How to Keep a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Healthy

The fiddle leaf fig, or Ficus Lyrata, is this year’s “it” plant. Maybe last year’s, too. They’re lush and sculptural and make for excellent eye candy in photographs of some of the most beautiful apartments.

But, how hard is it to keep one alive? Gardenista contributor Erin set about on a little fact-finding mission to learn more about these beautiful trees. Here’s what she learned:

Above: Photo courtesy of Daniel Kanter viaManhattan Nest.

Plenty of light is the key to success for blogger Daniel Kanter’s fiddle leaf. His fifth-floor apartment in Brooklyn is high enough to be filled with sunlight throughout the day. Daniel cautions against overwatering. Daniel also gives his leaves a good rubdown to make sure they’re not stifled by dust.

Photo courtesy of Anna Dorfman viaDoor Sixteen.

Above: Blogger Anna Dorfman’s fiddle leaf lives in her home in the Hudson River Valley. Anna’s tree enjoys filtered light from a south-facing window all day long. And even though she’s a self-described plant killer, her fiddle leaf is still alive and well. Anna’s advice? Don’t over-water. She lets the soil in her pot dry completely before giving her fiddle leaf a good shower. She also suggested that it’s important that the pot that you choose not be too big.

Above: Houseplant expert Eliza Blank of The Sill for her take on the Fiddle Leaf. While The Sill, a house plant delivery service in New York, typically trades in slightly smaller houseplants, Eliza will fill special orders for larger trees like the fiddle leaf. She confirms that fiddle leaf figs are better suited to a light-filled Soho loft than a dim apartment. Beyond good light, Eliza says the most important thing is a consistent environment. Airy offices with bright, consistent light are ideal spaces.

Do you have a fiddle leaf fig? If so, please tell us your tips for keeping it alive and healthy.

8 Best Plants to Grow Indoors


Rosemary H.
Rosemary H4 years ago

I love my big plants - I have a Swiss Cheese plant that stands on the floor and threatens to reach the ceiling, and a Scindiapsus (sp) that not only reached the bedroom ceiling but is going all the way round the top of the wall like a living border pattern. I have a lovely sunny house, but I only stand yuccas and mother-in-law's tongue in the windows - the rest do better further back in the rooms.

I always wanted one of these Fiddle Leaved Figs and finally found one in the store over the road at a good price. It lives next to the Scindiapsus, but for some years it never grew an inch, Instead the leaves gradually developed discoloured patches and fell off. I never risk overwatering a plant too big to easily lift out of its saucer. The leaves continued to drop off and I thought I was losing it. I'd sprayed it with a fungicide to no effect. I cut it back to the last healthy leaf with little hope.

Now - I've been in hospital, and my neighbour has watered my plants when she has time. I was amazed when I saw the Fiddle leaved Fig. It has a crown of lovely fresh green leaves and the cutting I took from the crown is looking good too!

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H4 years ago

Heidi, you need an aspidistra.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla V4 years ago


Fred Hoekstra
Fred H4 years ago

Thank you Gardenista, for Sharing this!

JL A4 years ago

good to know if I ever get one

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey4 years ago

I keep my windows drawn closed in the summer. This is a real problem for me in keeping houseplants. I would like to see an article about plants(house) that require little light and fairly minimal care.

Lisa Zilli
Lisa Zilli4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Joanne S.
Jo S4 years ago