How to Grow and Care for Fiddle-Leaf Fig (2023)

The fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)is a popular indoor tree featuring very large, heavily veined, and glossy violin-shaped leaves that grow upright on a sleek trunk. A fiddle-leaf fig is perfect as a focal point of a room if you can situate it in a floor-standing container where the plant is allowed to grow to at least 6 feet tall. (Most indoor specimens reach around 10 feet tall.) It's a fairly fast grower and can be potted at any point in the year if you're like most gardeners acquiring a nursery plant to keep indoors. Keep in mind this gorgeous plant is toxic to cats and dogs.

Common NameFiddle-leaf fig, banjo fig
Botanical NameFicus lyrata
FamilyMoraceae
Plant TypeBroadleaf evergreen
Mature Size50 ft. tall (outdoors), 10 ft. tall (indoors)
Sun ExposurePart shade
Soil TypeLoamy, medium moisture, well-draining
Soil pH6 to 7
Bloom TimeRarely flowers outside of its native area
Flower ColorInsignificant
Hardiness Zones10-12 (USDA)
Native AreaTropical western Africa
ToxicityToxic to cats and dogs

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Watch Now: How to Grow a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Plant Indoors

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Care

These plants are native to tropical parts of Africa, where they thrive in very warm and wet conditions. This makes them somewhat challenging for the home grower, who is likely to have trouble duplicating these steamy conditions. However, they are relatively tough plants that can withstand a less-than-perfect environment for a fairly long time.

Fiddle-leaf figs are not especially demanding plants as long as you can get their growing conditions right. When grown as a houseplant, be prepared to rotate your fiddle-leaf fig every few days so a different part faces the source of sunlight. That way, it will grow evenly, rather than lean toward the light.

Also, every week or two dust the leaves with a damp cloth. Not only does this make the leaves appear shinier and more appealing, but it also allows more sunlight to hit the leaves for photosynthesis. Moreover, you can trim off any damaged or dead leaves as they arise, as they no longer benefit the plant. And if you wish, you can prune off the top of the main stem for a bushier growth habit.

How to Grow and Care for Fiddle-Leaf Fig (1)

How to Grow and Care for Fiddle-Leaf Fig (2)

(Video) Fiddle Leaf Fig - The Ultimate Guide | The Plant Doctor | Apartment Therapy

Light

Fiddle-leaf figs require bright, filtered light to grow and look their best. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves, especially exposure to hot afternoon sun. And plants that are kept in very low light conditions will fail to grow rapidly.

Soil

Any quality indoor plant potting mix should be suitable for a fiddle-leaf fig. Ensure that the soil drains well.

Water

Fiddle-leaf figs like a moderate amount of moisture in the soil. If the plant doesn’t get enough water, its leaves will wilt and lose their bright green color. And if it gets too much water, the plant might drop its leaves and suffer from root rot, which ultimately can kill it. During the growing season (spring to fall), water your fiddle-leaf fig when the top inch of soil feels dry. And over the winter months, water slightly less.

Furthermore, these plants are sensitive to high salt levels in the soil. So it's ideal to flush the soil until water comes out the bottom of the pot at least monthly. This helps to prevent salt build-up.

Temperature and Humidity

Fiddle-leaf figs don’t like extreme temperature fluctuations. A room that’s between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit is typically fine, though you must position the plant away from drafty areas, as well as air-conditioning and heating vents.These can cause sudden temperature shifts.

Aim for a humidity level between 30 and 65 percent. If you need to supplement humidity, mist your plant with clean water in a spray bottle daily. Or you can place it on a tray of pebbles filled with water, as long as the bottom of the pot isn’t touching the water. Plus, fiddle-leaf figs can benefit from being in a room with a humidifier.

Fertilizer

Fertilize throughout the growing season with a high-nitrogen plant food, following label instructions. There are fertilizers specially made for fiddle-leaf figs available. You generally won’t have to feed your plant over the winter.

How to Grow and Care for Fiddle-Leaf Fig (3)

Types of Fiddle-Leaf Fig

The main species, Ficus lyrata, is the most common fiddle-leaf fig plant that gardeners grow. But there are several cultivars available as well, including:

  • Ficus lyrata ‘Bambino’: This is a dwarf variety that only reaches a few feet tall.
  • Ficus lyrata ‘Compacta’: This variety can reach up to 5 feet tall and features smaller, more bunched leaves than the main species.
  • Ficus lyrata ‘Variegata’: This is an uncommon variety with showy leaves that are a mix of green and cream.

Pruning

A fiddle-leaf fig benefits from having its leaves pruned every so often. Cut back any damaged leaves, overgrowth, or crossing branches to let the plant breathe. Make any cuts about an inch away from the trunk to avoid any damage. If you are taking off a dead brown leaf, pull on it very gently before trying to cut it because it may come off by itself.

(Video) Fiddle Leaf Fig Success in 8 Steps! | The Basics of Ficus Lyrata Care

Propagating Fiddle-Leaf Fig

It's easy to propagate fiddle-leaf fig with stem cuttings, and extremely difficult to do with seeds. Working with a cutting is just about fail-proof.

  1. Use a pair of sharp shears to cut a stem about 12 to 18 inches long with a few leaves. Pinch off all the leaves except for one.
  2. Place the vase of the cutting in a jar or vase of clean, room-temperature water and put it in a warm place with bright, but indirect light.
  3. Change the water only when it appears cloudy.
  4. In a few weeks, small white bumps will appear on the stem's base that's sitting in the water. In a couple of weeks after that, roots will grow in the water from those spots.
  5. When the roots reach 1 to 2 inches long, plant the cutting in a 1-gallon pot filled with potting soil and water until damp, and continue to keep the soil moist, but not soggy or overwatered.

Potting and Repotting Fiddle-Leaf Fig

Plan to repot a young fiddle-leaf fig annually every spring. Select a sturdy container that is roughly 2 inches larger in diameter than the existing one. Gently loosen the plant from its current pot, lift it out while supporting its base, and place it in the new pot. Fill in the spaces around the plant with potting mix.

Once the plant is mature, it likely will be too large to repot. In that case, remove the first few inches of soil each spring and replace it with fresh soil.

Moreover, if you will be doing the potting work outdoors, do so when the temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything colder can cause too much stress for the fiddle-leaf fig.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

These plants don’t have serious pest or disease issues, but they can be prone to spider mites, scale, and bacterial or fungal diseases. With these issues, you might notice leaf damage, such as spots or dark patches, as well as small bugs on the leaves. Treat the issue as soon as possible with an appropriate fungicide, pesticide, or other remedy. And make sure your plant has adequate air circulation and isn’t sitting in overly damp conditions, which can help to prevent future problems.

Common Problems With Fiddle-Leaf Fig

A fiddle-leaf fig plant can be sensitive to its environment and watering schedule, so when something is off, you can tell by the behavior of its leaves. The plant can develop spots on leaves or drop leaves, sometimes at a fast rate. Be on the lookout for the first signs of leaf distress.

Bleached Leaves

If you see light brown or bleached spots on the top of the leaves, the plant may be getting too much direct sunlight. This is called leaf sunburn or leaf scorch. In the case of a fiddle-leaf fig plant, you can prune the leaf with sharp shears and relocate your plant away from sitting near the direct and harsh rays of the sun.

Brown Spots on Leaves

If your green leaves develop dark brown spots or browning edges, the plant may be suffering from root rot from sitting in too much water. Check the roots to see if they are brown and mushy. Cut away the spotted leaves and gently cut mushy parts of the roots. Repot and monitor your watering to make sure the plant is not overwatered.

Brown spots can also mean the plant is experiencing extreme temperature swings, check around for drafty spots or heating/cooling units or vents, and move the plant away to a consistently warmer location.

Yellowing Leaves

If newer fiddle-leaf fig leaves are yellowing, it may indicate a bacterial problem. It may be too late to save the plant. But try cutting off the affected leaves and repotting the plant in fresh soil.

Dropping Leaves

When a fiddle-leaf fig loses its leaves, it's generally a sign that the plant is getting too much or not enough water. In addition, the plant may be exposed to extreme temperature changes, which can also make the plant drop leaves. Move the plant away from any heating or air conditioning units, vents, or drafty areas. Pull back on watering a bit so the soil is never soggy and only slightly moist.

FAQ

(Video) Fiddle Leaf Fig - PLANT HERO ULTIMATE Care + Tips Guide To Growing A Thriving Ficus Lyrata Tree!

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Fiddle leaf fig.Aspca.org. N.p., n.d. Web.

  2. Ficus Lyrata. Missouri Botanical Garden

  3. Zarei, Mahvash et al. Evaluation of NaCl Salinity Tolerance of Four Fig Genotypes. Hort Science, vol. 51, no. 11, 2016. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI11009-16

    (Video) All you need to know about Ficus Lyrata - Fiddle Leaf Fig

FAQs

How do you care for a fiddle leaf fig for beginners? ›

Fiddle Leaf Figs need a lot of natural light and do best when placed directly in front of a window. Water thoroughly about once a week, allowing the top couple inches of soil to dry out before watering again.

How often should you water fiddle leaf fig? ›

The number one way to kill a fiddle leaf fig is to overwater it or not allow for proper drainage. Water your plant about once a week or every 10 days. As we mentioned earlier, FLFs are native to a rainforest-like environment, which means they're used to receiving a huge deluge of water with dry spells in between.

Do fiddle leaf figs need full sun? ›

Fiddle leaf figs need lots of indirect light and some direct sun,” he says. “Afternoon sun from a south- or west-facing window will be too strong.” So remember, just like the nourishing rays that filter down from the jungle's dense canopy, your fig needs good sun in your home, too.

Do fiddle leaf figs like big pots? ›

Look for pots that are 3 to 4 inches wider in diameter and an inch or two taller than the growing pot your fig came in. But don't get a pot that's too big (over 6 inches in diameter), as excessively large containers may allow root rot to take hold of your plant.

Should I mist my fiddle leaf fig? ›

Misting is an essential chore when you're looking after any rainforest plant, especially in the winter. Fiddle leafs are happiest at 65% humidity, which is much higher than most homes. The best way to mist is to fill a spray bottle and leave it beside the plant.

Should I Bottom water my Fiddle Leaf Fig? ›

1. Give it the proper amount of water. Mackenna recommends keeping this rule of thumb in mind when it comes to watering this plant: It's better to underwater than overwater! She recommends allowing the top 1-2 in of soil to dry out between watering and strongly recommend bottom watering your fiddle.

What is the best fertilizer for Fiddle Leaf Fig? ›

Fiddle leaf figs do best on fertilizer with a 3-1-2 N-P-K ratio, or 3% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus, and 2% potassium. You should see these numbers displayed prominently on the package of any fertilizer you're considering, so keep an eye out!

How do I know if my fiddle leaf needs water? ›

How do I tell when my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree needs water? Once you've established that the top few inches of soil have dried, the easiest way to tell if your Fiddle Leaf needs water is to look at the leaves. If the leaves are not rigid and upright, and they start to look floppy, they're telling you they need water.

Where should a fiddle leaf fig be placed in a home? ›

South-facing windows get the longest duration of bright sunlight, so they make the ideal home for a fiddle leaf fig plant. Facing south, your plant will likely get over 8 hours per day of bright sun, but few direct harsh rays on its leaves.

How long do fiddle leaf figs live? ›

The ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf fig, is a tropical tree native to the West African lowland rainforests. It can live for up to 25-50 years (if cared for properly in non-tropical conditions).

How do I know if my fiddle leaf fig is happy? ›

New growth is always a great sign of a healthy plant, and if the leaves on your Fiddle grow large and strong, that means your plant is thriving. However, if the new leaves grow in small and stunted, it could be a sign that your plant is lacking in nutrients.

How do I get my fiddle leaf fig to turn new leaves? ›

To get new leaves on a fiddle leaf fig, you need to ensure it is in the right conditions for growth. This includes having a good watering schedule, well-draining soil, and plenty of light and humidity in place. Giving your plant a boost of nutrients through fertilization can also help.

Why are leaves falling off fiddle leaf fig? ›

Lack of watering and very dry air can cause a fiddle leaf fig to drop leaves. Take care not to put your plant in direct sun or near a heating vent, where it is blasted with dry air regularly. Fiddle leaf figs do not like drafts, so picking a spot away from any vents or blasts of hot air is ideal.

What does a fiddle leaf fig symbolize? ›

Fiddle leaf figs symbolize fertility, good luck, and abundance. Additionally, according to feng shui principles, their large, rounded leaves are thought to attract positive and nourishing energy while helping to neutralize negative energy and poison arrows that come from the sharp corners in your home.

When should I repot my fiddle leaf fig? ›

Fiddle Leaf Figs usually need to be repotted every two years, and spring is a great time to do this because weather conditions can help your tree recover from potential root shock. Warmer temperatures also mean it's possible to repot your fiddle outside, which is especially helpful if your tree is large!

How do you thicken a fiddle leaf fig? ›

How do I make my fiddle leaf fig grow thicker?
  1. Prune your fiddle leaf fig regularly. ...
  2. Repot your fiddle leaf fig tree every few years. ...
  3. Give your fiddle leaf fig plenty of water. ...
  4. Fertilize your fiddle leaf fig tree regularly. ...
  5. Give your fiddle leaf fig tree enough sun. ...
  6. Occasionally dust or mist your fiddle leaf fig leaves.
11 Jul 2022

How do you know when to repot a fiddle leaf fig? ›

How do you know if it's time to repot? Check the bottom of the pot to see if the roots are growing out of the drainage holes or gently pull the plant from its pot and look for roots that grow in a dense circle. If your fig has outgrown its pot, you can repot into a container that is up to a few inches larger.

Do fiddle leaf figs like bathrooms? ›

FIDDLE-LEAF FIG

But the steamy conditions of the bathroom would be its favorite hangout. It is a fairly large plant, so would do well in a beautiful floor-standing container in a master bathroom. Bright filtered light to even a small amount of full sun from an eastern facing window keeps the fiddle-leaf happy.

How do I make my fiddle leaf fig shiny? ›

Keep your tree away from vents, space heaters, and drafts, and provide a humidifier or pebble tray to provide some extra humidity, especially if you live in a dry climate. Give your tree a shower every once in a while and make sure to mist your new leaf buds so they can grow out healthy, green, and shiny!

Why are the tips of my fiddle leaf fig turning brown? ›

The most common cause of brown leaves on a fiddle leaf fig is due to a fungal infection from the roots sitting in too much moisture. Over-watering and poor drainage causes root rot, which spreads from the roots to the leaves of your plant.

When should you repot your fiddle leaf fig? ›

Repot. Fiddle Leaf Figs usually need to be repotted every two years, and spring is a great time to do this because weather conditions can help your tree recover from potential root shock. Warmer temperatures also mean it's possible to repot your fiddle outside, which is especially helpful if your tree is large!

Why do fiddle leaves turn brown? ›

The most common cause of brown leaves on a fiddle leaf fig is due to a fungal infection from the roots sitting in too much moisture. Over-watering and poor drainage causes root rot, which spreads from the roots to the leaves of your plant.

How can you tell if a fiddle leaf fig is healthy? ›

You can tell if your plant is healthy if the fiddle leaf fig has new growth and the new leaves are larger than the old ones. The plant will also look good overall and feature vibrant, shiny green leaves.

Should I repot new fiddle leaf fig? ›

How to Repot Your Fiddle Leaf Fig the RIGHT Way (& Avoid Transplant ...

What is the best fertilizer for fiddle leaf fig? ›

Fiddle leaf figs do best on fertilizer with a 3-1-2 N-P-K ratio, or 3% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus, and 2% potassium. You should see these numbers displayed prominently on the package of any fertilizer you're considering, so keep an eye out!

What is the best soil for a fiddle leaf fig? ›

Use a well-draining potting soil

Fiddle leaf figs need well draining potting media that's high in organic matter. A peat-based soil with some perlite works great. This is standard fare for most indoor potting mixes with good reason. A basic recipe would be about 2/3 peat to 1/3 perlite.

Why are leaves falling off fiddle leaf fig? ›

Lack of watering and very dry air can cause a fiddle leaf fig to drop leaves. Take care not to put your plant in direct sun or near a heating vent, where it is blasted with dry air regularly. Fiddle leaf figs do not like drafts, so picking a spot away from any vents or blasts of hot air is ideal.

How do I know if my fiddle leaf fig needs water? ›

How do I tell when my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree needs water? Once you've established that the top few inches of soil have dried, the easiest way to tell if your Fiddle Leaf needs water is to look at the leaves. If the leaves are not rigid and upright, and they start to look floppy, they're telling you they need water.

Should I trim the brown spots on my fiddle leaf fig? ›

Remove the affected leaves and make sure your plant has adequate light. If there are multiple brown spots, you'll need to cut away any brown, mushy roots and the leaves with brown spots then repot your plant, taking care not to over water in the future.

What do you put on fiddle leaf fig leaves? ›

How to Make Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Really Shiny! - YouTube

How often do fiddle leaf figs get new leaves? ›

Stunted or slowed growth

Healthy Fiddles usually grow new leaves every four to six weeks during spring and summer. Growth tends to be in spurts, and it's possible to see your plant grow several new leaves in a matter of just a few days or weeks! In the winter, it's normal not to have any new growth.

Do fiddle leaf figs grow from top or bottom? ›

We love to see growth on our fiddle leaf fig trees, but we prefer fresh new growth at the top of the tree, not the very bottom of the trunk. Leaves at the base of the tree can give your fiddle a bushy or even unbalanced appearance, which isn't the best thing for an ornamental plant.

Do fiddle leaf fig leaves get bigger? ›

Fiddle leaf figs are beautiful plants, which is why they're so popular! So it's really frustrating when something throws off the aesthetic we're going for. New fiddle leaf fig leaves grow from the top of the plant and should grow just as large or larger than the leaves below it.

How do you know if a fiddle leaf is root bound? ›

If the roots of your fiddle leaf fig are showing on the surface of the soil, especially if they are growing in a circle inside the rim of the pot, it is a sign that your fiddle leaf fig is root-bound. You may also notice thick lumpy roots around the base of the plant. When roots protrude through the bottom of the pot.

How big do fiddle leaf figs get? ›

A fiddle-leaf fig is perfect as a focal point of a room if you can situate it in a floor-standing container where the plant is allowed to grow to at least 6 feet tall. (Most indoor specimens reach around 10 feet tall.)

How fast do fiddle leaf figs grow? ›

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.

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