Lately I’ve had a few questions about repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs and the best soil for Fiddle Leaf Figs, so this post will answer all these questions!
If you’re wanting to repot your Fiddle Leaf Fig, keep in mind that this should be done in the growing season, such as Spring or Summer.
I’ve come across people who’ve repotted out of season, and it can cause more problems than it can fix! This is because during the cooler months, Fiddle Leafs are conserving energy. And they don’t like change – so any repotting or changes you make will be a lot harder for the plant to recover from.
Also, FLFs don’t like the cold. If you’re taking your plant outside to repot in temperatures under 60 degrees (15 Celcius) for example, and using close to freezing water on the roots, it’s possible your plant will go into shock!
It’s best to wait until the temperatures warm up, and there’s signs of growth from your plant before making any changes.
If you’ve just water propagated a Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting, learn how to pot and care for it here.
When does a Fiddle Leaf Fig need to be Repotted?
Fiddle Leaf Figs only need to go up a pot size when they are root bound. These plants generally like to be snug in their pots. So only once you notice roots circling the outer edge of the pot, or masses of roots showing on the surface or coming out the bottom of the pot, is it time to repot.
You can check this by gently wiggling and lifting the plant out of the pot, by holding on to the base of the plant or the trunk. The plant should slip out of the pot fairly easily, and you can check how many roots you can see and if there are many running horizontally around the pot (root bound) or not.
Even if your plant isn’t root bound, it’s a good idea to repot it with fresh soil every 2-3 years. This will enable the plant to get fresh nutrients from the new soil. To do this, just use the same pot rather than going up a pot size.
The aim is to gently break up the soil and shake as much old soil off the roots as possible, before replanting with fresh soil.
Choosing a Pot for your Fiddle Leaf Fig
If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is root bound, you’ll need to choose a larger pot to replant it in. It’s best to choose a pot that is only 1-2 inches wider than its current pot.
This is for two reasons. Firstly, Fiddle Leaf Figs like to be snug in pots. And secondly, if they’re given a much larger pot, these plants will often spend their energy filling it out. That means the plant will focus on growing its roots system, rather than growing new leaves!
If you’ve got a Fiddle in an overly large pot and aren’t seeing any new growth, this could be why.
Another thing to note is that you’ll need a pot that has drainage holes at the bottom – this is crucial! Without proper drainage, your Fiddle Leaf is prone to all sorts of nasty conditions including overwatering and root rot. Find out if your FLF is suffering from overwatering here.
If you’d like to use a decorative pot that has no drainage hole, make sure you plant your Fiddle Leaf in a pot with drainage holes, and then place that pot inside the decorative one.
The best Soil for Fiddle Leaf Figs
I’ve seen lots of advice online where others give a very specific formula and soil products to use for FLFs. While this is handy (especially if you’re a beginner), by no means does it mean that your Fiddle Leaf isn’t going to thrive when using other products!
With that said, the most important thing to know about Fiddle Leaf Fig soil is that they like it to be well draining.
And a well draining soil mix will need to have chunky particles to allow water to move through the mix freely. So rather than giving a very specific formula for repotting your plant, here’s a few ideas of what you can use to help make a chunky, well draining soil mix that your Fiddle Leaf will love!
Option 1: Cactus & Succulent Mix
Cactus & succulents are known for liking things on the drier side, with well draining soil. So if you’d like the most simple option for your FLF, pick up a bag of cactus & succulent mix to use for your plant!
To take it up a level, add in around an extra quarter of a chunky substrate (like bark chips) into your mix.
Option 2: DIY Fiddle Leaf Fig Soil Mix
Another option is to make your own soil mix. For this, you’ll need high quality potting mix, pine bark mulch and some horticultural charcoal.
Pine bark mulch helps create a chunkier mix that allows water to move more freely through. And horticultural charcoal helps with this too, and also contains antibacterial properties that can help your soil.
Mix around four parts of the high quality potting mix to one part pine bark mulch and one part horticultural charcoal. This will be a great, well-draining mix for your Fiddle Leaf.
How to Repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig
Whether your Fiddle is root bound or just needs fresh soil, the most important part of repotting is to remove as much old soil as possible and ‘fluff out’ any root bound roots.
If your Fiddle Leaf is root bound, simply placing it it a larger pot and filling in soil around the edges won’t help. This is because the roots are trained to grow around the pot, and they need to be fluffed out to grow normally again.
Adding in fresh soil just around the edges will also make your watering less effective. If you water when there’s two different soil types in the pot, the water will take the easiest path to the bottom of the pot. This means the roots are less likely to get watered properly!
Step One: Mix up your new Soil
In a seperate large container or bucket, mix up the new soil mix you’d like to use. If you’re just using a bag of cactus & succulent mix, you won’t need to do this step.
Step Two: Lift the plant out of the Pot
Hold the plant at the base. Tip the plant and pot on its side and gently wiggle and lift the plant out of the pot. This should happen fairly easily. If not, squeeze the pot to help loosen it.
Step Three: Gently break away Old Soil
The aim here is to remove as much of the old soil as possible, without breaking too much of the roots. A little breakage is inevitable, but remember the small roots are most important – they’re the ones that carry nutrients! The larger roots provide stability.
You can also place the root ball into a bucket of water or use a hose to help wash away the old soil. Do not let the roots dry out in the repotting process! Also make sure the water you use isn’t close to freezing – this can cause shock for these tropical plants.
Step Four: For Root bound plants, trim some of the longer, outer roots
For plants that were root bound, giving the roots a trim can help stimulate new growth. Aim to cut away any extra long, outer roots. Think of it like getting a trim at the hairdressers – you don’t need to cut too much, just an inch or two all round (depending on the size of your plant).
Step Five: Fill the planter with around a third new soil
Fill up the planter you’re using with around a third new soil. Then place your plant back in the pot, taking note of how high it’s sitting in the pot. You’ll want to plant it so that all the roots are covered, and the soil fills up to within an inch of the top of the pot.
Step Six: Place the root ball into the Pot & Fill
You may need someone to help you hold the plant upright as you fill in around the sides with fresh soil. Keep in mind the soil will settle, so pat it firmly around the roots to help support the plant.
Step seven: Water the plant
Don’t miss this step! Watering the plant will allow the soil to move around and settle between the roots, so that none are exposed. Be sure to water it until lots of excess drains. You may notice the soil level lowers too – you can gently but firmly press the soil down with your hands, or tap the pot to help it settle.
Make sure not to water your Fiddle Leaf Fig again until the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry (use your finger to test).
Because the roots have been disturbed, skip the fertilizer for around the first month after repotting as it can potentially damage the roots. You can use a soil conditioner, such as Seasol which will help keep the soil & plant healthy and strong after the process, without overpowering the plant.
When you’re ready to give your plant some extra nutrients, read this post on How to Fertilize your Fiddle Leaf Fig.
After repotting, place your plant in a bright spot and allow it to adjust. Keep in mind that Fiddle Leafs generally don’t like change, so now it’s best to allow it to adjust to it’s new pot & soil without any more further changes.
If you need more help with your Fiddle Leaf, enter your email to download the Fiddle Leaf Fig Grower’s Guide below!
Hi, I have a little fiddle, about a foot tall. When I got her she had maybe 5 leaves? Now we are down to three. She looks perfectly healthy, but no new growth at all throughout this whole growing season! I recently repotted her and hoping it helps. I believe my pot is too large however. But how can I encourage new growth?
I also noticed there’s not much of a root system at all, it’s all very short!
Hey Karalie, head over to my tips on encouraging growth here 🙂
My FLF has two trunks off of one root ball. The plant is growing very nicely; one side is about 4’ and the other about 5’. But both of the trunks are thin and as the plant grows taller it seems to need more stability. Would you recommend staking them or would it be beneficial to use something like tomato to vine tape and tie them together every foot or so? Is there anything I can do to encourage the trunk to grow stronger. I am about to repot it so I can do everything at once. Thank you for your guidance.
Hey! You can find my tips on strengthening the trunks here 🙂
Hello! My FLF came with 3 plants in one pot. It’s is needing repoted, as roots are starting to come out of the pot. My question is, would it be better to keep them together in another pot or separate them?
So sorry, I didn’t see this posted but now it’s on here twice
Did you receive an answer? I have the same question.
It is really just personal preference whether they are kept together or separated!
My FLF came with 3 plants in one pot. It’s is needing repoted, as roots are starting to come out of the pot. My question is, would it be better to keep them together in another pot or separate them?
I’ve repotted my FLF after cleaning some root rot and it is wilting (some leaves are starting to yellow). I used a mix of soil and now I’m wondering if either a) I didn’t mix it well enough and there are air gaps or b) I didn’t give it enough water after repotting. Any advice to address the wilting leaves? Thank you!
Hey Anca, it’s always best to water a plant thoroughly immediately after repotting, until the excess drains. This should help the roots settle into the soil. So if you haven’t done this, that would be the first thing I would do. Apart from that, repotting can cause some stress on plants, especially if you needed to cut or remove rotten roots. The best thing to do would be to leave it in a bright spot to settle in and it should recover in time.
Thank you so much for replying! I’ve posted this in so many places with no answer, so this glimmer of hope is really helping me right now 🙂
This is so helpful! I was given a FLF as a gift and absolutely loved it until I moved to a new apartment and almost all of the leaves started to fall off. There was only 2 of the top leaves left and new leaves have finally started to grow again but only on the top and not on the rest of the stem. I have put off repotting it because I don’t want to lose anymore leaves but I don’t want to cause further damage. However, it has been in the same pot since I got it a year ago and I’m worried about it becoming root bound. The weather is starting to get warmer where I live so should I repot the plant and should I expect more leaves to drop if I do this? And will leaves eventually start to grow again on the stem? Thanks!
Hey Abbi, unfortunately the leaves won’t regrow on the stem where they’ve been lost unless the plant is pruned back or notched to encourage branches. With, repotting, you can always check if it’s rootbound first by taking a look at the soil and wiggling it out of the pot to assess the roots if needed (without disturbing them as mentioned in this post!) If it’s not rootbound and appears to be happy, I would leave it alone for now and allow it to enjoy the growing season as is 🙂
Thank you for the helpful information! I am a new FLF owner, and it has started to droop, and its lower leaves are lightening and have quite a few pin-sized brown/black dots on the front and back of leaves. I am not sure what to do to fix it! I live in Montana, and some days it’s cloudier, so I am not sure if the light is the problem… it currently sits in a south/southeast window.
Thanks for this post! I bought a fig plant a few months ago at Trader Joe’s but now I am really wanting to make sure I take good care of it.
I moved it to my bathroom recently to get some humidity and have been misting it twice a day – I’ve already seen some new sprouts!
I have not changed the original soil and it seems to be kinda crumbly… I also noticed that some small roots are popping out. Does this mean I need to repot/fertilize?
Hey Christina, it’s pretty normal for some roots to be seen as Fiddle Leafs are epiphytes, which means they often grow aerial roots in nature to help with stability. They generally only need to be repotted if they are rootbound or you are experiencing serious soil issues. You can check if it’s rootbound with the steps in this post but unless the plant is quite mature, generally they will be fine in the nursery pot for a while!
Hi Emily! This post is great it is really informative for new plant owners like myself. My girlfriend and I bought a FLF in the summer which had some brown spots originally. In December our plant starting showing new brown/dark spots and has been dropping leaves ever since (9 by now), which is freaking us out a little. On the other hand, we did manage to get some new growth for the plan in December. We are a little confused on how the plant is dropping leaves that have been looking unhealthy, yet getting new growth. The leaves start developing small purplish spots which end up drying up and becoming brown spots. We’ve tried trimming some of it away, but more of them seem to appear. We’re thinking it’s due to overwatering and lack of direct sunlight (plant is about 10′ from main window). We haven’t watered the plant for almost 4 weeks now but as I mentioned, the leaves keep on looking worse and more leaves are being dropped over time and we are scared our plant may be suffering from root rot. Should we repot our plant? We’re in Alberta so it’s winter time for us. Any feedback would be super helpful, we truly appreciate it!
Hey Manuel, it is a little tricky to tell what the cause of the browning would be without some more info. If you’re worried you can organise a plant consult with me, which would probably be the best way to tell what’s going on with it! Other than that it sounds like it would definitely benefit from some more light. A grow light is a great tool to keep them healthy!
Firstly thank you for such an in depth explanation on the repotting process. So helpful and gives me confidence to do it.
My question was I pulled my 8ft fiddle out of its nursery pot and in the bottom it had a hell of a lot of what looked like tiny white centipedes I think! Freaked me out a bit and wondered if repotting would help get rid of these or if it’s something you have come across or herd of?
Thanks I’m advance,
Hey Tony, I haven’t heard of centipedes in the pot although I’m not surprised as bugs do tend to make their homes in places like this! The good news is I don’t think they would harm the plant. The repot should help get rid of them and any eggs that may have been present. All the best!
Hi Emily! The leaves on our FLF began to look dull and a few of them developed dry, brown edges that creeped to the center of the leaves. We got concerned, did a bunch of reading, bought a moisture meter and thought it needed to be repotted so we could inspect the roots since we could not decipher the issue otherwise. The roots looked great, we added new soil, etc. But now, though it hasn’t shed leaves, but the leaves are all drooped! Help — what do we do? Thanks in advance.
Hi Maria, the browning and the drooping both sound like they relate to dryness! Always water the soil thoroughly til the excess drains when the top inch of soil feels dry to touch. Also its best to water straight after repotting too 🙂
Hi. Thanks for all the tips. I recently purchased my 7ft FLF from a nursery and have since left it in its original plastic container. Should I report it into a ceramic pot with drainage holes now or wait until Spring? Also how many cups of water would I give her?
Hey Alyssa, it should only need to be repotted if the plant is rootbound (and if so it’s best to wait til spring). Otherwise I generally recommend leaving them in the nursery pot (you can always place this one inside a decorative pot). I don’t recommend a certain amount of ‘cups’ for watering, it is best to thoroughly water the soil so that all the roots can get a drink! You can read more about watering here.
Hi Emily! I am really worried. About 2 days ago I repotted my FLF as I noticed it stopped growing for a while and also seen earthworms in its soil. During the repoting process, I thrown out the old soil, I sprayed the roots with hydrogen peroxide 3% to ensure rotten roots are cleaned off if any, and I placed the plant into fresh soil and watered it properly. However, now I noticed that its leaves instead of pointing up like before repotting, are pointing down. The plant was repotted at room temperature and after repotting was placed back in its bright spot. What can I do? What have I done wrong? I’m afraid it might die. The plant looks healthy but… not happy, with the leaves pointing down. Please help me! Would really appreciate your input. Thank you!
Hi George, sounds like it could be in a little bit of shock or reacting to being sprayed directly with the hydrogen peroxide.. Either way the best thing to do is allow it to settle and leave it be. You can water it with a gentle seaweed solution which can help the roots strengthen. Also – earthworms are great for the soil! If you find them again I would allow them to stay 🙂
Hello and thank you for this information! I purchased a FLF about a month ago and it was recommended to repot it. Wishing i had seen this blog first! I did everything wrong and its steadily dropping leaves. I dont think the root ball is getting moist as the water runs into the soil around the original root ball and I think the pot may be a bit big. The soil type is prob ok but wondering now if I need to start over and finesse those roots out as you describe so the soil settles around them better to help with watering? or if further stress is worse at this point. I am very concerned that it is not getting enough moisture. Thank you for any help!!
Hi Tabitha, you could try bottom watering the plant for a while which should help the soil draw enough moisture! Simply place it it a shallow tray filled with water for a few hours instead of watering from the top. This way you hopefully won’t need to disturb the plant again with repotting 🙂
I think my FLF needs to be repotted as I can see roots that have clearly come out thru the drainage hole in the pot! I’m going to wait till spring before I repot which is a couple of months away! My question / worry is trying to get the FLF out of the pot as the roots are thru the drainage hole! Can I cut them or will this damage my FLF?
Hi Alex, yes it is best to wait until spring to repot. The plant should be fine if you need to cut any roots that have found their way out the bottom – this normally happens if there’s moisture underneath the pot.
Hi Emily, great content! I got an FLF early last autumn and it seemed to be doing well for a while, but I moved in December and since then it’s been very unhappy. Almost all of its leaves have browned along the veins and then dropped off, and there are roots growing through the bottom of the pot. Not sure whether it’s a lost cause, or I should repot now even though it’s the middle of Winter here in the UK? Your help would be greatly appreciated
Hi Alex, most issues like this will be due to light & watering so I wouldn’t worry about repotting at this stage (or at least until spring)! You may need to water a little less frequently as they generally won’t use as much water in the cooler months, and a grow light can help if it is not getting as much light through winter too!
I stumbled on this article in efforts to revive my Fiddle leaf plant. It’s extremely informative and most importantly understandable. She was about 5 feet when I bought her in November. Through a lot of growing pains or over watering, I have one leaf left. I have checked for root rot many times and my soil is not mushy but again I am wondering if I observing it all correctly. Although your article advises not to repot until Spring are there circumstances where you feel the Fiddle leaf plant should not wait till then. Do you have any YouTube videos as well with extra material on reviving?
Hey Janaina, sounds like you might find the Grower’s Guide helpful which you can download on this page. Root rot is not actually all that common and you will definitely know if you find it – the roots will be mushy, black and stinky. Repotting is really only beneficial if the plant is root bound or there’s rot (in which case I wouldn’t wait til spring), so in your case I don’t think it is the answer. The steepest learning curve with FLFs is when they are first brought home. Once you’ve found a great routine for them care will become easier! You should find lots of helpful care tips in the guide 🙂
Wow! You have great information on FLF, overall really great blog! Thanks for such great resource. I’ll be returning! I am new to plants and Jan 1 2021 purchased my first FLF. I live in Southern Ca temps about 65-70 degrees now. Can I repot and fertilize FLF now or is it too early?
Glad the blog has been helpful! I’d only recommend repotting if the plant really needs it, if it is rootbound! Otherwise it’s best to keep them in the same pot. You can always place the nursery pot inside a decorative one until it’s ready to be repotted! A lot of plants also come with slow release fertilizer beads in the soil so I would wait a little while before fertilizing too.
Thank you so much for being such a wealth of information for my FLF endeavors. I recently purchased the last FDF at my local nursery. Upon inspection the leaves are curled, lots of brown spots both on edges and in the middle of over half the leaves. I’ll wait to repot until spring, as the roots don’t seem too root bound at the point. It was also covered in a thin layer of dirt/dust. After wiping each leaf, it still seems a bit dirty/powdery. Is there anything I can do to clean up the leaves? Should I trim the brown edges back? It’s about 8 feet tall at this point. Another question I have is about watering. On my small ones (28”) I’ve always watered once a week, approximately two cups. Do you have a method that works best for larger plants (forgive me if I overlooked it). Thanks again for you guidance!
Hi Jessica, some nurseries use a pest treatment that leaves a powdery white residue on the plants. It sounds like that might be what you’re dealing with! You can try wiping over the leaves again but I wouldn’t use anything other than a damp or dry cloth, or hose it down. After a while it should dissipate. I generally don’t recommend a set routine or amount of water per plant, as it will always vary depending on the plant’s environment, the climate, soil, size, how much light it gets and much more! However you can read more about my watering methods here 🙂
Hi! I’m buying my sister a six-inch FLF for Christmas this year and I’m going to buy her some soil for it as well for when it’s old enough to be repotted into a bigger planter, I was just wondering if Hydroton pellets would be any good for an FLF and if I did that if I should add fertilizer of some kind. Thank you!
Hey Linda, I haven’t used Hydroton pellets before so while I’m sure it would be fine, you many need to do some extra research on it! All the best!
I just reported my plant into a better draining container because my decorative pot was killing it. The problem is, I repotted it last night and I didn’t help out the roots dry or anything and just plopped it into the container as it was…well, fast forward to today I took it out of the pot (again) and separated out its roots and made sure it was slightly more free and dry. I also added cactus mix into my soil so it can help in the future. Now I am freaking out that I may really have shocked my plant doing all this back to back days. The root ball was crazy packed and bound so I think it will help having had me separate them a little and follow your post directions but is there anything I can do to prevent shock? How will I know if I totally jacked my plant up? 😱 I’m mortified. I love my baby and am worried I put it though too much. I didn’t water it because the root ball was still pretty wet so I didn’t want to add more to it. I also just ordered a soil moisture meter thing 🙂
Luckily, I do live in Vegas so I did this outside very quickly and it was about 60 F outside. It is now in the house, with lots of indirect light around it and in its well drained pot.
Hey Mayra, I think the best thing to do would be to let it settle in its new pot without any more changes in pots or location 🙂 It’s always best to water straight after repotting, this helps the soil settle in around the roots. So if you haven’t watered it after repotting and it’s leaves are starting to droop, its best to give it some water! Otherwise a mild seaweed solution can help the roots settle in and strengthen.
If I use a cactus mix is it okay to add these as I have it at home now:
-Lowe’s potting soil
I’m think it would make the mix better but I’m not sure. Please let me know what you think.
I’m a fairly new plant mom and I’ve never repotted. I bought a 6ft FLF 2 months ago and noticed that its roots were already starting to stick out through its drainage holes. Research indicated that it’s time to repot when this happens and best to do it during summer/spring season. I live in Boise, USA and it’s already starting to get a little cold. I procrastinated and now I’m in a real fix as to repot now or wait another6 months to do it. If I were to repot, do I use the same soil and or completely change it? Any advice will be appreciated! Thanks.
Hey Samia, it’s always best to change the soil to allow for fresh nutrients as mentioned in the above article 🙂 You could probably get away with waiting til spring though, as FLFs generally slow/stop growth over the cooler months and the plant will respond much better once the weather starts warming up!
Hi Emily! I think I bought a infected FLF it has fungus gnats and spidermites and white tiny worms. I have tried letting soil dry out, taking top part dirt out to see if that would help as well as neem oil on the surface of the dirt and nothing has helped feels like its getting worse what do I do? The plant is healthy but has some curling, it is shooting out new grow at the moment I live in Canada BC Vancouver and its getting pretty cold out I am feeling that I need to change the dirt completely
But scared I will shock it and its growing new leaves.
Hey danielle, you can follow this guide on dealing with fungus gnats. It is a process, and it’s best to treat all plants if you have more, as gnats can spread easily. Repotting / new soil is one option but you should be able to manage without needing to do this. Gnats can sometimes be present in new soil, too!
The spider mites will need to be treated separately too and there’s more info on spider mites here. All the best!
Hi Emily! Great article!
I have just acquired a large (over 6ft) FLF. It’s looking pretty healthy but is seriously root bound and needs to be repotted, it has a large mass of roots outside the pot. It is now Autumn here temp about 15-17 centigrade outside, should I hold out until spring or could I go for a repot now??
I think you could get away with either, keeping in mind that unless being rootbound is being detrimental to its current health, you could probably wait until spring time. Fiddle Leafs often slow their growth over winter so its unlikely it will get any worse before spring, and spring is when the plant will respond the best to repotting 🙂
Received FLF today. Bought a huge decorative pot, but after reading your advise column, I will leave it end the original pot. When do I repot? Also have a Hugh bag of FLF. Do I leave it in its original Soil and change soil and repot in the spring?
. I live in the NE Thanks, Celeste
Hey Celeste! They only need repotting with fresh soil every 2-3 years and should only be moved up a pot size if they are rootbound 🙂
Thanks for the info. My next problem is finding an ideal pot to place it, to enable it to receive indirect sunlight. Currently it is placed in a spot that gets little or no sunlight. If placed near the front door, it could become drafty. How important is indirect sunlight placement? Is watering the plant by placing It in a tray, preferable from watering from the top. Thanks for your info.
I have a fiddle leaf plant in a 17 inch ceramic planter. The length of the plant from floor to the tip of the stem on top is 57 inches. The diameter of my planter is 15 inches.
Firstly my fear is that I have planted my fig in a very big planter. Please correct me if i am wrong.
I have filled the potting mix about 3-4 inches below the planter top. Yesterday while tilling I realized the roots are just 1 inch below the surface of the soil. Have i potted it wrongly? Should it be sitting a little deeper in the pot?
My plant is also growing very slowly. It is getting adequate sunlight. Can the big planter be the problem? Please suggest.
Hey Ritu, it could possibly be the size of the planter that’s causing slow growth if it was upsized quite dramatically, as the plant may be spending energy on filling out its root system. It shouldn’t be an issue that the roots are close to the surface, this is fairly normal. This post on encouraging growth may have some more tips for you if it’s growing slowly that might help!
I purchased a beautiful fiddle leaf fig recently.
Being a new plant mom, I didn’t realize that the planter it came in does not have any drainage holes.
It’s still a baby plant, is it okay to go ahead and repot into a nursery pot with drainage holes?
It’s starting to get a lot cooler where I am and I am worried she won’t take to the change very well.
Thanks in advance,
Hey Kay, making sure the pot has drainage holes is most important! SO I would say to go ahead and repot into one with drainage holes. It will help prevent any future issues, especially going into the cooler season 🙂
My FLF grew so much this year (now about 10 to 11 ft tall) it won’t fit in my greenhouse. It really not a good time of the year to prune it.
So what do I do now?
If it’s coming into winter where you are, it’s likely that the plant’s growth will stop or slow, making it ok to wait until spring to prune and it shouldn’t outgrow the space in that time. But if it is still actively growing (as it may well be in a greenhouse environment), then it’s also ok to prune as the reasoning for waiting until spring is that the plant will have energy reserves to respond to pruning favourably. Hope that makes sense!
Right now the FLF is sitting outside the greenhouse
I measured it yesterday its 11-3/4 ft tall. My GH is 10ft tall.
So how far back should I prune it.
It doesn’t seem to make any sense to only prune back enough to get it in the GH as I will face the same problem next year.
Hey Janet, this post on pruning should have some more info for you. It’s best to visualise how you’d like the plant to look with branches at the point it’s been pruned, to determine where to cut. You can always prune it back hard, not just so it fits in the greenhouse 🙂
Hi there! I recently purchased a FL tree from Home Depot, and it came in the stock black plastic planter which measures 12″ in diameter. It’s around 2 feet tall. The lady told me I’d probably need to repot this since I can see the roots growing in a circular pattern on top of the soil around the inside of the pot – do I need to repot this in a bigger pot? Or can I fit it in another 12″ pot? The plant itself isn’t too big/tall so anything bigger than a 12″ pot would look kind of funny.. Thanks in advance!
Hi Jennifer, you could repot it into the same pot, making sure that you remove as much of the old soil as possible. This will allow the plant to absorb new nutrients in the new soil. You may also want to prune some of the longer roots that are circling the pot. Keep in mind that this may slow the growth of the plant while it fills out its roots again 🙂
This is one of the best articles I have read about caring for FLF’s. I was about to repot my new plant in early December but your article saved me. Thank you!
Over winter I’m keeping it in the black plastic pot it came in, which has drainage holes. My question is around watering. Should I water from the top, or let it sit in some water? And if sitting in water is the best option, how long should I do this for?
Thanks in advance,
Hi Tricia, you can do either depending on what method you prefer! I generally only top water my plants unless I come across certain issues, like the soil not retaining moisture.
I was just given a fiddle leaf that’s about 18 inches tall. It’s in a tiny pot and I was thinking of repotting it but I don’t want to shock it too much since it’s been regimes. Any advice?
Re homed not regimes lol sorry!
Hey Heather! It’ll only need to be repotted if it is rootbound, so wiggling it out of the pot to check is the first step! Apart from that, spring is the best time to repot so if you are heading into the cooler months where you’re located, it will probably be fine to leave until then, even if its looking slightly rootbound 🙂 You can always place the pot inside a decorative one if that was the reason you’re wanting to repot!
Hi Emily. Great info!
I just repotted my big FLF, and now it’s top leaves (new) and stems are really soft and floppy. I’m afraid it was a little cold outside and I may have given it a terrible shock….what should I do now?? Usual position gets filtered light, no drafts….should I move it to a brighter position (full sun)??
It is usually a no fuss plant until now…but I recently noticed brown crispy leaves as well… Advice please!
Hey Amanda, it’s quite normal for the top, new leaves and stem to be floppy while it’s young. With time it should strengthen as the leaves thicken. Just be sure to rotate the plant so that the stems don’t start to lean as they mature 🙂 There’s nothing else you need to do – Fiddles love sunlight but they do need to be acclimatised slowly so they don’t get burnt if you decide to give it direct light. Crispy leaf edges are a sign of dryness, so be sure you are watering frequently enough!
This is so helpful, thank you so much!! A few questions:
I have my FL in a pot that’s much too big. The roots are very fine and all over the place. Is it safe to cut some of the roots so I can fit it into a smaller pot?
– Is it okay to use orchid bark? I can’t find pine bark anywhere. I also have worm castings,
– is that okay to put a little in the mix? I’m so scared to repot this guy as I also need to bring him indoors where it’s much darker and dry.
-how do I transition from outdoor to indoors?
Any help would be great!
Hey Cindy, it should be fine to use orchid bark. You can prune the roots and pot the plant into a smaller pot, keeping in mind that this may slow regular growth of the plant as root pruning is normally a technique done to help keep plants small. You could keep the plant in the larger pot instead, paying more attention to ensure it doesn’t get over watered. This post on FLF tips for winter has info on transitioning indoors. Hope that helps!
Hi Emily! Two weeks ago I given a 10 ft tall fiddle leaf fig as a gift. It had a couple little leaf tears when I got it and a brown spot or two, but it’s been a couple weeks and more of the leaves are getting brown spots and now several have fallen off in the last couple days. Is it just the trauma of being shuffled around and given a new home or a more serious problem? It looks insanely root bound and loses moisture very quickly after watering, but I’m afraid to repot it now for fear of shocking it. For reference it’s a SW facing window so it’s a bright room but it’s tall enough that the leaves don’t really get direct sunlight. Should I repot now since it’s so root bound or wait until spring? If so, should I avoid trimming any roots? Thanks!
Hey Ivy, this post on brown spots may help you identify the cause of why they’re happening. Brown spots can be caused by many different reasons! It could partly just be the transition and adjustment of being in a new location, as FLFs don’t like to be moved. So I would probably wait a couple more weeks before making any changes. If you notice the browning continuing or worsening, it may be time to repot. You can also try placing the pot in a shallow tray of water when it’s ready to be watered again, which should help the roots soak up water rather than it flushing straight through the soil.
This is a great gem, thank you for posting!
I recently acquired a new FLF that has a good amount of roots circling at the top of the soil indicating root bound to me. However, it also has really good new growth coming in at the top. I am hesitant to repot now that it is winter but am wondering how to water it until spring. The soil dries out fairly quickly, although facing a South window but a good 8 feet away from it, and I’m wondering if it would be okay to just water more regularly with the current soil and wait to repot come spring. Feel like I could go either way but would love your insight. It’s always hard to know what what would be the “safest” and keep FLF the happiest.
I do move it near my humidifier at night so it can get some pampering — hopefully that small move across the room isn’t too much of a shock.
Thank you again and wishing you all the best ☘️
Hey Myra, watering should always change, depending on how long the soil takes to dry out! This can depend on a bunch of different factors like light, season and of course how rootbound the plant is. So I think it would be ok to wait to repot til spring, making sure you are monitoring the soil to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Ensure you’re watering when the top 1-2 inches feels dry and it should be fine! 🙂
Thank you for your article! I got my FLF about 6 months ago. When I first got it, I repotted it incorrectly.. literally removed it from its pot into a slightly bigger pot with more potting soil. It went through almost dying, but after months of dropping almost all the leaves, it started thriving. I have a couple questions.. 1) should I re-pot it correctly with better Draining soil now (in the same pot) or wait til summer? It seems to be doing just fine right now, but it does bother me that I did everything incorrectly in the beginning. 2) there are about 4 branches on my FLF, and two of them have many new leaves constantly growing but the other two has had No New leaves. What can I do to promote growth? I tried pinching the top of the branches already and also cutting off the tip (after pinching didn’t work). Thank you so much!
Hey Esther, if the plant seems to be doing ok at the moment I would probably wait until Spring before repotting correctly again, as Spring really is the best time to make any changes to the plant. It’s also quite normal that plants have a dominant or ‘leader’ branch, which grows more than the others. This sounds like what might be happening with yours. The only way to combat this would be to prune the leaders back to slightly lower than the other branches. This will distribute the growth hormone to the other branches. If you didn’t want to prune them back, it may be a situation of letting nature take its course and allowing the plant to grow naturally!
I will take your advice with the repotting! Thank you 🙂 and for great news, I see new tiny little buds on the bare branches!!! I think the pinching or trimming worked!
Hi Emily, Great info! I have a 2m high FLF and I have noticed that roots are showing and the soil level has dropped quite a bit. Can I cover over the roots with some extra soil rather than re-potting? Plant is healthy otherwise. Thanks, Lynn
hey Lynn, you can do that, but I would pull it out of the pot to check if it’s rootbound first. If it is, it will be better to repot and give the plant fresh soil 🙂
Thanks for this post. My 2 ft FLF seems to be growing, but my cat has knocked it over a couple of times. I am afraid the roots are now sitting incorrectly in the pot, possibly sideways. Should I go ahead and repot? I have had her for about 6 months. I also just noticed yellow looking fungi or mushrooms growing out of a drainage hole?! Any tips would be appreciated.
Hey Katie, the fungi or mushrooms is a fairly common occurrence in soil and isn’t anything to be worried about in terms of the plant. Although as you have pets, it may be best to remove them in case they get curious.
I think as long as your plant is sitting upright in the pot, there shouldn’t be any need to repot! The soil should settle back around the roots when you water. FLFs only need to be repotted if they’re rootbound, so if it has been disturbed a couple of times in the pot already it may be best to leave it be 🙂
Hello! Thank you for sharing so much valuable information. My FLF grows new leaves that grow to be the size of a pear and then die off? What could be causing this? I have owned my FLF for about two years and this has been a reoccurring theme. thank you so much!
Hey Caitlin, it’s hard to say why this is happening without knowing it’s environment, care routine etc. But if they are starting to discolour before dying off, this post on brown spots may help you identify the cause. Other than that I would maybe revisit the basics of watering, light & nutrients to make sure your plant is getting everything it needs to grow larger, healthy leaves. Hope that helps!
Hi! I’m having a super hard time finding pots with drainage holes for 8ft+ fiddle leaves. About a 10 gallon, or 16 inch one. Do you have any recommendations on where to look?
Hey Alyssa – I’d recommend asking at a local nursery! If they don’t have any in stock they should be able to order something in. They’re probably harder to find online as they would be hard to ship.
Hi Emily, I am going to repot my fiddle for the second time since I bought it. It now has 5 stems in the pot. 2 each about 4 feet and 3 smaller ones. Do I separate them all? The plant looks great. I am in Tampa and the plant is usually inside but it is so humid and rainy lately she is outside. I am planning on using Cactus soil and bark for my mix.
Hi Lynne, separating the stems is totally personal preference! It shouldn’t affect the health of the plant to keep them together. Something to be aware of if you choose to separate them is that you may need to cut through the roots. This can cause a bit of damage so that’s something to weight up, especially if the stems are quite close together at soil level. Another option could be to propagate from some of the smaller stems rather than separating 🙂 All the best!
I repotted my FLF. He was severely root-bound and water was running right through the planter. I decided to replant in a terra cotta planter about 1.5 times bigger than the original plastic planter. His roots looked good, no mushy spots, but I definitely had to do some damage to them to get the old soil out. Well now about a week after repotting, all the leaves are drooping and he just looks like he dying. I don’t know what to do? Please help.
Sounds like it could be due to a bit of shock! I’d use a seaweed solution like Seasol (not a fertilizer) to help strengthen the roots and leave it be for a little while to recover. Fingers crosses!
Hello, I purchased a 2 ft fiddle plant from Costco last month. I’ve never had a plant before so I’m not sure if I need to replant it already or wait until next year. I live in fresno ca with current temps of 99-105 degrees. I’ve watched YouTube videos and have read many articles on care but I’m still confused. Can I leave it in the pot it was purchased in?
Yes you can leave it! They don’t need to be repotted unless they are quite rootbound. A lot of people have different opinions on repotting them straight away vs leaving them, so it can be confusing! But there shouldn’t be any problem with leaving it in its current pot. You can always place it inside a decorative pot to cover the nursery pot if you like 🙂
I repotted my root bound FLF but was misinformed that I just needed to put it in a new pot and fill soil around the edges so I did not remove the old soil. Do you think I will be harming my FLF if I attempt to repot it again correctly this time?
to give more context of my location, I do live in Texas so it is very hot here right now.
Hi Deborah, I think it will be fine to repot properly and your FLF will be better off in the long run for it 🙂 If you didn’t remove the old dirt last time them there probably wasn’t too much disturbance to the roots and having the one type of soil all through the pot will prevent any future watering issues!
Isn’t bark attract the gnat? should be avoided
Gnats are attracted to damp soil, where they lay their eggs. So they can be found anywhere unfortunately! Only watering when the top 2″ of soil feels dry should help deter them 🙂
I just bought a FLF that is about 2ft tall. Since i got it about 2 weeks ago It has grown 2 new leaves. It seems relatively happy!
The problem: In about a week I have to move the plant again about 2 hours away to a new location, so I don’t want to put it under too much stress – However, I see that there is a root growing out of the drainage hole, and roots growing a bit out of the top of the soil. I also notice the soil dries out very quickly in about 3-4 days, and water runs through the plant very quickly.
I feel like I should repot in but it is mid-late August and I live in coastal BC Canada where the temp will drop in mid September or earlier! Not sure what to do!?
Hey Elizabeth, Fiddle Leafs do relatively ok being snug in pots so I think it should be fine to leave repotting until next spring, especially if it is still happy & growing! Over winter they generally slow/stop growing so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about the roots getting ‘worse’ over this period. As long as the plant is getting the water it needs it should be ok. If you find it is running through and not soaking in, try bottom watering. Fill a tray with water and sit the plant in it for a couple of hours to allow the soil & roots to soak it up that way. All the best!
Hi Emily! I’ve had my FLF for about 3 months now, I had to repot straight away as the nursery pot arrived smashed (the new pot was only about an inch bigger) but now I have roots poking out of the soil, and one is starting to circle the pot. It’s still growing well, I’ve had 6 new leaves in the time I’ve had it, but should I repot it again so soon? I’m in the UK so its still quite warm at the moment. Thanks!
Hey Lyndsey – FLFs are ok to be snug in pots so if it was only recently repotted, I don’t think you’ll need to do it again! Only if they’re very rootbound and if you’re noticing negative affects of that would you need to repot again 🙂
I’ve had my FLF for four years now and I recently noticed It going into a rapid decline. I figured It was time for some new soil. I pulled It out and noticed It wasnt root-bound so i decided to just put It in the same pot with fresh soil. When I shook out the soil from the roots I discovered literally ALL the roots are dead. Everything. There was maybe one big root for stability and that’s It. And it was short . I have FLF 3 stalks in one pot and The dead roots were twisted as if they strangled each other :(. There’s still plenty of leaves on top but they are starting to drop from the bottom. Basically what I’m asking is is It possible for the roots to grow back and support such a tall plant? The tree is almost 7ft tall and there’s basically nothing supporting it. Should I pull it out again and do anything to get the roots grow in again? Thank you so much. I can’t find anything online on this weird issue.
Or maybe I could repot It in a smaller pot? Maybe if all the roots are dead, this large amount of soil isn’t helping
Hey Elle, it is important to plant FLFs in a pot that is suitable for the root size, so if you think the current pot is too large you could go down a size. If the roots have died off it sounds like it possibly could have been left to dry out? There could also be some clues of what went wrong on the plant itself. You said it declined rapidly – was there any browning? This post might help identify a problem & how to avoid it happening again! I can’t say whether your plant has enough roots now to support the plant but if you notice it is not getting any better, you may want to prune a few healthy stems off to at least propagate from in case the plant doesn’t make it. Using a seaweed solution like Seasol could help the roots too. All the best!
Thanks for getting back to me! I moved It into a smaller pot and It seems to be doing ok so far. Looks like It might lose a leaf or two at minimum… time will tell. I looked up the seasol you recommended and that seems like great advice as well. Will give It a try
I haven’t repotted in about 5 years and all I can say is “My POOR FIDDLE LEAFS!”. I’m sure you are going to be their Hero. Any way, one planter has three trunks (which I believe are three plants) and they’re so close that leaves are encroaching each other. When I repot can I separate them? For my second planter there is almost three feet of bare trunk can I cut off the top part with the few remaining leaves and plant them in a new planter then trim down the trunk to almost the bottom and basically start over?
Hey Chriss, you can separate the plants but it does come with some risks. Here’s a post that might have some helpful info on that! Separating them is more of a personal choice and it won’t harm the plants to keep them together. You can do what you’ve mentioned with the second plant – I’ve seen lots of FLFs regrow from being cut right back too!
Thanks for all the helpful tips!!! It’s been so helpful with my 2ft 4in. fiddle leaf!
My problem is I potted my FL in a way too big of a pot! 17” pot and it’s about 1ft deep.
it doesn’t seem root bound but lots of roots everywhere filled up the pot and my plant isn’t even that big. Though it is healthy I feel it’s wasting time with it’s roots. Is there anyway I can get it into a smaller pot or not a good idea to downsize?
Hey Cindy! When FLFs are planted in oversized pots, they do spend their time growing roots instead of growing upwards. Sometimes it can also just take them some time after being repotted to start growing again, so if its been maybe a few months or more with no new growth then it could be the case that the pot is allowing the plant to spend its energy on its roots. You could try repotting into a smaller pot, keeping in mind that it may take a little time to settle back in after being repotting again.
I’m living in a dry climate (Flagstaff, Arizona) and was wondering if I need to tweak the substrate recipe you described above to prevent over-drying in the plant. Additionally, for the needs of a fiddle-leaf fig, is there any difference between utilizing pine or coconut bark?
Hey – good question! FLFs will still need well-draining soil, no matter what sort of climate they are in. The climate and the amount of sunlight they get may affect how often they need watering though (more info on watering here). Pine bark helps with drainage. If you’re using coconut husk (the fibrous sort of medium) then I believe that it is actually moisture retaining so I would stick to some sort of bark/mulch if you can find it 🙂
My flf became rootbound so I reposted it early spring. I made 2 mistakes, chose a much larger pot and also moved it to a new location with much less sun. Eventually it started shedding leaves. After much effort, I.e moving it to a sunny spot, fertilizing it by 3-4-5 fertilizer, twisting the nips, it has started showing new growth. I am super happy and relived . But the plant still looks super leggy . How should I fix that? Should I move it to a smaller pot? Very nervous since after trying many things I finally saw new growth. Please advise!”
Hey Anvita! Fiddle Leafs get leggy when they’re not getting enough sun, so making sure its in a bright location will ensure new growth is fuller. If you’re wanting to change the leggy growth, you could either prune it back or try notching – more details here. The pot size shouldn’t affect how leggy or lush the plant is, although it can encourage overwatering issues. If you’re not seeing any negative affects you could keep it in the pot rather than transfer it again, but its up to you on what you think would be better for it. All the best!
I value your knowledge. I lost my last flf. so I’m using caution with this one. I’ve been using root supplement and Bloomerang fertilizer with good results. I had browning soon after purchasing my 6 ft “Freddie” but no further browning and 2 new large beautiful leaves! I’m also misting every day since the mister I purchased didn’t work. (Ordering a new one.) I also have a grow light hanging thanks to my husband’s work. Thank you so much for sharing with us novices!
Sounds like you’re mastering your Fiddle Leaf care, Sharon! 🙂 Keep in mind that misting won’t really affect humidity, so you don’t really need to use a spray bottle. A humidifier will definitely hep, but I’m sure it’ll be ok until it arrives 🙂
Hi Emily! This was super helpful. My FLF is outgrowing it’s current pot at the moment and I can see the roots coming out of the pot. Only problem is we’re coming around to winter here in Australia – do you think I should wait until spring/summer and repot in 6 months or do it now?
Hey Bec! I think you could probably get away with either – seeing as we have a relatively mild climate here in Aus. However if your FLF has stopped growing coming into winter, and there isn’t any negative side affects of it being root bound, you could probably wait until spring as FLFs may not grow as much through winter. If you’re seeing growth or negative affects of the small pot – you could repot now. Hope that helps!