6 Ways To Get Rid of Spider Mites on Fiddle Leaf Figs

spider mites on fiddle leaf fig

If anything is going to make your fiddle leaf fig a snack, it’s spider mites. Figs are fussy plants to care for, so dealing with spider mites can feel overwhelming.

These arachnids invade and rapidly reproduce when your plant or its environment is too dry, and the weather is warm. But this preference tells us to use moisture to get rid of mites, even indoors.

Providing enough water for your fiddle leaf fig to avoid stress prevents spider mites from infesting. Checking the top three inches of the soil for moisture in the third inch 1-3 times per week helps you maintain ideal moisture levels. Frequent check-ups also let you catch infestations early.

1. Wash the Fiddle Leaf Fig

If you already have an infestation, your best bet is to clean the plant’s surface. Wash the leaves and stem with a hose. If the plant is small enough, take it to the sink and carefully rinse infested areas. 

Spider mites will appear at first as light dots on leaves. Later, they may cause leaves to develop a bronze color and fall off. 

Once the mites are severe, you can also identify an infestation by looking for clusters of tiny dots that may move or webbing with bits of debris. The reason why we call the mites “spider” mites is that they create this webbing.

Wash areas of the fig with these signs. Spider mites particularly like the undersides of leaves to protect their eggs, and a generation can cycle in a week. So check those every time you water and wash if you see the signs.

2. Wipe Down the Leaves with Water

Like washing your fiddle leaf fig, wiping with a damp cloth can moisten the plant while dislodging spider mites. It’s an important grooming activity for leaves as large as the fig’s. Mist the leaves and spread the droplets with a soft material.

Another benefit is that wiping removes fine dust that supports the mites. Do this every week or two to keep the mite population at bay.

3. Humidify Your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s Location

High humidity defeats the dry environment that spider mites love. If you don’t want to spend time washing or wiping down your fiddle leaf fig, investing in a humidifier would pair well with a balanced watering routine.

Also, figs come from the tropics. Even if they are fussy about how wet versus dry their roots are, they still respond well to humidity in the air. When they don’t have enough, their leaves turn brown.

Having your fig near a heater will have the opposite effect. Heaters eat up moisture as much as the cold, so you will want to find a better location for your plant.

One other approach to improve humidity is to situate many plants in proximity. Their leaves work like mouths breathing close to the skin, creating a humid microclimate.

Take caution with this last approach though. It works when you are trying to create humidity to prevent spider mites. But if you already have them, then you will want to keep your plants at a distance so they don’t share the infestation.

4. Wipe with Soaps and Oils

Rather than wiping your fiddle leaf fig with a damp cloth, you could look into various soaps and oils. They need direct contact with the mites and their eggs to work. So when you take this approach, be prepared to apply thoroughly and every week or two.

Some insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are petroleum-based and work. But you can also find plant-based oils like neem oil and cottonseed. Some miticides or mite pesticides also come from plant oils. You may come across garlic extract, mint oil, and cinnamon oil, among many others.

Some plants are more sensitive to certain oils than others. When you try a new soap or oil, test it on a few leaves and wait a few days before applying it regularly to the whole plant.

Another word of caution with oils is to not use them on water-stressed plants. For instance, you will want to have an optimal watering routine and humidity level before you supplement your mite-fighting with oils.

5. Prune Infested Leaves

In worst-case scenarios, prune the contaminated leaves by pinching or sheering them off. This option will give you a fresh start with the other mite control techniques. 

When you remove infested parts and have other figs in the room, make sure you bag the leaves. Spider mites spread by wafting in the air and on dust. Quarantining a sick plant is a good idea if there’s a high risk of spreading mites.

6. Invest in the Mites’ Enemies

Taking a biological or chemical approach usually won’t work for the indoor fiddle leaf fig owner. But if you live in a balmy growing zone between 10 and 12, you may have your plant outside. There, you have a few more treatment options for spider mites.

You can order insects that eat spider mites. Some types of lady beetles, pirate bugs, and predatory thrips are ripe for the job. Many also occur naturally in many regions. Predatory mites are also commercially available to eat spider mites, even on indoor plants.

Note that while spider mites love dry environments, this is the opposite of their predators. The predators love the same humidity your fig does, making this approach a supplement to good watering and humidity.

If your fig is outside, you could check how much insecticide you apply to your yard or your neighbors use on theirs. Popular insecticides like carbaryl and malathion kill spider mite predators but not mites. But predators might bounce back in late summer or during rain spells.


Since most gardeners keep fiddle leaf figs indoors, discovering spider mites and getting rid of them can be frustrating. Water is a simple go-to treatment over outdoor conventions of chemicals and natural predators. Find a better watering equilibrium, wash, wipe, and humidify to relieve your plant’s stress.

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