’t have to put any more effort into it, and pruning can increase airflow. But anyway, your plant will drop leaves that no longer serve it on its own.
I trim and prune all of my plants to keep them looking healthy and green, but you may not want to, and that’s totally okay.
The important thing is that you solved whatever problem with watering or light that was bothering your fiddle leaf fig.
Too Long Didn’t Read?
That’s okay. Here’s what you need to know:
- Brown edges and brown tips on fiddle leaf figs are common.
- The problem comes from underwatering and issues with lighting (not enough light or poor light quality).
- To fix your underwatering problems, saturate, drain, and mist your fiddle leaf fig regularly (or install a humidifier).
- To fix your lighting problem, put your fiddle leaf fig in front of a large window with a white, translucent curtain. Keep the curtain open in the morning and evening and closed during the hottest, brightest parts of the day.
- Once your plant is feeling better, you can trim or prune it, but that’s up to you!