Fiddle Leaf Fig Care – Grow Guide for Indoor Houseplants
With its tall, columnar shape and big, gangly leaves, the fiddle leaf fig tree makes a dramatic living sculpture in a well lit room. Fiddle-leafs can be grown outdoors in USDA Zones 10 and 11, but are most popular as bold, attention grabbing house plants.
The fiddle-leaf fig aka ficus lyrata has a reputation for being finicky. It’s true that fiddle-leafs suffer when the soil is too dry or too wet; they suffer with too much sun or too little sun; they suffer if the air is too dry; and they don’t like cool drafty areas. But, if we follow a few simple care tips, a fiddle leaf fig plant indoors will thrive for years. Indoor fiddle leaf fig care is easy and fun!
Best Soil for Fiddle Leaf Figs
Plant your fiddle-leaf in a humus-rich, loose, well-drained potting medium. Use an Indoor Potting Mix or our Fiddle Leaf Fig Soil. We recommend augmenting the indoor houseplant soil with one-third to one-half cactus potting mix, like the one Perfect Plants specially formulates for succulents and cacti, to improve the drainage and aeration around the roots.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Watering
Water your indoor fiddle leaf fig tree smartly. Watering too much and watering too little have similar effects on the violin shaped leaves, causing them to wilt and eventually drop. Wait until the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch for about an inch deep, then water deeply with tepid water until water drains out the bottom.
Your fig will need more frequent watering in summer (maybe once a week); less in winter (maybe once a month). The most common cause of premature death in fiddle-leaf figs is overwatering. Pay attention to your fiddle-leaf and you will learn when it wants a drink. You do not want root rot or warm wet conditions, wet feet or water at the bottom of the pot.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Light Requirements
The fiddle-leaf fig needs indirect bright filtered light, but not direct sun. Full sun will cause a fig’s leaves to scorch, turn yellow, and drop off; too shady a position will cause the green leaves to shrivel and drop off. The best position is an east facing window with bright indirect light, but not so close that the sun’s rays touch the leaves. Dropping leaves are a sign that something is wrong so pay attention to your plant.
Remember that sunlight coming in a sunny window varies between the seasons. In winter, the afternoon sun stays closer to the horizon and penetrates further into the room; in summer, the sun is higher in the sky and direct rays do not reach as far into the room. Rotate the indoor plant periodically as it leans and grows toward the indirect light. We want to maintain its symmetry. A rolling plant stand can be very handy for a large houseplant.
Other Plant Requirements
There should be moderate air circulation around the plant to prevent fungus diseases from gaining a foothold. A ceiling fan is excellent for this purpose. Avoid cool drafts such as from air conditioning vents in summer or poorly sealed windows in winter months. Cold drafts can cause leaves to dry, turn yellow or have leaves turn brown with spots, and/or drop. Move your plant in the case it does get cold or has leaf drops.
Keep your fig warm. The minimum temperature for fiddle-leafs in winter is about 50°F. In summer, 60-75°F is ideal, with the lower temperatures at night.
The fiddle-leaf fig is native to the tropics and requires a warm, humid environment, especially during the winter when most homes have very dry air. Fiddle-leaf fig does best with a relative humidity between 30% and 60%, whereas most homes are around 10% RH in winter. The best way to provide adequate humidity is to place a local-use humidifier near the tropical plant.
Misting the fig’s leaves regularly is a good second choice. Grow lots of other houseplants nearby; this raises the humidity for all. Stand the fig’s container or grow pot above a tray of water: Spread a layer of gravel in a large saucer and fill with water to just below the gravel. Place the fig’s container on top of the gravel. Evaporation from this “humidity tray” will raise the humidity around the plant.
Best Fertilizer for Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fertilize your fiddle-leaf about every 6 months during the spring and summer growth period with Perfect Plants Fiddle Leaf Fig Fertilizer. Apply fertilizer to the top of the soil in the existing pot according to label directions. It will tell you how much to apply per pot size.
Do not fertilize in winter. You can also purchase this fertilizer on Amazon Prime for free shipping. Fiddle leaf fig plant food is essential for ficus lyrata to keep important nutrients flowing. The NPK ratio is 16-5-11.
When to Repot Fiddle Leaf Fig
Repot your fiddle leaf fig every 1-3 years. We don’t want roots to clog up the container’s drainage holes and become root bound. Loosen pot-bound root systems and trim off any that are too long. Shake out some of the old potting medium and repot in a container that is only a little larger than the original.
If your fiddle-leaf is already as big as you want it to get, you can return it to the same container after trimming the root ball carefully and adding new potting soil. Do not trim off more than 20% of the root ball. Trimming the roots will keep the plant from getting much bigger. The best time to repot is in spring.
Pinch off the top of the main stem when the large fiddle leaf fig tree has reached the desired height. This will create a stronger and more compact houseplant. Do your repotting and pruning in spring so the fig will have a whole growing season to recover.
Pests on Fiddle Leaf Fig Indoors
Figs are occasionally attacked by insect pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale insects, spider mites, or whiteflies. Inspect the large leaves and young stems regularly, and if signs of infestation occur, spray or wipe down the leaves with an insecticidal soap. You can make your own bug killing solution by adding two teaspoons of a mild liquid soap such as Dawn® or Castile® to one quart of water.
Keep your fig leaves clean and shiny by wiping with a damp cloth occasionally. This does more than improve the fig’s appearance – it removes the layer of dust that can hinder critical metabolic processes such as transpiration, CO2 uptake, and photosynthesis.