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I have a new Ficus lyrata I just bought and I think I was over-watering it for awhile. I've stopped but a bunch of the leaves have brown spots on them. Almost all of them do, actually. Maybe one or two have no spots. Advice on the internet is to trim any leaves with brown spots but I'm afraid that would kill the plant. Do I just need to wait it out until the plant recovers a bit and starts to put out new growth?

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So the spots in the leaf are a virus/fungus/bacteria which started in the wet soil and is moving up the plant. Older leaves are usually attacked first.

You can leave the spotted leaves on as long as you like. They may not look nice but they will feed the plant and help promote new growth. Ficus lyrata responds well to pruning and you may consider this if you remove all the old growth as your plant will look a bit leggy.

I recommend:

  • move the plant to higher light
  • water less
  • remove the spotted leaves after new growth has opened up
  • consider cutting back one third of the stems every few months until the plant has a nice bushy habit
  • I just got a moisture meter to make sure that I don't water it until the soil has dried out (it's hard to tell just by the surface of the soil). Hopefully that will help. I don't mind leaving the spotted leaves on so long as it's okay to do so, so thanks for that advice. My plant is currently shaped as a tree with two stems coming off the central stalk. Are you suggesting that to make it bushier I can trim those stems back? – jflournoy Jul 20 at 21:37
  • @jflournoy yes, if it has good light you can always cut it back – kevinsky Jul 21 at 11:02

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