How To Care For Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle leaf figs are the darlings of the design world and for good reason! Their large, architectural leaves make a dramatic statement and they are a great modern accent in homes and offices. While the ­fig may have the reputation of being a bit of a prima donna, if you follow some basic guidelines, you and your fi­g can have a long and productive relationship.

Here are some basic guidelines for caring for a fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata). Remember, if you ever need help troubleshooting plant issues, you can visit us or post your questions on social media using hashtag #heyswansons and we will be happy to help!

SOIL

Fiddle Leaf Figs are jungle dwellers that like rich, well-drained soil. We recommend E.B. Stone Organics ‘Edna’s Best’ Potting Soil when repotting your 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. Generally, fiddle leaf figs need to be repotted every 1-2 years.

What if I don't want to move my fig into a larger pot?

Another option, especially for a large plant, is to trim the root ball carefully and repot the plant back into its old pot, adding new potting soil. Remember not to trim more than 20% of the root ball.

Trimming the roots will also keep the plant from growing much bigger, so this is an option when your plant has gotten as big as your house or office will accommodate!

Photo: Swansons Nursery

Photo: Swansons Nursery

LIGHT

Give your ­fig bright but indirect light. Direct afternoon sun can be too strong and burn the leaves. If you have only a South- or West-facing window, try moving it back a little from the window or place a sheer curtain between the window and the plant to block the sun's direct rays.

 

WATER

Fiddle Leaf Figs enjoy consistent watering to keep them moist but not soggy. Water slowly and thoroughly until water runs out of the pot’s drainage holes, then let the soil dry to approximately 1” before watering well again. Be sure to empty any water left in your cache pot or tray so the plant does not sit in water!

Water slightly more during the growing season (spring and summer) and slightly less during the winter.

What are signs I'm watering incorrectly?

If fi­gs do not get adequate water, their leaves may begin to yellow or brown at the edges and eventually drop. However, if the plant is kept too moist, the roots will be unable to gain access to oxygen and may begin to rot. Signs of overwatering are similar to those of underwatering and include yellowing, browning, and dropping of the lower/older leaves.

Photo: Swansons Nursery

Photo: Swansons Nursery

HUMIDITY & TEMPERATURE

Figs like the warm, humid conditions of the rainforest. To increase humidity in your home or of­fice, you can place a shallow tray of water near or under your plant. If placing the tray under the plant, fill it with pebbles and keep the water level below them, so the roots of the plant are not sitting in standing water.

You may also want to mist your plant a few times a week to increase humidity around the leaves. A humidi­fier in the winter can also do wonders to increase humidity and keep your plant happy.

Fiddle Leaf Figs are not big fans of drafts or sudden changes in temperature. Cold drafts from windows or air conditioning can cause the leaves to drop. They are most content when nighttime lows do not drop below 60 degrees.

 

FERTILIZER

Fertilize with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer during the growing season, following the directions on the package. You can also add an inch or two of fresh potting soil annually, especially if you are not repotting that year.

PESTS

Stress on a plant can cause it to be more vulnerable to pests. A happy, well-watered, and misted plant will be less likely to suffer from pests! 

How will I know if my plant has pests?

Figs are susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. It’s always a good idea to regularly check the foliage of your plant. If you see insects, send us a picture or bring a sample in and we can recommend an appropriate natural pesticide depending on the pest attacking the plant.

Another clue is the leaves yellowing and dropping from the plant. However, this can also be due to watering issues. If you don't see any pests on your plant, try adjusting your watering to see if the issue clears up.

 

OTHER TIPS

Those large, beautiful leaves can attract dust! Give your Fi­g a cleaning with a soft, dry cloth every once in a while to keep it shiny and healthy!

Remember to turn your plant regularly to keep the growth even and prevent tilting!

 

Send us photos of your fiddle leaf figs! Use hashtag #heyswansons to show us your beauties!
Photo: @urbansoule (Instagram)

Photo: @urbansoule (Instagram)