Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

Placement

PRO TIP: Rotate your tree once a month to keep it standing straight and tall. Fiddle Leaf Figs in particular like to reach towards the light, so if you don’t rotate you’ll notice them bending over time.

Native to the rainforests of western and central Africa, the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree (Ficus lyrata) appreciates a warm, humid environment; a fair amount of water and plenty of light. Choose a location away from air vents and drafts where the tree will receive plenty of bright ambient light. A few hours of direct sun is also beneficial. Directly in front of, or close by to a Southern or Western facing window is ideal. Eastern exposure can also work as long as the plant in directly in the window, and the space feels very bright. We do not recommend northern exposure. If placed in a full-sun location (over 6 hours of direct light), a humid environment will keep your fiddle-leaf looking its best. They will not thrive in low-light locations. If you’re unsure about your lighting conditions, placing the tree directly next to the window is the safest bet.

We also have a guide for how to measure light in your space.

If you are using a container made from organic materials we highly recommend using a cork mat to protect your floors, as humidity may accumulate beneath the pot. 

Please Note: Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are particularly sensitive to environmental changes. They will likely take a little time to adjust to their new home. Be sure to follow the care instructions, and don’t panic if it loses a few leaves. If leaf discoloration or leaf loss persists please reach out and we will help troubleshoot!

Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf

The common name for this plant, Fiddle Leaf Fig, comes from the fact that the leaves are the size and shape of a fiddle.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: Every three months, rinse your plant’s leaves with room temperature water. This helps remove any dust that’s accumulated, ensuring they’re able to absorb sunlight more efficiently through photosynthesis, as well as fully re-hydrating the soil.

Always be sure to assess your plant's watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first. The best way we have found to obtain an accurate moisture reading throughout the soil is with the Soil Sleuth Soil Probe. You can check the soil moisture in the different strata of the soil in your pot, and keep the roots aerated and your fingernails free of dirt. This is a challenging plant to keep alive long term in its nursery pot, and we recommend planting your Fiddle Leaf Fig in a more permanent planter with plenty of soil mass and drainage.

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is planted in a container without a drainage hole, you must be very careful not to overwater. In this scenario we suggest allowing your Fiddle Leaf Fig to dry out slightly between waterings. 

For pots with a drainage hole, it’s better to keep your plants slightly moist, especially in a sunny room. 

An easy to notice indicator of this plant’s hydration is that Fiddle Leaf Figs are very expressive when they are thirsty. The top leaves are typically erect and pointed skyward. If the leaves begin to droop and become floppy, it probably means the plant requires water. See the picture in the FAQ section below. You want to allow the top 2”- 3” of the soil to dry between waterings. Allowing the soil to dry more than a few inches will lead to leaf loss, so be sure to check in with the soil regularly until you develop a routine with your plant. In contrast, too much moisture in the soil can lead to root rot and also cause leaves to drop. These plants do particularly well in our self watering containers! Consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breath and allow for moisture to be released.

For regular upkeep, dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize properly. When dusting, take the opportunity to inspect the underside of leaves and keep an eye out for pests. Using fertilizer spring through fall will enhance your plants foliage and promote new growth. Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Fiddle Leaf Fig and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC, those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. All these factors play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole, have been set up with a built in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir and retain any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants with a drainage hole, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for moisture requirements

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important, because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks until the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the plant starts drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees need to dry out between waterings only slightly, so once the reservoir is empty wait a few days before you refill. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after the drying out period, be sure to fill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Help! My fiddle leaf fig dropped a leaf!


  • Ficus trees are sensitive to environmental change and transplanting. The dry, cold air is a big shift from the warm humidity of the greenhouse, and Ficus will temporarily go into shock and drop leaves. Don’t worry: this is a temporary state. It will take a couple of weeks for your tree to normalize and it might drop a couple of leaves in the process. However, if the leaves continue to drop it could be a sign of improper light or water.

My Fiddle Leaf Fig has brown spots and the leaves are dropping. What do I do?


  • The number one mistake most people make in taking care of their plants is overwatering. Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees prefer to dry out between waterings, and while they take a good deal of water to keep healthy, soggy soil will drown the plant. If your leaves start to brown and fall and the soil is moist, let the plant dry out until the soil becomes completely dry.
  • The second biggest mistake people make is not enough light. Fiddle Leafs need a lot of light to thrive and will start shedding their leaves if they’re not absorbing enough energy. If you’re unsure about where to put your plant, it’s best to place it by a window. For more information visit our lighting guide.

How do I tell when my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree needs water?


  • Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees come from an area of the world that gets very dry between rain. They prefer to drink from the roots, as they would be absorbing ground water in their natural habitat. They are also very sensitive to overwatering, and don’t seem to like their top layer of soil being moist for extended periods. The easiest way to tell if your Fiddle Leaf needs water is to look at the leaves. If the leaves are not rigid and upright, and they start to look floppy, they’re telling you they need water. However be cautious as it is still possible to underwater your tree. If you leave the soil dry for extended periods.

How much light is too much light for the Fiddle Leaf Fig?


  • Fiddle Leaf Figs will generally do fine if placed right in front of a window in NYC. However, they can’t take full sun (being placed outside on a sunny day). In extremely bright apartments (i.e. floor to ceiling windows) they may get sunburned, but for the most part your safest bet is putting them in front of the window with a sheer curtain. Do not block the light with a partial shade like a solar shade as they will block out the full spectrum of the sun’s radiation.

Can I put my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree next to the AC / heater?


  • Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are tropical plants that appreciate a humid environment. If conditions are too dry they will drop their leaves. While Fiddle Leafs will thrive in an air conditioned apartment, always avoid putting them in the direct line of fire for either AC or heating units. If their leaves are wagging from the air, it’s best to find another spot.

How often should I fertilize my Fiddle Leaf Fig?


  • 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.

How often does my Fiddle Leaf Fig need to be repotted?


  • For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Repotting in the spring or summer is ideal.

Additional Care Guides