Beginner's Guide to Fiddle Leaf Figs - UpPlant
Beginner's Guide to Fiddle Leaf Figs

Beginner’s Guide to Fiddle Leaf Figs

Fiddle leaf figs are one of the most popular tropical indoor plants to own in 2022. But they can be finicky to care for and keep alive; especially for beginners. The Ficus Lyrata or ‘fiddle leaf fig tree’ is essentially a miniature tree. It features a sturdy round trunk and green violin-shaped leaves. After seeing one for yourself, it’s hard to say “no” to this trending plant staple! Besides, who wouldn’t want to grow a tree in their house?!!

Aside from its unique leaf shape, the Fiddle Leaf Fig has one common attribute: diva-like demands and the inability to be patient. Many plant parents end up throwing in the towel when they cannot get their new Ficus plant to acclimate to their new home, no matter how hard they might try. The silver lining here is that it’s more than possible to raise a healthy and happy Fig indoors all year long with the right information! The key is being prepared for what your Fiddle Leaf Fig will need to live its best life possible.

Keep reading for a crash course on all things Fiddle Leaf Fig or skip ahead using the handy links below.

In this article

How to care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

How to care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Consider this a quick and easy cheat sheet on how to care for your Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Light

Like most tropical plants, the Fiddle Leaf Fig needs bright indirect light to thrive. Place your Ficus near a sunny window, or under a LED plant light ( if you have them ). Too much light can burn the edges of the leaves, and too little light will deprive them of healthy growth.

Water

If you only remember one thing from this guide, know that the #1 fastest way to kill your Fiddle Leaf Fig is by overwatering!

To tell when your plant is ready to be watered, make sure the soil feels dry to the touch. Make sure you water all parts of the soil equally to share the love! Lastly, let the excess water drain out through the bottom or sides to avoid any chance of root rot. Check back periodically and repeat this process when the soil feels dry again.

Potting & soil

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig should be potted around a loose and well-draining soil mix. Some plant parents prefer ceramic pots, while others may only use plastic nursery pots. No matter your preference, your container should always have drainage holes on the bottom to avoid root rot!

Temperature & humidity

Fiddle Leaf Figs originate from the rainforest, so naturally, they favour warm weather. Their ideal temperature range is between 18 and 24 degrees, making them the perfect indoor plant!

On lukewarm days during summer and spring, you can bring your Fig outside for some vitamin D. Just make sure it’s not too hot outside and it’s not left out in direct sunlight. Avoid the times of the year where temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day ( like autumn ), and never leave your Fig outside when it’s below 15 degrees Celsius!

Humidity also plays a crucial role in your Fiscus’s health. Many plant parents agree that the average humidity a Fiddle Leaf Fig enjoys is between 30% to 60%. If you would like to raise the humidity without heating your entire home, consider purchasing a plant humidifier.

How to prune a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

How to prune a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Even plants can use a haircut every now and then! If you see any dead leaves, you may want to clip them away with shears for a cleaner look. You have the power to shape your Fiddle Leaf Fig however you wish by strategically removing and notching branches. You can also propagate your Fiddle Leaf Fig this way.

Ideally, the remaining leaves should be clean so they can absorb as much light as possible. If you feel like going the extra mile, then wipe your plant leaves regularly with a damp cloth. This is completely optional but does return that nice rubber-like shine that this plant is well known for.

How to repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

How to repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

One of the biggest mistakes made with Fiddle Leaf Figs is repotting them too soon or too often. Believe me when I say repotting should be kept to a minimum, even if the plant seems tightly bound in. Fiddle Leaf Figs like being root-bound. However, when you feel your Fig has truly outgrown its space, try to only repot it in the spring or summer. This gives your plant the best chance to develop a better and more healthy root system before next winter.

To coax a tightly bound Fiddle Leaf Fig out of its pot, gently pull upwards on the bottom of the trunk and downwards on the old pot. Loosen the packed soil and roots on the bottom, “massaging” the roots for necessary air circulation. With your new pot at the ready, fill the empty container with a few centimetres of new potting soil. Then, add in your plant with plenty of potting soil to fill the space.

How to propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

How to propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

There are two ways to multiply your plant and encourage growth. The most popular option is taking a stem cutting and rooting it in water or soil. Alternatively, you can try an advanced method known as “notching”, which helps add new branches to your growing tree.

If you are just starting out with a rather large Fiddle Leaf Fig, water propagation is a great first step!

  1. Find a branch with at least one leaf and at least one node.
  2. Take a disinfected pair of gardening shears and cut as close to the base of the plant as you can.
  3. Place this cutting in a container of water and give it plenty of light.

If you’re lucky, the cutting will “take” to its surroundings and you may find new roots emerging after a couple of days!

Common problems with a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Figs can be notably sensitive to their surrounding environment. They can also experience watering issues. Lucky for us, plants are very expressive, so you should be able to see some telltale signs well before it’s too late. Keep reading for some common problems you might see, what they mean, and how to fix them.

Red spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves

Red spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves

If you see growing leaves with red spots, don’t panic! This is a very normal condition called “edema”. The short explanation is that edema is normal for growing plants, and the spots will eventually fade as time passes.

Another reason could be that you’ve got yourself an overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig. Fiddle Leaf Figs can absorb more water than they can handle at times. This leads to the cells in the leaves bursting and turning red. While this may sound a bit scary, your plant should recover naturally over time.

To reduce the chance of seeing edema spots, implement a more regulated watering schedule with a specific amount of water each time.

Brown spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves

Brown spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves

Brown spots on your leaves can mean two things: either it’s dehydrated and needs more water, or the sun is so harsh that it’s burning the leaves.

For Fiddle Leaf Figs, always avoid harsh direct sunlight on the leaves, and water when the soil feels dry to the touch. This should do the trick!

Fiddle Leaf Fig dropping leaves

Fiddle Leaf Fig dropping leaves

This is where the picky side of Ficus plants like the Fiddle Leaf Fig really show. Plants don’t like change, and they can face a shock when conditions are suddenly different. Causes of shock include temperature drops, repotting, or moving your plant from one place to another. When the environment drastically changes, your Fiddle Leaf Fig may drop a few leaves as if they are protesting.

Remember to keep your plant conditions constant. If change is necessary, slowly change one thing at a time so your Fiddle Leaf Fig can acclimate.

Yellow leaves on Fiddle Leaf Fig

Yellow leaves on Fiddle Leaf Fig

Unfortunately, yellowing leaves are one of the more tricky ailments to pin down. our Ficus might be trying to tell you the following:

  • It’s nutrient deficient and wants fertilizer.
  • The soil is wet and it’s been overwatered.
  • It wants more light.

In saying that, if you only see a few yellow leaves every now and then, there’s no immediate need to worry or to rush to a solution. However, if the pattern of yellow leaves continues, then start with more sunlight and less water.

( Psst: this is not an exact science. Pay attention to watering, light, temperature, and all growth conditions that might affect your plant! )

Fiddle Leaf Fig size

Size matters…

Yeah, I said it.

Even though Fiddle Leaf Figs can be difficult to nurture, one of their most-loved qualities is how tall they can grow. A young and growing Ficus may only be half a meter tall when potted – a convenient companion for small growing spaces! However, a mature Fiddle Leaf Fig growing outdoors can reach up to 15 meters high!

The beauty of the Fiddle Leaf Fig is not only in its glossy leaves but the ability to purchase them at almost any size and budget. Think small, tall, and anything in between. Looking for a little sapling to grow on your desk? You got it. Do you dream about decorating your home with an indoor tree almost as tall as you? Your wish is this Ficus’ command.

Are Fiddle Leaf Figs toxic to cats, dogs, and children?

Are Fiddle Leaf Figs toxic to cats, dogs, and children?

Like all members of the Ficus Family, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is toxic to cats, dogs, and small children when ingested. If this does not fit in your space, try growing a Money Plant (it’s good luck!) or a tranquil Parlour Palm instead.

If you don’t have any pets, children, or feel confident enough you can keep your Fiddle Leaf Fig safely out of reach, then it’s time to go out and purchase yourself one.

Is the Fiddle Leaf Fig right for me?

Is the Fiddle Leaf Fig right for me?

Fiddle Leaf Figs can be a tough indoor plant to care for. They’re definitely not as easy as a Monstera Deliciosa or Snake Plant for example. So, if you haven’t gotten your hands dirty yet ( pun intended ) you may want to consider an alternative. But if you’re up for the challenge, raising a Fiscus can be very rewarding.

If things go south and your new plant does die, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for all the work you’ve done so far! You’ve researched a new plant, brought it into your home, and worked tirelessly to make it feel welcome. This is something worth celebrating!! Enjoy your efforts and maybe try out a fake fiddle leaf fig tree in the future.

If you find yourself enjoying your Ficus Lyrata, we can recommend some more alternatives from the same family. We love the Rubber Tree ( Ficus Elastica ), the gorgeous Weeping Fig ( Ficus Benjamina ), and the colourful Petra Croton ( this is technically NOT a Ficus, but is very similar to the care needs of a Fiddle Leaf Fig! ).

Comment down below your experience caring for a Fiddle Leaf Fig.

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