If you’ve heard of or seen the gorgeous Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, you might be thinking about growing one yourself. However, these trees aren’t exactly beginner friendly. Read our complete guide to see if the finicky Fiddle Leaf Fig is a good fit for you!
Get to Know the Plant
The Fica Lyrata, commonly called the Fiddle Leaf Fig, is actually a fruit tree! It’s the same tree that grows those delicious purple fruits.
If you’re looking to add more fruit trees to your garden, the Fiddle Leaf Fig could be a great addition. Fruit trees bring an abundance of fresh fruits along with shade and fresh colors in your garden.
My neighbor Henri’s 3 year old Fig tree.
Perhaps you’ve seen the Fiddle Leaf Fig as a houseplant and are confused. Those are, in fact, the same tree! The Fiddle Leaf Fig has become a very popular houseplant for its beautiful and large presence.
But you’re thinking, “A fruit tree as a houseplant?” Well, not quite. These trees will likely only fruit in their native environments. Keep reading below to see more about the fruiting process.
Wild fig trees are native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and Western Africa, so they LOVE humidity. But they can also grow in other humid regions and as houseplants anywhere in the world- with the right care.
So, let’s get into the care guide!
Where to Begin
If you’re thinking you want to start growing a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, know that you can either buy one from a local plant store or you can grow one yourself!
Steps for Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
- You’ll need a snipping with at least 6 inches of stem (without the stem, roots won’t begin to grow)
- Place stem in a jar with water, leaf sticking out with the stem just touching the water
- The snipping will begin to grow roots into the water- make sure you keep the water clean and fresh!
- After about two weeks, the snipping is ready to be planted
- Pot the snipping with fresh soil
Healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in the sunlight
Lots of Light
Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees require fulltime sunlight and will, unfortunately, become very weak without it. So, start thinking about a sunny window you can place it in front of!
These plants need as much sunlight as they can get, so place yours directly in front of your biggest, sunniest window. Try to avoid windows that are obstructed by shadows. You might also want to look into growing lights if you don’t receive much natural light.
However, if you have any South-facing windows or a balcony, take caution. If you place the young tree in so much direct sun it can get sunburnt and will likely get overwhelmed. What’s best is to place it behind sheer curtains or a few feet away from the window so your tree isn’t getting overloaded.
Also, if you have your plant indoors and in front of a window, make sure you’re rotating it every week or so, this way the plant gets equal sunshine.
How Much to Water
Next, it’s very important to stay aware of how much water your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree needs. They are very particular with their thirst!
You should water your Fiddle Leaf Tree about once a week. The standard method is to give it a nice, thorough watering, so the soil is wet a few inches deep.
Make sure you have a pot with drainage holes so excess water can properly drain. Don’t water again if the drainage pan still has water in it.
After about a week, the soil will be dry again on top and the tree will be ready for another watering. You want to wait until the first few inches of soil is dry- if it’s still wet and you water the tree you could provoke root rot!
On the other hand, if you underwater this plant, it will not be happy. Make sure you consistently water your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree at most 9-10 days apart (or have a plant sitter!). Remember, this is a tropical plant and it will really struggle in drier environments.
Close-up of healthy Fiddle Leaf tree leaves.
There are a few potential diseases or signs of distress you may come across, but thankfully the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree’s leaves are very indicative of what’s going on.
Falling Leaves or Leaves with Dark, Mushy Center
- A clear sign of root rot
- Fix: water less! You’re likely overwatering and need to let the soil dry out a bit. You can also repot the tree or change to a pot with better drainage.
Light or Yellowing Leaves
- You might be facing a bacterial infection
- Fix: cut off affected leaves, although if it has spread to the rest of the tree it may be too late!
Bleached or Tan and Crisp Leaves
- Clear sign of sunburn
- Fix: a little less sun! This isn’t a sign to put your plant in the dark, but maybe a foot away from the window. Remember, these trees are very sensitive and if you move it too far from sunlight, it will not handle the move well.
Tan or Brown Edges on the Leaf
- Sign of underwatering
- Fix: Water your Fiddle Leaf Tree more often, but stay mindful to ensure you’re not overwatering. Keep a close eye on the moisture of the soil.
Pale Colored Leaves or Red Freckles
- This is a sign of Edema. This happens when new growth leaves absorb too much water too quickly and the cells burst.
- Fix: do nothing! This is totally normal and not something to worry about. With time, the new growth will adjust. Just make sure you continue watering with a regular schedule.
Bugs on Leaves
- Depending on your environment, you might notice little bugs on the underside of the leaves or along the branches.
- Fix: If you notice bugs on or under the leaves of your tree, put isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and spray the leaves.
Note: If your tree is outdoors, you don’t need to worry much about bugs. They will come and go and shouldn’t pose any problems. In fact, the fig wasps are needed for the tree to produce fruit and should be encouraged!
Left: mature Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. Right: top of healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig tree.
How To Ensure Growth- Care Tips
Because the Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are native to humid and tropical areas, using a humidifier is a huge help to get these trees growing. Most homes don’t have enough humidity, so investing in a humidifier will really keep your Fiddle at peak health.
If you don’t have a humidifier and don’t want to purchase one, I recommend misting your Fiddle Leaf Fig every few days. You can also place the tree in your bathroom to soak up the humidity!
You can also feed your tree with fertilizer occasionally to add nutrients to their soil and boost its growth. You can make your own fertilizer by making a Worm Casting!
One thing you can do before even planting is to find a great spot for your tree- and leave it. The Fiddle Leaf Fig trees can’t handle much movement and don’t adapt well to new settings. So, keeping yours in one place will be a huge help and you can expect that moving homes will be challenging.
If you purchase a Fiddle Leaf from a store, you’ll want to keep it in the nursery pot when you first get home. Don’t be too quick to repot it or the roots will go into shock. Wait about two weeks.
The best pot for Fiddle Leaf Figs is a terracotta clay pot, as these help the soil retain moisture and can make up for a lack of humidity.
Because the Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are so dependent on humidity, you want to make sure they are away from your air conditioner or heater. Particularly if you live somewhere cold, keep your fiddle Leaf Fig at a distance from the heater and from windows that bring in cold drafts.
Also, dusting the leaves helps your tree take in maximum sunlight and keeps the leaves looking fresh. You can do this just by using a towel and wiping down the surface of the leaves every few weeks.
Along with dusting, pruning helps your Fiddle concentrate its nutrients. Pruning just means trimming off the old growth- old stems and leaves that are not doing as well. By cutting these off the plant can send more nutrients to the rest of its body and spend less energy reviving already dying leaves.
You also want to aerate the soil. This simply means breaking up clumps in the soil so that water and nutrients are equally distributed. For this, you can use chopsticks or a stick and just poke around in the soil to loosen it up every few weeks. If you don’t have a humidifier, make sure to aerate more often.
You want to make sure there’s enough nitrogen in the soil. Aerating helps the flow of nitrogen, as well as these tips keeping a nutrient-dense soil.
If your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree starts to get top-heavy or is growing asymmetrically, cut off the top of the trunk- this will stimulate growth and revive your tree. In fact, sometimes the plant can grow too quickly and if it’s too top-heavy, it will topple over! Keep an eye on the growth to make sure it’s balanced. This also encourages branching out, so if you’d like a fuller, bushier look I definitely recommend cutting off the very top of the trunk.
Keeping all these tips in mind, your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree will grow well and strong. Maybe too well- these trees can grow several feet in just two years! Be prepared for impressive growth and know that your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree will likely outgrow your indoor spaces. It certainly will after two years of proper care. To support growth as your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree gets larger, you can use wooden posts or velcro straps to bolster the heavier branches and sculpt its shape.
If you plan on moving your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree outdoors, keep in mind that it will go into shock. It’s likely that after moving outside, your tree will drop some leaves. Know that this is normal and that your tree will adjust after a few weeks.
However, if the tree keeps dropping leaves months after its move, you might have a bigger problem.
One last thing to note: the Fiddle Leaf Fig blood is toxic to animals and children. The “blood” of the tree, so to speak, is the liquid that comes out when you cut a branch or a branch is snapped. You likely won’t encounter this liquid often, but it could come out when you’re pruning or sculpting the branches. If you do notice, make sure to wipe it off to avoid any health issues.
Fig fruit on tree.
Will My Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Fruit?
Although Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are fruit-bearing trees, this doesn’t exactly mean they’ll fruit in your home.
Fruit-bearing trees will only fruit if all the conditions are correct. Since Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are native to humid environments, if your space is not adequately humid, your tree will not fruit. If you live in a very humid region with regular rainfall, however, there is a good chance you will have fruits after a few years.
Additionally, Fiddle Leaf Fig trees require pollination specifically from the fig wasp to bear fruit, so if your tree is 100% indoors, it will never fruit. This also means that a fig tree in an adequately humid greenhouse may not fruit without the wasp.
Even if your tree is outdoors and in a humid environment, it will not fruit for the first three to five years- just be patient! You could have a super supply of figs in just a few years.
Image of outside and inside of ripe figs.
What is a Bambino or Dwarf Fiddle Leaf Fig?
So far, we’ve talked about the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, but there are also Bambino or Dwarf Fiddle trees. These are similar plants, just miniature versions!
The bambino or dwarf Fiddles will only grow to about two feet tall, so they resemble the Fiddle Leaf Fig trees at their youngest stages. In fact, Bambino is Italian for child, which perfectly describes this plant- a permanently baby-sized Fiddle!
These trees are distinguishable by their leaves: original Fiddle Leaf Figs have leaves that are more oval-shaped whereas the Bambinos have rounder leaves.
The Bambino trees will definitely not fruit. Additionally, they are much more manageable than the original Fiddle Leaf Fig trees and are more suitable for beginners.
Bambino or Dwarf Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. Notice the oval-shaped and more upright leaves.
The Bambino Fiddle Leaf trees are less work in terms of size and because they grow much less, they won’t require repotting as often and can stay in small apartments. Full Fiddle Leaf Figs won’t be able to live inside for very long as they will get large very quickly.
That being said, Bambino Fiddle Leaf Fig trees still require full sunlight and weekly watering.
Is a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree a Right Fit for You?
Now that you’ve done the research and are familiar with what this tree requires, are you ready to start growing? Consider these criteria as final thoughts.
Do you have the necessary sunlight?
If you don’t have space in front of your windows, don’t have many windows, or don’t get great amounts of sunlight, you might not be able to support a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree.
Can you water often?
If you travel often or are not great at remembering to water on a schedule, then you might reconsider a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. This is not exactly a buy-it-and-leave-it kind of plant.
Do you have enough humidity?
If you’re hoping to plant outside and to reap fruits, then you definitely need to be living in a highly humid region. If not, there’s not much hope.
But even if you’re planning to grow indoors, using a humidifier would be a huge bonus, almost a necessity to ensure you have a healthy plant. If you live somewhere cold with long winters and usually have a fire going or your heater on, this tree really won’t do well in your home.
Are they easy to take care of?
Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are not great for beginner plant-owners as they do require a lot of attention.
Notably, they are very sensitive. So, if you water them too much or not enough, you’ll have problems. If they don’t get enough sun they’ll become weak, but if they get too much, they’ll burn. You have to stay very aware of how you’re treating them and how they’re responding.
They also don’t adjust well to being moved around, so if you move often or are moving into a new place soon, wait to invest in a Fiddle Leaf Fig until you’re somewhere more stable.
If you’re a bit intimidated, that’s understandable. You can also start out with easier, beginner plants to get a hang of houseplants and work up your confidence.
You Got This!
If you’re not sure about a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, you can also check out the Bambino Fiddle Leaf Fig trees, because they’re a smaller version of the full tree they’ll be easier to manage.
Now that you’ve read pretty much all there is to know about Fiddle Leaf Fig trees, you can make your best decision about growing one. If you’re feeling ready to embark on a new planting adventure, best of luck!