Fiddle Leaf Figs are the stars of the houseplant world right now, and there are some basic rules of thumb that you can employ to keep your fiddle leaf fig healthy throughout the seasons.
Fiddle leaf figs will take all of the light you can give them. Place your Ficus lyrata near your best window-preferably one that receives sunlight all day. Inadequate sunlight can result in yellowing and spotted foliage and leaf drop. While you do want to place it near a window, you don’t need to place it right up against a window. Placing a plant too close to the window makes it susceptible to temperature swings and drafts, which can stress plants out.
Fiddle leaf figs are hardy to 50° Fahrenheit, and so once temperatures consistently stay above 50° they can be kept outside. When moving your Ficus lyrata (or any houseplant) outside, it is best to acclimate them to direct sunlight. For the first week or two, place them in a sheltered area that receives a couple of hours of filtered morning sun. Morning sun is less harsh than afternoon sun. Slowly move the fig tree in the next few weeks to its final destination. Fiddle leaf figs, once acclimated, can take 4-6 hours of filtered sun. Be sure to bring them inside once temperatures dip below 50°.
Over-watering and inadequate light are the most common issues we see with fiddle leaf figs. When a fiddle leaf fig needs to be watered, the newest leaves at the top of the plant will begin to wilt slightly. Water your fiddle leaf fig deeply and infrequently-anywhere from once every two weeks to once a month. Take some time each day to look at the plant, noticing any discoloration or wilt. Simply taking a few moments each day to observe, learn about, and enjoy your plant will teach you more about your plant than any blog or website can.
An over-watered fiddle leaf fig
While fiddle leaf figs are actively growing in the spring and summer months fertilizer will help them to sustain new growth. An all-purpose indoor plant food fertilizer will do the trick. Simply follow the directions on the packaging of the fertilizer you choose, and apply every 3-4 weeks during your plant’s active growing season.
Even if you have placed your fiddle leaf fig in the pot that it will stay in for life, it is sometimes worth repotting into the same pot to refresh the soil and replenish nutrients. This also gives you the opportunity to inspect the root system, ensuring that the roots look healthy. When repotting or potting up a fiddle leaf fig, use a high-quality light indoor potting mix like EarthMix® Proganix-I™, which has added nutrients for healthy houseplants.
So you just brought a Ficus lyrata home. Now it’s time to repot it! We have put together this video that walks you through how to repot a fiddle leaf fig.
Whenever you see a discolored or tattered leaf, it is perfectly fine to remove it. You can typically just pull it off. Unhealthy foliage is not photosynthesizing properly, and should be removed so that the plant can focus its energy into healthy new growth.
If you want to shape your fiddle leaf fig, it is best to do so in the early spring, before it begins actively growing during the summer months. Ficus lyrata come in tree-form, with a single bare trunk, and in bush-form, which are multiple stalks with foliage down to the base. Bush-form figs typically do not need shaping, but you may want to help a tree-form fiddle leaf fig to keep its shape by making some simple cuts. Whenever you prune, use clean, sharp shears and never prune more than about 15-20% of the plant. You’ll notice a bump in the branch right above where a leaf is attached to the branch. This is called a node. You always want to prune just above the node, without cutting into the node. Making strategic cuts above the nodes of the branches will encourage outward, rather than upward, growth.
Additional Care Tips
The leaves that give the fiddle leaf fig its name are its solar panels-they are responsible for converting sun into energy for the plant. It is important to dust off these leaves occasionally to allow the plant to photosynthesize efficiently. Simply cradle each leaf in one hand and gently wipe away dust with a soft, damp cloth.
Occasionally fiddle leaf fig plants do suffer from pest damage. The most common of these are scale, aphids, mealy bugs, and whiteflies, all of which are tiny insects that can be removed without the use of harsh chemicals. Wiping the leaves with a gentle dish soap and water solution will knock off most of the bugs. Be sure to wipe down the underside of the leaves. You can also spray with insecticidal soap, but be aware that in order for insecticidal soap to work, you will need to make contact with the insect.
That’s all, folks! Fiddle leaf fig trees are a beautiful addition to any sunny space, and by following a few simple rules of thumb, you can enjoy your fiddle leaf fig for years to come.