11 Basics Fiddle Leaf Fig Care You Need to Success

Hi lovely people! If you just add a beautiful fiddle leaf fig to your garden, or already own a fiddle leaf fig tree and want to propagate it or make it grow bigger and happier, follow these steps below to ensure your fig plant is lush and happy!

First, congrats on having a fiddle leaf fig, also called Ficus Lyrata! It is a species of fig tree native to western Africa, and it’s one of the most sought-after houseplants because of its large leaves with a glossy, violin shape.

The glossy leaves of the Ficus Lyrata often measure 12 inches long and 6 inches wide. They are dark green in color with a leathery texture.

Indoors, they can reach up to 10-15 feet tall but will grow even bigger (up to 60 feet!) when planted outdoors. It is an evergreen species that keeps its foliage all year round.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care
Ficus Lyrata – Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree (WikiCommons)

According to the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the Ficus Lyrata or Fiddle-leaf fig plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates harmful to cats and dogs. Thus, keep in mind that this houseplant is mildly toxic to your pets.

Ficus Lyrata is also toxic to people. When you prune your fiddle leaf fig plant, it releases a caustic white sap that can be dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin or is ingested. So, be sure to wear gloves while trimming them!

Another option for you to have this beautiful tree in your house without worrying is to replace the live fiddle leaf fig tree with an artificial one. It comes in many sizes and shapes at a fairly cheap price!

Fortunately, Ficus Lyrata trees have only mild levels of toxicity, and any signs of illness such as throat irritation, abdominal pain, or oral irritation after their ingestion won’t be life-threatening. The plant’s sap might even cause skin blisters if it comes into contact with the skin.

If ingested, the pet can suffer from oral irritation, intense burning in the mouth, tongue and lips excessive drooling, vomiting & difficulty swallowing.

If you suspect your pooch or feline friend has ingested a fiddle-leaf fig, then get in touch with a vet without any delay.

Is Fiddle Leaf Fig A Good Indoor Plant?

There are many benefits when you own some fiddle leaf fig plants in your house.

Many people say that the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is trendy, gorgeous, and of course, a great choice for anyone who wants to bring some ambiance into their living space. Their beauty is undeniable and so eye-catching!

The second benefit this fig plant has is it purifies the air. According to a NASA study, Ficus Lyrata fig plants, as well as some other houseplants, are great at purifying the air and getting rid of toxic chemicals.

They can be quite big in size and due to that they are excellent at filtering indoor air since they respire more than other smaller plants.

In addition, taking care of a fiddle leaf fig tree is a great way to feel productive and accomplished.

In fact, some owners become quite attached to their trees and give them names! It’s an incredibly rewarding experience that can help you develop a unique relationship with nature.

So in short, taking care of a fiddle leaf fig tree can be a real source of joy and make for great companions. Watching your fig plant sprout new leaves can put a smile on your face and give you the mental boost you need!

How to Grow and Care For Fiddle Leaf Fig

Are fiddle-leaf figs easy to care for? They are native to the tropical areas of Africa and prefer warm & humid climates.

Thus, it could be quite challenging for a home gardener to replicate their preferred conditions. That’s the reason why some say that this type of fig plant is sometimes finicky and difficult to take care of.

Despite that, the fiddle leaf figs are quite rugged and capable of tolerating an imperfect environment for a long period.

Fiddle-leaf figs don’t need a lot of special care, as long as their environment is suitable. Providing them with the right kind of growing conditions can help them flourish.

Don’t be nervous if you keep hearing some say that this fiddle-leaf fig tree is hard to maintain! Even when your fig plant has some problems, don’t throw it away or give up on it. We could rescue them when we take action in the correct way.

Let’s go to the details of how to encourage your fig plant to be healthy, strong, and big, alongside the guide to troubleshooting some of the problems that the fiddle leaf fig often faces.

1 – Light: How much light does a fiddle fig leaf need?

The Ficus Lyrata loves VERY bright, indirect light. So the best light for them is in a bright spot with a minimum of 6 hours per day.

Most of us have them indoors, so in order to give them the best tropical-like environment, let’s take a look at the place where you put the plant.

If the fiddle-leaf fig trees are in a lower light spot, a high chance that they will try to reach the sun’s direction and become flat.

Sometimes, putting your fig plant in a lower light spot is something you should not do but you might. Remember that this trendy fig plant will grow at a slower pace because it absorbs water at a slower speed than in a bright area.

Thus, it’s very important to water it less when put in a lower-light area.

If you have a south-facing window, and it’s very hot, you might scorch the leaves! So be careful of that!

A west-facing window is best for this fig plant. Give your plant at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight each day to make them flourish!

2. Watering in Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

Fiddle-leaf figs need just the right amount of moisture in their soil. A lack of water can make their leaves wilt and take away their bright green hue.

But if there’s too much water, it could lead to root rot, causing the plant to lose its leaves and eventually die.

It’s not too difficult to tell when a plant is dry or over-watered.

Signs of a dry plant are often brown spots on the edges of the leaves, as well as the curling inwards. Also, the edges of the leaves will become brittle to the touch. On the other hand, brown spots on an overwatered fiddle leaf fig tree usually start in the middle of the leaf.

If your plants are dry, the consequences will be visible all over – from the top to the bottom. Usually, root rot has a more severe effect on lower leaves compared to upper ones.

Healthy foliage typically appears vibrant and green. If you notice your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves looking yellow, brown, or sickly, it could be a symptom of root rot.

Also, another clue for you is the smell of the soil. When the plant is waterlogged, there will be a foul smell from the soil.

The best practice for watering in fiddle leaf fig care is:

  1. Make sure the soil is well-drainage, not dense, and pretty dry before watering. Use your finger to press slightly on the top inch of soil and feel if it’s dry enough or not.
  2. Water it thoroughly, to the bottom of the fig plant.
  3. Soak your fig plant once a month. Soaking is watering the fig plant until you see about 15 percent of the water coming out of the bottom of the pot. This will help flush out the salts and minerals that affect the foliage of fiddle leaf fig trees.
  4. Rotate the fiddle fig plant every time you water it, or every two weeks. This will help to make your fiddle leaf fig indoors become full and gorgeous.
  5. Water it less when put in a lower light area or in winter months.

3. Temperature & Humidity For Fiddle Leaf Fig Indoors

Fiddle-leaf figs prefer a consistent temperature between 60-85°F, away from any drafty areas & air-conditioning or heating vents that can cause sudden fluctuations. A stable room temperature is ideal for the plant to thrive.

The humidity level is quite important to these African-origin fig plants. A lack of humidity may kill them.

For optimal conditions, keep the humidity level between 40-65%, or even higher.

You could place your fig plant on a pebble tray with water (without touching the bottom of the pot), and let the water evaporate up to the plant, or using a humidifier.

Spraying your fiddle-leaf fig daily with clean water from a bottle does not help that much.

4. Fertilization for Better Ficus Lyrata Growth

During the growing seasons, it is essential to feed your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant with a high-nitrogen fertilizer to help maintain its beautiful leaves.

It is best to give your fiddle fig a fertilizer with an NPK (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) ratio of 3-1-2.

It has more nitrogen because there’s so much foliage on our fig plant and they need nitrogen.

You can fertilize your fiddle leaf fig twice a month, depending on how often you water it during the growing season. They will be very happy and grow so fast when you use this recipe.

When winter comes around, there’s usually no need for additional feeding, because at that time feeding them may lead to fertilizer burn on the leaf tips.

5. Fiddle Leaf Fig Soil & Air Circulation.

This tropical plant loves well-drainage soil. Choose good soil and add some perlite to make it porous, or you can use any indoor potting mix. You can add some clay pebbles(LECA) or coco peat (coco coir) to the soil if you want to.

If you want your fiddle-leaf fig to grow balanced and not toward any light source, make sure to rotate the plant every two weeks. This will ensure an even distribution of sunlight on all sides, making it grow evenly.

Rotating your Ficus Lyrata fig plant is a great way to revitalize it. However, don’t move it too often, as plants can become attached to certain spots.

Remember to switch up the soil every once in a while: remove any soil that has rotted or become soggy and replace it with fresh soil.

Ensuring proper air circulation is key to having successful fiddle leaf fig care. It helps reduce pests, maintains healthy growth, and prevents bacterial build-up.

Thus, good air circulation is beneficial and should be taken into consideration when looking after these Ficus Lyrata fig plants.

To improve air circulation in your space, all you need to do is shake them a little bit and turn on the fan near them.

This is because this motion helps mimic wind outdoors, encouraging secure root growth and making the plant sturdier. It’s an established fact backed by several studies.

6. Red spots Edema On Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Edema may sound alarming but it is quite common, particularly on young leaves. It is a condition where cells absorb too much water and cause them to pop, resulting in the leaf having a reddish appearance.

Red spots Edema On Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, ficus lyrata, fiddle leaf fig care,
Edema on young leaves of a fig plant. Credit @all.things.plant

Upon seeing red spots on the leaf, it can be quite worrying and you may think that the leaf is doomed. But don’t let that be a cause for concern. This redness will eventually go away and the leaf will be green again.

If you notice edema on your plant’s leaves, don’t be alarmed.

Simply keep watering it normally, make sure the top inches of soil are dry before you water, and the spots will go away once the new leaves fully develop.

Don’t take any drastic action – your plant may just need a bit of time, and usually, it’ll come back all fine.

7. Brown Spots On Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle-leaf figs are notorious for developing brown spots. In order to get rid of them, it’s important to understand what’s causing them. We’ve put together some images and examples that can help you figure out the root cause so you can take steps to nip it in the bud!

Brown spots On Fiddle Leaf Fig Caused by Root Rot

The most common brown spots are mainly caused by root rot. These spots can be classified into two types.

Bacterial brown spot is a common issue with figs and can be easily identified as it appears as dark, irregularly-shaped spots on the foliage. It can spread if left untreated, causing extensive damage to your plant. Luckily, this problem can be easily managed with simple preventive measures.

In addition to bacterial root rot, fungal root rot is also a common occurrence. It usually appears as dark brown or black spots at the base of the leaf. This problem often spreads until it causes the entire leaf to fall off. The remedy for both types of root rot remains the same.

A root supplement can be a great way to put an end to root rot infection in as little as 24 hours.

fiddle leaf fig care, brown spots on fiddle leaf fig, root rot,

To prevent root rot, it’s essential that you correct the issue of overwatering as soon as possible. If left untreated, this can lead to a deadly outcome for your fiddle leaf fig. Make sure you fix the problem quickly to protect your beloved plant.

Before you do anything else with your plant, take it out of its pot and inspect its condition. Don’t be anxious about how to handle it as you won’t hurt the plant by doing so.

Put your plant outside and take it out of the planter, then examine what’s happening.

Is there any wetness or bad smell? Are the roots sitting in water or is everything dry? Are the roots mushy and brown (a sign of root rot), or are they white and healthy?

A good way to get an understanding of why your plant is having issues with brown spots or dropping leaves is to take a closer look at its roots.

Don’t be shy. Your plant needs you to recover. The first thing you can do to help them is to closely inspect what’s going on can give you quite a bit of insight.

If you notice that your plant’s roots are mushy and wet, it is best to take action right away.

Trim off any decaying or rotten sections, then gently rinse the roots with a hose. Then, spray the roots with hydrogen peroxide. And finally, you should re-pot the fig plant for it to potentially recover.

if it looks okay and your plant is not mushy or sitting in water, then what you’re going to want to do is just inspect the drainage system.

Make sure that water can flow easily and without any blockages. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent root rot, brown spots, and falling leaves.

If everything appears to be in order and your plant does not feel mushy or sitting in water, it should be fine.

To ensure a healthy fiddle leaf fig, better drainage is always preferable than poor drainage. Thus, it’s ideal to have more holes at the bottom of your plant container in order to enable efficient draining.

Adding a layer of good drainage material to the bottom of your container is highly recommended. Cotton fabric, terracotta tiles, or even both can be used for this purpose.

It elevates the root system and allows it to drain better while ensuring enough air circulation at the base of your plant. This can effectively prevent root rot and is thus a great idea!

Having the right kind of soil is essential for a healthy fiddle leaf fig. A common mistake people make is using regular houseplant soil, which is too wet and acts like a sponge, retaining water and becoming soggy.

Brown spots on Fiddle Leaf Fig due to dryness

These spots are generally light brown or tan in color and may even look like the plant has been bleached. It may also cause ruffled or curled leaves.

So if your fig plant gets too dry, you may notice the leaves become dried out, bleached, and brittle. This is a sign that you may need to give it more water or adjust its environment by using a humidifier or a pebble stray.

Brown spots on Fig plants caused by physical trauma

This is the third kind of brown spots. It can be a bewildering experience to figure out why it occurs. Usually, strong wind or your plant being moved and crushed or bent are the causes of this condition.

If done improperly, the damage caused by pruning can remain unnoticeable for a while until the plant starts to heal. This process will cause calluses or scabs while drying out and may result in branches falling off.

Often, people mistake the holes in their plants to be due to root rot or dryness when in fact they are caused by physical trauma. Knowing this helps you understand the needs of your plant and take measures to prevent similar injury from happening.

Unfortunately, there is no way to undo or repair any past physical damage that has been done to your fig plant. Be extra careful while moving the plant or when it is windy outdoors. This can help you ensure that it remains unscathed and healthy.

Brown spots or leaf sunburn on Ficus Lyrata Fig Plants

Fiddle leaf figs are vulnerable to sunburn, the 4th type of brown spots. Sunburn damage can vary – it may start dark or reddish, or an entire leaf may get damaged.

Over time, the color can lighten up as well. In extreme cases, a sunburnt leaf can dry out and become brittle as a result. This causes the leaf to curl or draw in on itself.

Usually, only the upper leaves experience damage while the lower leaves remain unaffected. In some cases, leaves near a heated window can also be impacted.

It is best to remove any leaves that are wilted or discolored, as this can be an indication of too much sunlight.

You should also move your plant away from direct and harsh sunlight – although they can eventually adjust, it will take some time for them to do so.

You’ll need to be extra careful when taking your indoor plants outside, especially in the middle of the day. Just like our skin can get easily burned in 10-15 minutes under direct sunlight, so can your houseplants.

Brown spots caused by insects (pests in fiddle leaf fig tree)

The last type of brown spots are those caused by insects. These usually appear as very tiny spots which, if left untreated, can lead to holes in your plant.

These are not your typical type of pest infestation as they are microscopic spots that gradually dry up and cause holes in the leaves. It is common to have many pinprick-sized brown spots on the same leaf, not just one.

Pay attention to the physical signs your plant may be giving off – like insects crawling on it or a web-like pattern on its leaves. If you suspect an infestation, act quickly and follow these steps for removing them. Doing so can save your plant from harm!

8. Common pests on Fiddle leaf fig plants & How to get rid of them

Fiddle Leaf Figs are susceptible to many of the common insect pests that plague houseplant owners, including scale, mealybugs, and spider mites.

Step 1: Remove the insects on the whole plant

Inspect your plant, and see if it gets scale insects, mealybugs, or spider mites. Look at the underneath of the leaves and the stem. 

To combat scale, start by picking off those little suckers using a toothpick or paper clip. 

To treat spider mites, start by washing off the webs and cleaning both the tops and bottoms of all leaves. Using a hose outside is the best way to do this, but you can also spray it off in the shower. 

To remove mealybugs, go to step 2. 

Step 2: Treat the plant with Neem oil/insecticidal soap/Rubbing alcohol

Make a solution of 1 cup of rubbing alcohol (70 percent isopropyl alcohol) to 1 quart of water and use this to spray on any affected areas, or regularly wipe down the entire fiddle leaf fig plant, making sure to get all the cracks and crevasses (this will also kill any fungus and remove dust).

Alcohol dissolves the insects’ protective coating and can kill both adult insects and their eggs. You can also use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to apply directly to visible insects, but this is unlikely to eradicate all of the mealybugs. 

Another option is to use Neem oil or Insecticidal Soap to spray all over your plant, or wipe the whole plant down with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. it’ll kill insects and protect against them in the future.

Step 3: Quarantine the plant (optional)

Treat it with Neem oil or Insecticidal Soap to spray all over your plant, or wipe the whole plant down with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. it’ll kill insects and protect against them in the future.

Step 4: Add cinnamon powder to the soil

It is a good idea to use powdered cinnamon in the soil as a preventative measure. Because Cinnamon is a powerful insecticide and can be used as a cinnamon essential oil or cinnamon powder. The cinnamon essential oil can be quite strong when sprayed directly onto the plant, so I opted for cinnamon powder in the soil instead.

Step 5: Add fresh soil (optional)

Treating the potting soil will help prevent the insects come back. 

9. Clean Leaves and Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning

Dusting the leaves with a damp cloth every couple of weeks is helpful for various reasons. It not only creates a brighter look & increases the visual appeal, but also maximizes sun exposure which helps with photosynthesis.

Cleaning the leaves will also help you clean the dirt and prevent bugs on your lovely plant.

In addition, you can maintain your plants’ health and appearance by removing any wilted or dying leaves.

You might wonder “How to prune fiddle leaf fig into a tree?“. There are two solutions to that: pruning your main stem or notching, with clear guidance on Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning For Beginners in 6 Easy Steps. They are great ways to promote the development of new branches, along with healthy and abundant foliage.

10. Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig

It is much simpler to grow fiddle-leaf figs with stem cuttings than with seeds. In fact, the cutting method is almost guaranteed to be successful, compared to a more complicated seed propagation process.

  1. To take the stem from a plant, use a pair of sharp, sterilized shears.
  2. Cut approximately 12 to 18 inches with a few leaves attached and then pinch off all leaves except one.
  3. Put it in a jar or container with clear water at room temperature. Make sure the spot you select for it gets indirect sunlight for the best outcomes.
  4. Change the water every 3 days, or when it looks cloudy.
  5. In a couple of weeks, you’ll notice small white bumps on the stem base that is in the water. Subsequently, within a few weeks after that, roots will form from those spots and begin to grow in the water.
  6. After the roots of the cutting are at least 1-2 inches long, transfer it to a 1-gallon pot with well-draining potting soil and water until moist. Make sure to keep the level of moisture consistent, neither too wet nor dry.

11. Potting and Repotting Fiddle Leaf Fig

Figs should be repotted when the roots are visible through the drainage holes, making the pot seem tight. Before that, prepare a pot one size bigger than your current one with a well-draining soil mix.

If your pot isn’t large enough for your fig plant, the best option is to top-dress it. This entails adding soil on the top of the plant and removing any roots that may appear at the bottom.

FAQs on Fiddle leaf fig care

  • Will a fiddle-leaf fig grow fruit? Unfortunately, attempting to grow a fiddle-leaf fig plant indoors will not yield any fruit.
  • Are fiddle-leaf figs easy to care for? Fiddle-leaf figs are pretty resilient when they’re provided with the right environment and care. They need a bit of warmth, humidity, bright but indirect light, and some direct light too. But keep in mind that these plants are prone to overwatering so make sure you don’t give them too much water.
  • How fast does the fiddle-leaf fig grow? This houseplant grows rapidly, with a growth of 2 feet annually. Eventually, it can reach an impressive height of between 6 to 10 feet.
  • Does fiddle leaf fig need direct sunlight? They can tolerate full sun, making it possible to bring them outdoors. However, you need to take things slowly and give your plant time to get used to direct sunlight to avoid leaf sunburn.