Ultimate Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Guide: Grow with Love
This post is a comprehensive guide for fiddle leaf fig care. Learn about the best soil for your fiddle leaf fig, how to water a fiddle leaf fig, the growth rate of your plant, how to prune and propagate your plant, and what happens when you have fiddle leaf fig root rot or a fiddle leaf fig brown spot. With proper care and love, your fiddle leaf fig will thrive & bless your home with its glory!
Read to the end for a Free Visual Guide!
The fiddle leaf fig has been a trending plant on social media for many years now. It is hard to deny the sheer beauty of the fiddle leaf fig or Ficus lyrata plant. With gorgeous oversized raindrop shaped leaves, the fiddle leaf plant knows how to make a statement!
However, as gorgeous as these plants are, fiddle leaf fig care is far from easy.
I personally believe that the payoff of taking care of a fiddle leaf fig is worth it. When properly cared for, the fiddle leaf fig can grow to an exceptional height. For a small investment, you can bring a lot of natural life to your home!
The fiddle leaf fig has stunning green leaves that are highly effective in purifying the air! This plant is also great at naturally helping to control household humidity!
So if you are looking for a plant that is both gorgeous and practical, then the ficus lyrata is for you! However, if you’d rather grow something beautiful and easy, then check out our Easy to Grow & Easy to Love article instead!
Pre-Work: Best Home & Soil for Fiddle Leaf Fig
As mentioned earlier, the fiddle leaf fig is quite a picky plant. This tropical plant does not like soil that is too wet, or soil that is too dry. Just like goldilocks and the three bears, the fiddle leaf fig is looking for soil that is “just right.”
Select the Perfect Pot: Shape, Size, and Drainage
The first step you want to do is to make sure that the pot you are using for your plant has proper drainage. In other words, you want:
- A pot that is roughly 1 to 2 inches wider than the pot the plant came in (if you are happy with the pot you already have, then skip this step!). While fiddle leaf figs grow fast, they do not like their pots to be over-sized. If you place a small plant into a large pot, then it will expend a lot of its energy developing a rooting system which may cause it to die.
- Ensure that the pot that you have has a drainage hole at the bottom. If you are worried about water draining through the pot and onto your furniture, then you should also invest in a plant saucer.
Add the Perfect Soil Mix: Ingredients for Growth
Your plant has roots that need to breathe. A plant’s roots absorb water, but also exchanges air with the atmosphere. Therefore, a pot with a drainage hole will help your roots breathe!
After you have the perfect pot for your plant, you can start filling it with soil. Since the fiddle leaf fig is a tropical plant, you will want well draining soil. The easiest option is to purchase Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil for your pot. However, if you want to DIY this soil and save some money, then try out this mix:
- ⅓ Organic material with ⅔ Minerals
- Organic Materials include– Pine Bark, Compost, Potting Soil, Coconut Coir
- Mineral Materials Include — Perlite, Coarse Sand, Gravel, and Volcanic Rock
After you have perfected your spoil ratio, make sure you mix everything together before adding it to your pot!
For example, you might get a bucket that you fill with one part potting soil, one part perlite, and one part coarse soil. However, after you fill your bucket, mix everything together before adding it to your pot.
The Fiddle Leaf Plant Resource also shares another mix that goes like this:
- 1 part gardening soil or premium soil
- 1 part compost
- 2 parts bark or mulch (unprocessed or dyed)
- 1/2 part active charcoal (horticulturist type)
Essentially, bark chips and mulch help with water movement, which then supports drainage. Whereas horticultural charcoal is an excellent antibacterial, which can help your plant stay healthy.
After you have made or purchased the soil that you need, you would fill your planter with a 3rd of the new soil. Then, add the root ball of your plant into the pot, and fill the rest of the planter with the remaining soil. You will want to make sure your plant’s root ball is completely covered. Usually there is around an inch worth of soil on top of the pot, which will go down after your first watering!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Watering
After you have added your plant to its new pot, it is now time to water. It is very important to water your plant right after it has been repotted. Watering after repotting allows your plants roots to spread and for all the minerals and materials to mix together. The water should soak all the way through the pot. It is completely normal for water to exit the drainage hole and fill the plant saucer!
To learn how to best water your fiddle leaf fig, you will need to learn a little about where it is normally found!
The fiddle leaf fig is a rainforest plant found in western and central Africa. As a rainforest plant, the fiddle leaf fig is used to having a damp and moist soil. Rainforests are notorious for their humidity, lots of rain, and then short periods of dry spells.
Therefore, when it comes to fiddle leaf fig watering, it is best to keep your soil moist, and allow for short drying periods before watering again.
To do this, try the 2-inch rule or use a soil moisture meter. The 2-inch rule is quite simple– put your finger two inches into your pot, if your finger is dry then your plant needs watering. However, if your finger has dirt attaching to it, and you can feel some moisture, then your plant does not need to be watered.
If you don’t want to use your fingers or other household tools to check your plants dampness levels, then you should use a moisture meter instead.
Fiddle leaf fig watering ratios are dependent on the size of your pot. However, you can determine how much to water your plant based on its size as well. We recommend these ratios:
- 2 cups of water for any plant that is 2 feet or less
- 3 cups of water for any plant that is between 3-6 feet
- 4 cups of water for any plant that is 6 feet or taller
You should not water your plant more than once a week. After a nice soaking of your plant, follow the 2-inch rule and your fiddle leaf fig will be well watered!
Important: After repotting your plant and watering it, do not fertilize for at least one month. Your plant may experience shock from being repotted, and will need some time to acclimate to its new home!
Did I Over Water or Under Water my Fiddle Leaf Fig?
If you follow the 2-inch rule above, and water based on the size of your plant, your fiddle leaf fig should be happy and healthy. However, fiddle leaf fig watering is complex as the plant craves perfection. Thankfully, your plant will tell you if you over watered or under watered. Follow these helpful tricks to see if your plant needs less or more water!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth Rate
Proflowers states that:
“Fiddle leaf figs can grow a couple feet every year if given the proper care. These popular houseplants can climb up to 6 feet or more in your home. Their green and shiny leaves, coupled with their unique shape make this plant your go-to choice for entertaining areas”
Your fiddle leaf fig growth rate is dependent on proper care and love. However, the fiddle leaf fig is known to be a fast growing plant. Keep your plant away from drafts and try not to move your plant around too much. With a consistent environment and watering cycle, your plant can grow quite fast.
A lot of nurseries will sell giant fiddle leaf figs for an absorbent amount of money. However, I would recommend buying a smaller plant and growing it on your own. You can easily turn a $20 plant into a $100 plant in a little over a year. It is also a good idea to rotate your fiddle leaf fig every month, so that all the leaves get ample sunlight.
Fiddle leaf fig care expert tip: Your fiddle leaf fig leaves will collect dirt over time. Every few months, get a damp room temperature paper towel and wipe down your plants leaves. By keeping the leaves dust free your plant will be able to photosynthesis better, and will grow faster and stronger!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning
Have you been struggling with fiddle leaf fig care? Do you have a plant that is lopsided or has unattractive leaves or a strange shape? Perhaps you didn’t rotate your plant for optimal sunlight, or maybe you over watered or under watered your plant. Don’t worry, you can save your plant with fiddle leaf fig pruning!
You will need:
- Clean Shears (No not use dull scissors!)
- A Damp Paper Towel or Towel
- A Drop Cloth
To start your fiddle leaf fig pruning, you need to have clean tools and an open work area. The leaves and stems of a fiddle leaf fig can be sticky/sappy, and could damage your floors. When your area is ready, you can cut your plant at an angle between any two nodes. It is also ideal to cut roughly half an inch away from any leaf or trunk. Make sure your cut is angled, remember to wipe the area you cut with a damp towel. Proper pruning will ensure that your plant does not get sick or develop complications from your “cleaning up.”
Reasons for Pruning:
There are many reasons why people prune their plants. Here are the top three reasons for fiddle leaf fig pruning:
- Airflow: If your plant is developing many leaves, you might start to notice overcrowding. Fiddle leaf fig care becomes challenging when there is overcrowding due to restricted air flow. Your plant likes having access to sunlight and air, and overcrowding can prevent that. Therefore, pruning to increase airflow is always a good idea!
- Energy Conservation: If you start seeing the leaves on your fiddle leaf fig developing spots, then your plant might be sick! An unwell fiddle leaf fig is exerting a lot of energy repairing itself, while navigating a variety of issues. Pruning leaves that have browning or damage can not only improve the look of the plant, but also the health! When your plant is spending more energy on its roots and leaves instead of “healing” instead, you are more likely to see your plant thrive!
- Ideal Look: Many people want their plants to look a certain way. For example, some individuals love when fiddle leaf figs look more like trees. Therefore, you may prune older leaves (located at the base of the pot) and create a long stem, with leaves at the top. Depending on your style/look, you can prune your plant to your liking!
Fiddle leaf fig care requires proper fiddle leaf fig pruning! However, there are some very important things you need to remember! First, NEVER cut/prune more than 10% of your plant in one sitting. If you over prune your plant, then it will go into shock, and that could lead to many complications. The optimal time to prune is in Spring/Summer, whereas in the Winter your plant can be in resting, and once again– experience shock– if pruned.
Light/Moderate fiddle leaf fig pruning is completely acceptable! However, please make sure you follow the guidance above for the most success!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Propagation
Fiddle leaf fig propagation is a timely process. However, if you are patient, you can have a lot of success. Here is a five-step process for successful propagation.
- Prep: Get a small pot and fill it with soil, using the methods above! Another option is to get a glass jar that you fill halfway with water.
- Cut: Use a clean sharp blade and trim a leaf close to the stem.
- Plant & Cover: Plant the base of your leaf into the pot. Then, use a plastic bag to cover the plant, while tucking in the remainder of the bag into the sides of the pot. Make sure that the plastic bag does not touch the leaves of the plant. You can use a twig, chop stick, or gardening stake to hold the bag up.
- Sun: Move the plant to a sunny window.
- Re-Pot: After 6-8 weeks you will start seeing roots forming. When you do, re-pot the leaf into a new pot & congrats– you just completed a fiddle leaf fig propagation!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Common Problems
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Problem: Your fiddle leaf fig plant will thrive with properly draining soil. Over watered plants, or poorly draining soil is a sure way to create a fiddle leaf fig root problem. Root rot is the most common issue for an overwatered plant. The best way to prevent root rot is by letting your soil dry out before re-watering. If you are seeing leaves browning and dropping off, then you should cut back on watering. Also make sure that your pot has a drainage hole, as a fiddle leaf fig root problem can easily kill the plant!
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spot: If you are seeing brown spots forming on your fiddle leaf fig then you might have root rot or a bacterial infection! If you are seeing leaves yellow and then develop brown spots, then it is most likely a bacterial infection. Both root rot and a bacterial infection can create a fiddle leaf fig brown spot to form. You are also most likely to see leaves start to fall.
To be completely honest, if your plant has brown spots forming or has root rot, there is a very high chance that your plant can not be saved However, if you are like me and will do anything to save your plant then try these steps:
- Remove the plant from your pot and clear off dirt from the roots.
- Wash the roots and cut off any damaged roots– be careful and gentle with this!
- Get a new pot of organic soil mixture (see above for the perfect mix), and repot your fiddle leaf fig.
- Lightly water the plant in its new soil, and place in a sunny location.
Note: Your plant may die due to the additional shock of repotting while being sick. However, there is also a chance that the repotting and new soil will allow your plant to heal! If you have a fiddle leaf fig that you absolutely adore– then my advice is to not give up! With some love and care, your plant will be happy and healthy and will thank you for the effort!