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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