You’ve seen fiddle-leaf fig trees all over Instagram, Pinterest and your favorite magazine cover. So you want to get one! Wondering how to care for a fiddle-leaf fig tree? Your plant BFF is here to help!
After a few years of owning a fiddle-leaf fig tree, I finally feel (mostly) prepared to write this article! Fiddle-leafs are like hormonal teenagers – they’re happy one second and sad/mad/annoyed and dropping leaves like crazy the next.
We now have three fiddle-leaf trees of varying sizes: a small one we recently got, a middle size one we’ve had for a couple years and a giant one we’ve had for quite a while.
Our giant fiddle-leaf fig tree was the one we learned the most on. (My best tip: don’t do that.) Fiddle-leaf fig trees are expensive, so it’s best to learn a smaller one – our little one only cost $14.99 from IKEA! – so if it happens to croak, you’re not out too much money!
First let’s chat about the background of the fiddle-leaf.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Facts
The fiddle-leaf fig’s proper name is Ficus lyrata. It’s in the fig/mulberry family, Moraceae. It’s native to Cameroon in Africa, which is hot, humid and often rainy. This is what makes them challenging to grow them indoors because how many of us live in hot humid places?
It can grow up to 50 feet outdoors or 10 feet tall indoors. They are fairly fast growers which makes them really fun to have, but make sure they have enough room!
How Do You Care for a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree?
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Once you know what type of sun and water levels your fiddle-leaf fig likes, they’re actually not too hard to care for!
Like most plants (and people) it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Every fiddle-leaf fig tree is different, so use these care instructions as a starting point to care for yours!
How Much Sun Does a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree Need?
Fiddle-leaf fig trees need bright, indirect light to survive. Indirect means something such as a sheer curtain. I actually nix the curtain and all three of my plants get full, bright sun in large west-facing windows.
Our first tree was in an east-facing window and it was not happy. One key sign that your fiddle-leaf fig tree isn’t getting enough light is that it starts to drop leaves.
How Much Water Does a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree Need?
When it comes to water, fiddle-leafs need a moderate amount, typically preferring to be watered about every 8-10 days.
Your best bet is to do the finger test – stick your finger into the soil a few inches into the soil. If it’s dry, water it, and if it’s still wet, don’t! You could also get a moisture meter to take the guess work out of it!
You can tell if your fiddle-leaf fig tree needs water by looking at the leaves. If they start to look floppy or droopy it’s time to water them! Under-watering them can result in a loss of leaves.
However, don’t overwater them or they can get root rot.
You should also mist the leaves every couple of weeks. This mimics the humidity it likes!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Frequently Asked Questions
Are fiddle-leaf figs hard to keep alive?
They’re not easy to keep alive, that’s for sure. Fiddle-leaf figs are notoriously finicky about light and being moved, but if you follow the tips on this post, you can make a happy home for your fiddle-leaf.
How do I clean a fiddle-leaf fig tree’s leaves? Should I mist my fiddle-leaf fig?
It’s important to keep your fiddle-leaf fig’s leaves clean to keep the plant healthy! I like to use this leaf shine spray and spray the leaves directly and wipe them clean with a rag or paper towel. Otherwise water will do just fine.
Clean the top and bottom of the leaf to ensure all the dust is wiped off. Pay special attention to the veins where dust can easily accumulate.
It’s best to spray the leaves with water after cleaning them to promote humidity. I bought these water bottles for doing just that!
Should I fertilize my fiddle-leaf fig tree?
Yes! You should fertilize your plant at least spring through fall. I actually really like using this fiddle-leaf fig food that can be used every time you water your plant all year round.
Are fiddle leaf fig tree poisonous to cats and dogs?
Unfortunately, yes. If ingested, fiddle-leaf fig leaves can cause painful skin and gastrointestinal irritation to your four-legged friends.
Where to buy a fiddle-leaf fig tree?
- Start with a local nursery especially if you’re looking for a big one
- The Sill
- Home Depot
Or you could get a faux one from Amazon or Target!
I hope this fiddle-leaf fig tree care post helps take all the guesswork out of growing your own ficus lyrata! Please let me know what questions you still have!
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