Despite their small stature, spider mites on a fiddle leaf fig can actually cause serious damage to your plant. What’s even worse is that these sap-sucking insects can quickly spread from one plant to the next.
The good news, however, is that there are several things you can do to treat and help prevent spider mites on fiddle leaf figs.
Can fiddle leaf figs get spider mites?
Fiddle leaf figs are no strangers to spider mites. In fact, the spider mite is one of the most common pests that plague fiddle leaf figs. Thankfully, these annoying creatures are fairly easy to prevent. If, however, you already have spider mites on a fiddle leaf fig,
Spider mites are tiny creatures more closely related to ticks than actual spiders. They feast on the sap from plant cells, piercing the plant with their sharp mouth parts and sucking up all the juices. If left untreated, spider mites can cause the plant to experience leaf drops, stunted growth, and even death.
The good news is that with proper care, your fiddle leaf fig tree may never see even a single spider mite. This is because spider mites rarely attack a healthy plant that is provided with the right care and growing conditions.
What are the signs of spider mites on fiddle leaf figs?
Spider mite damage on your fiddle leaf fig is usually easy to spot. One of the first signs of a spider mite infestation is small dots or holes on the foliage of the plant. This is from the pest piercing the leaves with their mouth part to suck up the juices.
As one slight benefit in this scenario, at least spider mites don’t quietly attack fiddle leaf figs. Instead, they leave various signs and symptoms, like brown spots on your fiddle leaf fig, that alert you that something is wrong with your plant. Knowing these signs will help you quickly identify the problem, allowing you to deal with the issue in a timely manner.
Another common sign of spider mites on a fiddle leaf fig are white webs on the surface of the plant. These webs are delicate and can appear on the underside of the leaves, as well as at their corners.
How do I get rid of spider mites on my fiddle leaf fig?
While spider mites can be potentially harmful to plants, they are rather easy to get rid of. In fact, there are several different ways of treating spider mites on a fiddle leaf fig. If one method of control doesn’t work, consider trying a different treatment option.
1. Blast the fiddle leaf fig tree with water
While it sounds too good to be true, you can actually get rid of spider mites by simply blasting them off the fiddle leaf fig with a strong stream of water. Make sure to pay attention to the underside of the fiddle leaf fig leaves when spraying the plant with water.
2. Spray the plant with neem oil
Neem oil is considered a safe and natural pesticide often used to control a wide array of plant pests, including spider mites. It is made from the seeds of the neem tree. Neem oil doesn’t just kill various insects, it is also an effective fungicide that can control a wide array of fungal problems on plants.
I prefer PetraTools Pure Neem Oil (get the up to date price here).
Neem oil can be applied by either spraying the plant with the pesticide or by dampening a microfiber towel with the mixture and giving the fiddle leaf fig a good wipe down. The neem oil will need to be applied every 7 days to control the spider mites.
3. Apply horticultural oil to the fiddle leaf fig
Horticultural oil is another option for controlling spider mites on a fiddle leaf fig. These insectides are commercially made from petroleum products that are highly refined. They are most effective against soft bodied plant pests, such as spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale.
Horticultural oil is sprayed on the leaves of the affected plant, and it controls spider mites by suffocating the pests. While horticultural oil isn’t considered toxic to humans or pets, it can harm fish and other wildlife. If you want a pesticide that is more natural and safer, consider neem oil or insecticidal soap.
4. Use insecticidal soap to get rid of spider mites
Insecticidal soap is one of the most commonly used pesticides to control a wide array of soft bodied pests. It can be purchased commercially or you can make your own. Once applied to the fiddle leaf fig, the insecticidal soap will cover and suffocate the spider mites.
Our top pick is Natria Organic Insecticidal Soap (check the latest price here).
To make your own insecticidal soap, mix 1 tablespoon of gentle dish soap (without bleach) or castile soap with 1 quart of water. Make sure the two ingredients are well mixed and then spray the solution onto the fiddle leaf fig. Make sure to liberally apply the mixture to the underside of the leaves.
Can fiddle leaf figs recover from spider mites?
While it can be disheartening to find spider mite damage on your fiddle leaf fig, it doesn’t mean the plant is a lost cause. In most cases, the spider mite damage on your fiddle leaf fig isn’t permanent and the plant will typically make a full recovery.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t take a spider mite infestation seriously or let the pests keep living it up on your fiddle leaf fig. The longer the spider mites are allowed to go on feasting on your fiddle leaf fig, the less likely the plant will be able to recover from the damage.
Can spider mites kill fiddle leaf figs?
While it is possible for spider mites to kill a fiddle leaf fig, most gardeners can get the pests under control before the plant’s demise. With that said, however, the longer you allow the infestation to continue, the more likely the fiddle leaf fig will succumb to the spider mite damage.
To help prevent spider mites from killing your fiddle leaf fig, you will need to act quickly. Spring into action the moment you notice the insects on your plant. You will also need to check your other houseplants to ensure they are not also infested with spider mites.
All plants that have a spider mite infestation will need to be kept separately from your other houseplants to help prevent the pests from spreading.
Can I spray neem oil on my fiddle leaf fig?
Neem oil is considered a safe alternative to chemically-filled pesticides, and can effectively control spider mites on fiddle leaf figs. Neem oil is available for purchase at various merchants both online and off. This non-toxic pesticide is safe to use on indoor plants and won’t harm humans or pets.
How do you apply neem oil to a fiddle leaf fig?
Every brand of neem oil has its own set of specific directions designed for their product. For best results, you should follow the application instructions found on the bottle of neem oil you are using, although pre-mixed or ready to apply neem oil can usually be sprayed directly on the fiddle leaf fig without any preparations.
Concentrated neem oil, however, will need to be mixed with water and maybe even some dish soap before it can be applied.
No matter which type you have, however, the fiddle leaf fig will need to be sprayed liberally with the solution. In most cases, you will have to reapply the neem oil every 7 days until the spider mites are gone.
Can I use insecticidal soap on fiddle leaf fig?
Insecticidal soap is a good option for controlling spider mites on a fiddle leaf fig. This insecticide is non-toxic and safe for use in your home. Insecticidal soap can be purchased or you can make your own by mixing gentle dish soap, such as Dawn, with water.
Whether you purchase insecticidal soap or made your own, it will need to be sprayed directly on the foliage and stems of the fiddle leaf fig. Make sure you apply the solution liberally, completely covering the plant. Reapply the insecticidal soap every 7 days to ensure the spider mites are taken care of.
How to prevent spider mites on fiddle leaf figs
There is a lot of truth in the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true when it comes to spider mites on fiddle leaf figs. The best defense against spider mites on a fiddle leaf fig is to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
1. Keep the fiddle leaf fig healthy
A healthy fiddle leaf fig is not desirable for spider mites. In fact, spider mites often attack plants that are stressed, over watered, under watered, or just not doing very well. One of the best ways to prevent any pest from attacking your plant is to ensure it is healthy and thriving.
You may also be interested in: How Fast Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Grow?
2. Water regularly, but not too much
In terms of how often to water your fiddle leaf fig, watering the plant regularly, especially during periods of drought, will go a long way to preventing a spider mite infestation. Spider mites are not too fond of moist areas, so a well watered plant keeps them at bay.
With that said, however, you don’t want to over water the fiddle leaf fig. Doing so will increase the chance of other problems, such as fungal diseases and rot.
You can combat this by only watering the fiddle leaf fig when the top inch of soil starts to feel dry. Furthermore, make sure the pot the plant is growing in has drainage holes at the bottom and that the growing medium is well-draining.
3. Tidy up around the fiddle leaf fig
Spider mites, and other pests, are attracted to fallen plant debris. This plant matter provides the perfect breeding and living environment for them. Making sure to regularly remove any fallen leaves and stems will go a long way to keeping spider mites, as well as other pests, at bay.
4. Keep an eye on the plant
While not exactly a preventive measure, making sure to regularly inspect your fiddle leaf fig for pests or problems is a great way to keep any major damage from occurring. If you do notice any issues with the plant, acting in a timely manner could mean the difference between the fiddle leaf fig making a full recovery and the plant succumbing to its injuries.