The first time I laid eyes on a fiddle leaf fig I knew I had to have one, they are so gorgeous with their big bright green leaves and substantial size. Plus I knew just the right spot to put my new love once it arrived. I researched more about how to take care of a fiddle leaf fig than I had ever researched anything in my life and after reading all of the conflicting information out there my head was spinning.
So I put all of the things I read into practice, I watered once a week (but only one cup), I rotated weekly, I cleaned the leaves, I did every single thing I had read was the secret to keeping it alive but guess what? It didn’t work… Within three months I was staring at what once was my gorgeous new plant that had now dropped almost every one of its leaves and the ones that were left had huge brown spots on the edges. I was so disappointed but honestly not surprised because I had never actually kept any plant alive.
So while on a trip to Home Depot one day I spotted one that was much larger than the first one I purchased and somehow convinced Wayne that we needed to bring another unsuspecting victim home with us. Once home we moved the dying plant into a little corner of our bedroom and brought in his new much better-looking replacement. Knowing that all of the things I had tried before didn’t work I knew I needed to figure something else out.
So I stopped watering weekly and only watered when the leaves began to droop a little. For the most part, I left both plants alone other than opening the shades every morning to give them the sunlight they love so dearly and guess what? Something miraculous happened later that summer, within a week the one in our living area grew an entire foot and the one that was on the verge of death was sprouting new leaves as well! I was so happy I couldn’t believe I had actually managed to keep not one but two fiddle leaf figs alive and they were actually growing!
That was several years ago and last weekend while on another trip to Home Depot I was checking out the plants just because that’s just what I do and I saw they had the small ones for sale again. As I was pulling them out giving them a good once over I spotted an entire row of the largest most beautiful fiddle leaf fig TREES I had ever seen with a huge emphasizes on trees because they actually had trunks and not little twigs that wanted so badly to be trunks. I knew this was probably a once in a lifetime thing and I had to snag one fast! Within minutes I was at the customer service desk requesting that they hold the one I had chosen until Wayne could come pick it up in the truck.
While all of this was going on I had made a quick video and put it on Instagram stories so all of my local friends could snag one for themselves since Home Depot only gets them in store a few times a year. As soon as I did the questions came rolling in and I suddenly realized that even with the information that is currently out there people still believe they could never keep one alive. So I wanted to give you my step by step guide to keeping your fiddle leaf fig alive and trust me if I can do it with my notorious black thumb so can you!
Watering: This is the number one thing that keeps my fiddle leaf fig happy and thriving. My secret is waiting for my tree to begin showing signs it needs water. I don’t test the soil with my finger or do any other magic tricks, I simply notice when the leaves start to droop just a tad then I know its time to water. When I water I stick my tree in the sink and make sure the water is not freezing then I let the water run gently into the pot. I usually leave it there for around 1-2 minutes then I let it sit there until the next morning giving all of the extra water time to drain out. Typically I do this around bedtime when the sink isn’t being used. They don’t like soggy feet so don’t skip this step.
Sunlight: They love indirect sunlight and I have had great luck with one right in front of the window but the smaller nearly dead one lives in a much darker corner of our bedroom where it doesn’t get as much light. This is the very spot that it came back to life so anything is possible, just make sure you open the windows in the morning and allow the light to come in most of the day. We always shut our shades around 4:00 pm because we have west-facing windows and the Oklahoma evenings can be brutal.
Clean Leaves: I know what your thinking and no you absolutely don’t have to clean the leaves of your tree every week or even every month but due to the large size they tend to get a little bit dusty so every now and then give the leaves a good wipe down. You can use just a bit of coconut oil and a soft towel to gently wipe the leaves clean.
Rotation: After every watering, I rotate our trees so the other side isn’t being deprived of sun. This is not something you have to obsess over just give it a little spin when you feel like it has been a while or when you put it back in place after watering.
Minimal Movement: They don’t like being moved from place to place, in fact, once you bring your tree home you may notice it acting a little grumpy due to the move but don’t worry it will settle down. Once you have a designated space for your tree it is a good idea to leave it there and not move it from place to place.
Brown Spots: You may see brown spots start to develop on your gorgeous leaves, this is a clear indicator that your tree is either getting too much water or not enough. If you have only been watering when your tree looks thirsty then you know you need to water more frequently. Honestly, since I switched from scheduled watering to waiting until I can tell the tree is thirsty I haven’t had any new brown spots develop, so that tells me its most likely caused by overwatering.
Beware of Drafts: Having our tree too close to an exterior door during the winter is what set the wheels of death in motion. It did great in that spot all summer long but the moment it turned cold it immediately started dropping leaves. Once the plant was moved away from the cold draft it slowly started to perk up.
Re-potting: Do not re-pot your fiddle leaf fig until you’ve seen a substantial amount of growth. They do not like to be in pots that are too large, they would rather be nice and tight. All of ours are still in the same pot they came in the day they were purchased, I just throw them in a basket to make them look better plus the basket adds texture to the space as well.
To some of you, this may seem like a lot of work just to have a live tree in your home but I promise it is totally worth it and when you have a system in place it really doesn’t take much effort. The amount of style this gorgeous tree can bring into your home is unmatched by any other and you may find after a while you get addicted to them just like me. You can order them online from Home Depot here or you can check your local store, I have done both because our store only gets them in around this time of year. They are very affordable and worth every penny in my opinion and you never know, you may get lucky and find one the size of an actual tree for $34.99 like I did over the weekend! Don’t forget to pin the photo below to save these tips for later.