It’s tempting to want to give your fiddle leaf fig as much water as you think it looks like it needs – as plants need regular drinks to live, right? Well, learning how often to water your fiddle leaf fig can actually make all the difference between a meh houseplant and one that’s really thriving.
In particular, fiddle leaf figs can be a bit touchy about how much moisture they have at any one time. Overall, when it comes to the best soil for fiddle leaf figs, they like evenly moist soil that drains well, as potting mix that remains wet or gets soggy leads to having both an overwatered fiddle leaf fig as well as even root rot in fiddle leaf figs.
This is why learning to give your fiddle leaf fig the right amount of water is important to its health, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Follow these tips to keep your fiddle leaf fig well-watered without worries about over watering them.
How often should you water a fiddle leaf fig?
You should water a fiddle leaf fig around once a week when it’s actively growing, although many are fine with watering every 10 days. The best advice is to water your fiddle leaf fig when the soil is dry in the upper part of the pot but is still slightly moist in the bottom.
How often your fiddle leaf needs to be watered is difficult to say, as many factors affect how quickly the soil dries out. Consider the following factors when determining how often to water your fiddle leaf fig:
The size of your fiddle leaf fig affects how much water it consumes for healthy growth. Large plants need more water than young ones do. Don’t expect a towering plant to survive with the same watering frequency as a small plant.
The size of the plant pot determines the amount of soil it contains. Large pots with lots of soil take longer to dry out than smaller pots do. On the other hand, if the size of the pot doesn’t match the size of the plant, that can affect how often you need to water your plant, too.
Take a look here for some ideas on the best planter for a fiddle leaf fig.
If the pot is too big for the roots of your plant the extra soil can become waterlogged and take a long time to drain. A pot that is too small may not hold enough water to nourish your fiddle leaf fig for more than a day or two.
Growing your fiddle leaf fig in the right size pot will help you develop a good watering routine. And while they may not particularly like to be repotting, at least at first, knowing when to repot your fiddle leaf fig can really help fix any health issues it may be experiencing.
Temperature and humidity
Both temperature and humidity affect how quickly soil in a plant pot dries. Hot dry air will cause the water in the soil to evaporate quickly. Humid air will slow down the evaporation process and your fiddle leaf fig’s soil will stay moist longer.
Always consider the temperature and humidity level near your plants when trying to determine how long it will take for the soil to dry out.
Fiddle leaf figs don’t grow at the same rate all year. They experience a growth spurt in the early spring and continue actively growing through the summer.
In the fall, your plant’s growth begins to slow down as it enters dormancy for the winter.
Your fiddle leaf fig will need more frequent water in the spring and summer than it does through the fall and winter.
Rate of growth
Like the change in growth that accompanies the seasons, your fiddle leaf fig may experience a boost in growth due to increased sunlight, more nutrients, or simply improved growing conditions at certain times. When this occurs, your plant will need more frequent watering to supply the growing plant with the moisture and nutrients it needs to thrive.
When to water a fiddle leaf fig based on the season
What time of year it is will impact how often to water a fiddle leaf fig. This is partly because plants tend to grow more at certain times of year, meaning they need more water to help them with this.
Keep reading to find out how to adjust your watering schedule based on the season.
How often to water a fiddle leaf fig in summer
You may need to water your fiddle leaf fig once a week or more to keep up with its rapid growth and the increase in temperature over the summer. That is, nearly all plants experience a growth spurt during the summer months, with higher temperatures in the summer affecting your fiddle leaf fig’s need for water, too.
As your fiddle leaf fig grows, so too does it need plenty of water to supply growing plant tissues with the moisture and nutrients they need to thrive.
In addition to increased growth, pots dry out faster when the temperatures soar in the summer. That means a fiddle leaf fig’s demand for water is higher in the summer than in the winter.
Check the soil every few days to determine the right frequency for your plant.
How often to water a fiddle leaf fig in winter
Your fiddle leaf fig may be happy with watering every 10 days or so during winter, depending on other factors. Fiddle leaf figs enter dormancy in the winter to rest from a long growing season. Although it doesn’t stop growing completely it does slow down considerably. Slower growth means your plant needs less water to nourish it.
Check the soil at least once a week to determine if your plant needs to be watered.
How do you know if a fiddle leaf fig needs water?
To check if your fiddle leaf fig needs water, check the plant for any sign of the leaves drooping, curling or developing brown edges. You can also check the moisture of your soil, either with a moisture meter or through the finger test, to see if the top two to four inches are dry.
That is, your underwatered fiddle leaf fig will let you know when it is thirsty. Watch for these physical signs your plant needs more water:
- Wilting or drooping leaves. In the initial stages of water deprivation, your Ficus will let you know it needs water through your fiddle leaf fig having drooping leaves. Without enough water in the stems and foliage, the plant cannot maintain proper pressure (called turgor) in its plant tissues. When the turgor is not maintained the stems and foliage of the plant become floppy and are unable to stay erect.
- Curling leaves. If the issue isn’t dealt with when wilted leaves first appear, your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves may begin curling. At this stage, the leaves remain green and will revive when the plant is watered.
- Brown edges on the leaves. As your fiddle leaf fig experiences longer periods without adequate water, the edges of the leaves begin to turn brown. They may feel crispy and dry. These leaves will not repair themselves after you water the plant. Brown leaves with crispy edges need to be trimmed from the plant and discarded.
- Check the soil moisture. You can measure the amount of moisture in your soil with a moisture meter, or you can perform a finger test. Many plant lovers are adept at checking the moisture with their finger.
If you notice any of these signs on your fiddle leaf fig , it’s time to water it.
Here’s how to perform a simple finger test to determine if your soil is too dry.
- Insert your finger about 2 to 4 inches into the soil, depending on the depth of the plant pot.
- Assess whether it feels moist or dry to the touch.
- Examine your finger when you remove it from the soil. If your finger comes out clean with little or no traces of soil clinging to it, the soil is dry. If you see a light coating of soil on your finger the soil is moist. A muddy finger indicates the soil is soggy.
How to see when to water a fiddle leaf fig with a moisture meter
A moisture meter is an effective tool for measuring the moisture level in your soil. This simple device registers the amount of moisture in the soil within seconds. You can buy one at your local hardware store or at a plant center for a few dollars.
The moisture meter itself consists of a metal probe and a gauge that displays the amount of moisture present in the soil. Some moisture meters also measure the pH of the soil, but that is not necessary. A simple meter that measures moisture will do.
- Insert the probe into the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches, depending on the size of the pot.
- Allow it to rest for the specified time outlined in the instructions with the meter. This usually requires 60 seconds, but the time may vary depending on the specific moisture meter.
- Observe the reading on the display. Your meter may display the moisture content as dry, moist, and wet, or it may provide a range in each section. Typically, the meter highlights a dry reading in red, a moist or damp reading in green, and a wet reading in blue.
- Water your fiddle leaf fig if the reading is in the red zone or borders between the red and green zone.
Do fiddle leaf figs like self-watering pots?
Self-watering pots are a convenient way to water houseplants, including fiddle leaf figs. Whether you use a self-watering pot or choose to water your plants from the top is a matter of personal preference. Your fiddle leaf fig doesn’t really care as long as it gets the moisture it needs.
There are some things you should know about self-watering pots before you use one.
- They are only effective if the roots of your plant have grown to the bottom of the pot where they can draw up water from the reservoir. To accomplish this, you will need to water your fiddle leaf fig from the top for up to two months to encourage a good root system that extends to the reservoir.
- The reservoir needs to be allowed to dry out completely before it is refilled.
- Plants benefit from a short breather when the reservoir empties. Wait 2 to 3 days before refilling the reservoir to allow your fiddle leaf fig’s roots access to air.
Should fiddle leaf figs dry out before watering?
Fiddle leaf figs thrive in evenly moist soil but suffer in wet soil or soil that dries out excessively. The secret to meeting your fiddle leaf fig’s watering needs is to water them thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry out at the surface before watering your fiddle leaf fig again.
The top 2 to 4 inches (depending on the size and depth of the pot) of soil should feel dry to the touch, but soil in the bottom half of the pot should not dry out completely.
How long can a fiddle leaf fig go without water?
As a rule, a fiddle leaf fig can go 10 to 14 days without being watered during the winter but will likely need water once a week in the summer. This will, however, depend on factors like the size and growth rate of the plant, the time of the year, and how quickly the soil drains.
The only way to know for sure how long your fiddle leaf fig can safely go without water is to monitor it closely to establish a watering routine.
Do fiddle leaf figs like to be misted?
Fiddle leaf figs like to be misted as they thrive in humid air that they may not get in your home. Specifically, fiddle leaf figs need a humidity level above 40 percent to thrive, with the average home having an humidity level of only between 10 and 30 percent in the winter.
(That’s according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Iowa State University Extension Office (ISU), at least.)
These kinds of figures mean that the humidity level inside your home is likely too low for a fiddle leaf fig. For that reason, misting your fiddle leaf fig plants may be beneficial.
How often should I mist my fiddle leaf fig?
You technically need to mist your fiddle leaf fig a few times a day to make a lasting impact on the humidity level around your plant. This is because misting only raises the humidity around your plants for a few minutes.
Many plant lovers mist their tropical plants, like the fiddle leaf fig, every day. While this practice may provide some benefit to the plant by raising the humidity levels slightly, the effects are not lasting.
So if you enjoy misting your fiddle leaf fig and have the time to do it often, it will receive some benefit from the raised humidity.
Does a fiddle leaf fig need a humidifier?
Fiddle leaf figs flourish in high humidity and, in most homes, the humidity levels aren’t usually high enough to meet your plant’s needs. As such, a humidifier is one effective tool you can use to raise the humidity level near your plants.
Although humidifiers run all day without any assistance from you, most require filling the tank every day. In addition, to keep the tank filled with clean water, it is important to drain the tank and clean it every two weeks.
How can you raise the humidity level around your fiddle leaf figs?
Besides misting and using a humidifier there are several other ways you can raise the humidity level for your fiddle leaf figs.
1. Group plants together
The roots of plants take in water (and nutrients) that is transported up the stem and out to the plant’s leaves. As it reaches the leaves it begins to evaporate and turn to water vapor.
As the plant’s leaves open and close the tiny pores (called stomata) on the undersides of the leaves during photosynthesis or air exchange, moisture is released into the air raising the humidity levels around the plants.
2. Use pebble trays
Pebble trays are a simple solution for combating dry air. Simply layer pebbles in a shallow pan or tray and cover the pebbles with water. Position the pebble trays under your plant pots so the water level is below the bottom of the pot or place the trays near your plants.
As water evaporates from the pebble tray it enters the air around your plants raising the humidity level.
3. Trap moisture with peat moss
Taking advantage of the absorbent nature of peat moss to store water and release moisture into the air is also effective for raising the humidity level near your fiddle leaf fig.
Choose a plant pot that is two inches larger than your fiddle leaf’s growing pot. Line the larger pot with peat moss and slip the growing pot inside. The moss should fill the gap between the two pots.
Moisten the peat moss and then let it dry out gradually over the next few days. Wet the peat moss when it dries, and you will have a constant supply of moisture entering the air.
It is common for many plant lovers to worry about watering tropical plants properly, but you don’t need to be one of them. Armed with a little knowledge about what a fiddle leaf fig really needs to thrive and developing an effective watering routine is sure to put you on your way to raising healthy, happy plants that will flourish in your home.
Final thoughts on when to water your fiddle leaf fig
Fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrate) are popular tropical houseplants grown for their impressive waxy green, violin-shaped leaves. A fiddle leaf fig in the wild can reach heights of 50 feet – but don’t worry, they stay much smaller when grown in a pot. Most grow to heights of 3 to 6 feet indoors, but they can grow to an amazing 10 feet if conditions are right.
And this includes whether or not they get enough water. Too little water will see your thirsty plant wilt and, eventually, die – but too much water can also be disastrous for your fiddle leaf fig.
That’s why, to keep a fiddle leaf fig happy, keep an eye on how often you water it. They’re not overly needy plants, so you will likely find yourself only watering them every week or so. This could mean setting yourself a weekly reminder to check on your houseplant to see if it’s thirsty enough for its next drink. If it’s not, give it a couple of days and check again.
While they may not be able to speak, you’ll soon see that your ficus is pretty good at telling you just when it’s time for its next watering!