Are you frustrated or worried that your Fiddle Leaf Fig doesn’t seem to be growing? You’re in the right place! These plants can be notoriously tricky to figure out. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to make sure your plant is happy, healthy, growing & loving life.
Below I’m sharing some common reasons that can cause these plants to slow or stop growing, and some tips on how to encourage your Fiddle Leaf Fig to grow. Read on for details!
It’s normal that when plants are in an environment that is different to their natural habitat (like our homes), their growth will be somewhat inhibited by the conditions. Because Fiddle Leaf Figs are naturally tropical plants, they grow best in bright, warm and humid conditions.
Fortunately there are some things you can do to improve the conditions in your home and help encourage your Fiddle Leaf to grow.
Why isn’t my Fiddle Leaf Fig Growing?
Keep in mind that there are a couple of instances where it’s actually normal for your Fiddle Leaf Fig to not grow, and everything is actually fine with your plant (phew!).
Your Local Climate has a Winter Season
Because these plants are tropical, they can sometimes slow or stop growing when they are living in climates that have a winter season. Winter seasons bring cooler temperatures and less hours of sunlight during the day, which can affect their growth rate.
While this may not happen everywhere, if you do find your Fiddle Leaf isn’t growing and it’s winter, remember this is a normal plant reaction. It is storing it’s energy and you should begin to see new growth as spring arrives.
It’s in a New Environment
Another completely normal reason why your Fiddle Leaf might not be growing is if you’ve just brought it home. Or if it has just experienced a change such as moving location or repotting.
Fiddle Leafs are notorious for not liking changes, and so you may notice that it can take a little while for your plant to settle in if you’ve just brought it home or changed something about its environment.
Even if you don’t notice new growth for a couple of months, this can be normal. However read on to make sure that your Fiddle Leaf is in an ideal situation to grow again when it is ready!
Remember: Fiddle Leafs Grow in Bursts
Lastly, one characteristic I have noticed with Fiddle Leafs is that their growth often comes in bursts. While some plants have slow and consistent growth, Fiddles generally have a burst of growth that can result in 3-4 new leaves at a time.
Between these bursts, you may not see individual leafs coming through. This is my personal opinion, but I think that because FLFs have such large leaves, they need this time between for their new leaves to strengthen and mature. And to stock the energy required to grow more of these epically large and lush leaves!
How Fast do Fiddle Leaf Figs Grow?
The good news is that given the right conditions, Fiddle Leaf Figs can be quite fast-growing! Like all plants though, their rate of growth (and general health) does depend on how suitable their environment and care is, so growth rates do vary.
Because Fiddle Leaf Figs are tropical plants, the closer their environment is to their natural growing conditions, the faster they’ll grow and the more healthier the plant will be in general.
Three Things That Can Help your Fiddle Leaf Fig Grow:
Hands down – the most important aspect of growth for Fiddle Leaf Figs (or generally any plant) is giving them enough light! Not many people realise that Fiddle Leafs are notorious light lovers.
Light is the key requirement for plants to create energy through photosynthesis, so it makes sense that if they’re not getting enough light, they can’t produce the energy required to grow. I heard someone refer to the FLF’s large leaves as solar panels recently, and this is a perfect analogy of how they work!
Solar panels can only create energy if they’re subjected to light. So the brighter indirect light your plant can get, or the more direct light you can give them (provided they’re acclimatised so they don’t burn), the better they’ll grow.
So what should you do? Fiddle Leaf Figs grow best when they’re positioned directly in front of a window or door. Because plants use light differently to us, what you may not realise is that the light level dramatically decreases as soon as a plant is more than a couple of feet from a window. or even if they’re against a wall next to the window instead of directly in front!
I know – those Pinterest pics of lush Fiddle Leafs in the corner contradict this point. BUT if your FLF is stuck in a corner, sooner or later you are going to notice a lack of growth, dropping leaves or just a lanky, unhappy & unhealthy plant in general.
If for some reason it’s not possible to place your plant in front of a window or give it more light, you may want to invest in a grow light.
A Well-Formulated Fertilizer
Fiddle Leafs aren’t necessarily big feeders when it comes to fertilizer, but one of the major increases I saw in my plants’ growth rate was when I started fertilizing.
Not only did the plant double its size in around a year, but the leaf size itself doubled and the leaves grew closer together (this helps strengthen their trunk and makes them look more full).
If you can, try to use a fertilizer that is especially formulated for Fiddle Leaf Figs’ nutrient requirements. This means having an NPK ratio of 9:3:6 (aka 3:1:2). I have more information about fertilizer here, including my recommendations.
(Lastly) Checking if its Root Bound
This point is last because there is a myth that if plants aren’t growing, they should automatically be repotted. But as I mentioned above, Fiddle Leafs don’t love change. So even if you do repot your Fiddle, it still may need time to adjust to the repotting before you see any positive changes.
These particular plants do prefer to be snug in pots. So unless your plant is extremely root bound, or the soil is so old that it is nutrient deficient, repotting won’t always have a big impact on growth rate.
However if your plant IS root bound and the soil has not been changed for more than 2-3 years, there is a chance that it is hindering the growth of your plant.
One thing to be aware of when repotting is that you should only go up one pot size. This means choosing a pot that is only 1-2 inches wider than the current pot. This is because if the new pot is a lot larger than the current pot, Fiddle Leafs can spend their energy growing new roots rather than the growth we want to see – new leaves!
You can find out more about soil & repotting here.
What NOT to do if Your Fiddle Leaf isn’t Growing:
If you find your Fiddle Leaf isn’t growing, there’s a couple of common things I’ve noticed people try that probably aren’t going to help the situation.
Cut off the Top Growing Bud
I’m often asked about the seemingly dry, crispy brown sheath at the top of the plant. People often mistake this as dead. However this is totally normal, and does NOT need to be cut back to encourage growth! When the plant is ready to grow new leaves, they will emerge from within those protective sheaths.
Cutting this growing tip back won’t necessarily harm the plant, but it means that the plant will need to grow from new buds rather than the top point and you can even end up with branches. Once pruned, new growth will no longer come from the cut stem itself.
Move the Plant Around
Another thing people try is to keep moving the plant to new locations. Fiddle Leafs don’t like to be moved around, so once you find a suitable (bright!) location for it, the best thing to do is leave it be. This will allow it to settle in and get into a routine.
Repotting As Soon as You Get it or Even if It’s Not Root Bound
And as I mentioned above, people will often repot their plants as soon as they bring them home or as a ‘solution’ for not seeing any growth.
Fiddle Leafs are unique in that they are quite ok being snug in their pot! So only repot if it’s been years since the soil has changed, or if it is very root bound.
Changing the soil otherwise will not necessarily impact the growth of the plant.
So if you’re struggling with a Fiddle Leaf Fig that isn’t growing, first ask if it is in a natural period of little growth due to winter or recent changes.
Then to encourage growth, increase light levels either by moving it in front of a window or using a grow light. Make sure you’re using a well formulated fertilizer at least once a month during growing season. Lastly, check if its rootbound or needs a soil change.
If you’re a new Fiddle Leaf owner or are experiencing issues with understanding your plant’s needs, download the free Grower’s Guide on this post! It has a bunch of useful tips and info on the A-Z of Fiddle Leaf Fig care.