Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth Expectations Indoors

Fiddle Leaf Figs (Ficus lyrata) can grow up to two feet each year under the right conditions. We all want our trees to turn into the towering features we know they can become, but encouraging that growth can be tricky. In my experience, light is the most crucial factor to consider to speed up the growth of the Fiddle leaf Fig. Ensure the plant is not root-bound and has enough nutrients to maximize growth potential.

How Fast Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Grow? (Essential Guide)

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 to 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.

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.

Fiddle Leaf Figs grow most in spring and summer, loving the heat and extra sunlight. In fall and winter, growth slows due to the temperature drops.

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, these plants usually take a little longer to grow into the full tree features houseplant owners are after.

Factors Contributing To Growth

A young fiddle leaf fig plant in a blue plant pot on a small wooden side table

Care and Maintenance

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.

Regular pruning, repotting, and fertilizing will also improve the speed of growth.

Varietal Considerations 

Most houseplant owners will care for the original Ficus lyrata species, which grows quite quickly. However, if you’re dealing with any other cultivars, you may notice differences in the speed of growth.

Due to a lower chlorophyll count, the variegated Fiddle Leaf Fig will grow slower than the original plant. 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 at that compact height.

Environmental Considerations 

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 fiddle leaf fig watering.

Common Reasons Growth is Slow or Stunted

A fiddle leaf fig plant with a yellowing and decaying leaf

Overwatering 

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 fiddle leaf fig 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 of 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, position 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 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 and nutrients and anchors the plant, keeping the roots happy. If soil is too compacted or nutrient deficient, it can cause many 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.

Overfertilizing 

If you don’t repot frequently, fertilizer is an essential part of Fiddle Leaf Fig maintenance. However, getting it wrong and doing more harm than good is also easy.

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.

Incorrect temperatures

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 outgrow their existing space, requiring repotting quickly.

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 particular 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

A large and mature fiddle leaf fig tree in a living room setting indoors

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, allowing it to expand its root system.

No matter which type of pot you choose, it should also have several drainage holes. This will stop the soil from becoming waterlogged, preventing root rot.

Ideal Temperature & Humidity 

A small fiddle leaf fig plant next to an indoor plant humidifier

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 consistent 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 essential to 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.

Wrap Up

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.

Contributing Editor | madison@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

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.

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