Ah, fiddle leaf fig. The “Regina George” of all houseplants (well, for me). Fiddle leaf fig is one of today’s “it” plants because of its fancy and gorgeous appearance. You can see it almost anywhere, from hip blogs, home decor mag to famous Instagram accounts. However, a lot of people don’t know that it’s quite difficult to keep alive, and it’s particularly finicky. So, the real question is: How to keep a fiddle leaf fig alive without losing your mind?
If you’re a first-time plant owner or you want to make this plant as a new addition to your indoor jungle, keep reading because we’re going to share our tried and tested tips on how to make this “mean girl” plant happy and healthy.
Ficus lyrata or more commonly known as the fiddle leaf fig originated from the tropical jungles of West Africa, and belongs to the Moraceae family or more known as the rubber plant. Their natural habitat is warm, damp, and smoggy (nothing obviously like your home). Fiddle leaf figs are epiphytes, which means it grows on the surface of a plant and obtains its moisture and nutrients from the rain, air, water or debris assembling around it. They have massive green leaves with lots of cells that require lots of sunlight. Fiddle leaf figs can grow up to 6 feet or more if provided with the right amount of care.
Fiddle leaf figs are fussy houseplants. It will die if not given extra attention. If you’ve had a fiddle leaf fig, then you know what it feels like to be heartbroken while you watch this plant die slowly. Even so, don’t lose hope. You can keep a fiddle leaf fig alive and healthy by following our fiddle leaf fig care tips. You got this!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Tips
TIP #1: Sunlight
Fiddle leaf figs love sunlight! It prefers lots of sunlight for food production. To keep your fiddle leaf fig alive and healthy, it’s best to put it near a sunny, east-facing window where it can take in lots of bright, indirect light.
Pro Tip: For optimal fiddle leaf fig care, rotate your plant once a month when you notice its foliage leaning towards the sun. This will help your fiddle leaf fig grow straight and balanced. Also, it’s best to clean your fiddle’s leaves with lukewarm water every week to keep them free of dust and to ensure that their giant leaves absorb and photosynthesize light efficiently.
TIP #2: Watering
Fiddle leaf figs are easy to water. However, I have to admit that watering is one of the most common mistakes of caring for plants, and it’s really easy to overdo it. You thought you’re doing a good job, but you’re actually drowning your plant.
Always remember our rule of thumb: water when the soil is dry. If you’re uncertain if your fiddle’s needs to be watered, stick your finger in the dirt about 3-4 inches to see if it feels dry. Use lukewarm water and soak the entire top area of the soil. After that, wait for the water to drain down and then fill it again. Make sure your container completely drains each time you water your fiddle leaf fig.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant made a guide for plant parents about over-watering and under-watering your plant.
Ask yourself the following questions about over-watering:
- Do you water more than once a week? If so, your plant is probably over-watered.
- Is the soil wet to the touch one inch below the surface? Stick your finger in and find out. If so, over-watering is likely.
- Do your plant’s leaves have dark spots or edges? This could signify too much water.
- Are their flies or a musty smell in your plant’s soil? Too much water is the culprit.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’ve been under-watering your plant:
- Are the newest leaves smaller than the existing leaves? They may be lacking water or nutrients for growth.
- Is your plant dropping leaves? This can be caused by low humidity or thirst.
- Is the top inch of soil very dry? Your plant may be thirsty.
- Are the edges of your plant’s leaves brown? They may be dry.
TIP #3: Temperatures
Fiddle leaf fig prefers warm, humid climates (jungle, remember?). Although it can tolerate normal indoor temperatures, it’s best to place this plant in a room that’s around 65-75°F. Never keep them in a room below 50°F or else it will falter.
Also, fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to drafts. Unfortunately, if you’re growing a fiddle leaf fig, then you know that the areas in your home where the best light is are also areas where all the drafts are. Shut tight windows and seal up drafty areas before placing your fiddles. Also, it’s recommended to mist your fiddle leaf’s leaves during the winter season to keep your plant moist and happy.
TIP #4: Toxicity
Fiddle leaf fig has a toxicity level 4. Its sap may cause skin rash or stomach irritation to your pets if ingested. Keep your fiddles on a high shelf or in a place wherein your pets can’t reach.
TIP #5: Pests & Problems
Pests: Fiddle leaf figs are prone to plant pests like mealy bugs, mites, scales, and aphids. Always check their leaves for holes and check the underside for any pests. If you spot any of these insects, you can remove them with a hot and soapy cloth or with a mild insecticide.
Problems: OK, here comes the hard part. Well, not really. A fiddle leaf fig is indeed finicky. They are sensitive to a lot of things like too much light, not enough sun, soil that is too wet, soil that is bone dry, drafts, relocating, and loud music. Phew! Seriously, one of the most common problems of taking care of a fiddle leaf fig is the appearance of dark spots or edges. Dark edges can mean your tree is over-watered, while dark spots can mean it is under-watered or it’s either getting too much sun or the temperature is too cold.
Also, fiddle leaf fig are prone to diseases than other plants. For optimal fiddle leaf fig care, give it extra attention and treat your fiddles problems immediately since it will take them some time to recover.
TIP #6: Repotting & Propagation
Repotting: A rule of thumb: repot when needed. If your fiddle leaf fig is healthy, there’s no need to repot it. Its roots will begin to outgrow its pot in a few years. It’s ready for repotting once its roots start to grow near the bottom or edges of the pot.
Looking for a new pot for your fiddle leaf fig? Shop Omysa’s Mid Century Planter and Stand.
Propagation: Here’s a step-by-step guide to successfully propagate your fiddle leaf fig according to the plant experts from Bunnings:
- Choose firm tip growth with at least two leaves around 10–12cm long.
- Place them in a 130mm pot with seed and cutting mix, or 50:50 peat and coarse propagating sand or perlite.
- Large ficus leaves can be reduced by cutting them in half to reduce transpiration.
- Dip the bottom of the stem in rooting hormone and place in a propagator or pot covered with a clear 2L bottle top and position in partial shade.
- In around 6–8 weeks the cuttings should have taken root.
TIP #7: Pruning
Pruning your fiddle leaf fig will encourage horizontal growth. To properly prune your fiddle leaf fig, locate the node of your fiddles (where a leaf connects to the main trunk) and cut at least 3-4 inches right above the leaf. If you’re not sure where the node is, or you’re too scared to damage your plant, Moody Blooms created a helpful video on how to prune and propagate your fiddle leaf fig.
Fiddle leaf fig care is not the easiest plant to take care of especially if you’re a new plant parent. I always remind people not to buy plants just because they look good. You should also be knowledgeable enough to keep it alive and healthy. If our fiddle leaf fig care tips looks a bit overwhelming and complicated, or you’re not sure about caring for a fiddle leaf fig, you can try taking care of other plants like:
Monstera is another “it” plant but easy to care and perfect interior decor to your home.
- Bird of Paradise
This bright, lush, unique, and a tropical plant like fiddle leaf fig. This plant also loves sunlight.
- Snake Plant
Snake plants are one of the most chill plants. It’s low-maintenance, and it can survive a whole month without being watered.
We hope that our fiddle leaf fig care tips will help you keep your fiddle happy. For more tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy, you can visit our Plant Care page. Happy plant parenting!