If fiddle leaf fig trees were part of Greek mythology, they would sit alongside Zeus at the head of the Pantheon. So mighty are these plants in fact, that they have won the top prize for Pinterest plant of the year for the last few years running.
We just love them, they look great, they transform any interior space into an Instagram worthy shot- but how on earth do you care for one? That seems to be the question on everybody’s lips, and the truth is, it’s not nearly as tough as you might think.
Why do we love fiddle leaf figs?
Let’s face it, whenever any of us walk into a nursery or plant studio the first thing that catches our eyes are the fiddle leaf figs. Their lush and large leaves, stylish and effortless appearance, as well as ability to elevate any interior space makes them an easy target for a slight plant obsession. Contrary to what most people will have you believe, their stunning looks don’t come at a cost …
How to care for a fiddle leaf fig?
Firstly, fiddle leafs love humidity. They generally need more humidity than most houses have- however they can still thrive without as much as a South American jungle. That being said, they can be a ‘fiddley’ houseplant if you’ve never owned one, but it won’t take long to get the hang of what they like and don’t like.
Do fiddle leaf figs need a lot of light?
When grown as indoor plants, fiddle leaf figs need a good amount of light. At Mowgli Studio, we keep our figs by the west facing windows which means they stay fresh and happy all year round. Things can start to go awry if our fiddle leaf is getting too much light, or not enough light, so it’s best to pop it by a window or somewhere that gets a good splash of natural light each day. Too much light (meaning direct sun or partial direct sun) can result in your fiddle’s leaves turning brown at the ends. Too little light (in a dark corner or in a space without a window or open door nearby) and you run the risk of putting the plant into fight or flight mode which can result in loss of leaves and brown patches.
How do you water an indoor fiddle leaf fig plant?
As an indoor houseplant, fiddle leaf figs are great— and like any relationship things will be fine once you get to know what they want. In terms of care, fiddle leaves are easier than you have been told. When it comes to watering, its best to check the soil first. Either use a moisture meter, or your finger, and feel down into the soil. You’re looking for slightly dry soil which is the best indicator for when its time to water. If you simply set a 'once a week’ watering schedule you run the risk of overwatering or under watering as the seasons change.
When the soil feels slightly dry, give your fiddle leaf fig plant a good soaking (think of how much water you’d drink after a long run- not as much water as you get when showering). It’s always best to water your fig in large amounts less regularly, than little amounts more regularly.
If you underwater your fig, the leaves will lose their rigid and luscious form and will begin to droop- this is always a good sign that your indoor plant is crying for a drink.
Why are my fiddle leaf fig leaves turning brown?
Although there are a few candidates for browning leaves, the biggest causes of fiddle leaf fig leaves turning brown is overwatering. If you water your fig while the soil is still wet from its last watering, the plant will get so stressed that its leaves will fall off. This begins with the lower leaves, and what is left is a thin naked branch with a few leaves poking out the top- not the best look. This is by far the main reason people say that fiddle leaf figs are hard to care for, however it’s an easy fix- just give the soil some space to dry out and some time to use the moisture in the soil.
Are fiddle leaf figs hard to keep alive?
Apart from conscious watering, there are some other things that can help your fig thrive. Keeping it away from heaters, air conditioning, drafts, as well as moving it about the house too much from pot to pot will all do wonders for your favourite indoor plant. They are slightly moody plants so once you bring it home, get it settled into a space and keep it there to feel comfortable.
What soil do fiddle leaf figs need?
Because fiddle leaf figs don’t like to stay wet, well-draining soil is best for them. You can buy this from your favourite garden nursery, or make it up yourself. Just mix some organic potting mix with a good amount of pearlite, as well as some peat moss, and you’ll have the perfect environment for your indoor plant. They also love being fertilised, so every few months (even more so over spring and summer) give them a good hit with organic seasol or any liquid fertiliser.
How do you keep fiddle leaf fig leaves shiny?
Because the fiddle leaf figs leaves are so big and lush, they are the perfect conduit for dust. Don’t worry though, it’s easily fixed. Grab some white oil from a garden nursery and spray some into a damp cloth, then wipe down all the dust from the leaves. This helps the leaves absorb more light as well as enabling them space to ‘breathe’. If you don’t have white oil don’t worry, you can use water or even a dash of milk (yep that’s right it actually works!).
There’s good reason the fiddle leaf fig has been at the trendy top of the plant kingdom for so long. It’s not likely to be toppled anytime soon either. If you do decide to see what all the fuss is about and grab one as an indoor houseplant, follow these tips and it’ll love you right back.