Why Are My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Cracking?

Last Updated on August 10, 2022 by Stephanie

Despite its reputation for being a bit demanding, even though it is notoriously demanding, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is still among the top adored indoor plants, and this style will not be going away anytime soon.

The stunning leaves of Ficus Lyrata still have enthusiasts who are giddy about the additional challenge the plants pose.

If youve noticed that the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig breaking you should know that this is a call for assistance.

For Fiddle Leaf the fig leaves are cracking due to low humidity or excessive water levels within the soil. These two factors are among the most common reasons for why the leaves of your plant are breaking. Other reasons include insect infestation, nutritional deficiencies or lighting issues or physical damage.

In this article, hopefully youll be able determine the root of your issue and figure out how to provide your plants with the love and tender care they deserve. Lets get started.

Edema

The most common occurrence in broad leafed plants is the condition referred to as edema. It occurs when the plants cells take in excessive amounts of water, and then explode.

On a fig with a fiddle leaf it appears as tiny spots of reddish-brown frequently on the new leaves.

If humidity is low, these spots get dry, they are more likely for cracks to form.

fiddle leaf fig close up with water droplets

Root Rot

Certain fungi, specifically that belong to species Pythium, Fusarium, Phytophthora, or Rhizoctonia feed on the delicate roots of the Fiddle Leaf.

Fungi thrive in moist conditions, and when the root system gets overwhelmed there is no way that the plant can take in the nutrients and water.

This is why people often mistake overwatering for under-watering. The plant will appear as if its dehydrated and deficient in nutrients.

In the absence of proper hydration as well as nutrition FLF leaves will dry out and then crack.

Other Bacterial and Fungal Infections

In addition to water-loving fungi that attack the root, these fungi could also directly attack leaves.

Fungal infections that cause fungal lesions are easily identified by the dark-brown spots which appear nearly black.

They are usually found close to the leaf nodes and near the veins of the leaves. The soil that is wet can also house various bacteria, including those that Fiddle Leafs are susceptible to.

The lesions that are caused by bacteria appear closer to the edges and appear less pronounced in color than fungal infections.

If left untreated The brown spots are likely to dry out and eventually lead to cracks in the leaf on the edges.

Humidity

Humidity is a crucial factor in the overall health of the Fiddle Leaf Figure. It is best to have levels that range from 30-65 percent.

It can be difficult, especially in winter when the heater is turned in use for longer durations. The dry heat can burn the leaves , causing cracks to form. leaves may also curled due to the low humidity..

How to Fix

  • Make sure your plants are away from sources of heat like refrigerators, radiators and exhausts, space heaters and so on.
  • To provide a more hospitable atmosphere for plants, you may make use of a humidifier or pebble tray.
  • It is possible to mist the leaves to keep the leaves clean and fresh.

Overwatering

In the desperate attempt to maintain a high humidity it is important not to make the mistake of underwatering.

Overwatering is the most common cause of death for the Fiddle Leaf. What is it that makes overwatering so harmful?

How to Fix Overwatering Issues

Switch your potting medium

This is a double-edged weapon in the fight against the issue of overwatering. If your plants have undesirable bacteria or fungi, youll be eliminating the fungi and bacteria.

If you mix it correctly and the right mix, you can also begin solving the issue of drainage. Try adding a filler like coco peat or mix of cactus to allow water to flow more quickly across the mix.

Pro tip Use a sterilized media to ensure that youre not introducing harmful organisms or fungi to the mix.

A few people prefer to place pebbles to the bottom of the container prior to making any potting mix so that the water doesnt sit still within the container.

Check Your Drainage

One reason the reason your Fiddle Leafs are overwatered is the container. Certain materials are more permeable than others.

If you notice that the water has accumulated in the bottom of your container, you might require creating larger or more drainage holes, or alter the design of the pot completely.

When you water your FLF be sure to not wet the leaves, and then water the soil directly in order to prevent water accumulating on the foliage.

Make sure you have a regular watering schedule

Water your plants only when you notice that the soil is dry to your top 2 inches. For more information on the correct watering for Fiddle Leafs, you can go to the previous post.

Insects

Apart from fungi and bacteria the Fiddle Leaf Cracking could be caused by an infestation of insects. Insects eat the younger leaves.

The damaged portion of younger leaves turn brown, and then develops into cracked leaves. Mealybugs are cited as being among the most widespread causes.

Mealybugs are often found near the leaf nodes as well as the undersides on the leaves. They are difficult to miss since they appear like tiny cotton puffs.

It is more difficult to identify spider mites. Although mites are tiny however, there is evidence that they are present in the form of webs, which are typically found on leaves that are younger.

Another sign that pests are present could be seen on the underside of leaves too.

If you see tiny, clustered, black dots, it could be an indication of an infection as well.

Other insects that are known to leak the toxins of Ficus Lyrata include scales whiteflies, aphids, as well as scale.

Fortunately, dealing with insects is much easier to deal with than fighting bacteria or fungi because they are simpler to identify and spot.

How to Fix

The Rubdown

Spider mites are easily eliminated by thorough cleaning with water. Make sure to dry the leaves to prevent the growth of fungal and bacterial. Mealybugs tend to be a bit more resolute.

It is necessary to take them off. Be sure to inspect the undersides of the leaf nodes to determine if there is evidence of mealybugs. If you spot an egg, rub it with some ruby alcohol.

Neem oil can also be used to help control the infestation of insects. It is recommended to follow the manufacturers recommendations for dilution when using this.

It is important to realize that even though you may not be able to eradicate the crawlers completely, making sure they are kept out of your garden can help the Fiddle Leaf Fig stand a better chance particularly those with new growth.

Remove affected areas, bearing in mind that you should reduce the amount of foliage to 10-15 percent, otherwise it could cause an injury to the already fragile plant.

Source: University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

Quarantine

It could be beneficial to isolate plants infested with insects. This can help to reduce the risk of spreading.

To be cautious If you do decide to introduce an entirely new plant, you must make sure you quarantine them prior to bringing them in.

The entire life span of a mealybug, for instance is between six and eight weeks.

A period of isolation of 3 weeks is suggested prior to introduction of new plants to the other.

This amount of time is sufficient to establish if any undesirable insects are actually in the area.

Nutritional Deficiency

Its not difficult to keep the Fiddle Leaf Plant happy. It is a fan of low NPK levels and an ratio of 3:1:2. Without the proper nutrition the leaves of your plant could start to break.

As we mentioned earlier the root rot can hinder your plants ability to absorb the nutrients present in soil. Nutrition for plants is a balancing act, and its possible to fertilize too much.

As the salts and minerals accumulate in soil, based on Osmosiss principles, water (along with other water-soluble nutrients) is dragged away from the root.

This results in plants appearing to be malnourished and underwater. The leaves in this situation tend to dry out and break.

How to Fix

Follow a correct fertilization plan using a dilute fertilizer in liquid form, given at minimum, each watering.

Improper Light Can Cause Cracking

Its well-known it is a fact that Fiddle Leafs love light. However, theres an issue with too many good things.

FLF may show leaf scorch if it is left in the sunlight over a long period or for too short. The scorched area appears light brownn and may be susceptible to cracking.

How to Fix

Find a spot that is bright and has filtering light to your plants. FLFs can actually thrive in direct sunlight , but require acclimatization, particularly when you move your plant from indoor to outdoors.

Try a gentle morning sun for about 1-2 hours for several days, and then begin to work to a higher level from there.

Physical Damage

Cracks that appear within Fiddle Leaf Figs are caused by larger predators. Small children and pets may accidently cause damage or mechanical harm to the fiddle leaf since they are in the same area.

In certain situations, you, the avid plant lover could cause harm to your fiddle leaf while shifting it around.

Additionally, if your plant is located in an area in which there is drafts, the wind could cause injury on the leaf.

How to Fix

Make sure you keep your precious Fiddles away from danger Keep your pet safe by separating them from your curious children and pets.

There may be an point where you need to decide whether you want to protect your plants or out, or even fence in your children or pets. In this case, only you will be able to decide which is more suitable.

If youre the source of the injury, the plant could be too large or heavy to be moved by yourself.

If you are in this situation you could ask someone in your family to assist you. You can also put wheels on the bottom on your gardener. Make sure you have an easy path for when you have to move the plant around.

However, once your FLF leaves have been damaged, they are not likely to recover.

The most effective option is create a setting that is safe from damage, in the beginning.

To prevent the figs of your fiddle from breaking keep a low level of watering and ensure that the humidity is at a healthy level.

Make sure you provide adequate nutrition and keep an eye out for any pests, both small and large.

Final Words

If theres something you can learn from this article is that: Fiddle Leafs are just seeking their natural habitat, which is the lowland tropical rainforest in Western Africa.

If youre observant and able to create similar situations in your house, youll be able to have an extremely happy Fiddle Leaf Fig and it will be a show.

Stephanie

Stephanie

Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)