Fiddle-Leaf Fig Care – How To Grow A Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree

fiddle leaf fig
fiddle leaf fig
(Image credit: MiaZeus)

You may have seen people growing fiddle-leaf figs in southern Florida or in containers in well-lit offices or homes. The huge green leaves on fiddle-leaf fig trees give the plant a definite tropical air. If you are thinking growing this plant yourself or want information on fiddle-leaf fig care, read on.

What is a Fiddle-Leaf Fig?

So exactly what is a fiddle-leaf fig? Fiddle-leaf fig trees (Ficus lyrata) are evergreen trees with enormous, fiddle-shaped, green leaves. They can get 15 inches (38 cm.) long and 10 inches (25.5 cm.) wide. Native to African rain forests, they only thrive outdoors in the warmest climates like U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b and 11. The only places where you can start growing fiddle-leaf figs outdoors in the U.S. are coastal areas in southern Florida and southern California.

How to Grow a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Outside

Even if you live in a very warm zone, you may not want to start growing fiddle-leaf figs. The trees grow to 50 feet (15 m.) tall, with a spread just a little smaller. Trunks grow several feet (1 to 1.5 m.) thick. That may be too large for small gardens. If you decide to go ahead, plant your fiddle-leaf fig trees in a sunny location protected from the wind. This will increase the tree’s longevity. Another step you can take to keep the tree alive longer is to prune the tree early and often. Remove branches with tight branch crotches, since these can break off in storms and put the tree’s life at risk.

How to Grow a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Indoors

In cooler climates, you can start growing fiddle-leaf ferns as attractive container plants. Use a pot and potting soil that provide excellent drainage, since these trees won’t survive wet soil. Place it in a spot where it gets high, indirect light exposure. Fiddle-leaf fig care includes adequate water, but the worst thing you can do to fiddle-leaf fig trees is to overwater them. Don’t add water until the top inch (2.5 cm.) of soil is dry to the touch. If you start growing fiddle-leaf figs in containers, you’ll need to repot them every year. Move up one pot size when you see roots emerging from the pot.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.