Spider mites are one of the common pest problems that can occur with Fiddle Leaf Figs. Because spider mites can reproduce quickly and spread easily, a small outbreak can quickly become a big issue!
But fear not – with a few simple steps you can have your Fiddle Leaf healthy again. If you’re struggling with these pests, or wondering if your Fiddle has a case of them, then read on for how to identify & treat spider mites on a Fiddle Leaf Fig!
Identifying Spider Mite Damage
Spider mites feed on the chlorophyll found in leaves, which is the green pigment. So spider mite damage will often show on leaves as a whiteish tinge or sometimes even slightly brown tinges. Sometimes you may not notice it until an infestation has broken out!
See the photo below for an example of the whitish tinge that spider mites leave.
Note: If your Fiddle Leaf has other damage, see this post on identifying brown spots for help.
How to Identify Spider Mites
Spider Mites are teeny tiny, which can make them quite difficult to notice until there’s thousands. You may also actually notice their eggs before you see the mites themselves too. Keep in mind that they can show up on the top or underside of leaves, as well as on the plant stem. So here’s a few signs to look out for:
Spider Mite Eggs
The eggs show as tiny white dots. Clusters of them may appear on the leaves, often within the dips of leaf veins. You may also notice they sit within microscopic webs.
Can you see the tiny cluster of white dots (eggs) in the photo below?
While there’s a few varieties of spider mites, the type I’ve often found on my Fiddle Leafs are red-brown in colour. You may see them moving on the leaves, although they are less than 1mm in size. You can also identify them by running your hand or a piece of paper towel over a leaf. If there’s red-brown smudges on the paper towel, that’s them!
Spider Mite Webs
Because the mites are tiny, the webs are tiny too. Keep an eye out for them where the leaves meet the stem, or even within the slight dips where veins run along leaves.
How to Treat Spider Mites on a Fiddle Leaf Fig
With at least three spider mite outbreaks under my belt, I now have a pretty clear process on how to treat them! I’ve learned its important to be detailed with the process, as well as stick to the follow-up timeframes so they don’t get out of hand again.
Take your plant collection outdoors and hose them down. If you can’t take them outside, consider doing this in the shower.
Be sure to hose down each leaf, back and front, and work your way down the plant from top to bottom.
This will help to physically remove as many mites and eggs as possible.
Once the plants have dripped dry a little, make up a solution in a spray bottle of Neem Oil and water. Neem oil is an eco friendly product that is often used for pest control with plants. You should only need a couple of mLs in a 500mL spray bottle, but refer to the packaging for exact measurements.
Spray the plants with the solution from top to bottom, front and back of leaves. Make sure you spray each leaf until it is saturated and dripping. This can be a little tedious, but it’s best to make sure you do it properly!
Leave the plants to drip dry and don’t wipe off the solution. After this you can bring your plants back inside again.
Spider mites reproduce quickly, so 4-5 days after the first treatment, you’ll want to repeat the Neem Oil spray process. This will ensure that any mites or eggs that got missed the first time and have now hatched, will be treated with the second solution.
To be safe, you may want to repeat the treatment a third time after another 4-5 days. Or, just keep an eye on your plants if you think you got to the outbreak in time.
General Tips for Treating Spider Mites
If you’ve found spider mites on a Fiddle Leaf Fig, don’t stress! Quickly and diligently treating your plants should rid your collection of the problem.
And even if you think you’ve got it under control, make sure you still do at least one follow up treatment! Because the mites are so small, its always possible that a handful can get missed, reproduce quickly and the problem starts all over again.
I also suspect that the mites can get immune to your treatment solution. So if you don’t stick to the follow-up timeframes, and end up having to treat them again and again, the solution may start to not work so well! Be diligent with the process the first time for best results.
I also treat all the plants nearby (or my whole collection) at the same time. This is because spider mites spread easily. Treating just the one main plant often can leave other mites to reproduce and spread throughout your collection.
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I have found a white web on my fl. And white looking bugs , what would they be?
I just discovered spider mites on my FLF this morning! 🙁 Seriously wanted to cry as I had just discovered them on my rubber tree a few days ago. They were at least 10 feet away from each other so I don’t think one infected the other. I actually think the rubber tree has had them since I bought it in November. Anyways! I have been treating my rubber tree daily with a dish soap/water mixture and keeping in a bag to up humidity. Obviously, my FLF is much larger so I can’t do the bag trick with it. I immediately took her upstairs to the shower (I’m in Illinois and it’s currently 15 degrees so outside is not an option) and sprayed her down with a good stream of water, underside and top sides of all leaves. Let her drip dry and then sprayed neem oil on all leaves on each side and the stem VERY liberally. My question is….how long do I need to do this for? Some say for 4-6 weeks? Some say every 4-5 days until gone? How do you know when they’re really gone? And also, my nearest plant to the FLF was about 3 feet away. It’s a monstera. I’ve inspected it closely, no indication of webbing or movement on it, nor my jade that is below it on the plant stand. Still spray with neem oil to be cautious? If I spray them, do I need to do it more than once? Also, a friend told me to get the bonide all seasons horticulture spray oil to use instead of my neem going forward. Will that be a better treatment than just plain neem? I used neem on a mealy bug issues a few months ago and it didn’t help at all so I’m skeptical! Thank you so much for your help!! I want to save her, but I want to make sure I do it the right way and as quickly as I can!
Hey Kelsey, hopefully you got some good tips from this article on treating the mites! I’d generally recommend at least 3 treatments but it doesn’t hurt to continue them as consistency is key in getting rid of mites. It’s a good idea to treat all plants, as mites do spread quite easily (they can carry on breezes and even transfer via clothing). It is tricky to know when they are all gone as they are so small, which is why consistent & repetitive treatments are often recommended. Neem oil & the horticultural oil you mentioned both work in the same way and are organic, so using one over the other is more personal preference! Hope that helps.
Thanks so much! I went with the horticultural spray over neem because it doesn’t smell really at all and the neem is pretty potent. I just did treatment #2 today and am feeling more hopeful about eradicating these suckers! 🙂 I’ve been showering her off every other day as well. Any tips on how to keep water out of the pot? I tried a garbage bag which was a pretty epic fail. Ha! I think I will continue treatments until 2/13 which will be 6 treatments total. Thanks again! Awesome blog!
My fiddle leaf fig has dropped almost half its leaves and the while the dropping is slowed the remaining leaves are turning brown. The brown spots are throughout the leaves and are crunchy to the touch. I’m watering it about once a week but that doesn’t seem to be helping. Is there anything else I can do?
Brown spots can be caused for a number of different reasons, so this post on identifying brown spots might help! It’s always best to water when the top inch or so of soil feels dry rather than on a schedule, as there’s a lot of different factors that go into how regularly they need watering! If you are unsure, a water meter can be helpful too. All the best!
My fiddle fig leaf plant had a white spot on it when I got it from the store. Should I repot my plant after treating for spider mites? Will that help them stay away?
Hi Remy, no need to repot! Repotting is only beneficial if the plant is extremely root bound and ready to go up a pot size with fresh soil. More info in this post about soil & repotting if you need!
HI Emily. MY FL leaves are dropping one by one now and looks like sandy and the ones that fell looks like its burns under sun. The leaves are fading its colour before dropping. All leaves now looks like its covered with dust…..and this problem started from top leaves to bottom
thanks for this post, you saved my plant! Can I ask you if the damaged leaves will recover the color and shine?
Unfortunately they won’t! Plant’s cant ‘recover’ from damage as they aren’t regenerative.
Thanks for sharing these tips. This might be a dumb question but should I be concerned of overwatering the plant when spraying it down with a hose.
Not at all! Overwatering refers to how frequently the plant gets watered, rather than how much water the plant gets when it is watered. As long as the pot has drainage holes then the soil remaining wet shouldn’t be an issue.
Hey ! Can mites be in the soil? I noticed some of my leaves are effected but I also see some white speckels in the soil
Hi! Mites live on the plant itself as they feed off the leaves. If you’re noticing something in the soil it could be something added to the soil or possibly another type of pest/egg. Keep an eye on it to see if it changes or if its just part of the soil 🙂
Hello! One of my new leaves has really bad brown spots. Can I keep it or is it better to cut it off? If so how?
Hey Jenny! Here’s a post on brown spots that might help. Generally its best to prune leaves off close to the stem if they are over 50% damaged. All the best!
Thank you for continually educating us all! How close do plants have to be for spider mites or mealy bugs to spread from one plant to another?
Spider mites are so small that they can easily travel and spread to other plants via brushing up on clothing or breezes/ wafts of air. If you’re dealing with them on one plant its best to isolate the plant or ideally treat all indoor plants! Similar, its always best to check all plants if you find mealy bugs although I don’t find they spread as easily as spider mites.
I just bought a Fiddle Leaf fig tree from Lowe’s and automatically found two red mites already. It was in the house overnight, so I am wondering if these bugs infest homes or usually stick to the plants? Thank you!
Hey Felicia – spider mites generally stick to plants but they do spread easily, so if you have other indoor plants it may be worth checking or treating them too!