Fiddle leaf fig trees have been the "it" girl of house plants in the design world for a few years now and I've long had my sights set on bringing one home to join my indoor plant family. Even though my black thumb is slowly turning a dark lush shade of green, I was still feeling intimidated by how needy I've heard the plant can be. Not to mention the price tag on one of these babies can be pretty hefty! So I did my research and spoke to a few growing inclined friends. After much reassurance that fiddle leafs are far more low maintenance than they are rumored to be, I went ahead and pulled the fig tree trigger. That was almost 7 months ago and I'm happy to report that my little leafy lady is alive and kicking (if not for a brown spot or two)! Below are a few basic ground rules I've found super helpful in caring for my plant.
Place your fig near enough to a window that it will get light all day but never be in direct sun (or you run the risk of burning the leaves!) Here's a super pro-tip: plants always grow toward the light, so rotate your fig every few weeks to keep it growing even and straight.
There's not an exact science to watering.
I know, not exactly the advice you were looking for. The frequency and amount you need to water your fig is in constant flux. The current temperature and humidity in your home, coupled with the size of your plant will determine how much and how often you water, but generally, when the top inch of soil is dry (but the deeper soil is still damp) it's time to water. Your watering routine will vary season to season so be flexible and let your plant tell you when it's time for a drink. In between waterings, don't be afraid to give your fig a good misting. Because we run central air and heat in our home, it can get pretty dry in here. I mist my fig almost daily and she seems to love it!
Don't be scared of brown spots and dropped leaves.
Fiddle leaf figs are fickle and fussy plants and they're not afraid to show it! Brown spots and dropped leaves are going to happen, but don't panic. Often times spots and falling leaves are actually due to too much plant love, so ease up on watering. On the flip side, your fig might be trying to tell you she's thirsty. Change and monitor your watering routine and those unsightly spots should clear up!
Or it might just be that your plant is catching a chill. Figs naturally come from warm humid climates so they will not thrive in drafty or cool places (lesson I learned the hard way...keep them away from air conditioning vents!)
Even though brown dry leaves are ugly, don't pull them off. You can trim away brown edges without harming the plant. But mostly you just have to be patient. The fiddle leaf fig is slow to action (it's growing cycle actually goes dormant in winter), so it could be a year before your tree starts looking lovely again.
So fresh and so clean.
Housecleaning applies to your fiddle leaf fig too! Their wide leaves tend to collect a lot of dust. Not only does this look nasty, but dust could also keep your plant from absorbing the nutrients it needs by blocking the sun and letting fungus and bacteria build up. A cotton cloth (or old t-shirt) works well to gently wipe down the leaves. Feel free to give the whole tree a rinse a few times a year. Throw your fig in a room-temp shower or hose it down outside on a warm sunny day (just make sure to let the plant dry in indirect sunlight).
Have you had any luck keeping a fiddle leaf fig alive and thriving? Do share your tricks and tips! And check out this article and this article for some advice from the pros.