4 Steps to Repotting a Fiddle Leaf Fig + Best Care Tips
Repotting a fiddle leaf fig can be tricky with these finicky plants. Aptly named “treenagers,” your fiddle can drop leaves without warning. However, there are a few telltale signs that your fiddle leaf fig needs to be repotted. Take the worry out of fiddle leaf fig care and learn how to repot correctly in 4 simple steps.
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See that beautiful artwork trio? Learn how to make your own here after you’re done learning about fiddles!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Care
Fiddle leaf figs, also known as Ficus lyrata, are well known in the interior design world.
Their large, deep green leaves make an incredible focal point in a room. A FLF grown outdoors in its natural habitat can grow to be 60 feet tall! I saw some in Portugal that were massive and truly striking.
However, as a houseplant they are typically between 6-10 feet.
I purchased my fiddle in 2018 when we moved to our current home. Over the years, it’s grown beautifully to be almost 6 feet tall.
Here are some quick tips for how to care for your fiddle leaf fig. Then, we will get into how to repot your plant next!
How Often Should a Fiddle Leaf Fig Be Watered?
Fiddle leaf fig watering schedules are important. However, there is only a general rule of thumb to start with. Then, you need to figure out how your plant reacts and adjust accordingly.
To start, you should plan to water your fiddle leaf every 7 to 10 days, ensuring that it dries out between waterings. However, there are many factors that go into how often to water a fiddle leaf fig.
- Air temp and humidity
- Size of pot
All five of the above factors play into how often you need to water a fiddle leaf fig.
If it is getting too little light, in a very humid room, or is planted in a pot without drainage, the soil won’t dry out as quickly. Conversely, if you place the plant near a draft, have dry air, or is in a small pot, it may need to be watered more often.
So consider all of these factors in your watering schedule.
When you water, it is important to saturate the roots thoroughly at one time for the entire week. Adding 1/2 a cup of water a day versus 3 cups once a week (for example) is a common mistake novice plant owners make.
You don’t want to tease the plant as adding only a little water at a time causes the roots to stall in growth since the water is above their tips.
A great way to know when it’s time to water is by sticking your finger three inches into the top of the soil. If it is dry, then it is time to water. Alternatively, you can take the guess work out with a simple plant moisture meter.
How to Plant a Fiddle Leaf Fig Properly
The most important factors in watering a fiddle leaf fig actually have less to do with the watering and more to do with proper planting! A poorly planted fiddle leaf fig will not take in water properly. For the best outcome, lay the foundation for success with these tips.
- Pot in proper potting soil
- Pot in a planter with a drainage hole to avoid soggy, rotting roots
- Plant in the right size container for the size of the plant
Planting a small plant in a large pot in anticipation of its growth is a recipe for disaster. Using too large of a pot will not allow your plant to soak in water at the right level. On the other hand, using a pot that is too small won’t allow for root and plant growth.
Planters should generally be 2-3 inches in diameter larger than the plant root ball.
How Much Sun Should Fiddle Leaf Figs Get?
Now, we’ve talked about soil and watering, let’s move on to sunlight.
Fiddle leaf figs like a lot of natural direct sunlight. Try to place your plant near (but not in) a south or west facing window that isn’t blocked or shaded.
Personally, my plant has done the best placed directly next to an east facing window and it gets direct sunlight all day long. However, I also live in Michigan where we only have around 170 sunny days a year. So keep your location in mind as well!
One key to your plant’s success is ensuring that the leaves can soak in the sunlight. Since fiddles have large flat leaves, they are prone to dust. If your leaves are covered in dust, then they aren’t able to absorb the sunlight properly.
Quickly fix this by hand dusting your leaves every couple of weeks or when you can see dust settle. These plant dusting gloves make this tedious task much quicker!
Best Fiddle Fertilizer
Indoor plants don’t receive the same nutrients that they would get from being grown in the ground. Therefore, it is best to add fertilizer to your fiddle.
This fertilizer is specially formulated for fiddle leaf figs and can be used with each watering.
Not only will it promote growth and a healthy trunk, it will also help keep leaves healthy. Fiddles are notorious for getting brown spots on their leaves (much of the time due to over or under watering) so help avoid that with good nutrients.
Repotting A Fiddle Leaf Fig
Now that we’ve covered some basic fiddle leaf fig care tips, let’s talk specifically about repotting.
How often should you repot a fiddle leaf fig?
When you first bring your plant home, you can keep it in the grow pot to acclimate.
Grow pots are often cast aside, however they are usually the right size for the plant at the time of purchase. Plus, they have drainage holes!
If you are buying a smaller plant, then keeping them in the grow pot allows you to place them in a decorative planter and then remove it to water in the sink.
This is my preferred way to water my plants as it allows me to fully saturate the soil and then let it drain out overnight in the sink. This avoids soggy roots and draining water on my floors or countertops.
Once your plant starts to grow, you’ll want to repot it (generally in the spring or summer) every 12-18 months as needed.
If you’re caring for your plant the way we discussed above, you should see enough growth within that time frame to warrant repotting a fiddle leaf fig. If you aren’t seeing growth, then rethink how to care for your fiddle leaf fig so it doesn’t remain stunted.
How Do I know if my Fiddle Leaf Fig needs to be repotted?
With the above information in mind, you might wonder when you should replant a fiddle leaf fig.
You may notice your plant’s soil drying out faster than usual. Or, the leaves may be droopy even after watering. These are classic first signs that you may need to repot.
The best way to tell is to gently pull the plant out of the pot and look at the roots.
If they are overcrowded, growing out the bottom of the drainage hole, or forming circles, then it’s time to repot.
Best Pot for Fiddle Leaf Fig
The best pot for a fiddle leaf fig is one with a drainage hole that is about 2-3 inches bigger in diameter than the root ball.
This will allow your plant to grow and soak in nutrients as best as possible.
The biggest mistake people make is potting plants in a decorative pot without drainage. Personally, I like to use grow pots for as long as it makes sense, and then place them in decorative planters.
However, once your plant becomes too big to move to water, choose a pot like these.
4 Steps to Repot a Ficus Lyrata
Now that we’ve covered all the bases, let’s repot a fiddle.
The planter you choose should be 2-3 inches bigger than your root ball (with good drainage…in case you didn’t catch that). Typically, when repotting that just means to move one size up in a pot.
So if you have a 10″ pot, move up to a 12″ pot.
- Fill your planter 1/3 full of potting soil.
- Gently loosen the roots of your plant and place inside the planter.
- Fill soil in on the sides and top, leaving 1 inch below the rim of the pot.
- Water thoroughly (ensuring that your planter can drain into a sink or into a plant saucer).
That’s it! I told you it’s easy. 😉
If your plant is small you can repot outdoors. However, if you have a larger plant like mine, it can be difficult to maneuver it outside for repotting.
My plant is almost 6 feet tall and very heavy. She’s ready to be repotted again and I’m anticipating having to do it indoors.
SHOP THE ROOM
I plan to place a tarp on the ground, shimmy Fay (that’s her name) onto it, and do the repotting in our living room. Once she’s in her new home I’ll gather the tarp with soil and dump it outdoors. There will certainly still be a mess to clean up but hopefully it will minimize it!
Did You Know??
If you’ve owned a fiddle leaf fig for more than a year, you might have noticed that the soil on the top of the plant seems to be missing.
Did you know that fiddle leaf figs consume their soil?
So if you notice roots showing on the top of your plant, make sure to add some more soil to replenish your plant.
You’ll Also Enjoy…
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope this article on repotting a fiddle leaf fig, and it’s basic care, were helpful to you! Make sure to Pin it for later reference.
If you’re an indoor plant lover, you’ll also enjoy these articles.
Indoor plants became a passion of mine years ago. Here are some more helpful articles.
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Thank you! Thank you!
This is such helpful info. Our fiddle leaf came to live with us early this summer. She has already grown at least a foot and possibly more. I had thought she needed repotting, so now I know how to check for that. Thanks again.
God’s blessings on your day!
Wow that’s awesome growth! Well done!
Your post is very timely; thank you! Bought a FLF a few months ago and want to give her her best life. Was thinking of repotting her but will check out her roots first
Very timely post! I have a FLF that I was thinking of repotting but I was nervous about doing it . Then I found your blog. What a blessing! You gave some great pointers. Thanks!
I’m so glad it was helpful!
Very informative and I love that you showed pictures of your lovely home!
Thank you 😊. Karin
Thanks for sharing the great idea here. Such interesting 4 steps.
Whew thank you so much for this. I just purchased mine this past weekend. I immediately wanted to change the pot because she is about 7′ tall and roots were completely out of the dirt. I repotted her last night but the roots were so soaking wet at the very bottom from the store watering, since every indoor plant I have owned up until the last three months or so. typically die from root rot and over watering. So therefore I was afraid to add to much water. I actually didn’t add any at all I figured I would wait about a week to let her settle.