I have a fig tree in a pot in my balcony.

Recently it has lost a couple of leaves and they all display the same features: yellowish color on the front side of the leaf, and tiny small white dots on the reverse.

Some of the leafs in the tree are starting to experience the same symptoms, and I fear it is spreading more and more and that I could eventually kill all the foliage and the fruits.

I had during this summer a severe case of spider mite in another plan in the same balcony. However I haven't seen any spider or web so far. Making some research I'm starting to think I could be some sort of mildew (powdery mildew?) but I couldn't tell on my own.

Here are some pictures you may find useful to diagnose. Note: you may notices some leafs with holes in them, those were caused by a hail storm this late springñ

Fallen sick leaf from fig Reverse of fallen leaf. Notice tiny white dots. Reverse of fallen leaf. Notice tiny white dots. Other leaf in same tree displaying similar symptoms Other leaf in same tree displaying similar symptoms

1 Answer 1


Those white dots are spider mites. There are a lot of them so you will need to apply at least three treatments of soap and water at a rate of 5 ml /liter at five to seven day intervals. This will catch the next generation when they hatch.

Don't put too much soap in the mix or you will burn the leaves with the fatty acid content of the soap. If you have the time it would help if after applying the soap you gave the plant a quick rinse with water to wash the soap off.

As this plant is not too large you could use a rag soaked in soap and water and wash each leaf top and bottom.

  • Is it advisable to remove the more affected leaves from the tree? Or would it be enough to clean them?
    – ariera
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 10:04
  • 1
    @ariera The more leaves you remove the less likely you will get fruit as the plant will have to divert energy to grow more leaves. I suggest cleaning them but not being too surprised if some continue to yellow and drop off.
    – kevinskio
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 11:58
  • Wouldn't it be better to spray with NEEM? If she misses one or two they'll just build up a population quickly. After allowing to dry then adopting a watering technique that washes off the leaves. Spider mites love dryness.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 21:45
  • @stormy sure, if you happen to have neem, and it is not a controlled substance where you live and you don't mind using something with residual activity on a food plant...if soap doesn't work they can come back and ask another question about pest control
    – kevinskio
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 21:57
  • OK I am now remembering SOMEONE (perhaps Bamboo) saying that NEEM was a restricted chemical in the UK. Is that right? Then soapy water (check out types of soap) is the best if not only treatment warranted. If that plant is not too heavy, watering it in the shower periodically works well. If those spotted leaves aren't doing the plant any good with producing food, I can't see where cutting them off would hurt at all. Possibly even help, especially with aeration and energy. Thanks, Kevinsky!
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 22:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.