How to Care For a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant- A Beginner’s Guide

The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is one of my favorite indoor plants to spruce up a home with a cozy artisan and elegant touch. It just brightens up any room it’s in. And while they’ve become popular for their stunning appearance and ability to thrive indoors, taking care of them can be a bit tricky! This plant can be moody and sensitive. So, if you’re wondering how to keep your fiddle leaf fig plant alive and thriving, read on. In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks on how to care for a fiddle leaf fig plant, including watering, sunlight, and other important factors to keep in mind to ensure your gorgeous plant stays healthy.

I. Understanding Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants & Trees

Fiddle leaf fig plants, scientifically known as Ficus lyrata, are a tropical species of evergreen tree in the Moraceae family. These plants are known for their striking, large, fiddle-shaped leaves that can grow up to 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. Fiddle leaf figs are a slow-growing species that can reach up to 30-50 feet in height in their natural outdoor habitat, but when grown as a houseplant, they usually reach around 6-10 feet in height. They are also known for their air-purifying qualities, making them a popular choice for indoor spaces.

Origins & Natural Habitat: Fiddle leaf fig plants are native to western Africa, specifically Cameroon, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In their natural habitat, they grow in tropical rainforests and prefer areas with high humidity levels and consistent temperatures. They are also found in areas with well-draining, fertile soil. In the wild, fiddle leaf figs play an important role in their ecosystem by providing food and habitat for animals and insects.

Popular Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Varieties: There are several popular varieties of fiddle leaf fig plants, including ‘Compacta’, ‘Bambino’, and ‘Suncoast’. Each variety has unique characteristics, such as differences in leaf shape and color, growth habit, and size. For example, the ‘Bambino’ variety is a dwarf version of the fiddle leaf fig and is a popular choice for smaller spaces. The ‘Suncoast’ variety has smaller leaves and a more compact growth habit than others varieties. Understanding the different varieties can help you choose the best fiddle leaf fig for your indoor space.

II. Choosing the Right Location for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig (Lighting)


Lighting: Choosing the right location for your fiddle leaf fig plant is crucial for its health and growth. One of the most important factors to consider is LIGHT! Fiddle leaf figs require bright, indirect light to thrive, so placing them near a window that receives plenty of natural light is important. I keep mine like 5 feet from the window and they’re doing great. However, many people place theirs right in front of their windows and their plants are also thriving. Just be careful placing them under harsh direct sunlight, as it may damage their leaves and cause them to burn. If natural light is unavailable, you can use artificial light sources such as grow lights to provide the necessary light.

Temperature and humidity are also important considerations when choosing a location for your fiddle leaf fig plant. These plants prefer temperatures between 60-75°F, so it’s important to avoid locations with extreme temperature fluctuations or areas that are too cold or too hot. Fiddle leaf figs also require high humidity levels, which can be challenging to achieve in dry indoor environments. To increase humidity levels, you can place a humidifier near the plant or use a pebble tray filled with water.

Places to Avoid: Drafty areas such as near doors or windows that are frequently opened and locations with direct sunlight or cold drafts should be avoided. These conditions can stress the plant and lead to leaf damage or dropping.

IV. Best Soil & Watering for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Soil: Fiddle leaf figs prefer soil that is well-draining and aerated, with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. Ideal soil for fiddle leaf figs should also be rich in nutrients and organic matter. A popular soil mixture for fiddle leaf figs is a combination of potting soil, perlite, and peat moss. That’s why repotting your fiddle leaf fig plant every 1-2 years is also important to ensure that the plant has adequate space to grow.

Watering: When it comes to watering your fiddle leaf fig plant, it’s important to find the right balance. Over-watering can lead to root rot, while under-watering can cause the plant to wilt and drop leaves. Generally, you should water your fiddle leaf fig plant once a week, but the frequency may vary depending on factors such as the size of the plant, the type of soil, and the environmental conditions. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering again. When watering, it’s best to water the soil directly and avoid getting water on the leaves.

Signs of over-watering include yellowing leaves, brown spots on the leaves, and soggy soil. Signs of under-watering include brown and crispy leaves, as well as soil that is dry and pulling away from the edges of the container. During the dormant season, which typically occurs in the winter, you may need to water your fiddle leaf fig plant less frequently. Using filtered water can also be beneficial, as tap water can contain chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride that can be harmful to the plant. It’s also important to ensure that there is no standing water in the plant’s container, as this can lead to root rot.

V. Fertilizing & Pruning Your Fiddle Leaf

Nutrient needs: Common nutrient deficiencies in fiddle leaf figs include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. To ensure that your fiddle leaf fig is getting the nutrients it needs, you can fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for indoor plants. Avoid fertilizers that are high in salts or heavy metals, as these can be harmful to your plant. Signs of over-fertilization include brown spots on the leaves, burned leaf tips, and stunted growth.

Fertilizers: There are two main types of fertilizers: organic and synthetic. Organic fertilizers are made from natural materials such as compost, bone meal, and fish emulsion, while synthetic fertilizers are made from chemical compounds. You can fertilize your fiddle leaf fig once a month during the growing season (spring and summer), and reduce the frequency to once every two months during the dormant season (fall and winter). When applying fertilizer, make sure to dilute it to half strength and water the soil before and after application.

Pruning is an important part of fiddle leaf fig care and can help to promote healthy growth and shape the plant. Some reasons for pruning include removing dead or yellowing leaves, controlling the size and shape of the plant, and encouraging new growth. You can prune your fiddle leaf fig plant at any time of year, but it’s best to avoid pruning during the dormant season. To prune, use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears and make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle. You can also use pruning to propagate your fiddle leaf fig by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in water or soil.

VI. Common Pests & Diseases

Fiddle leaf figs are prone to a few common pests and diseases that can affect their health and appearance. Pests that commonly affect fiddle leaf figs include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can be identified by the webbing they leave behind, a white cotton-like substance on the leaves, or small brown bumps on the stems and leaves. Fiddle leaf figs can also be affected by fungal diseases such as root rot and leaf spot. Symptoms of common issues include brown spots on the leaves, yellowing or wilting leaves, and stunted growth.

Preventing pests and diseases is the best way to keep your fiddle leaf fig healthy. Regularly inspect your plant for signs of pests or disease, and promptly remove any affected leaves or stems. To control pests, you can use natural remedies such as homemade insecticides made from ingredients like neem oil, dish soap, and water. You can also introduce beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewings to your plant to help control pests. To treat brown spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves, you can remove the affected leaves and adjust your watering schedule to prevent over or under-watering. You can also use a fungicide to prevent the spread of fungal diseases.

Overall, with proper care and attention, fiddle leaf figs can be a beautiful addition to any indoor space. By understanding their needs and taking steps to prevent and treat common issues, you can help your fiddle leaf fig thrive for years to come.

VII. Propagation & Repotting

Propagating: Fiddle leaf fig plants can be propagated through two main techniques: stem cuttings and air layering. Stem cuttings involve taking a cutting from the plant’s stem and placing it in water or soil until roots form. Air layering involves making a small cut in the stem, wrapping it with moist sphagnum moss, and then allowing roots to form before cutting the stem and planting it in soil. Both methods can be successful, but stem cuttings are generally easier and faster.

Repotting: If your fiddle leaf fig plant has outgrown its current pot or is showing signs of root-bound stress, it may be time to repot. Signs that your plant needs repotting include roots growing out of the bottom of the pot, soil that dries out quickly, and slow growth or yellowing leaves. The best time of year to repot your fiddle leaf fig is in the spring, when the plant is actively growing and can recover from the shock of being repotted more easily.

To repot your fiddle leaf fig plant, you’ll need to prepare a new pot with fresh, well-draining soil. Gently remove the plant from its current pot, being careful not to damage the roots. Prune any damaged or dead roots, and add fresh soil to the new pot before carefully placing the plant into it. Water your newly repotted fiddle leaf fig plant thoroughly and continue to care for it as usual. By following these steps for how to repot a fiddle leaf plant, you can help ensure the continued health and growth of your beloved plant.

VII. Frequently Asked Questions on Caring For a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

  1. Q: How often should I water my fiddle leaf fig plant?
    • A: Fiddle leaf figs prefer well-draining soil that isn’t too wet or too dry. A good rule of thumb is to water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. In general, this will likely be once every 7-10 days, but it can vary depending on factors like the size of your pot, the temperature and humidity of your home, and the time of year.
  2. Q: Can I put my fiddle leaf fig plant in direct sunlight?
    • A: While fiddle leaf figs need bright, indirect sunlight to thrive, direct sunlight can actually harm the leaves and cause them to burn. It’s best to place your plant near a window with filtered light, or to use sheer curtains to filter the light if it’s too strong.
  3. Q: How can I tell if my fiddle leaf fig plant needs more nutrients?
    • A: Signs that your fiddle leaf fig may need more nutrients include yellowing leaves, slow growth, or small, underdeveloped leaves. You can give your plant a boost by fertilizing it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
  4. Q: How do I prevent my fiddle leaf fig plant from getting pests?
    • A: Common pests that can affect fiddle leaf figs include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. To prevent infestations, ensure your plant is in a wtell-ventilated area with good air circulation, and regularly wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris. You can also make homemade insecticides like these.
  5. Q: Can I propagate my fiddle leaf fig plant?
    • A: Yes! Fiddle leaf fig plants can be propagated through stem cuttings or air layering. Stem cuttings involve taking a cutting from the stem of your plant and rooting it in water or soil, while air layering involves making a small cut in the stem and wrapping it with moist sphagnum moss until roots form. Both methods can be successful, and can be a great way to create new plants or share cuttings with friends.

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