Not having a green thumb isn't the worst thing in the world, but when you're cursed with the inability to keep plants alive and the desire to turn your home into an Instagram-worthy plant paradise, things can get pretty frustrating. It's one thing to be a good plant parent to a few succulents here and there (and even those can be a challenge!), but it's another to keep a majestic tree like the fiddle leaf fig alive and thriving. And it doesn't help when you constantly see happy, healthy plants practically in droves on influencers' Instagrams, taunting you with their perfect, lush leaves, leaving you ... ahem ... green with envy. (Sorry, had to.)
The good news is, even if it feels impossible, even if you struggle with the easiest, most low-maintenance plants out there, you can keep a fiddle leaf fig alive. You just need to know what you're doing, but once you do, it'll be fine. Take a deep breath, grab your watering can, and get ready to learn.
Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
The first thing you need to remember about fiddle leaf figs? Don't overwater them. Seriously. It might seem counterintuitive to water a plant less, but in this case, it's important. According to Greenery NYC, fiddle leaf figs need to dry out a little in between waterings, and you shouldn't water them more than once a week. Basically, fiddle leaf figs should only be watered when the top inch or two of their soil is dry — you may not be able to tell this from looking at it, but a quick way to tell is to stick your finger in and see if it feels dry or not. If it feels damp, skip the water for now and check again later.
You can also tell when a fiddle leaf fig is thirsty by looking at its leaves — if they're droopy or floppy, that's usually a sign that they're in need of some hydration. Brown leaves, however, usually signal overwatering. If that happens, give your tree a chance to dry out for a bit before you water it again.
Providing the Right Amount of Sunlight
You want your fiddle leaf fig to thrive, so that means putting it in just the right spot in your home. Somewhere that's not windy or drafty (so away from air vents!), that gets sunlight but doesn't totally bake in the sun, and on top of that, some humidity won't hurt. If you're not sure if a particular spot in your home is ideal for a fiddle leaf fig to live its best life, Greenery NYC has a light-measuring guide that can help.
Another pro tip? Don't move your fiddle leaf fig tree, but rotate it often. Since fiddle leaf figs tend to grow toward sunlight, rotating your planter once a month can help your plant grow more evenly and keep it from bending on different sides.
Keeping Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Clean and Fertilized
Plants have a tendency to collect dust, but that dust can get in the way of their ability to absorb sunlight, so it's important to keep their leaves clean. There are a few ways you can do this — The Decor Fix recommends lightly dusting them as needed, then following it up by misting them with water from a spray bottle. On top of that, Greenery NYC also suggests rinsing your fiddle leaf fig's leaves in the shower every three months, which not only cleans the leaves but also fully rehydrates the soil.
Speaking of soil, expect to repot your fiddle leaf fig tree annually — Room For Tuesday has a helpful guide, if you're unsure of how to do it. And according to The Spruce, you should only fertilize your fiddle leaf fig during the growing season. And as The Decor Fix points out, you can also add some plant vitamins to your tree's soil, just for an extra boost.
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Beyond that, how you try to break your not-so-green thumb curse is up to you. Some people like to talk to their plants, some like to sing to them or play music for them, and some even name their plants (I'm one of those people and I'm not afraid to admit it. And for the record, my newest little succulent friend, Harry Styles, is thriving, thank you very much!)
Now, all that's left is for you to be the best tree caretaker you can be. Happy plant parenting — you got this!
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