Optimal Watering for Fiddle Leaf Figs: How Much & How Often?

By: Matt Slaymaker
February 5, 2024
How Often to Water a Fiddle Leaf Fig
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Has your fiddle leaf fig been looking a little sad lately? Are the gorgeous leaves starting to droop, turn pale, or fall off? You may think that watering it frequently will resolve the problem but this might be the very reason why it's dying!

Both too much or too little water can put this gorgeous houseplant of the Ficus genus in danger. Still, it’s good to know that overwatering a plant is more dangerous than underwatering it. So, if you’re wondering how often to water a fiddle leaf fig, this comprehensive guide will help you. Keep reading to learn everything that there’ is to know about meeting your Ficus lyrata’s watering requirements. 

Fiddle Leaf Fig Watering Frequency 

Your fiddle leaf fig is a relatively easy-going houseplant, which can be a bit fussy, however. So, you need to perfect the timing, amount, and technique of watering it to keep it healthy. Unfortunately, beginner plant enthusiasts may end up overwatering or underwatering their Ficus lyrata, which can lead to root and leaf issues.

Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Like a Lot of Water?

Fiddle leaf figs don’t like too much water. If you overwater the plant, the soil will become waterlogged, potentially leading to root rot. As a result, your fiddle leaf fig will fail to absorb nutrients from the soil.  

You’ may notice the signs only when the leaves start to turn yellow and droop. But leaving the plant dry for too long is also not recommended. 

How Often Should I Water My Fiddle Leaf Fig?

For a thriving and healthy plant, water your fiddle leaf fig once every 7 to 10 days. The key is to follow a consistently moderate watering schedule. 

However, be intuitive about your green companion's needs. The soil should indicate whether it needs water or not. If the top inch is still moist, don’t water the plant. If it feels dry to the touch, your Ficus lyrata is definitely thirsty.

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How to Water a Fiddle Leaf Fig

How to Water Fiddle Leaf Fig

The one of the best techniques to water sufficiently your fiddle leaf fig is from the top, over the soil. Keep watering the plant until you see water seeping through the drainage holes at the bottom. Let the soil gradually dry out before watering it again.

Another effective method is bottom watering. For this, place the potted plant in a basin, plate, or any container filled with water for 30-60 minutes. The soil will absorb the water through the drainage holes. It’s a great way to hydrate the entire root zone without accidentally getting the leaves or trunk wet, which can cause bacteria, fungus, or decay. 

No matter which method you choose, here are a few things to remember: 

  • The water should be at room temperature and chemical-free. 
  • Avoid wetting the leaves and the trunk to prevent disease issues. 
  • Remove excess water from the saucer to prevent root rot.
  • Alternate between the two techniques to ensure a balanced hydration of your plant and prevent mineral build-up in the soil.

Are Self-Watering Pots Good for Fiddle Leaf Figs?

A self-watering pot is an excellent choice for a fiddle leaf fig. It has a bottom reservoir to deliver water to the root region. The advantage is that the water delivery matches the pace at which the plant soaks it. This mechanism keeps the soil consistently moist without soaking it. 

How Do I Know If My Fiddle Leaf Fig Needs Water?

How Do I Know If My Fiddle Leaf Fig Needs Water

How do you know when your plant needs a drink? Understanding your fiddle leaf fig’s watering needs may be a little tricky, especially if you’re a gardening rookie. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice some tell-tale signs: 

  • Dry soil: Check the soil with your finger. If the top inch feels dry, give your plant a drink. You may also find the soil pulling away from the pot edges. 
  • Unhealthy leaves: Your plant leaves will ask for water by drooping and curling inward. They also lose their firmness and bright appearance, and may have crispy tips and edges.
  • Slow growth: When your fiddle leaf fig is deprived of water, its growth will become stunted. You’ll notice that the leaf growth is slow, and the new leaves are small.
  • Weak stems: If you notice that the stems and branches look limp, consider it an indication that the plant is parched. They’ll also become brittle and break easily. 

How Much Water Do You Give a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The plant’s height is a key indicator for determining how much to water a fiddle leaf fig. Here’s a chart to help you keep things simple:

Plant's Height
Water Quantity (Weekly)
Less than 2 feet
1 cup
2-3 feet
2 cups
3-6 feet
3 cups
More than 6 feet
4+ cups 

Can You Use Tap Water for Fiddle Leaf Figs? 

You should avoid giving tap water to your fiddle leaf fig. The chemicals in it, like chlorine, can harm the beneficial microorganisms in the soil and the roots of the plant. The best way to keep your plant healthy is by giving it distilled or filtered water at room temperature. Clean rainwater also works.

Factors That Influence Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Watering Schedule 

While hydrating a fiddle leaf fig every 7-10 days is ideal, many external factors can influence your plant’s water needs. Here’s a quick look at the factors that may impact your plant watering schedule:

Light conditions: Prolonged exposure to brighter light can lead to your Ficus lyrata needing more water. Conversely, plants grown in low-light conditions need less frequent watering.

Climate, humidity, and temperature: If you live in a hot and dry region, the soil loses moisture faster, so the plant may need watering more often. On the other hand, plants use less water in humid or rainy climates, as well as in cold seasons when they’re less active. 

Seasonal changes in winter and summer: Winters can be dry and windy or moist and cold. Similarly, the summer season can be sunny and dry or hot and humid. So adjust the watering schedule accordingly.    

Size of pot: Large pots hold more soil, which remains wet longer. The soil in a smaller pot dries much faster. So, adjust the water quantity and frequency based on the pot size.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

It’s easy to make the mistake of overwatering or underwatering fiddle leaf figs. The key is to keep a close eye on your plant to monitor its appearance and the soil. 

For a watering regimen that makes your plant happy and healthy, avoid common errors like:

  • A watering schedule that doesn’t consider external factors that may affect the plant’s needs
  • Stagnated water in the pot’s tray, which can make the soil soggy 
  • Watering techniques that don't hydrate the root zone
  • Keeping your Ficus lyrata in a pot that’s too large or too small
  • Using water that contains fluoride and chlorine

How Can I Tell If a Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Overwatered?

If your fiddle leaf fig is overwatered, its roots will get affected first. Though you won’t be able to see the roots rotting away inside the soil, the plant will indicate it’s struggling through other signs. 

The leaves will develop brown spots on the blade and eventually turn yellow and brown. You should prune your fiddle leaf fig and remove these damaged leaves.

What Does a Dehydrated Fiddle Leaf Fig Look Like?

A dehydrated and thirsty fiddle leaf fig will also tell you about its condition by showing the following signs:

  • Leaves curling inward and drooping
  • Yellow and brown leaves
  • Crispy leaf edges and tips
  • Weak and brittle stems, and leaves that fall off easily
  • Slow growth and small new leaves
  • Soil pulling away from the pot edges

Related: Learn How to Prpagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig With These 3 Proven Methods

How Often to Water a Fiddle Leaf Fig: FAQs 

Q: How dry should a fiddle leaf fig be before watering?

A: If the top inch of it is dry to the touch, that’s the best time to give your plant a drink. Don’t wait for the soil to start pulling away from the pot edges.   

Q: Is it best to bottom water a fiddle leaf fig?

A: If you tend to overwater your plants, bottom watering a fiddle leaf fig is ideal. However, you should water the plant from the top at least once a month. It will help  flush and remove the excess salts and minerals from the soil. 

Q: Should I mist my fiddle leaf fig?

A: The fiddle leaf fig is a tropical plant that loves humidity of 40%-60%. So if you live in a dry region, you can mist the plant or use a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. 

Q: Do fiddle leaf figs need distilled water?

A: Distilled water is a great choice for fiddle leaf figs or any other indoor potted plant. It contains no chemicals that can harm your plant. You can also give it, filtered or rainwater. 

Conclusion 

The fiddle leaf fig watering requirements depend on various factors, such as climate, humidity, plant height, pot size, and more. Considering these is crucial for ensuring that you don’t overwater or underwater your plant. With a little patience and practice, you’ll master your plant growing skills and learn to meet your specific fiddle leaf fig care needs.

And while at it, why not consider growing some companion plants for your Ficus lyrata, such as a split leaf philodendron, rubber tree, or snake plant and this way, expand your indoor green haven of natural mood boosters and air-purifiers?