7 Ways To Prevent Spider Mites on Fiddle Leaf Figs

Looking to prevent your fiddle leaf fig from getting spider mites? There are a number of different ways you can prevent these annoying houseplant pests. In this article, gardening expert and houseplant enthusiast Madison Moulton examines how to prevent spider mites in 7 different ways.

spider mites fiddle leaf figs

Fiddle Leaf Figs are known for their impressive, upright leaves in the shape of fiddles. When properly cared for, these leaves are glossy and lush. But, when pesky spider mites are around, the previously glorious leaves may turn spotty and deformed, surrounded by webbing that is a classic sign of these bugs.

Spider mites are the thorn in the side of just about any houseplant owner. They are one of the most common household pests that plague many indoor plants, including the Fiddle Leaf Fig. So how do you prevent them from attacking your plant?

Luckily, there are ways to reduce the risk of spider mite infestation in your Fiddle Leaf Fig greatly. Follow these preventative tips to keep your plants free of bug problems year-round. Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in!

Signs Of Spider Mite Infestation

Fidlle Leaf Fig With brown spots
Signs of a spider mite infestation are the appearance of small yellow or brown spots on leaves and cobwebs between the stems and leaves.

Spider mites are one of the easiest pests to spot on houseplants. That’s not because of their size (they’re incredibly difficult to see unless you’re really looking) but rather because of the tell-tale signs they leave behind.

The first sign to look out for is small yellow or brown rounded spots on the foliage. These areas of damage are where the pests settle in and begin feeding on the plant. The leaves may also become deformed due to this damage. In severe cases, leaf edges may turn brown and the leaves can also drop off the plant completely.

By far the easiest sign to spot that truly distinguishes spider mites from any other pest problem is the webbing they leave behind. Check between stems and leaves and around leaf edges for very thin, delicate webs these bugs leave behind. When left uncontrolled, they can even wrap entire leaves, although this is very unlikely due to the size of their foliage.

7 Ways To Prevent Spider Mites on Fiddle Leaf Figs

Spider mites are one of the most common problems that you’ll see on this popular houseplant. But rather than waiting for any of these signs before you take action against spider mites, it’s far better to prevent them from attacking your plant in the first place. Follow these 7 tips to stop spider mites on these and any other houseplants in your home.

Inspect Your Plants Before You Bring Them Home

man holding houseplant in white pot
Before buying a figs, inspect the plant well for signs of spider mite infestation.

The first thing you can do to stop spider mites starts before you even purchase your Fiddle Leaf Fig. Don’t make the novice mistake of grabbing the first plant you see and taking it to the counter, or simply choosing the largest one (a practice I’m sure we are all guilty of). Inspect the plant thoroughly first.

Look closely underneath leaves and between stems for any signs of infestation. While nurseries and stores take steps to stop pests and diseases from hitching a ride on plants, this is where most issues start and spread incredibly quickly.

If you spot any damage or webbing that could potentially be left by spider mites, avoid bringing that plant home. Not only will you need to deal with the infestation immediately, but you risk spreading it to any other plants in your home too, making eradication much more difficult.

Check Neighboring Plants and Furniture

various house plants
Check your other houseplants for potential infestation to avoid potential spread.

The same practice should also be applied when you bring a Fiddle Leaf Fig home for the first time. The danger may not lie in the nursery, but in your home already. If there are any spider mites on nearby houseplants, it won’t take long for them to spread to your new plant without you knowing.

Check neighboring plants for signs of infestation before placing your new addition. If you spot anything troubling, isolate that plant and don’t place your Fiddle Leaf Fig until all spider mites are completely gone. They can also hide in the crevices of furniture so clean any surfaces thoroughly to prevent reinfestation.

Keep The Soil Clean

ficus lyrata in pot
Keep the soil clean, regularly remove fallen leaves and debris accumulated at the base of the soil.

Spider mites, and most other houseplant pests, look for vulnerable areas that are easy to target – spreading from there to the healthy parts of the plant. Because these plants are fussy and prone to dropping leaves, this damaged foliage left on the topsoil forms the perfect hideout for spider mites.

Make it a habit to remove debris from around the base of the soil regularly. Don’t let fallen leaves remain in the pot to break down. Take them out as soon as you spot them. Remove any other plant debris at the same time and refresh the top layer of soil when it begins to break down.

Increase Humidity

woman spraying water on tall houseplant
These common pests can be prevented by providing a moisture level of around 60%.

Spider mites are not fans of moisture. They prefer drier conditions which allow them to move around easily and spread around your plant and your home. Luckily, these conditions are the opposite of what this plant enjoys.

By giving these plants the right environment, you can go a long way to preventing any spider mite problems from occurring.

Fiddle Leaf Figs come from tropical rainforests where humidity is often well above 75%. Keep humidity as high as you can, preferably around 60% to both ensure your plant is happy and to deter any pests from settling in.

To raise the humidity, there are a few things you can do. Start by grouping several plants together in one space. Place your Fiddle Leaf on a pebble tray filled with water, or install a humidifier to recreate the conditions most houseplants appreciate.

Water Often

Ficus lyrata in water drops
Since spider mites hate water, water both the base of the plant and the leaves.

Spider mites hate water in the air and the same goes for water in the soil. A well-watered Fiddle Leaf is a great deterrent as it makes it difficult for them to settle and also increases humidity around the plant as the water evaporates.

Don’t leave the soil of your plant to dry out completely before watering again. This not only provides perfect conditions for spider mites but also isn’t great for the health of your Fiddle Leaf. Water again as soon as the top layer of soil dries out, testing the soil with your finger every couple of days.

Wipe Down The Leaves

woman wiping down plant leaves
Dust your fig leaves regularly, as the dust is a great habitat for pests.

This plant’s large foliage is known to quickly attract dust, turning the glossy green leaves grey and unsightly. There are a number of issues with this beyond aesthetics, including attracting spider mites.

Dusty leaves provide the perfect surface for these pests to settle in and lay their eggs, spreading the infestation around your home. Dusty leaves also impact photosynthesis, ultimately slowing growth.

To prevent all these problems, wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth around once a month. If your house is known to accumulate dust quickly, once a week is preferred.

Keep Your Plants Healthy

Healthy tree shaped houseplant in a gray pot
Healthy Fiddle Leaf figs are more resistant to pests.

The best prevention method is to simply give your Fiddle Leaf the best care possible. Vulnerable houseplants are more likely to attract pest problems, while healthy plants are more resilient and able to handle pests well.

Follow our complete care guide, replicating their native habitats as best you can. This will keep spider mites away, or if they do manage to sneak through, will make removal far simpler.

How To Remove Spider Mites

Spider mites on leaves
You can get rid of spider mites by washing the plant in the shower and applying horticultural oil.

Even with the best prevention methods, you are not guaranteed protection against spider mite infestation. If you’ve followed all the tips above and are still unlucky enough to deal with these pesky pests, there are a few steps you can take to get rid of them for good.

  • Place the infected plant in the bath or shower and rinse the leaves.
  • This will knock off as many bugs as you can using only water.
  • Don’t forget to rinse under the leaves and between stems.
  • Apply horticultural oil like neem oil to the leaves.
  • You can also try recipes for homemade insecticidal soap.
  • Follow up with repeat applications until signs of spider mites have resolved.
  • Keep a close eye on the plant for the next few weeks as problems may recur.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to deal with pest problems on their houseplants, especially when it comes to the precious Fiddle Leaf Fig. Prevention is by far the best action to take, protecting your plants from risk as much as possible. Luckily, if any bugs do settle in, there are ways to tackle them and bring your plants back to good health.

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