Since houseplants gained popularity, the Fiddle Leaf Fig has been the indoor plant that has dominated fashion and design trends (Ficus lyrata).
This plant can be found as a tree or in its younger, more shrubby stage. It has huge, glossy green leaves on a substantial-sized plant that can grow to be at least 8 feet tall. The ficus family, which is made up of many species that have long been popular indoor plants, includes various species, including the fiddle leaf, which has some of the biggest leaves of any of them. It can be difficult at first to keep a fiddle leaf fig happy at home, but after you learn some of its fundamental preferences, you can maintain your temperamental fiddle’s happiness and health!
Let’s just clear up one thing first.
The fiddle leaf fig is a drama queen in general. In other words, these plants consistently prefer certain conditions, and if those requirements are not met, they sulk by shedding leaves. You guessed it: Your plant will drop leaves if it is moved, turned, or repotted. It will also drop leaves if exposed to frequent drafts or intense heat.
However, your fiddle leaf fig may still live on even though its leaves are falling. In the first 24 weeks after getting your new Ficus plant, some leaf loss is typical. If, however, the leaf falling is severe or continues, check your plant’s hydration and lighting needs to see if it is growing in the best conditions.
The fiddle leaf is not the simplest indoor fig to maintain, so if you have had trouble with one in the past or want to take a shallower dive into the Ficus world, we advise trying one of the simpler figs first. If you’re worried that your house or workplace may not have enough light, consider growing a Ficus Audrey (Ficus benghalensis), which can tolerate lower light levels, or the Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica), which is just as cool but distinct from the fiddle leaf.
The best lighting is consistent bright or filtered light, but avoid extended direct sunlight; place yourself in an east-facing window or a few feet from a south or west-facing window. To maintain balanced growth, rotate the plant every so often.
In general, most Ficus prefer consistently moist soil—never soggy soil. Prior to watering, the top 24 inches of the soil should always be dry. Water until the water runs out the drainage holes. It’s preferable to err on the side of too little watering than too much as you learn more about your plant’s watering requirements. The majority of problems are caused by overwatering, especially in the winter when development is slower. Be sure to tailor your watering frequency to the season and water roughly half as frequently in the winter. Additionally, plants growing in lower light levels could need less water than the same plants growing in higher light levels.
To ensure the success of your fiddle leaf fig plants, use a high-quality, rich, well-draining potting soil. Fiddle leaf figs don’t like their soil to be too wet or too dry.
Temperature & Humidity
The ideal temperature range for fiddle leaf figs is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But watch out for drafts from windows or doors, fans, or heating vents when planting a fiddle leaf fig. Higher humidity is favorable for fickle fiddles. There are several ways to increase the humidity in your home, including:
- Add a sizable humidifier to increase the humidity in the entire space, or use a smaller tabletop humidifier to target specific plants.
- Misting: Misting can be a terrific way to increase humidity, but if done improperly, it can promote leaf diseases. Use a fine mister and only spray in the morning to give the water time to evaporate during the day.
To maintain healthy growth and vibrant color, use a basic indoor plant food diluted to half strength. Use fertilizer from March through September, but avoid feeding during the winter. When watering newly transplanted plants for the first time, Malibu Compost Tea for Houseplants can be used to stimulate stressed plants or assist prevent transplant shock.
If consumed, the plant is harmful to both people and animals in all parts. Being in contact with sap while handling plant parts might cause moderate skin irritation; use caution and gloves when handling.
Pruning is best done in the spring when the plant is actively growing again because it encourages branching or horizontal development (many Ficus species will “bleed from cut areas with a white sap that is sticky and contains latexprotect floors and furniture with paper, cloth, or plastic sheeting before pruning indoors, and wear gloves for protection).
One of the main issues that farmers face is leaf browning, which can result from a variety of issues. It is useful to make a note of the shape, pattern, and color of the spots as well as where on the plant the damaged leaves are located (i.e. toward the top or bottom of the plant). Due in part to their big size, fiddle leaf figs’ leaf issues can often be the most striking; each damaged leaf has a significant effect. They can be vulnerable to environmental shock and transplant shock, as was previously noted, and will likely exhibit some degree of leaf drop for the first 24 weeks after being brought into your home. If brown patches appear or dropping persists, one of the following factors may be to blame:
- Older leaves (toward the interior and lower parts of the plant) are typically harmed first by root rot brought on by overwatering; the damage appears as a black area in the middle of the leaf or sporadic dark blotches.
- prolonged dryness/underwatering
- Most damage occurs to the newest leaves, which are on the leaf’s edges.
- infection with bacteria
- regions of new growth that are worse off may become yellow, appear unnaturally tiny, or have spots that are more brown or reddish in hue than black.
- Pest-specific insect damage varies; keep an eye out for exceptionally shiny or sticky leaves as a sign of pests nearby and conduct a closer inspection.
Scale and fungus gnats: Regrettably, Ficus plants are virtually as common among insects as they are among people. Scale can be hard to see, especially in the beginning phases of the “infestation,” and when they are, they can be numerous and challenging to get rid of. They resemble tiny tan lumps that can be removed with a fingernail or small tool. They are typically seen along the midrib of a leaf (top or bottom) or on a stem at the point where a leaf is joined. You may identify issues early and get back on the road to recovery by regularly inspecting your plant and cleaning its foliage. Find out how to spot scale and get rid of it here.
If you start to experience fungus gnat issues, top-dress with Mosquito Bits or lightly dust the top of the soil with Diatomaceous Earth. Avoiding overwatering your plants and waiting until the top 2 or 3 inches are dry before watering again are the best ways to keep fungus gnats away.
The Little Fiddle
The ficus in this image is a “Little Fiddle,” which is a smaller variation of the fiddle leaf fig. It doesn’t just have a cute growth pattern; it also has a tendency to be a little bit more resilient than the bigger fiddles. Fiddle leaf figs can grow in a variety of shapes, such as trees, bushes, and columns.
How cold should it be for fiddle leaf figs?
Floppy Leaf Figs are renowned for being finicky when it comes to growing conditions.
Fiddle leaf figs do best in a temperature range of 60 to 75 F. Never keep plants in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time. It is easily able to resist temperatures of up to 100 F. However, fiddle leaf figs can suffer if the temperature is too hot or too low.
We all know how much fiddle leaf figs enjoy the sun. This becomes a problem in the fall when the days grow shorter and the sunlight that does shine down is often dim or at an acute angle.
A fiddle that has been content in a particular window all summer may suddenly receive a sunburn if the sun has shifted to shine directly on it in the fall, or if the light has diminished and your plant doesn’t get enough. This is because the sun’s position in the sky changes as the seasons change.
Be cautious of the illumination coming through the window of your fiddle. You might need to move the plant if you notice that the sun is shifting such that it shines straight in the window. This is especially true for windows that face south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere.
On the other hand, if the sun moves away from a window, keep an eye out for symptoms that your plant isn’t getting enough light.
If this appears to be the case, you might choose to use a grow light in addition over the winter.
The weather warms up in the spring, and fiddles are typically content. When the temperatures plummet in the fall, the true challenge begins! Being tropical plants, fiddle leaf figs prefer warm temperatures at night, no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you play fiddles outside, you must bring them inside at night when the temperature drops.
If you reside in a chilly area, the fall and winter months may also see lower temperatures in your home. Keep a close watch on the soil’s moisture content because this may lessen the amount of water your violin needs. Reduce the amount of water you feed your instrument but maintain the same timetable if you observe that the soil takes longer than usual to dry out.
Is direct sunshine required for fiddle leaf figs?
Fiddle Leaf Figs need to be thoroughly watered about once a week to match their love of natural light. You should modify the amount of watering based on the size of the plant and, consequently, the size of the roots. As a general rule, water the plant thoroughly only after the top 2 to 3 inches of soil have dried up. This entails watering it till water drips out the bottom if it’s in a planter with a drainage hole. However, avoid letting the drip tray fill up with water for too long because root rot can readily develop in this situation. Remember to water the plant slowly and in a circular motion around it, making sure to wet all of the soil. Water will then reach all of the roots rather than just some.
A Sustee Aqua-meter is one of the greatest instruments for determining how frequently your Fiddle Leaf Fig requires water (available for purchase in our shops). We have discovered that there are particular seasons of the year when our plants are significantly more thirsty than usual since we started using these in our stores. The Sustee changes color from blue to white when the soil is sufficiently dry to prevent overwatering from occurring after it has become saturated with water.
You should water all tropical plants with water that is room temperature. A plant will undoubtedly experience shock if exposed to hot or extremely cold water, just as it would if the same conditions existed outside.
Prior to watering, aerate and break up the soil to improve water absorption. In order to ensure that water reaches all of the plant’s roots rather than draining out along the planter’s edges, we also advise watering very slowly around the top of the soil.
Fiddle Leaf Figs need some routine care, just like most other plants. One crucial maintenance procedure for your fiddle leaf coincidentally involves its leaves, which are also its most noticeable feature. Wonderful duty in the shape of routine dusting comes with great leaves. Fiddle Leaf Figs require frequent dusting due to the size of their leaves. As dust builds up on plant leaves, dust particles interfere with the plant’s ability to absorb sunlight and carry out photosynthesis. Given how much Fiddle Leaf Figs adore light, giving your plant a frequent dusting will go a long way toward keeping it healthy.
Rotating your plant monthly or biweekly is a good idea in addition to dusting the leaves. By rotating your plant, you’ll ensure that it receives an equal distribution of light, preventing one side from growing much faster than the other and resulting in a solid, symmetrical Fiddle Leaf Fig.
There are a few things you can do to encourage your Fiddle Leaf Fig (or any tree, for that matter) to start developing branches. First, try providing your plant with additional light. Trees naturally sprout branches, and if they have a lot of natural light, they may have more energy to devote to doing so. Cutting off your plant’s highest point of growth is another approach to promote branching. As a result, the plant will be forced to start branching out from the sides rather than continuing to grow vertically. Visit our pruning journal entry to find out more about pruning and branching.
Aerating the soil once every few months prevents the soil from being compacted for people who don’t already do so. The ability of your plant to absorb water is one of many factors that can be badly impacted by compacted soil, which eventually forms tiny pockets of soil where water never penetrates. It is possible to aerate using a variety of tools, including chopsticks and official soil aerators that are of a similar size and shape. To avoid destroying too many roots, gently press the aerator deeper into the earth as you go. By breaking up any areas where the soil has clumped together, do this a variety of times around the soil to keep your plant healthy and happy.
Last but not least, we advise using a “less is more” philosophy when it comes to fertilizing your Fiddle Leaf Fig and other indoor plants. It’s advisable to avoid providing your plants with too many extra nutrients at once. In the spring and summer, we strongly advise adding a slow release pellet fertilizer, such as the Osmocote Plus Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food, into the top layer of the plant’s soil. These pellet fertilizers typically last for a few months.
Winter is a challenging season for indoor plants, including Fiddle Leaf Figs, because of the obvious lack of natural light and the cooler temperatures. As indicated above, keeping an eye out for cold windows is a smart place to start, but there are other things you can do to keep your Fiddle Leaf content throughout the chilly months.
People frequently experience problems with heating vents during the winter, but since they aren’t used for more than half the year, it’s simple to forget about them. Plan to relocate all of your plants away from any heating vents when it is time for them to turn on. Repeated hot air bursts have the potential to scorch leaves and quickly dry out your plants.
Break up the dirt a little with your fingertips before watering your plant in the winter. Soil is easily clumped and compacted in winter due to the dry indoor air. By lightly breaking it up with your fingertips, you can prevent water from dripping through the soil and out the sides of the planter.
It’s also important to note that a humidifier can benefit Fiddle Leaf Figs and other tropical plants all year long, but particularly during the winter when the indoor air turns dry. Your plants are able to flourish as they would in a rainforest thanks to the continuous increase in moisture circulating in the air, which prevents browning leaf tips.
Fiddle Leaf Figs thrive when put immediately in front of windows since they require a lot of natural light.
Once a week, thoroughly water the soil, allowing the top few inches to dry out before watering again.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about caring for fiddle leaf figs below, in person at one of our stores, or by contacting us.