I bought my first (and only) fig tree from The Home Depot 5 years ago, and its since grown to be 8′ tall. Through much trial and error and countless hours of research I’ve learnt everything there is to know about taking care of a fiddle leaf fig tree. Now that I’m a fig tree master I am ready to share my wealth of knowledge with you all! I’ve put together this ultimate fiddle leaf fig tree care guide to help you take care of your new plant.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a fiddle leaf fig tree, but are nervous about looking after one, don’t worry! They aren’t as finicky as everyone says they are. Just follow this fiddle leaf fig tree care guide and you’ll have many happy years with your figgy. I’ll walk you through common questions like how much sunlight a fig tree needs, how often to water a fiddle leaf fig tree, and more! I’ll also go over common problems you might encounter with your fiddle leaf fig tree like leaves turning brown, root rot etc.
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How Much Sunlight Does A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Need?
Your fiddle leaf fig tree needs lots of indirect sunlight. While some direct sunlight is ok, your fig tree should be shielded from south or west facing windows. Afternoon sun from the south and west is too strong and could be harmful to your plant. Place your new fig tree in a bright room close to a window but with not too much direct sunlight.
Fiddle leaf fig trees are pretty sensitive to their environment and they don’t like too much change. It will take a few months for your new plant to get used to your home so try to refrain from moving your plant around the house. When you take your plant home for the first time you should already have a place in mind of where you want it to live.
Rotate your fig tree every few months to make sure your tree grows strait. Fiddle leaf fig trees have a tendency to reach/grow towards the sun which can cause it to lean to the side. Gently shaking your tree from side to side is also a great way to encourage strait growth. By grabbing the trunk and moving it back and forward you mimic the wind. This strengthens the trunk of your tree and it will be less likely to lean.
How Often Should I Water A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?
Ah, the age old question, how often should I water my fiddle leaf fig tree? Overwatering and under-watering is the most common issue beginners face when caring for their fiddle leaf fig tree. Watering is a relatively basic skill – but it’s easy to get it wrong. If your plant has too much water the leaves will wilt, turn brown/yellow, and drop off. And once a leaf falls off – they never grow back.
This is why I highly suggest purchasing a water meter like this one. A water meter is key when caring for your fiddle leaf fig tree because it takes the guessing out of watering your plant. This inexpensive water meter reads the soil moisture levels deep by the root of the plant and will alert you when it’s time to water.
If you decide not to use a water meter as part of your fiddle leaf fig tree care routine I’ve got some watering tips for you.
- Water just enough so the top soil is visibly wet – but there is no water at the bottom of your pot.
- Make sure your fiddle leaf fig tree is in a pot with adequate drainage holes. You’ll know when you’ve overwatered if water comes out the bottom.
- Only water again once the top soil has dried out.
- The time between waterings will vary based on the time of year and temperature of your home.
Fig Tree Leaf Care
The health of your fiddle leaf fig tree’s leaves are SO important. Leaves are vital to your plant growing big and strong. Taking it back to that 6th grade science class lesson on photosynthesis – plants get most of their nutrients from the sun! Make sure you follow these tips for healthy leaves!
Misting is a must! Being a tropical plant, fiddle leaf fig trees need to be in a humid environment. Unfortunately our homes are quite dry in comparison so the best way to mimic that humid environment is to mist regularly. Get yourself a plant mister and go to town! I mist my fiddle leaf fig trees every other day – but this really isn’t something you can overdo.
Don’t forget to dust! Just like the rest of your home, your fig tree collects dust! When there is a build up of dust on your plant’s leaves it inhibits the ability for it to soak up sunshine. Remember – your fig tree’s leaves love to be in a wet humid environment. Dust will dry them out and prevent them from soaking up the suns nutrients. I recommend dusting your plants leaves at least once a month.
After dusting I highly recommend polishing your plant leaves. Polishing your fiddle leaf fig tree’s leaves locks in moisture and encourages health. Not to mention it makes your tree LOOK healthy too. By far the easiest way to polish leaves is by purchasing a leaf spray like this one. A little goes a long way! Be careful to use sparingly or it will look like you sprayed grease all over your plant.
If you’d prefer to avoid using a leaf spray, coconut oil also works great. Just apply a bit of coconut oil on a paper towel and gently apply to each individual leaf. This task can be a tedious one – which is why I highly recommend a plant polish spray.
The roots are just as important as the leaves when it comes to fiddle leaf fig tree care. The number one thing you need to look out for is root rot. The most common cause of root rot in a fig tree is too much water and inadequate drainage. If your plant has root rot, brown spots will begin to appear on the leaves. To avoid overwatering use a water meter like this one, and you’ll never have to guess if your plant needs water again!
If you suspect your fiddle leaf fig plant has root rot, pull the plant out of the pot to inspect the roots. You may need to break apart the soil to properly look at the roots. If the soil is wet and the roots are mushy, the fig tree has root rot.
To save your plant from root rot rinse the soil and identify all the rotting areas. Using a pair of sharp plant shears like this one, remove all the mushy roots. Re-plant your fig tree in a pot with adequate drainage like this one.
Trimming A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
If you’ve followed this guide to looking after your fiddle leaf fig tree you will eventually reach a point where you’ll have to trim your tree. Successful fiddle leaf fig trees will reach a height of 8′ within three years! Before you pull out your cutting shears – read this post! This popular blog post is all about how to propagate your fiddle leaf fig tree. Its so easy to do and goes hand in hand with trimming your tree. Don’t throw away those trimmings – learn how to propagate them here!
OK now onto the trimming. The best time of year to trim your fig tree is in the spring. Fiddle leaf fig trees go into growth mode in the spring and will easily sprout new branches during this time. I usually trim a length of 3-4 leaves off my fig tree at a time. Keep in mind that usually two new branches will sprout wherever you cut. The new branches will but beneath the top leaves of your tree. This is a super exciting stage in your fiddle leaf fig tree’s life because now you can start to shape it into an instagram worthy plant!
Re-potting Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Deciding if you need to re-pot a fiddle leaf fig tree can be tricky. If you think your tree is getting too big for the pot, or if the drainage is inadequate – its time to re-pot! Fiddle leaf fig trees like their roots to be in a tight ball, so be sure to not use a pot that is too large. I recently re-potted my largest fig tree and I’m so glad I did. My tree had the following symptoms:
- Some leaves had started to fall off
- Most of the lower leaves were very droopy
- Dark spots started to appear on the edges of some leaves
I suspected the fiddle leaf fig tree needed to be re-potted because of these signs. Around a week after I re-potted my plant the leaves opened up again and it was clear my fiddle leaf fig tree was much happier.