Knowing how to care for a fiddle leaf fig will mean you get to enjoy this striking plant looking its best all year round.
Fiddle leaf figs are popular plant when it comes to the latest houseplant ideas, and it's easy to see why. They're bold, leafy and wonderful, and they easily create a natural and relaxed atmosphere in any room. That's why knowing the best way to care for a fiddle leaf fig is important, so you can help your plant stay healthy and thrive for as long as possible.
How to care for a fiddle leaf fig
'The Fiddle Leaf Fig, known for its architectural beauty, has become a staple in interior design,' says Craig Wilson Managing Director and Gardening Expert, Gardeners Dream. 'Its large, fiddle-shaped leaves create an instant visual impact, making it a favourite among plant enthusiasts and interior decorators alike.'
Like many of the best indoor plants, caring for a fiddle leaf fig properly involves a combination of factors. This plant thrives best in specific conditions, and there are definitely things you can do to recreate these in your own home.
Georgina O'Grady is a highly accomplished professional in the field of interior and exterior landscaping using artificial plants, trees, and green walls. Georgina is the Managing Director at Evergreen Direct. Georgina loves to share her vast gardening expertise, where thanks to her 15+ years she covers niche advice on a range of plant-related topics.
Watering your fiddle leaf fig
Like knowing how often to water a Christmas cactus, understanding how much water your fiddle leaf fig needs will help it to thrive.
'You should water a fiddle leaf fig when the top inch of the soil is dry,' says gardening expert Craig Wilson. 'Typically, once a week, but you might need to adjust this based on humidity and temperature. Use lukewarm water, soaking the soil thoroughly until water drains from the bottom.'
Check your fiddle leaf fig regularly to see if the soil feels dry. It will probably need more water in summer compared to winter, but if the plant sits near a radiator, the heat will dry the soil out quicker, making the leaf fig more thirsty.
How to prevent over-watering your fiddle leaf fig
Over-watering can be a common problem when learning how to care for a fiddle leaf fig. To avoid having to learn how to save an overwatered plant, ensure you use well-draining soil when potting. This will help prevent root rot and encourage your fiddle leaf fig to flourish.
'Check that the plant’s pot has holes in the bottom for excess water to escape,' gardening expert from Stannah, Mark Lane recommends. 'Allow the plant to stand outside or in a sink after watering, so excess water can drain away.'
Watering your fiddle leaf as and when you think it needs it – when the soil feels dry – is a better approach than sticking to a set number of times per week, and will help you avoid over-watering.
How much sunlight does a fiddle leaf fig need?
One of the most important aspects of learning how to care for a fiddle leaf fig is knowing how much sunlight the plant needs to thrive. According to the experts, this plant likes indirect sunlight best.
'Fiddle leaf figs need bright, indirect sunlight to thrive,' says Georgina O'Grady, Managing Director, Evergreen Direct. 'A spot near a window that receives sunlight would be a perfect place for this plant, whereas places that get direct sunlight such as a windowsill will likely cause leaf burn.'
'Every couple of days, rotate your plant so that a different side is facing the sun', adds Steve Chilton, Gardening Expert, LeisureBench. 'This will allow it to grow more evenly and prevent it from becoming lopsided.'
Temperature and humidity
'Fiddle leaf figs prefer a warm, humid environment, ideally between 16-24°C,' Craig Wilson says. 'The plant also thrives in higher humidity.'
Though warm, humid conditions are most ideal for fiddle leaf figs, it is still possible for the plant to survive through winter with proper care. You can recreate a humid environment by misting the plants, ideally once a day. Simply fill a spray bottle with water and spray directly onto the leaves. And keep your fiddle leaf fig away from draughty areas like windows and doors.
'If you don’t have pets or small children at home, then placing a tray of water next to your plant will provide a good amount of humidity,' says Georgina from Evergreen Direct.
Do fiddle leaf figs need to be pruned?
Pruning is actually one of the top tips for how to care for a fiddle leaf fig. It's natural for this plant to get yellow or damaged leaves eventually, so removing these encourages the fiddle leaf fig to grow fresh, healthy leaves in their place.
'You can use clean scissors or pruning shears for this, and make sure to cut the leaf at an angle,' Georgina says. 'And if you notice that it’s become quite top heavy, then use a stake to keep it standing tall.'
When pruning, make sure to untangle any stems and leaves that are crossing over as well, to allow your fiddle leaf fig to breathe properly.
If you're really serious about caring for your fiddle leaf fig, this electric heater could be a gamechanger for creating a consistently warm environment. It's small, so won't look like an eyesore, and it also has a timer function.
These pruning scissors are ideal for removing any brown leaves from your fiddle leaf fig so healthy leaves can grow instead. It's recommended to use a pair of pruning shears like these so you don't unintentionally cause your plant harm.
How do you keep a fiddle leaf fig happy?
Fiddle leaf figs are happiest in warm, humid environments. Seeing as this isn't the natural climate in the UK – especially during winter – choose the location for your fiddle leaf fig wisely.
'The location should be free from any draughts, and at least constantly 15 degrees Celsius in temperature,' says Steve from LeisureBench. 'Make sure that you keep your plant in a room that's consistently heated. Any major fluctuation of temperature and your plant will struggle to grow effectively.'
Recreate humid conditions with a mister, and spritz your fiddle leaf fig daily. Try and find a spot that receives indirect sunlight, such as across from a window, as this is what the plant prefers.
'Lastly, make sure to wipe the leaves frequently!' says Georgina O'Grady. 'Many people don’t realise that dust on a plants' leaves can actually prevent photosynthesis, so take the time to dust the leaves off.'
Should I cut off brown leaves on fiddle leaf fig?
The short answer is yes, you should cut brown leaves off a fiddle leaf fig when you notice them. Don't be alarmed, as brown leaves are inevitable, especially when you're nurturing the plant in less than ideal conditions. Cutting these off gives the fiddle leaf space to grow new, healthy leaves.
'These dead leaves will not green up, no matter how much water or feed you give the plant!' says gardening expert Mark Lane. 'Removing dead or damaged leaves can help redirect energy towards new growth. But it is crucial to use clean and sharp tools to avoid further damage to the plant, and proper care and maintenance should be provided to prevent browning in the future.'
Look after your fiddle leaf fig properly and it'll look happy and healthy throughout the year, adding welcome greenery to your interior scheme.
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Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.
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