Fiddle Leaf Fig Bacterial Infection-Signs, Causes & Treatment

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Bacterial infections are among the most common diseases affecting fiddle leaf fig plants. If not identified early enough, fiddle leaf fig bacterial infection can wipe out all your plants and leave you with no option but to start over again.

Your fiddle leaf fig plant can get a bacterial infection from other houseplants or contract them due to several interplaying factors. 

This article lists five of the most common causes of fiddle leaf fig bacterial infection.

We’ll also identify the symptoms to look out for and the nine best ways to treat and prevent such infections with less hassle.

5 Common Causes of Fiddle Leaf Fig Bacterial Infection

Fiddle leaf fig bacterial infection occurs when disease-causing bacteria access your houseplants. This disrupts their normal growth and development.

Five of the most common causes of fiddle leaf bacterial infection include;

1. Dirty hands and tools

Your fiddle leaf figs plant can contract a bacterial infection if you handle them with dirty hands or tools.

Your hands or tools can act as bacteria carrier agents. This means they can transfer bacteria from one surface or an infected houseplant to another. 

2. Overwatering your fiddle leaf fig plant

Disease-causing bacteria thrive in damp environments. When you overwater your fiddle leaf fig plant, the pot stays damp for an extended period. This can attract and supports the growth of bacteria. 

Too frequent watering, therefore, increases the chances of your houseplant developing a bacterial infection.

3. Poor drainage

Another common cause of fiddle fig bacterial infection is poor drainage. Houseplant pots should always have bottom holes to help drainage after watering. 

When there’s poor drainage, the pot gets clogged. This provides a safe breeding ground for bacteria, and your fiddle leaf figs plant can easily contract bacterial infections.

4. Less exposure to sunlight

The heat from sunlight enhances the evaporation of water from the pot. This prevents the pot from damping. As mentioned, when the pot stays damp for a long time, disease-causing bacteria can grow and infect your fiddle houseplant.

Also, your fiddle leaf fig might get too tall and skinny as it tries to stretch toward sunlight.

5. Spread of infection from other houseplants

If one of your houseplants has a bacterial infection and you fail to notice it early, the infection can spread to your fiddle leaf figs plant. Bacterial infection can spread from one houseplant to another through tools or your hands as you care for your plants.

Signs of Bacterial Infection on Fiddle Leaf Figs

How can you tell your fiddle leaf fig plant has a bacterial infection? There are various signs to look out for so you can take action before your plant dies completely. 

Here are the four most common signs to help you recognize bacterial infections in fiddle leaf figs:

i. Many yellow/brown spots on leaves

If you notice your plant developing brown spots, dark brown spots, or yellowish spots on its leaves, chances are it has a bacterial infection. The brown spots are usually small, irregularly shaped, and appear as water lesions.

ii. Leaves discoloration (yellowing)

Fiddle leaf fig leaves infected with bacteria can also begin to discolor. The leaves start losing their fresh green color and start developing a yellowing appearance. If not attended to, the fiddle leaves continue yellowing and can eventually turn to brown.

iii. Leaves dropping

Bacterial infections also causes leaves to wilt and drop off. Even though it’s normal for houseplants to shed leaves, it should raise eyebrows if the plant drops too many leaves in a short time. 

Plants depend on leaves for their livelihood (through photosynthesis). This means that they may die if they lose too many leaves.

iv. Oddly-shaped fiddle leaf fig leaves

Sometimes, your fiddle leaf fig plant may start developing irregularly shaped leaves. Something is definitely wrong if the leaves don’t look normal. And it could be a bacterial infection. 

However, looking for other signs is advisable before concluding a bacterial infection.

How to Treat Bacterial Infection in Fiddle Leaf Fig

If you suspect that your fiddle leaf figs plant has a bacterial infection, there’s no need to worry. You can quickly fix it, especially if you notice the above symptoms early enough. 

If your houseplant has been severely affected, the best option might be to get rid of it and plant a whole new one. 

Here are the nine best ways to treat bacterial infections in your fiddle leaf fig plant. Before you know it, your plant will be back to life again:

1. Re-pot with fresh soil

One of the best ways to salvage your fiddle leaf figs plant from a bacterial infection is to transfer it to a new pot. This is because the bacteria may have formed a breeding ground on the existing soil. 

If you don’t have a new pot, discard the soil and clean the old pot with warm water and soap. You can then add fresh soil and replant your fig plant.

2. Remove affected leaves

Whether you replant into a new pot or replace the soil in the old pot, remember to remove all the affected leaves from the plant. Pluck out all the leaves that appear brown, yellowish, or have irregular brown spots on them. 

Don’t forget those that are oddly shaped and generally appear unhealthy. This will ensure the infection does not spread from one leaf to another and affect the entire plant.

3. Reduce moisture

A dump pot can speed up the bacterial infection and keep your houseplant from recovering. If the pot has poor drainage and the soil feels damp, you may need to get rid of excess moisture for your plant to recover. 

How can you get rid of excess moisture? 

Take the pot outside and expose it to the sun for the soil to dry up. Alternatively, you can remove the soil and spread it outside on a flat surface.

Let the soil dry completely before repoting and replanting your fiddle leaf figs plant.

4. Expose to indirect sunlight

Another effective way to treat bacterial infections on fiddle leaf fig is to expose the plant to sunlight. UV rays from the sun can kill pathogens like fungi and bacteria. 

Place your houseplant where it receives enough sunlight daily. This will ease the infection and help bring the plant back to life.

However, be careful not to expose it to direct sunlight as the rays may burn your fiddle fig leaves and dry them up. 

5. Spray with bactericide

The fastest way to kill bacteria and treat bacterial infections is to spray your fig plant with a bactericide. Bactericides are substances with disinfectant, antiseptic, or antibiotic properties that kill bacteria fast.

If your fiddle leaf fig plant is infected, buy a bactericide from your local agrovet, and spray the entire plant. Spray all the unaffected and affected leaves and stems.

Pro Tip: Monterey LG 3174 Fungicide & Bactericide is an effective bactericide that kills bacteria and fungi. It not only eliminates the infection but also protects your fiddle leaf figs plant from future infections.

6. Minimize plant watering

To reduce dampness, you’ll also need to regulate and cut watering until the plant recovers from the infection. Watering once a week or every ten days can produce the best results. 

Ensure always to feel the soil’s dampness and let it dry first before you water it again. Also, remember to water at the same time of the day and apply the same amount of water every time.

7. Use root supplement

Houseplants are more susceptible to bacterial infections when they have compromised immunity. You can, therefore, give your plant an immune boost by applying root supplements. 

Add a recommended ratio of root supplement to your watering can and apply it to the plant every two weeks.

8. Improve air circulation

Improving air circulation around your fiddle leaf fig plant will also help treat bacterial infection. 

To achieve this, prune off excess leaves and stems, and place the plant where there’s a free flow of air. If possible, place the plant near a gentle fan or take it outdoors where the wind blows.

9. Enrich the soil with copper

Enriching your soil with copper can also help eliminate bacterial infection. According to one scientific study, copper releases ions into the soil and prevents certain strains of bacteria from breeding. The ions can also kill existing bacteria and make the soil healthy again for plant growth.

Watch this short video to learn more about how to spot and correct bacterial infection in your fiddle leaf fig plant:

9 Proven Ways to Prevent Fiddle Leaf Fig Bacterial Infection

As you already know, prevention is always better than cure. That’s why it’s always advisable to take good care of your house plants to prevent them from contracting infections. 

How can you prevent bacterial infections from affecting your fiddle leaf fig plant? Here are nine proven strategies you can use:

Optimize drainage

Always ensure your plant pot has enough holes at the bottom. This will allow drainage of excess water after watering the plant. Proper drainage will keep the soil dry and prevent the breeding of bacteria.

Avoid overwatering

Regulate the amount of water you pour on the plant and avoid pouring too much water. Bacteria spreads fast through water and breed under wet conditions. If you feel the soil is still wet, resist the urge to add more water to the plant.

Always remove debris from the pot

Always keep the soil surface around the plant clean. You can do this by removing debris, dropped leaves, and other unnecessary materials. 

These materials can act as breeding surfaces for bacteria, which can transfer to your houseplant.

Expose to enough sunlight

Place your fiddle leaf fig plant in a position where it can receive enough indirect sunlight daily. This will ensure it receives enough energy to stay healthy. The plant will also receive UV light to help it fight away any existing pathogens.

Re-pot every 1-2 years

Plant pots can accumulate a range of microorganisms over time. These organisms can eventually affect your plant. 

Since they are invisible, it’s advisable to repot your plant every one to two years. This minimizes their chances of contracting bacterial infections. Remember to measure the pot size to use the right one so that your plant does not suffocate.

Observe proper hygiene

Proper hygiene is one of the simplest ways to keep disease-causing microorganisms away. 

Before handling your fiddle leaf fig plant, wash your hands with water and soap to eliminate pathogens. Also, clean the tools you’ll be using to reduce the chances of cross-contamination.

Avoid wetting the leaves 

When watering your plants, direct the water towards the root and avoid splashing on the leaves. Water flowing over the leaves can transfer bacteria from one leaf to another. Before you know it, the entire plant has caught the infection.

Minimize touching the leaves

As mentioned, your hands are among the carrier agents that can transfer pathogens to your fiddle leaf fig plant. However, you may not notice it since the pathogens are minute and invisible. 

Therefore, minimize touching the leaves, or avoid it altogether if possible. Also, be mindful of pets or children, who may transfer pathogens to the plant through touching.

Are fiddle leaf figs toxic to cats and dogs? Read the article to find out more.

Look out for symptoms in other plants

Finally, if you have other plants beside your fiddle leaf fig plant, always check them out for symptoms such as brown spots or yellowing leaves. Most houseplants will manifest the symptoms discussed above when they contract a bacterial infection. 

If you care for your plants simultaneously or use common tools, chances are that the infection will spread to your fig plant. 

Therefore, always look out for common symptoms in surrounding plants. If you notice any abnormalities like dark brown spots, take the necessary measures before the infection spreads to your lovely fiddle leaf plant.

What’s the Difference Between Bacterial and Fiddle Leaf Fig Fungal Infection 

Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, which are microscopic organisms that live in soil, water, and on living things like plants.

Fungal infections, on the other hand, are caused by fiddle leaf fig fungus, which are organisms that live in moist soil or wet areas on plants.

Houseplants with bacterial infection manifest symptoms such as: wilting and dropping leaves, yellow/brown spots, stem rot, and blossom end rot.

Houseplants infected with fungal infection show symptoms like wilting and yellowing leaves, white patches on the leaves, root rot (browning roots), and damping off (stems falling off). 

How to Treat Fungus on Fiddle Leaf Fig

The treatment for fiddle leaf fungus depends on the specific type of infection. However, here are some general steps you can take:

  1. Remove any infected plant material, including leaves or stems, to prevent the fungus from spreading.
  2. Improve growing conditions, such as increasing air circulation and avoiding overwatering, to create an environment that is less favorable for fungal growth.
  3. Use a fungicide specifically designed for houseplants, following the instructions carefully.
  4. If the infection is severe or the plant is in very poor health, consider repotting the plant in fresh, sterile soil.

It’s important to identify the specific type of fungal infection on your fiddle leaf fig as different types require different treatments.

What’s the Difference Between Bacterial Infection and Root Rot?

Root rot is caused by fungi, while bacterial infections are usually caused by bacteria. Root rot occurs when the roots become too wet for too long, causing them to break down into mushy brown masses that eventually die off completely. 

Bacterial root rot on fiddle leaf fig is also possible if the bacteria spread to the roots. Though the bacterial infection can cause similar symptoms, it generally affects more than the roots.

It can spread throughout the plant and cause wilting leaves, yellowing/brown spots on leaves, and stem rot. 

Can Bacterial Infection Kill Fiddle-Leaf Fig?

Yes! If left untreated for too long, a severe case of bacterial infection can kill a fiddle leaf fig plant. While various treatment methods are available, it’s crucial to catch the infection early before it spreads throughout the plant. 

If you notice any symptoms of fiddle leaf bacterial infection, take action immediately to rescue the plant.


How Do I Get Rid of Bacteria in My Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The best way to get rid of bacteria in your fiddle leaf fig is to repot the plant and remove any infected fiddle leaf multiple stems or leaves. Afterward, ensure the plant gets enough water and sunlight. You may also need to spray the plant with a bactericide to end the infection faster.

What Does a Diseased Fiddle Leaf Fig Look Like? 

A diseased fiddle leaf fig will have yellowing or browning leaves and discolored stems. The leaves may also have brown spots and start wilting and drooping. Additionally, there may be visible signs of mildew on the surface of the soil. You may also notice small white spots on the leaves and stems.

How Do You Treat Bacterial Root Rot in Fiddle Leaf Figs? 

You can treat bacterial root rot symptoms by applying an appropriate bactericide on the plant. You can also repot the plant into new soil. Remember to avoid overwatering and maintain good drainage by using fiddle fig planters with underholes.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Good for Fiddle Leaf Fig? 

Yes. Hydrogen peroxide is good for treating certain bacterial infections on fiddle leaf fig. However, you should use it with extreme caution as it can also damage fragile tissues. Always consult with a professional before using it to help you know the correct ratios and how to apply the chemical safely.

What does bacterial leaf spot on fiddle leaf fig look like?

Bacterial leaf spot on a fiddle leaf fig appears as small, water-soaked spots on the leaves that eventually turn brown or black and become surrounded by a yellow halo. The spots may merge and cause the leaves to drop prematurely.

Make Your Plant Healthy Again!

Fiddle leaf fig care doesn’t need to be a huge hassle. You only need to take the necessary precautions and monitor your plant for any abnormal occurrences.

However, incidents like bacterial infections can sometimes be out of your control. Your houseplant may contract bacterial infections even after taking all the preventive precautions.

If this occurs, apply the treatment options listed in this article to help bring your lovely fig plant back to good health!

Did you find this article helpful?

Let’s know in the comment section. Also, feel free to share it with your fellow houseplant lovers to let them know how to treat and prevent fiddle leaf fig bacterial infection.

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