Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is a tropical plant that loves light, water, and humidity. These plants are native to Western Africa’s tropical rainforests, where they get plenty of water with periodic dryness.
However, one of the common problems with these indoor plants is that they are overwatered. Let’s find out how much water do fiddle leaf fig need.
Start by watering your fiddle leaf fig with one cup of water once a week. If your plant shows any signs of overwatering or underwatering, then adjust the watering frequency accordingly. The amount of water also needs to be adjusted depending on the size of the pot and the plant.
Understanding the water requirements or designing a watering schedule for your fiddle leaf fig can be daunting. Overwatering will kill the plant, and underwatering will cause other problems in it.
Finding a balance is the key. Watering the fiddle leaf figs also depends on the size of the plant. In this article, we will discuss this in detail.
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How often should a fiddle leaf fig be watered?
On average, you should water your fiddle leaf fig once a week. But always check the soil before watering.
It would be best if you did not let the soil get completely dry for these plants.
Fiddle leaf figs love moist soil, so you should not let the soil go very dry. On the other hand, you don’t want to keep the soil soggy, be aware of the same.
If the soil dries out, there will be a problem of soil shrinkage. Soil shrinkage occurs when there is a long gap between watering and the soil is getting dried out.
Due to soil shrinkage, the water doesn’t reach the plant’s roots and runs down between the soil and the pot.
Erratic watering is another problem that will occur if you don’t water your fiddle leaf fig as per a proper schedule.
Inconsistent watering is when you alternately overwater or underwater the plant. It can prove to be deadly for the plant.
Fiddle leaf figs love consistency. Sticking to a schedule where you water your plant once a week will help the plant get used to it.
There will be less chance of overwatering or underwatering. You will have a happy and healthy fiddle leaf fig.
If you are a beginner, we recommend using a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture and water your plant accordingly.
Things to keep in mind:
Here are few things to keep in mind before watering your fiddle leaf fig:
The pot of the plant must have enough drainage holes for the water to drain out. Fiddle leaf figs love moisture in the soil, but water retention can cause root rot that can cause death in plants if not treated at the right time.
Therefore, you should ensure well drainage by using soil with enough sand to let the water pass and proper drainage holes that don’t hold the water inside the pot.
Check the moisture
With fiddle leaf figs, you can’t let the soil go completely dry. These plants love moisture. It would be best if you stuck your finger in the soil to understand how wet it is.
If it feels wet, you should wait before you can water it again. If it feels cold when you touch the soil, you can water it again.
If the soil is wet even after a week from the time you watered it, there might be a drainage problem, which you need to check, and you might need to report the plant if required.
Determining fiddle leaf fig water requirements
Several factors affect the water requirement of the plant. You need to take care of some of the factors mentioned below while watering your fiddle leaf figs.
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Light can play a role in determining how much water you should give to the fiddle leaf fig. These plants love bright light.
You should place the plant in the sunniest and brightest spot of your house that doesn’t get harsh sunlight.
If your plant is not getting sufficient light, the water will take a lot of time to dry out, and the soil will retain moisture. It can be dangerous as this can cause root rot in the plants.
If you cannot provide sufficient light to the fiddle leaf fig, you should water it a little less than you usually would until you are fixing the lighting.
In case there is adequate lighting, you can give the usual amount of water to the plant.
Also read: How much light do fiddle leaf fig need?
Fiddle leaf figs are tropical plants that love a humid climate.
Insufficient humidity will show signs like dry leaves, holes in new leaves, etc.
If your plant doesn’t get enough humidity, you can use a humidifier to increase your house’s humidity levels. Or you can use a pebble tray to increase the humidity for your plant.
If you have low humidity in your area and the air is dry, you should consider watering the fiddle leaf fig once the soil has drained completely.
If you touch the soil and if it feels cold or dry, water the plant immediately.
During the summer months, when the temperature rises, the fiddle leaf fig will require more water than the winter months when the temperature falls.
Since fiddle leaf figs love consistency, you should slowly reduce the watering as spring transitions to winter and gradually increase the amount as fall transitions to summer.
Plants grow and stay active during summer and the warmer months, and winter is the dormant period for them.
It would be best if you watered the fiddle leaf fig more during the months when it is active and reduce watering when the season changes to winter.
A poor drainage system will damage the overall health of your fiddle leaf fig.
To establish a sound drainage system, a fast-draining soil with a 50:50 ratio of potting soil and the cactus mix should work well. Such soil will hold the water for the roots to absorb and drain the remaining water.
A pot that supports good drainage is also necessary. That means that the pot will have many drainage holes for the water to drain away.
The material of the pot also matters. Terracotta pots absorb the moisture, and the soil dries quickly compared to plastic, glass, or ceramic pots.
Also read: Why do plants need drainage holes?
Choosing the right-sized pot is crucial if you want to avoid problems like overwatering.
Many plant owners make the mistake of choosing a larger pot than the size of the plant, thinking that the plant will grow soon.
On the contrary, bigger pots are not ideal as these pots will need more soil, which will hold more water, contributing to root rot.
You need to use the correct size, which is neither too large nor too small, to let the roots absorb the right amount of water.
Also read: What happens when you put a plant in too big of a pot?
The health of the plant can also make a difference in the water requirement. If the fiddle leaf fig is suffering from root rot or any other illness, you should give it time to recover.
During such situations, you should go slow on watering.
How much water do fiddle leaf figs need?
Fiddle leaf figs thrive in bright and sunny areas. If you have placed your plant at such a spot with a lot of indirect light, your plant will need more water. You need to increase the amount of water and not the frequency.
If your plant is in a dry area, you need to increase both the watering volume and frequency. You may want to water your plant twice a week in such extreme cases where the weather is hot and dry, and the plant is getting direct sunlight.
In case of a cold and dark environment, the plant will consume less water, and you need to water it carefully so that you are not overwatering it.
To sum it up, how much you need to water the fiddle leaf fig will depend on:
Size of the tree: 1-3 cups/week
Living conditions: Increase or decrease the volume and frequency
Ideally, it would be best if you started by watering your fiddle leaf fig with one cup of water once a week. You can try this schedule for few weeks and observe the change in your plant.
If your plant shows a sign of overwatering, cut down on the water supply and if the plant shows the sign of underwatering, provide more water to the plant accordingly.
What happens if you over water a fiddle leaf fig?
Overwatering is one problem that is common in almost all houseplants and can get severe and deadly if not noticed on time.
If you continue to overwater your fiddle leaf, then the plant’s roots will start rotting, and as a result, your plant will start wilting.
Signs of overwatering fiddle leaf figs:
- Wet soil: You know you are overwatering your fiddle leaf fig if the soil is wet and soggy most of the time. And as a result, it takes a lot of time to dry out.
- Leaves are turning brown: If the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig are beginning to turn brown and rusty, it is the first sign of overwatering.
- Root rot: Root rot happens when you overwater your plant and can be fatal if not treated at the right time.
How do you fix over watered fiddle leaf figs?
If you want to combat overwatering, here are the steps you should follow.
- Watering once a week is ideal for most fiddle leaf figs. It might be even less depending on the light, humidity, temperature, etc.
- Check the soil for moisture by sticking your finger up to an inch or two inside the soil. If the soil is wet, wait till it dries out before you water it again.
- Check for brown spots around the edges or center of the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig. These are early signs of root rot.
- If the soil is giving out a musty odor, make sure that the pot is not retaining water. This can give rise to fungal infections and can attract pests.
- Check for drainage holes in the pot. If the pot has enough drainage holes, it will help the soil to drain away excess water.
- If you notice signs of root rot, take the plant out and repot it in a fresh pot using fresh soil. Also, clip the damaged roots before repotting.
- Move your fiddle leaf fig to a brightly lit area where the plant gets enough light to help the soil dry out.
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Signs of underwatering fiddle leaf fig
Underwatering is not as common as overwatering, and it easier to deal with. If treated right, your fiddle leaf fig will recover really quickly.
- Drooping leaves: If your plant is not getting adequate water, it will show the signs of drooping upper leaves.
- Unhealthy leaves: When the plant gives out new leaves, they will be unhealthy and crisp due to lack of water.
- Falling leaves: Underwatering can cause the lower leaves of the fiddle leaf fig to turn yellow and eventually drop. That can cause the death of the plant if not treated.
How to fix under watered fiddle leaf fig?
If your fiddle leaf fig is underwatered then you need to do the following:
- If the plant’s newer leaves are visibly smaller than the old ones, then it means your plant is not getting adequate water. Consider increasing the water supply bit by bit.
- Low humidity and insufficient watering can cause drooping leaves. Water the plant sufficiently and keep it away from cold drafts.
- Don’t let the soil get extremely dry. That is because fiddle leaf figs love moisture. They like moist soil, so you should never let the soil go bone dry.
- Curling leaves mean an under-watered plant. Giving your plant a shower and some time to recover is a good option.
- Brown and crumpled edges can mean a dry and thirsty plant. It would be best to increase the volume or frequency of watering depending upon whichever you are not doing enough.
- Bottom watering is also an excellent technique to revive an underwatered plant.
Also read: Overwatering vs Underwatering
The most straightforward rule with watering your fiddle leaf fig can be giving a cup of water to begin with, and adjust it later. You need to adjust the watering according to the size of the plant.
So, if the plant is two feet tall from the soil base, you should give it one cup of water every week. As the height increases, increase the number of cups of water.
This rule will work fine as long as your plant has all the favorable conditions. If that is not the case, you need to adjust the watering routine based on your plant’s requirements.
Also, make sure that your fiddle leaf fig is never sitting on the water.
Also read: How long can houseplants go without water? (With 25 Examples)
Sources: CABI.ORG, New York Botanical garden, University of Florida.
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