Fiddle leaf fig plants (Ficus lyrata) need plenty of light to thrive and do best in 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. While it is typically easy to provide them with good light in the spring and summer when the dark days of fall and winter roll around, your fiddle leaf fig might not get enough natural light. The good news is that getting a grow light for your fiddle leaf fig plant can do just the trick.
That is, when used correctly, putting your fiddle leaf fig under a grow light can be just as effective as using natural light. In fact, it can be even better, as using a grow light for indoor plants allows you to control exactly how much light your fiddle leaf fig gets. This is compared to when you rely on the sun, which can accidentally result in your plant getting either too much or too little light.
So keep reading to find out everything you need to know about using a grow light with your fiddle leaf fig, including our pick for the best grow light for a Ficus tree.
Can I use a grow light for a fiddle leaf fig tree?
Plants really don’t know the difference between natural and artificial light as long as the plant light you are using produces full-spectrum light. As such, fiddle leaf figs thrive under grow lights when the lights are correctly used.
For obvious reasons, the size and strength of the light must match your fiddle leaf fig’s light needs. While you may be able to use small grow lights for a young Ficus plant, you will need a large grow light for a tall fiddle leaf fig – or even multiple lights in order to provide enough light for a full-size fiddle leaf fig tree.
Do fiddle leaf figs do well under grow lights?
Fiddle leaf figs do well under grow lights as they typically thrive if their lighting needs are met, whether that’s by natural or artificial lighting. As plants can’t really tell the difference between the two types of lighting, using grow lights to meet your fiddle leaf fig’s light needs can be a great way to keep your plant healthy.
That said, your fiddle leaf fig will grow towards the light and so can become lopsided if you use one large grow light. Using multiple grow lights that direct light onto the foliage from different angles helps eliminate issues with your fiddle leaf fig becoming lopsided.
How much grow light does a fiddle leaf fig need?
Fiddle leaf fig plants need six hours of light a day. As that is sometimes not possible to get from natural light, especially during the winter when the sun is low in the sky, supplementing that amount of light with grow lights is always an option.
Determining how much light a plant needs from a grow light can sometimes be challenging, as the amount and intensity of the light can vary depending on the grow light.
Better Homes & Garden recommends 20 to 40 watts per square foot of space you wish to illuminate. Calculate the square footage of the area your fiddle leaf fig plant occupies and purchase a plant light (or lights) that will cover that area.
For example: If you have a small fiddle leaf fig that is 2 feet high and 1 foot wide, multiply the width (1 foot) by the height (2 feet) to determine the area the fiddle leaf fig plant occupies. In this case, your fiddle leaf fig plant occupies 2 square feet and needs between 40 and 80 watts to illuminate the plant.
Keep in mind this is the combined amount of light it needs. If you are using more than one grow light for your fiddle leaf fig, make sure to divide the total from above by the number of lights to calculate the correct watts for the bulbs.
You should also note that different types of fiddle leaf figs have different light needs. For example, a variegated fiddle leaf fig will need more light than the more standard Ficus lyrata.
Where should a fiddle leaf fig grow light be?
As a rule, a grow light should be positioned 12 to 14 inches away from foliage plants, like your fiddle leaf fig. However, keep in mind that your fiddle leaf fig will grow towards the light. Placing one grow light to the side of the plant may cause your fiddle leaf fig to grow lopsided.
It is best to use two or more grow lights for balanced growth, so all parts of the foliage are illuminated. You can also place the grow light over your fiddle leaf fig plant, but keep in mind that with large plants, the light may be obscured by the top leaves, and the bottom of the plant may not receive enough light.
One grow light for a tall fiddle leaf fig may not be enough to bathe the entire plant in light. A grow light placed above the plant with additional grow lights to illuminate the sides of the fiddle leaf fig plant is ideal.
What light bulb is best for growing fiddle leaf fig trees?
A wide selection of grow lights is available, but LED, fluorescent, and incandescent bulbs are the most popular. In general, LED grow lights are considered the best grow light for indoor plants, including your fiddle leaf fig tree.
However, there are several factors to consider when choosing the best grow light for indoor plants. Consider the pros and cons listed below to help you choose the best grow light for a ficus tree.
Best LED grow lights for fiddle leaf figs
LED grow lights are often the first choice for houseplant owners due to the many benefits they offer. Specifically, their advantages are that they tend to be:
- Energy efficient
- Long life
- Do not heat up
- Wide spectrum of light
However, it’s worth noting that they do tend to be more expensive to purchase. At the same time, keep in mind that they are cheaper to run due to their energy efficiency. As such, the cost can tend to balance out over time.
Here are some of my top picks for the best LED grow lights for fiddle leaf figs.
Juhefa Full Spectrum LED Floor Light
Plants tend to grow best in full spectrum light so it’s important to look for grow lights that offer that feature, not just red and blue light as many only have.
And this grow light from Juhefa definitely meets that requirement. It also comes with a timer, so you won’t accidentally burn your plants if you forget to turn the light off manually. You can also adjust it up to 47 inches (120cm) tall, making it my preferred LED grow light for tall fiddle leaf figs.
With over 1,300 five star ratings, this one has definitely proven itself as being a solid choice for your plants.
GoingTop Clippable Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
If your fiddle leaf fig isn’t quite mature enough yet to need a taller light or you’re dealing with a smaller variety, like the dwarf fiddle leaf fig, this LED grow light from GooingTop could do very nicely.
As you can see from the picture, it actually clips on to the edge of a surface, whether that’s a table, desk or shelf. From there, you can easily position it to provide light to your smaller plants, no matter where they happen to be located in your house. Not only does this make it easier to look after your smaller houseplants, but it also avoids wasting valuable floor space.
Like the one above, this is a full spectrum grow light with a timer to avoid burning your fiddle leaf fig.They also claim that the estimated running cost is only $2 per month if you run it for 12 hours a day – not bad at all!
Bloom Plus LED Grow Light
This one is for serious houseplant owners who want to make sure their entire plant collection gets the light they want. You probably don’t need a grow light of this size if you only have one fiddle leaf fig or just a couple of plants throughout your house (for that, I’d recommend the first one I mentioned above).
But if you have a bunch of plants to care for, like if you’ve had to bring a few of them inside for winter, including your precious fiddle leaf figs, then this one’s for you. It comes with full spectrum light that’s as close to sunlight as you’ll get and it’s built to ensure that even though it gives off a lot of light, the light only goes to your plants, not the surroundings. In brief, that means more light for your plants and less money for you.
Sure, it’s not the cheapest around, but the price balances out when you consider how many houseplants you can care for with this one grow light. And with 2,500 five star reviews, it seems that other people may have that opinion too.
Best fluorescent grow lights for fiddle leaf figs
Fluorescent grow lights for your fiddle leaf fig can also be a good choice, especially if you’re looking to save money upfront. In terms of advantages, they offer the following:
- Reasonably energy efficient
- Less expensive to buy than LED lights
- Some fluorescent grow lights produce full spectrum light
However, it’s worth keeping in mind some other points, like the fact that they:
- Have a shorter life than LED grow lights
- Use more energy than LED lights
- Can heat up, but less so than incandescent grow lights
That is, while these will be cheaper to buy initially as well as to replace the bulbs, the running costs may end up being slightly higher than their LED counterparts, so it’s worth doing the math to see which one is worth it for you. You’ll also need to keep an eye on any you use to make sure they don’t overheat your plant, as a fiddle leaf fig’s temperature needs are pretty specific.
I’d suggest the following fluorescent grow lights for your fiddle leaf fig.
iPower Fluorescent Grow Light System with Stand
This stand can be a great way to position your fluorescent grow light over a fiddle leaf fig that you don’t want to move from its perfectly chosen spot. Instead, you can simply set up the rack over it to ensure its light needs are met.
It’s also very easy to assemble and disassemble, making it great for, say, only pulling out during winter when your fiddle leaf fig is getting less light than usual. When spring rolls around, you can then pack it up until the amount of light begins to drop next year.
HO Fluorescent Grow Light
What’s great about this option is how easily it can be added to your home without announcing to the world that it’s a grow light. Many of the others aren’t really subtle, but this one can be easily attached to any wall, be plugged in and is then good to go…or grow, as the case may be.
The white light makes it a good grow light for fiddle leaf figs, given this is what they prefer. Just make sure it’s placed close enough to your plants for it to work its magic, as if your Ficus is too small, putting this too high on the wall won’t really help.
Incandescent grow lights for your fiddle leaf fig?
Let’s be clear upfront: in my personal opinion, incandescent grow lights for fiddle leaf figs aren’t your best option. Sure, they’re certainly inexpensive to purchase, much more so than the other types.
However, there are a few negative points to keep in mind, such as:
- Bulbs heat up and can burn your plants
- Are not energy efficient
- Shorter life
- Do not have full spectrum light
So if you’re watching your wallet – as you definitely should, don’t get me wrong – don’t be sucked into the fact that these are cheaper initially, as they’ll cost you more over the long term to run.
The fact that they don’t have full spectrum light is also another red flag for me. While your fiddle leaf figs may be fine with a grow light that only has red and blue light, full spectrum is better. And when the other types of grow lights offer that, it seems like a better choice to go for one of them.
I was checking reviews on Amazon for various incandescent grow lights to see if people had actually tried them with plants and was pretty surprised to see that this Satco Incandescent Portable Plant Lamp actually has really good reviews. It also, dare I say it, looks a lot better aesthetically than some of the other grow lights you can find out there.
But the price isn’t so different from some of the other options, including that it’s pretty on par with the clippable LED grow light I recommended above and would rate well above the incandescent version when it comes to how good it is for your fiddle leaf fig. So, sure, give the incandescent one a try if you’d like, but if you want your fiddle leaf fig to have a grow light that’s more guaranteed to help your plant thrive, I’d skip the incandescent ones.
What color grow light for a fiddle leaf fig should I use?
Many manufacturers produce grow lights in red and blue, claiming that is all your plants need to grow, but plants actually grow best in full spectrum light. That means grow lights with individual colored diodes should have red and blue diodes with white diodes mixed in too, with approximately five times as many red diodes as blue diodes.
Some plant lights use full spectrum white diodes and do not contain the traditional red and blue diodes. Whether you purchase a board or bulb made up of different colored diodes or one with full spectrum white diodes doesn’t really matter as long as the grow light produces full spectrum light.
Does my fiddle leaf fig need a grow light?
Fiddle leaf fig plants need six hours of direct sunlight a day. If you are unable to provide enough natural light for your fiddle leaf fig plant, it needs supplemental light to thrive. For example, many plant lovers provide supplemental grow lights for their plants when the sun is low in the sky in the winter.
They can also be used if you prefer to grow your fiddle leaf fig plant in the corner of the room that does not receive enough light during the day.
Fiddle leaf fig plants that receive at least six hours a day of direct sunlight do not need grow lights.
How many hours should you keep the grow light on?
Generally, running a grow light for fiddle leaf fig 12 to 14 hours a day will give your fiddle leaf fig all the light it needs. Using a timer to turn your grow light on and off every day will prevent accidentally leaving the lights on all night and stressing the plant.
That is, just because your fiddle leaf fig plant needs a little help with supplemental lighting from a grow light doesn’t mean you can leave it running 24/7. Your plant works hard all day, turning the light into energy, and needs to rest at night. You also want to avoid your fiddle leaf fig being sunburned.
Can I use a grow light for a tall fiddle leaf fig?
You may need more than one grow light for a tall fiddle leaf fig as using just one light above your plant may result in the lower leaves being blocked from getting any light. For that reason, it can be better to have multiple grow lights at different angles for tall plants.
Another option can be to use a fiddle leaf fig grow light that has different, movable arms coming off it, so that you can position the light sources from various angles to ensure that some light is reaching all of the leaves.
The Juhefa LED Floor Light is great for this, as the different bulbs can be moved all around your tall fiddle leaf fig so that each leaf is getting some light. It also offers full spectrum light, which is ideal for fiddle leaf figs to help them thrive.
Tips for using a grow light for indoor plants
- Beware of lights sold in department stores labeled as plant lights. These lights are often designed to highlight and enhance the appearance of your plant’s foliage by night. They do not provide the light your plants need to grow.
- Use caution with grow lights that heat up as they can burn the foliage on your fiddle leaf fig plant. Lights that heat up must be kept at least 12 to 14 inches from the foliage.
- Purchase grow lights from a reputable source and read the customer reviews carefully. Many lights marketed as grow lights do not provide a wide spectrum of light or do not give off the intensity of light your fiddle leaf fig plant needs to flourish.
- Use a timer on your grow lights to give your fiddle leaf fig consistent light every day.
- Never use grow lights with a higher wattage than the lamp is rated for.
- Consider a floor lamp with several sockets that will allow you to direct the light from your grow lights if you add lighting for a tall fiddle leaf fig tree.
Grow lights can be a lifesaver for your fiddle leaf fig, especially if your home does not receive enough natural light during the dark days of winter and fall. They can also be used in offices or in areas where natural light is limited due to window placement or other barriers to the light. Grow lights can also be used for supplemental lighting and do not need to provide all the light your plants need.
Final thoughts on using grow lights for fiddle leaf figs
Some people are hesitant to use grow lights on their indoor plants on the basis that they’re not as good for your houseplants as if they were to receive natural light. However, in reality, plants don’t really know the difference and it’s much better for them to get artificial light than no light at all.
It’s for that reason that you really shouldn’t worry about helping out your fiddle leaf fig with a grow light if you feel that its light needs aren’t being met by the sun. The Ficus is quite finicky about the amount of light it needs to survive and if you notice any problems with your plant, like if your fiddle leaf fig leaves are drooping, it’s very possible that a lack of light is the cause.
This is why you should feel free to use a grow light on your fiddle leaf fig, even if it’s just for part of the year in winter when the sun is lower in the sky. That way, you’ll ensure that your Ficus continues to thrive, no matter what’s going on outside.