The fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is an increasingly popular house plant, but many people are intimidated by the particular nature of the tree. Never fear! We’re here to help keep your fiddle leaf fig green and thriving.
Light. These trees love bright, indirect light and flourish when placed near an east- or north-facing window. Do not let rays of sunlight hit the leaves - This is a good way to get a brown, crispy plant!
Water. Supplying the fiddle leaf fig with the right amount of water is critical and tends to be the detail you tweak the most when figuring out your plant. You want to give your tree plenty of water, yet you want to allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings. A useful tip is to stick your finger into the top inch or so of soil; if it’s completely dry, your plant can probably use some water. Another trick is to keep an eye on the foliage. The leaves near the top of the tree will begin to droop when it needs to be watered. Additionally, these trees love humidity! I mist mine weekly to increase humidity, though I'm sure it would love being misted daily.
The plant will tell you if you are providing too little or too much water, although it has an ugly way of letting you know.
Underwatering: The leaves will become brittle and develop large brown spots over time. This is a good time to stick your finger into the top inch or so of soil. If the soil is bone dry between watering, you can try slowly increasing either the frequency or the quantity of watering.
Overwatering: When receiving too much water, the leaves will droop and the plant will begin dropping yellow or green leaves. However, this can also be a sign of too little water. Only slightly confusing. This is yet another good time to stick your finger in the soil to check how damp or dry it is, and to adjust your watering regimen accordingly.
Food. Fiddle leaf figs thrive when given a fertilizer during its growing season (spring and summer). I give mine a small amount of liquid fertilizer mixed with water once every two weeks. Fertilizers will provide a directed amount on the packaging.
Other care. There are a slew of tips apart from the light and water requirements:
- Dusting. The gorgeous, broad leaves of the plant like to be wiped down every couple of months, as they gather dust. Gently wipe the tops of the leaves with room temperature water using a washcloth or soft sponge. This allows the plant to breathe, so to speak, and continue photosynthesizing.
- Breeze. These plants enjoy a nice breeze, as well. I have mine near the front door so it gets a rush of fresh air whenever the door is opened. My mom actually has a friend in Florida who has planted her fiddle leaf fig outside in the ground and has totally neglected it, yet the plant is flourishing! I suppose if you live in a humid enough environment and are feeling brave, you can give this a try.
- Rotation. I myself have only ever had one fiddle leaf fig, and it's doing great! It is generally recommended to not move the plant often, but rotating the pot is key to prevent leaning. Give the pot a quarter turn once a month.
- Repotting. You will need to repot this plant from time to time as it grows. It's good to always go up to a size that is 2" to 3" wider in diameter than the root ball of your plant. If you have a pot with drainage, great! You don't need to do anything special. If you have a pot without drainage, just put a layer of rocks on the bottom of the pot before filling it with dirt. This gives the excess water somewhere to go that isn't trapped in the soil.
- Trimming. If you don't want to repot your tree, you can trim the root ball instead. This is done to keep the plant from growing too large .You should only remove about 20% of the roots - no need to shock the plant!