How To Fix Root Rot In Fiddle Leaf Fig? Causes, Treatment And Prevention

root rot in fiddle leaf fig

One of the best ways to spruce up a room is to introduce indoor plants. Fiddle leaf figs are an absolute favorite houseplant. The green, glossy leaves make their presence appealing to homeowners. You can place it anywhere in the space and notice an instant change in vibe. That explains the rising popularity of this high-maintenance plant. However, it is, a well-known fact, that Fiddle leaf figs need specific environmental conditions to thrive.

Root rot is a severe problem that can impact the health of your gorgeous Fiddle leaf fig. The gradual decomposition of the roots can eventually cause the plant to die. That is why you need to opt for treatment right away. You must keep an eye on the Fiddle leaf fig in order to make sure it is healthy.


Like other houseplants, the fiddle leaf fig too is prone to diseases. One of them is the root rot. The primary cause of the rotting of the roots is overwatering or lack of proper drainage. Luckily, there are steps you can follow to treat this severe condition. For starters, you must take out the plant and prune off the rotten roots. Then, you need to apply the correct solution and repot it with fresh soil.

What Is Root Rot?

Root rot is basically a disease that occurs due to overwatering the soil. Fiddle leaf figs thrive in moist soil, but too much water can have damaging consequences. It is advisable to let the topsoil dry out before watering the plant again.

Frequent watering can lead to moisture accumulation in the soil. Keep in mind that numerous fungi and other organisms are present in the soil. Under the moist soil, these organisms thrive. Ultimately, it will cause the development of an infectious rot in the roots beneath the soil. After some time, it will move up, affecting the leaves. The symptoms include drooping leaves, brownish spots on the leaves, etc.

Another cause that can lead to root rot is the draining issue. If the soil doesn’t have suitable drainage properties, water is bound to accumulate. Besides, it is also essential to make sure that the pot has holes underneath so that the excess water can move out.

Symptoms of Root Rot In Fiddle Leaf Fig

There are several signs that can aid in the identification of root rot in Fiddle leaf figs. However, recognizing root rot can be extremely difficult. That is due to the lack of symptoms above the soil surface that can lead to the diagnosis.

You must be wondering – how will I know that the plant is suffering from root rot? In that case, you must notice the condition of the leaves. If you see brown spots on the leaves or drooping leaves, you need to check out the roots.

For that, you will need to take out the plant from the container. Gentleness is undoubtedly necessary to keep the indoor plant alive.

Take a look at the signs that point toward root rot in Fiddle leaf figs –

  • Soggy or wet roots
  • Brownish coloration of the roots
  • Soaked root ball with waterlogged soil
  • A weird smell emanating from the roots

Root Rot In Fiddle Leaf Fig – Causes

There are different reasons that can lead to root rot in Fiddle leaf figs. Here are some causes listed. Check them out here –

  1. Overwatering

The primary cause of root rot in Fiddle leaf figs is too much water. It is true that water is an incredibly essential component for any plant to survive. However, excess water can lead to a variety of issues, including root rot. Fiddle leaf figs face the same problem too.

How to determine how much water the plant needs? It is one of the most prevalent questions that plant lovers often ask. The answer is tricky. It is actually the plant size that dictates the amount of water necessary. For starters, you can give a cup or a small glass of water each week. Then, you need to monitor the plant and see if it needs more water. That will aid in establishing the watering schedule.

Another thing that you must consider is the condition of the soil. It is vital to ensure that the soil is not moist. Watering the already wet soil will lead to clogging issues, eventually causing root rot. However, if the soil is a bit damp, you can go ahead.

If watering the Fiddle leaf fig becomes an issue, you can use a moisture meter. Now, you can determine how much water the plant needs without fear of root rot.

It is also essential to remember that the water requirements of your Fiddle leaf fig change with the season. During the summer and spring seasons, the plant needs more water as it is the active growth period. However, in the winter season, you need to give less water as it is a dormant period.

  1. Drainage Issue

Did you know that root rot can also occur due to faulty drainage systems? Roots exposed to excess water can increase the possibility of root rot significantly. Here, the main culprit is the pot of the plant. That is why it is advisable to use containers that have suitably sized drainage holes underneath. The lack of holes prevents the excess water from moving water, leading to oversaturation of water within the pot.

The size of the pot holes is an essential criterion. If the holes are too small, the water will encounter difficulty in sweeping out. On the other hand, large holes will lead to the drainage of all the water before the soil has the ability to retain it.

  1. Soil Mixture

The potted soil of the Fiddle leaf figs needs to have unique characteristics. For instance, it must be well-aerated and have a 5-5.7 pH level. That is the ideal way to keep the plant healthy. Creating such a soil mixture might be difficult. Instead, you can opt for store purchases. You only need to make sure that the manufacturers are reputed and are known to provide high-quality products in the market.

If you want to create the soil mixture at home, you can do that. For that, you will need organic soil, perlite, and peat moss. Take organic soil, peat moss, and perlite in the ratio of 2:1:1. Use some water to mix the components, and you have the soil ready to use.

Saving Root Rot In Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle leaf Fig requires gentle handling, and even the slightest change in the surroundings can cause massive damage. Root rot is one such condition that can lead to the death of the houseplant. However, that doesn’t have to be the case if you identify the symptoms and start the treatment right away.

Did you notice distress occurring to the plant? In that case, you need to act quickly. Here is what you need to do –

  1. Take The Plant Out Of The Pot

The first step is uprooting the plant from the container. You need to be careful and ensure that you are not being too quick. Any additional distress can cause more harm. After that, take warm water and rinse the roots. Be gentle and take time as you wash the roots. It is to remove the soil attached to the roots. That will give you a clear view of the Fiddle leaf fig roots.

  1. Pruning

The next step is to deal with the damaged roots. It is important to understand that there is nothing you can do to save these roots. But, you have an opportunity to rescue the plant. Hence, the only option is to prune the affected roots.

Are you wondering how to identify damaged roots? Look out for roots that have become mushy or brown. These are the roots affected due to the rotting. Use a sterilized scissor to prune the roots. Be precise while making the cuts and concentrate on not causing further distress.

Even the roots exhibiting the slightest symptoms must be pruned. If you see brown leaves or drooping ones, you can take them out too. However, you must be careful while pruning the leaves. If you prune off a majority of the leaves, it will interfere with photosynthesis and cause massive stress. Cut off 30% of the foliage of the fiddle leaf fig but do not exceed beyond that.

  1. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

While pruning the damaged roots is an excellent idea, it might not be enough. Here, you will need to make extra efforts. If the root rot is severe, you must assume that there are lingering fungi and other organisms on the roots.

In order to get rid of these organisms, you must use hydrogen peroxide. That way, there is no risk of further infection when repotting takes place.

Please note that you must not use hydrogen peroxide directly on the plant. You need to create a solution. Take hydrogen peroxide (3%) and mix it with water in a 1:2 ratio. Use a spray bottle to apply the mixture to the roots. You can also spray the solution on the pots in order to sterilize them.

Alternatively, you can also use commercial fungicides. However, you must thoroughly read the instructions given on the product and the ingredient list before using it. Keep in mind that Fiddle leaf figs are finicky and get distressed effortlessly.

  1. Repotting The Plant

After pruning the damaged roots, you must repot the Fiddle leaf fig. That way, it can recover and thrive. It is advisable to use a new pot and fresh soil when you opt for repotting the plant. That is mainly because using the old pot, or even soil can lead to the recurrence of the infection. You cannot take the risk of root rot infecting the plant once again.

It is imperative that you use a fresh soil mixture while repotting the plant. Here, you need to ensure that the soil is high-quality, has the necessary nutrients, and exhibits drainage properties.

  1. Proper Maintenance

Repotting the Fiddle leaf fig is not the end of the task. Keep in mind that consistency plays a significant role in keeping the plant healthy. That is why it is important to take care of the houseplant and ensure no stress occurs. Water the plant regularly and place it somewhere it can receive bright yet indirect sunlight.

FAQs Related to Fixing Root Rot In Fiddle Leaf Fig

Is pruning damaged foliage necessary to fix root rot in fiddle leaf figs?

Yes, removing the damaged foliage is absolutely necessary for the treatment of root rot in Fiddle leaf figs. It is essential to understand that brown or yellow leaves or even damaged stems can cause more issues gradually. In order to recover, the plant needs to be rid of anything that can cause the recurrence of the infection.

Can fiddle leaf figs die from root rot?

Unfortunately, fiddle leaf figs can die from root rot. It can happen when the plant doesn’t get adequate treatment. It can also occur when the plant gains treatment after the saving period ends. There is no way you can save the houseplant if it is too late. That is why it is necessary to be on the lookout for visible symptoms and take active steps right away.

How to prevent root rot in fiddle leaf figs?

There are various ways to prevent root rot in Fiddle leaf figs. Firstly, you need to watch the watering schedule. It is essential to ensure that overwatering doesn’t occur. Apart from that, you also need to select the soil mixture that has suitable drainage properties. Besides, the plant must be placed near a window that offers indirect yet bright sunlight.


Root rot is a destructive disease that has the capacity to impact the Fiddle leaf fig negatively. If not treated immediately, the plant can die. That is why house owners get the recommendation to pay close attention to the plant and look out for unusual symptoms. Quick identification of root rot will eventually aid in reviving the plant to its previous health condition.

Have you experienced root rot in your Fiddle leaf fig? What did you do to rescue the plant? Share us your tips and ideas in the comment section below!


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