So you’ve pruned your Fiddle Leaf Fig and placed the cutting in water for it to grow – now what?!
Recently I posted over on Instagram the process of taking a Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting from water propagation to soil. After getting a bunch of questions, I thought I’d expand on the process, which is what I like to call, ‘post-propagation’!
Don’t get me wrong: I think propagation is in general quite a simple and easy process, which is successful more often than not. But if you like details, or want to know exactly what I do to propagate successfully, here’s how to plant & care for Fiddle Leaf Fig cuttings.
If you haven’t already, check out my post on three ways to propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig. The below deals mostly with transitioning a cutting from water to soil, seeing as water propagation is most common and most successful. Let’s dive in!
Post-Propagation: When Can I transition a Cutting from Water to Soil?
This is one of the biggest questions I get asked – when is my cutting ready to be planted? And while the answer may vary depending on the cutting or plant, I like to wait until there’s at least 1-2 inches of roots growing first.
I also make sure that there’s baby, micro-roots growing out of these main roots. This may not be necessary, but I like to wait for these. This is because the tiny roots are usually the ones that feed the plants, while larger roots are more there for stability.
When you can see these micro roots, your cutting is ready for post-propagation!
How To Choose a Pot to Plant Your Cutting in:
There’s a few specifics when it comes to pots, especially for Fiddle Leaf Figs. So here’s some tips on picking a good one:
- Choose a relatively small pot. I would consider a small pot to be no more than around 4 inches wide. And this is because Fiddle Leaf Figs like to be snug in pots, so they really don’t need a lot of room. A larger pot can result in excess soil staying wet for longer, which can promote overwatering issues.
Fiddle Leaf Figs also like to fill out their roots in a pot. So if the pot is large, they’ll spend their energy doing that rather than growing up top (the growth we really want to see!)
- Choose a pot that has drainage holes. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter too much if its plastic, ceramic or terracotta as long as it has holes! If you’ve got a pretty pot you want to use that doesn’t have a drainage hole, consider a) drilling a hole in the bottom, or b) planting in a plastic pot and putting that pot inside the decorative one.
Getting the soil right for your Fiddle Leaf Fig Cutting
Fiddle Leaf Figs like well-draining soil. Having a well-draining soil means you don’t have to worry so much about overwatering them. And it also enables you to ‘flush’ out the soil (pour enough water in the pot until it drains) to make sure there’s no chemical buildup from fertilizers or tap water than can harm the plant.
I mix a regular potting soil with whatever I have on-hand that can help with drainage: usually this is horticultural charcoal, bark chips or mulch. I generally don’t measure this mix but just add a handful of each in. But if you’d like to get technical, consider mixing 5:1:1 of potting soil to horticultural charcoal and bark chips or mulch.
Horticultural charcoal is great for plants because it has antibacterial properties, adds chunkiness to the soil and helps prevent overwatering by soaking up excess water.
Bark chips add chunkiness to the soil and help with drainage too. And mulch can add chunks and also nutrients to the soil.
Once your soil is mixed, I like to dampen it before planting the new cutting in.
Potting a new Cutting
Take a look at your cutting and note how long the stem is before a leaf starts. The main aim in potting your cutting is to get the roots as deep in the soil as possible, as this will help them to not accidentally dry out. But also beware that if any part of a leaf or leaf petiole is touching the soil, it can potentially rot and we don’t want that. So leave any leaf part above the soil.
Fill your pot about 3/4 full with the soil mix, then gently place your cutting on top. Fill in with remaining soil until as much of the stem that needs to be is covered.
Press the soil around the plant to help hold the cutting in place. Depending on your cutting, you may need to use something to help prop the plant up until it can hold itself up.
I also like to water it straight away to keep the roots damp. Water will also help fill any gaps or holes in the soil and hold the cutting in place.
Post-Propagation Cutting Aftercare
Place your post-propagation Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting in a bright spot or sheltered spot outside for extra light & air flow. Read this post on general care tips if you need info on caring for Fiddles.
Normally I only water my Fiddle Leaf Figs once the top 1-2 inches of soil has dried out. This is because they like to dry out a little between waterings.
But because the roots are new, we don’t want to run the risk of them drying out! So for the first couple of months, I’ll water once I see the top layer of soil is drying out. At the moment in Australian summer, this is a couple times a week for me.
When Should I start Fertilizing my new cutting?
New cuttings can be delicate and fertilizer can be too strong for them, so don’t fertilize straight away! I like to wait until there’s signs of growth on the cutting (new buds or leaves) before boosting it with fertilizer. I also have a dedicated post if you need help or recommendations with fertilizer for Fiddle Leaf Figs.
You can always use a gentle Seasol solution to help condition the soil and get them strong & healthy.
Still got questions about post-propagation? Leave me a comment – I reply to them all! Or come follow me over on Instagram for plant updates and tips.
I have a cutting in water with just 3 leaves. I have many starting roots all over the stem, but they stopped at just a 1/8 in. They have been in this state for 1.5-2 weeks. The leaves look healthy. Not sure if there is something else I should be doing or that I just need to be patient.
Hello! I’ve had several fiddle branches (with leaves) in water for about two months. They’re all ready to be planted in soil. I decided to plant the cutting that grew new leaves first because the baby leaves started flopping over, and I wanted to test just one first to see how it will do. All 4 of the leaves started drooping almost immediately and the baby leaves have lost some of their green color and they are all very sad looking. I used well-draining soil and used a small handful of Bio-Tone starter plant food to try to encourage more root growth. I watered thoroughly and there is a hole at the bottom of the pot. How long will it be before the leaves perk back up? Did I make a mistake by using the Bio-Tone starter food? I might have concentrated most of the starter food in one spot, near the end of the cutting near the roots. Is it just in shock? Thank you.
Hey Kait, it’s possible that there was not enough roots on the cutting to sustain it in soil just yet. You may need to remove one or two of the lower leaves to help it survive. If you think you may have concentrated the bio tone too much, just flush it out with a big dose of water. The cutting should be fine as the excess water will drain. All the best!
The leaves on my cutting are so soft they cant hold themselves up
They just lay there like cooked spinach
The cutting is around 2 weeks old and in soil. The leaves are green and healthy looking but just limp as all hell. I’ve propped them up to avoid them sitting on the soil and gave the plant sugar water for shock two days ago
The weird thing is I cant find anything about this online
The only cause for limp leaves I’ve found is under watering but it’s definitely not that
Hey Victoria, this may have happened if there were not enough roots to sustain the cutting once planted or sometimes if you placed it directly into soil before water propagation. If the leaves start to die off its best to cut them off so that they don’t drain energy from the cutting. You can also try using a mild seaweed solution to promote root growth.
I was gifted a propagated FLF and all steps you’ve given were followed—my babe has three established leaves on it and has sprouted a new 4th leaf, but the new leaf is droopy and almost soft feeling. I’m pretty confident in its pot size, location, and water frequency, but haven’t found a lot online surrounding what is normal for post-propagation new growth. Will this leaf stand/strengthen over time? It’s large and beautiful in color, just very droopy and palpable!
Totally normal for new leaves to be soft and floppy until they mature! With time they will strengthen – there’s nothing that needs to be done. 🙂
Love your blog! I propagated and re-planted my fiddle cut in a new pot. It has been 4 weeks and it hasn’t grown a new bud or leaf yet. It looks like a bud is potentially there (was there before I cut it off the mother fig) but is hasn’t opened up. I’m being patient as it probably needs time to figure it out… However, the stem feels like it is wet inside. I haven’t watered that much, but worried it’s still over watered? Other than that the leaves look healthy and they are bright and not droopy at all. It’s about a foot tall with 5 leaves. Any advice?
My dear Sven, 8ft tall FLF,,,is branching up and out in some areas, all good,,,some leaves tho, older ones are not looking happy. What happens if they’re clipped off? I’m a bit intimidated and don’t want to damage Sven, my old buddy.