The fiddle leaf fig tree has been the hottest house plant for the last few years. It makes a gorgeous, architectural statement in any room of the house. But don’t be deceived by this lush, stunning plant because it can be hard to keep alive and thrive. However, I am here to tell you just how to take care of your fiddle leaf tree because I’ve been caring for mine for three years and even packed it up for an out of state move. It’s still going strong.
When it comes to indoor plants, over the years, I’ve not always had the best green thumb so when my husband purchased me this Fiddle Leaf Tree I was skeptical of my indoor plant skills and had to quickly learn how to take care of this tree investment. I recently killed, or better obliterated, a live Ficus tree causing me to resort to the faux ficus variety. However, I am here to successfully share with you how to care for a Fiddle Leaf Tree.
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What is A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?
Since the Fiddle Leaf Tree gained its popularity in 2012 you have probably seen the fiddle leaf in design magazines, on Instagram and Pinterest. This tree is still going strong in the design world and we know what they look like but where did the Fiddle Leaf come from?
The Fiddle Leaf Fig is also known as the Ficus Lyrata…ok. The fiddle leaf fig is indigenous to western Africa and grows naturally in a lowland rainforest environment. In its natural habitat of the rainforest, it thrives in dense, warm and wet surroundings.
While this can be a huge contrast to the conditions in your home or apartment with the right care you can ensure your fiddle leaf fig tree grows quite happily in your home.
How Much Does a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Cost?
This often varies on the size of the tree you purchase. When we purchased our tree in 2018 it was 6ft tall and cost us about $160 at our local garden center. You can purchase shorter trees for around $80-$100 or even a very small potted tree for around $30-$40. The larger the tree the larger the cost.
You will also have to take into consideration the cost of a pot to house it in; once again, the larger the plant the larger the pot and potentially the larger cost. We placed our tree in a large plastic pot we purchase at Wal-Mart and then placed it in a basket from a decor boutique.
How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?
Since we likely can’t recreate the environment of a rainforest inside our home; unless perhaps you live in a rainforest, you might be wondering how everyone keeps their fiddle leaf fig trees thriving. It doesn’t take a greenhouse or a professional gardener…you can do this too.
With the right amount of light and water you too can be a fiddle leaf fig tree growing expert and share your tree in Instagram!
Where to Put Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
You need to place your fiddle leaf away from air vents and drafts. They will not appreciate heat or air conditioning blowing on them as most other plants feel the same way too. Fiddle Leaf trees like bright ambient light so placing your tree in front of a southern or western facing window is best. Northern facing windows will not provide the lighting this tree requires. Find a place in your home that gets some gentle rays coming through a window part of the day.
Place your tree away from traffic; it’s not going to like being bumped into and knocked all the time. It should be placed out of the way from a doorway, furniture or high traffic areas.
Once you find the perfect place for your plant, try to keep it in that spot as they like a consistent environment. You can however rotate the pot from time to time. Since these plants grow toward the sunlight, this will encourage it to grow straight up instead of leaning to one side.
How Often to Water A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Once you have found the perfect location now you want to keep it hydrated, however; the number one rule is “Do Not Over Water!” Most plants need water every couple of days or on a schedule, but this tree is different; wait at least an entire week between waterings.
You can easily overwater your fiddle leaf tree and if you do overwater your tree can get a fungal infection or better known as root rot.
The top few inches of soil should be dry before giving it more water. You can check the moisture level by sticking your finger one to two inches into the dirt. If it feels damp or moist, that means it is too soon to give your plant more water. It should feel dry to the touch.
How Much Water?
When you do water your plant, it needs to be a deep watering. These plants are used to living in the rain forests, where there is heavy rainfall, and then long periods of no rain.
After some time, the condition of the plant’s leaves will tell you if you are giving it too much water or not enough.
|Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Height
|Amount of Water
|Less than 2 ft
|Between 2 – 3 ft
|Taller than 3 ft
If you are seeing new leaves budding then that is also a great sign you are taking care of your tree correctly. YAY! Good news for me.
Signs of Too Much Water
- Leaves turning yellowish-brown starting at the bottom of the plant
- Brown or dark spots forming in the middle of the leaf
- Leaves falling off
- Musty smell coming from the soil and roots indicating root rot
Signs of Not Enough Water
- Brown or dark spots form on the edges of the leaves
- Brown spots on leaves all over the plant, not just near the bottom
Signs of Healthy Leaves
- New growth
- Large and strong leaves
- New growth is larger than older leaves
How Much Light Does a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Need?
Fiddle Leaf Trees do not like full sunlight; they are from the rain forest where the sunlight is not direct. A fiddle leaf fig tree should be placed in front of a window that will receive direct morning or afternoon light. Ideally, what you’re aiming for is a window with a mostly unobstructed eastern, western, or southern light exposure.
Rotate your tree once a month to keep it standing straight and tall. Failing to rotate your fiddle leaf fig tree will cause the tree to bend over time. They like to reach for the light.
Pruning and Shaping Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
You will want to regularly remove damaged leaves by gently snapping them off at their stem. If they are dry and damaged they will come off easily. This will improve the overall health of your plant. Remove damaged or sick leaves quickly, any time of year.
If you want to shape and prune your tree that is more extensive. If you have a certain look for your tree, or maybe it’s just too large, have a vision of the end goal in your mind. Mark the branches you would like to remove to ensure whatever you prune looks balanced in the end. So you don’t shock your plant never remove more than 10% of your plant’s branch.
The best time to prune your fiddle leaf fig is in the spring. There is plenty of light and moisture in the air in order to fuel a full recovery and new growth. To prune your plant, use a sharp, clean tool cutting about half an inch from any leaves or the trunk. To encourage more growth, give access to plenty of light after pruning.
Every few months, wipe your plant’s leaves with a soft rag and room temperature water. Removing accumulated dust ensures the leaves are able to absorb and photosynthesize sunlight efficiently.
Even with proper watering, correct placement and adequate light; a fiddle leaf fig tree will need some other maintenance to ensure they are look their very best!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree fertilizer
In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.
10-4-3 fertilizer is a great, gentle choice for indoor foliage. Simply mix this in to your watering can using the supplied directions every other week. Ensure that your plant is receiving a good amount of light, otherwise it won’t have the energy to process the nutrients and burnt tips may occur on the foliage.
Winter Care Tips
In the winter there is less light and moisture in the air; the two things these trees love. Often times these trees will go dormant during the winter months but they don’t have to; you can continue to help them grow and thrive!
- Water Less Often – in the winter we might assume to give the tree more water because the air is so dry; however, the tree has less light and less growth during the winter months meaning your tree will require less water.
- Consider the Lighting – If you live in a very gloomy or less sun lit area in the winter months you might want to consider positioning your plant to another window. Although moving a fiddle leaf isn’t ideal it might benefit from a window that receives more sun for the winter months.
- Add Humidity – Winter is dry for skin, hair and fiddle leaf trees. Possibly you need a humidifier not only for your tree but for the overall air in your house. Contrary to popular belief misting the leaves will do nothing to increase the humidity for the tree.
Where to Purchase a Real Fiddle Leaf Tree
Many nurseries and garden centers sell fiddle leaf trees or you can purchase one online if you can’t find any in your area. The big box home improvement stores get them in during the spring season and if you grab one quickly you can find a really nice tree.
Best Faux Fiddle Leaf Trees
You may want to opt for a completely maintenance free tree and I get it. There are plenty of life-like faux fiddle leaf trees out there and other than an occasional dusting they need no further attention. Here is a great round up of artificial fiddle leaf fig trees.
- 6’ Fiddle Leaf Fig Natural Jute and Cotton Planter
- Faux Potted Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
- 6′ Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
- 7′ Faux Potted Fiddle Leaf Fig
- 57 Artificial Fiddle Leaf Fig
- 30″ Artificial Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in Basket
- 5.5ft. Potted Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
- 65″ Potted Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig
Final Thoughts on Caring for a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
I hope these tips will help you grow big, healthy, and beautiful Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. Taking care of these plants is definitely a learning process, but if you make sure and cover these care tips you should be good!
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How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Tree