Perhaps one of the most desired house plants out there, the fiddle leaf fig is often a misunderstood member of the plant family.
A lot of beginner plant parents are too nervous to buy one of these superb plants, simply because they’re not sure that they are qualified to take care of it.
It’s not an easy plant to keep alive, and it definitely has a list of demands when entering your home. But once you fall into a routine and figure out the right amount of water and sunlight, as well as the exact temperature your plant would like, the gorgeous greenery is well worth the trouble.
This in-depth, comprehensive guide will teach you exactly how to care for a fiddle leaf fig and keep it alive and well for years. This is your ultimate fiddle leaf fig care guide.
So, if you have a fiddle leaf plant that isn’t looking too, happy, or if you’re wanting to get one but have been too nervous, I’m here to help.
Is A Fiddle Leaf Fig Hard To Care For?
It’s no secret that while fiddle leaf’s look amazing in our homes, they also take some effort when trying to keep them alive. The thing is, they know what they want. And if they don’t get it, they let you know that they’re unhappy.
For instance, if you suddenly move your fig from your bedroom window to the lounge, you’ll notice it looks a little sad. They don’t like to be moved once they’ve grown comfortable in a spot. You could call them creatures of habit.
They also have very specific instructions on how much water, light, and humidity they can handle. Any more or less, and you’ll have a sulking plant on your hands.
So, yes fiddle leaf figs can be hard to care for. But once you’ve figured out what your plant likes, and are able to read its signs of distress, it could be quite a beautiful relationship.
Once you figure out the right light conditions, humidity level, and watering schedule, you’ll realise that the Ficus Lyrata is one of the best plants to have in your home.
How To Care For Fiddle Leaf Fig In Winter?
When temperatures drop, FLFs tend to slow down their growth, and often don’t get the light or warmth that they need, being tropical plants. But there are a few things you can do to help keep your plant healthy and growing.
● Get a grow light – this will help make up for the lack of sunshine during winter. And if your home doesn’t get enough sunlight even in the warmer months, it will help you all year round.
● Water the plant less – when it’s colder, your plant is using less water for its growth. So, wait until you can feel the soil is dry, before watering it.
● Use less fertilizer as well – if you do fertilize your plants, remember that in their ‘dormant’ winter state, they won’t need as much as they do in warm seasons.
● Put a humidifier near the plant – winter can often bring dry air, and your fiddle leaf is going to rebel against the lack of humidity. So, if you can, get a humidifier to help them feel a bit more comfortable in their environment.
How Much Light Does Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Need?
Being a tropical plant, coming from western Africa, the FLF needs plenty of bright light. Ideally, a fully grown plant should get about 6 – 8 hours of sunlight, which can be filtered through a window. The idea is to mimic the natural light of its place of origin.
The best option would be to place your fiddle leaf near a window that allows sunlight to stream in almost all day long. Then, after a few months, rotate the plant so that each side is able to absorb the much-needed sunlight.
If your home doesn’t have anywhere that can offer this much light, it may be best to invest in a grow light, as mentioned earlier. While FLFs can survive in lower light conditions, this would cause them to grow much slower than usual.
It’s also important to dust your fig tree’s leaves so that they are able to fully absorb the light. And remember that there is such a thing as too much light, so don’t toast your plant.
Read more on meeting your fiddle leaf fig’s light needs here.
Signs Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Needs More Light?
If your plant is displaying any of the signs below, you may need to investigate its source of light and if you can increase its exposure.
● It’s growing slower than usual
● The branches are beginning to reach towards windows or other sources of light
● The leaves are growing further apart
● There are dull spots on the leaves, or they are turning yellow
● Its newer leaves are growing, but much smaller than typical
Fiddle Leaf Fig Temperature Requirements
When you’re caring for fiddle leaf figs, you’ll learn that they don’t like change. And they require a steady temperature throughout the year, which can be tricky to provide if you live somewhere with varying seasons.
Ideally, your fiddle needs temperatures ranging from 60 – 75°F (15 – 24°C) and they’ll start to really suffer in anything less than 55°F. In winter, keeping them in a warm spot is important for their health.
And if you can keep a controlled temperature throughout the year, with humidity and light, your plant will be in its own paradise.
How Often Should You Water A Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Many people aren’t sure how often to water a fiddle leaf fig in the beginning. The answer to this question is not as black and white as it may seem. This is because your FLF’s water requirements change depending on the season and environment.
Generally, a fiddle leaf needs to be well-watered, but not too damp. It’s important to water it until the water begins to drain because then you know that the roots have had a chance to absorb some of the water.
But once it’s been watered, your fiddle leaf fig won’t need more water until the soil starts to dry up a bit. Usually, you could guess this to be about once a week.
A watering schedule in summer and spring is an especially good idea since these seasons will cause the plant to dry faster.
Although, as mentioned, it’s best not to water too much in winter. And always check the soil before you do sprinkle any more refreshing water onto the plant. If you start to notice things like the leaves looking unhealthy, or the plant not quite looking itself, this is a good time to check your watering habits.
Dry vs. Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig
If your fiddle leaf has just the right amount of water, it will look green and healthy, growing new leaves constantly and consistently. But if it’s getting too much or too little water, you’ll start to see it in the plant’s appearance.
A dry plant looks like –
● The leaves may be curling
● There may be brown spots on the leaves, more specifically on the tips
● Your plant may also be dropping leaves (from the top and bottom)
An over-saturated plant looks like –
● The leaves are browning or looking yellow
● The bottom leaves are dropping
● There are brown spots on the leaves, near the veins
If you see any of these signs on your plant, it’s best to rethink your watering schedule. You may need to adjust this according to what season you’re in.
Note: Overwatering your fiddle leaf fig can lead to root rot, which can be fatal for the plant.
When To Trim Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
It’s a good idea to trim away damaged and broken leaves on your fiddle leaf fig as you find them. This will often encourage much better growth from your plant.
But a good and proper prune is also beneficial to your plant every now and then. This is often best done at the beginning of summer, and you can cut away old and withered leaves from winter.
With the right pruning shears and a good idea of what you’re doing, this is a simple yet very effective process to help your fiddle leaf grow to its full (indoor) potential.
Learn more about how to prune your fiddle leaf fig here.
Repotting A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
A healthy fiddle leaf tree will grow quite fast, especially in summer or spring. But this often means that their pots will become too small for them. In these cases, it’s time to repot your fig.
In general, you’ll need to move your plant into a bigger pot every 1.5 – 3 years. If you leave it too long, the roots will become stifled and the plant will start to suffer. If you can see roots starting to peek out of the soil, it’s definitely time for a bigger pot.
Read more: Complete Guide to Repotting a Fiddle Leaf
Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth Rate
Growing in the wild outdoors, a fiddle leaf fig can grow up to 15 metres tall, but inside they’re a lot smaller. A healthy fig tree will reach about 3 metres, although full maturity can take 10 -15 years.
How To Take Care Of A Fiddle Leaf Fig: Diseases
Even if you follow this care guide to the T, and monitor your plant religiously, there are some things you can’t predict or control. But you can treat them.
There are a few diseases that your FLF could get throughout its life, which can make them look sick and affect their luscious growth. But the good news is that most of them are treatable. Here are a few of the most common ones.
You can find more info on fiddle leaf diseases here.
This is one of the more serious diseases that your fiddle leaf fig can suffer from, and can lead to its death, unfortunately. But it is treatable, and if you catch it soon your plant could make a full recovery.
Root rot stems from the fig absorbing too much water. So, the first step to treating this is to allow the roots to dry out.
Once they’re dry, you can repot the plant, making sure you have adequate drainage in the new pot. Then adjust your watering schedule to ensure you’re only watering once the soil has had time to dry out.
While unwelcome, insects don’t pose too much of a threat to your fiddle leaf. And they’re usually easily treated. You may not be able to see the bugs inhabiting your plant, since a lot of them are too tiny to be seen by the naked eye.
But if you notice damage to the leaves and stem that looks like it’s been caused by pests, the removal is quite simple.
You’ll just need to spray the plant with an insect repellent, and then check it after a couple of weeks to see if it needs repeating.
There are plenty of natural sprays that you can use, or make a DIY at-home solution that isn’t harmful to your plants at all.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves
This is often a symptom of something else, rather than a disease on its own. Leaf dropping in figs can be caused by stress, root rot, or lack of water. So, the best treatment would be to decipher what is causing the leaves to drop and treat that.
It’s important to do this quickly, though, because if your Ficus Lyrata is dropping leaves, it likely means it’s distressed, and it can take a long time to get back to its usual self.
Fiddle Leaves Turning Yellow
Much like the dropping of leaves, if your fiddle’s leaves are looking yellow, it’s trying to tell you something is not right with its environment. Or its needs aren’t being met properly.
You’ll typically find that yellow leaves come from a lack of sunlight, over-saturation, not enough nutrients or fertilizer, or it has insect damage.
Brown spots are a common problem among fiddle leaf plants. And like most issues, there are a number of reasons for the spots to appear. It could be that you are overwatering your plant, or not giving it enough time to dry out in between watering.
It could also stem from a lack of humidity, or simply because your plant is still in shock due to a new environment or changes in its home.
Finding the reason is the first step to treatment, and you can remove the very brown leaves. Then once you fix the actual problem, you should start to see fewer brown spots and healthier leaves.
Red spots aren’t always an immediate sign of danger for your plant, although it can signal that the plant has been overwatered.
This specific condition is called Edema and simply means that the roots have absorbed too much water. Letting your fig dry out will allow the plant to recover and the spots should disappear.
Red dots could also indicate the presence of spider mites, which is easy to detect if the spots start moving, or if you find webs on the plant.
These mites can be incredibly difficult to get rid of, but with a little dedication you can evict them from your plant. In very rare cases, you could be dealing with a bacteria or fungus infection.
More Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Care Tips
Here are a few more things you can do to help keep your Ficus Lyrata in its best condition for many years to come.
Dust the Leaves
An important part of your plant’s care is to dust its leaves. This is not only for appearances, but also to keep the plant healthy. Dust on the leaves blocks the plant’s ability to fully absorb the sunlight it so desperately needs.
This will slow down the process of photosynthesis and cause your plant to grow much slower than usual. So, the simple solution would be to add dusting to your plant care routine and use a damp cloth on each of the leaves.
Feed it Fertilizer
Because of how fast the Ficus Lyrata grows, adding some nutritious fertilizer once a month will help make sure your plant has all of the nutrients it needs. Find a good, slow-releasing fertilizer and feed your plant especially during the growing season (summer and spring).
Read more about the best fertilizer for your Fiddle leaf fig
Should You Put Your Fiddle Leaf in the Shower?
If you have a shower at home, you can put your plant in the shower for a quick wash down and water every now and then.
Showering will take any dust off the plant’s leaves, wash away any insects and bugs that might be living rent-free, and boost the plant’s humidity levels.
It will also ensure a good and thorough watering. So as long as you use lukewarm water, make sure there is sufficient drainage, and only shower a healthy plant, this is a great option all-round.
Should You Mist Your Ficus Lyrata?
Misting can help increase the moisture of your FLF, which is usually great for this humidity-loving plant. But there are opposing opinions that misting may do more harm than good. It can produce build-up on the leaves and even cause fungal infections.
So, if you do mist your fiddle leaf, you should watch out for any adverse reactions or complications. But if the misting is simply for humidifying reasons, a good humidifier or pebble tray will work just fine.
Don’t Forget About It
The biggest mistake you can make when trying to help your FLF thrive is to not check in with it from time to time. The only way you’ll notice if something is wrong, and be able to fix it, is if you notice changes.
You should make a point to know what your plant looks like so that you’ll pick up on any signs that something is wrong.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Best Products
Besides water and lots of sunlight, there are a few more essentials and extras that you can buy to make sure you and your fiddle leaf live in perfect harmony. Here are some of the products I would recommend.
Best Fertilizer For Fiddle Leaf Figs
Fiddle leaf figs only need to be fertilized about once a month, and even less in the winter months. It’s best to find a good fertilizer or plant food, that you know will give your plant all the healthy goodness it needs.
Adding nutrients to your FLF’s soil will help it grow gorgeous new leaves at a healthy, steady pace. Make sure you use a slow-releasing fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3-1-2.
Best Pots For Fiddle Leaf Figs
Since your Ficus is bound to continue growing throughout its younger life, you’ll find yourself needing a new pot plant every couple of years. The size of the pots will increase constantly, as your plant outgrows the smaller ones.
The great thing about pot plants is that you can select ones that fit your style, and there are so many available. Just be sure to choose one with the proper drainage to avoid root rot.
Best Fiddle Leaf Fig Basket
A stunning choice if it fits with your interior look is a woven basket for your Ficus Lyrata. These can usually fit your pots inside them, and they come in several sizes and shapes, so you have all the options available.
Best Faux Fiddle Leaf Figs
If you’re interested in having the beauty of a fiddle leaf but don’t have the time or energy to keep a real one alive, there are other options. Artificial Ficus Lyratas are a great choice for anyone who isn’t able to create the right conditions for a finicky fiddle leaf but still wants to own the plant.
You can get faux fiddles in all sizes, and they come in realistic-looking pots with fake soil and moss as well.
The best part is that they’ll look stunning in your Instagram photos, and no one will know the truth.
Best Light For Fiddle Leaf Figs
LED grow lights will come in handy for plants living in lowlight environments. And they’re a great addition to your home if you live in a place that experiences dark winters. These lights will help your plant grow since they’ll encourage photosynthesis.
You get grow lights that fit on your desk, ones that can shine across multiple plants, and single bulbs for just one plant. You’ll only need to run these during the day because your plant doesn’t want to be stuck in the light 24/7, so a light timer is a good purchase as well.
PSS. here is a detail break down of the best grow light for you fiddle leaf fig.
Best Soil For Fiddle Leaf Figs
With fiddle leaf figs being so particular about their needs, the right soil is one of the most vital factors to a healthy plant. Fiddle leaf soil should have good drainage so that the roots don’t drown and develop any diseases.
Read more on how to choose the best soil for fiddle leaf fig
Best Potting Mix For Fiddle Leaf Figs
Unlike potting soil, which is simply nutritious soil for your plants, potting mix is a combination of other mediums, like bark, peat moss, and coconut coir. You can use a potting mix to create your own soil mix for your fiddle leaf.
This is best done if you’re repotting the plant and looking to create a healthier blend of nutrients for it to live in.
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Safe For Pets?
Unfortunately, these beautiful Ficus Lyrata are incredibly toxic to pets and humans. And while you and other adults are probably safe from taking a chunky bite of the plant’s leaves, children, dogs, and cats may be compelled to do just that.
The sap in the leaves and stems will cause a stinging, burning sensation if ingested, and this can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, and other unpleasant symptoms. The sap can also cause skin irritation if it touches the skin or fur.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to immediately throw out your Ficus plant if you have pets or kids. But you should keep them away from each other to avoid any emergency trips to the vet or doctor.
How to Care For Fiddle Leaf Figs
You may hear scary stories about the fiddle leaf fig tree’s high-maintenance tendencies and be put off bringing one into your living space.
But the reality is that once you’ve had one of these, you’ll learn all their quirks and complaints, and eventually you’ll be able to easily take care of one – or plenty more.
This fiddle leaf care guide is the first step to you becoming an expert Ficus owner. And soon enough you may even have an entire jungle of these plants in your living space.
They do make for a striking houseplant and their big violin-shaped leaves are sure to brighten up any area in your home. So, don’t be afraid to get one and figure it out as you go. These trees can be brought back to life after most of their issues, especially if you catch them quickly.
I hope you find the right spot to put your finicky fiddle, and that it brings you happiness for years!
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