This guide will cover typical fiddle leaf fig growth rates indoors. If your Fiddle Leaf Fig doesn’t seem to be growing as tall as you’d hoped, you’re not alone. We all want our trees to turn into the towering features we know they can become, but encouraging that growth can be tricky. With a few care considerations and the right environment, you can ensure your Ficus lyrata grows to its full potential.
- How Fast Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Grow? – The Essentials
- About Fiddle Leaf Figs
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth Indoors vs Outdoors
- A Fiddle Leaf Fig’s Natural Growth Cycle
- How Long Does it Take a Fiddle Leaf Fig to Reach Full Size?
- Factors Contributing to the Speed and Development of a Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Common Reasons Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth is Slow or Stunted
- How to Make Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Grow Faster
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth FAQs
- Wrap Up
How Fast Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Grow? – The Essentials
Fiddle Leaf Figs can grow up to two feet each year under the right conditions. Light is the most important factor to consider to speed up Fiddle leaf Fig growth. Ensure the plant is not root-bound and has enough nutrients to maximize growth potential.
About Fiddle Leaf Figs
Family, Genus, and Taxonomy
Fiddle Leaf Figs are scientifically known as Ficus lyrata, related to many other trees in the Ficus genus. This genus consists of over 800 species of trees and shrubs, separated into groupings by subgenus.
Ficus lyrata falls under the subgenus Urostigma, meaning they are not as closely related to the common fig (Ficus carica) as some other members of the genus. Many other houseplants fall under this subgenus, including Ficus benjamina and Ficus elastica, the rubber plant.
All members of the Ficus genus are part of the Moraceae family – the mulberry family or fig family. While other species are included, Ficus has the largest percentage of plants in the family.
This plant gets its common name from the large leaves that are shaped like a fiddle. They can grow up to 18 inches in length but will typically remain smaller indoors.
In their native habitats, these trees are large and lush, much like other members of the Ficus genus. Indoors, due to differences in conditions, they will not grow as tall or branch out as much. They are also unlikely to produce fruit as they do when planted outdoors in tropical regions.
Fiddle Leaf Fig fruits look similar in shape and color to figs but without the pointed end. They can have a slight texture and look stippled up close.
The main Fiddle Leaf Fig species is the most common, easy to come by and relatively inexpensive. However, there are some rarer cultivars with interesting characteristics:
- Ficus lyrata ‘Variegata’: Variegated plants are having their moment, and this cultivar delivers. The broad leaves are edged with stripes of creamy white, making this plant difficult to care for but all the more worthwhile.
- Ficus lyrata ‘Bambino’: Evident in the name, this cultivar looks like a baby Fiddle Leaf Fig, compact and only reaching a few feet tall at most.
- Ficus lyrata ‘Compacta’: The ‘medium’ cultivar of the bunch, maxing out its height around 4-5 feet. The draw of this type is the smaller leaves that grow closer together than others, making it look fuller overall.
Fiddle Leaf Figs are native to western Africa. Like many other houseplants, they largely grow in tropical rainforests along the west coast of the continent and towards the center.
These native conditions mean these trees need warm temperatures and high humidity to thrive. It can be challenging to replicate the right environment, making these plants somewhat tricky to care for.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth Indoors vs Outdoors
Although the leaves look the same indoors and out, you may struggle to recognize the Fiddle Leave Fig in its full outdoor form. These trees are expansive, often growing over 40 feet tall with an impressive canopy. The branches are much thicker and sport dense clusters of fiddle-shaped leaves.
Indoors, the growth is much more modest. They still grow far taller than most other houseplants but are restricted by the ceiling height, usually growing to about 6-8 feet in height.
The branching is also less prominent, with fewer leaves on each branch due to the differences in environmental conditions. However, pruning and the correct lighting can help your tree branch out and grow to its full potential, even indoors.
A Fiddle Leaf Fig’s Natural Growth Cycle
Fiddle Leaf Figs do most of their growing in spring and summer, loving the heat and extra sunlight. In fall and winter, growth slows due to the drops in temperature.
How Long Does it Take a Fiddle Leaf Fig to Reach Full Size?
Under the right conditions, Fiddle Leaf Figs can grow several feet tall in about two years, reaching ceiling height after three or four. However, due to suboptimal indoor conditions, it usually takes a little longer for these plants to grow into the full tree features houseplant owners are after.
Factors Contributing to the Speed and Development of a Fiddle Leaf Fig
Care and Maintenance of Fiddle Leaf Figs
Environment and care are the number one factors influencing the speed of growth. And the most important of all these considerations is light.
Under the right lighting conditions, these trees can grow up to two feet per year. But, if left in low or even moderate light, their growth will be slow and sparse.
Temperature and humidity are also influential. These plants grow quickest when their environment is closest to their native habitats – warm and humid. Dry or cold weather will stress the plants, causing them to prioritize survival rather than growth.
Most houseplant owners will care for the original Ficus lyrata species, which grows quite quickly. However, if you’re dealing with any of the other cultivars, you may notice differences in the speed of growth.
The variegated Fiddle Leaf Fig will grow slower than the original plant due to a lower chlorophyll count. Less chlorophyll means less photosynthesis, and ultimately, slower growth.
Both ‘Compacta’ and ‘Bambino’ also don’t grow as much per year due to their compact size. They take several years to reach maturity and once fully grown, they will remain that compact height.
Replicating the Fiddle Leaf Fig’s natural conditions will ensure the quickest growth. That means bright indirect light with some periods of direct sun, well-draining soil, high temperature and humidity, and regular watering.
Common Reasons Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth is Slow or Stunted
Fiddle Leaf Figs, especially those in large pots, are happy to leave their soil to dry out slightly before the next watering. If you water while the soil is still moist, it can become waterlogged, causing the roots to rot and yellowing of the leaves, brown spots, or dropping leaves.
When the roots are soft and mushy, they cannot take up water or nutrients to deliver around the plant, stunting growth. If the problem is not resolved, a bad case of root rot will end up killing the plant.
Avoid overwatering by testing the soil with your finger before watering again. If you suspect root rot, remove the plant from its pot, trim the damaged roots and repot into fresh soil to resolve the problem.
Lack of Light
Incorrect light levels are one of the most common causes for slow growth in Fiddle Leaf Figs. These trees cannot handle low or moderate light and need consistent bright indirect light to grow their best.
They also appreciate some direct sunlight in the mornings and can become accustomed to midday sun too if introduced to it over time. Essentially, place your Fiddle Leaf Fig in the brightest spot possible without the risk of burning the leaves and you can be sure it will grow rapidly.
Pests and Diseases
Fiddle Leaf Figs are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases. Anything from spider mites to thrips and more can impact the health of your plant and slow growth. Leaving the problem to spread can end up stopping growth completely and killing the plant.
It’s best to deal with pest and disease problems as soon as they arise. There are many natural removal methods and some more drastic ones if the problem has overwhelmed your plant. But, your best line of defense is prevention. Take good care of your fiddle leaf fig plants and prune them often to promote airflow.
Poor Soil Base
Soil is the starting point of all plant growth. It provides water, nutrients, and anchors the plant in place, keeping the roots happy. If your soil is too compacted or nutrient deficient, it can cause a host of health problems that stunt growth.
Your Fiddle Leaf Fig soil should be light and well-draining. If the plant has used up all the available nutrients in the soil, an additional fertilizer top-up should spur growth again.
If you don’t repot frequently, fertilizer is an important part of Fiddle Leaf Fig maintenance. However, it is also easy to get it wrong and do more harm than good.
Rather than improving growth, excessive fertilizer will burn the roots and leaves, having the opposite effect. Always follow the instructions on your chosen fertilizer exactly to prevent overfertilization.
As tropical plants, Fiddle Leaf Figs require warm temperatures and high humidity to thrive. If temperatures dip too low, the plant will stop growing in an attempt to conserve energy and resources.
Excessive heat can have the same effect, although it is far less likely to stunt growth in these heat-loving trees.
Keep indoor temperatures above 60F throughout the year and below 75F for optimal growth.
Incorrect Pot Size
Fiddle Leaf Figs are large plants with expansive root systems. They need plenty of space within their pot to grow and they tend to quickly outgrow their existing space, requiring repotting.
Start your plant in a large pot and continue to increase the size with an annual repotting. Rather than choosing a pot one size up, match the new pot to the projected growth and size of the tree in the coming year, based on predictions according to last year’s growth.
Changes In Conditions
These trees are incredibly fussy when it comes to their environment. Once they become accustomed to a certain position, moving the plant can spell disaster for health and growth. Leaf drop is also a common problem, indicating the plant is going through shock or stress.
Avoid moving your Fiddle Leaf Fig whenever possible and keep all environmental conditions as consistent as possible throughout the year.
How to Make Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Grow Faster
The Best Soil Types
Your Fiddle Leaf Fig should be planted in well-draining potting soil for the fastest possible growth. This will prevent root rot while holding on to enough water to keep the roots saturated.
Most houseplant soil mixes are suitable. You can also make your own by amending regular potting soil with perlite, coconut coir or peat moss, and a handful or two of bark if needed.
The Best Light Conditions
The more light you can give your plant without scorching the leaves, the better. Fiddle Leaf Figs are accustomed to plenty of sunlight and can even be found in full sun in their natural habitats, depending on the region.
Place your Fiddle Leaf in front of a south-facing window fitted with a sheer curtain. This allows you to give your plant some direct sun in the mornings but to keep it protected in the afternoons to prevent burning the leaves.
The Most Suitable Potting Vessels and Containers
Your chosen pot should be two things – large and well-draining.
These tall trees need tons of pot space to grow well. Don’t worry if it appears too small for the pot at first. It will soon grow into the space, giving it an opportunity to expand its root system.
No matter which type of pot your choose, it should also have several drainage holes. This will stop the soil from becoming waterlogged, preventing root rot.
Ideal Temperature & Humidity
Keep temperatures between 60F and 75F with humidity above 50%. If the plant is in conditions too far out of this range, it can stop growing altogether and may face permanent damage.
As Fiddle Leaf Figs are not fans of change, keep these conditions as consistent as possible throughout the year. Any large fluctuations can cause the tree to drop its leaves.
When and How to Fertilize
When repotting frequently, fertilizing is not normally required. However, if your Fiddle Leaf has been in the same pot for several years, it will need additional nutrients to grow well.
Fertilize your tree with a 3-1-2 fertilizer through spring and summer according to the instructions of your chosen product.
When and How to Repot
A tree constrained by the size of its pot will never grow to its full potential. Since Fiddle Leaf Figs are fast growers, regularly repotting is an essential part of optimal growth.
For smaller trees, repot once per year in early spring. For older trees, once every two years should be sufficient. Choose a large enough pot to accommodate the new growth and keep the soil mix as consistent as possible.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth FAQs
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs slow-growing?
Fiddle Leaf Figs have a reputation for being slow growers, but this is largely due to incorrect care or conditions. In fact, Fiddle Leaf Figs grow quite quickly in their peak growing seasons, adding an impressive two feet to their height each year.
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs easy to care for?
Despite their popularity, these trees can be fussy if their needs are not met. They also don’t respond well to change, but other than that, they are not massively difficult to care for.
How do you know if your Fiddle Leaf Fig is happy?
Healthy Fiddle Leaf Figs will continually put out new leaves through spring and summer. You should notice new growth in the branches, starting out green and turning to woody brown with age. The leaves should also stand upright, rather than drooping downwards toward the floor.
Do Fiddle Leaf Figs like big pots?
Reaching several feet tall with large leaves and thick branches, these trees love their space. They need big pots, going up in size every year or two, to maintain their speedy growth.
Under the right conditions, you can expect your Fiddle Leaf Fig to grow into a fully-fledged tree in no time. Keep up the care and they will reward you with their massive fiddle-shaped leaves year-round.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of fig trees.
Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.