If you’re looking for a towering tree to create a stunning houseplant feature, the Fiddle Leaf Fig should be your first choice. Reaching several feet tall, even indoors, these plants need tons of space to grow and expand, requiring frequent repotting. Follow this guide to get the repotting of these somewhat fussy plants right.
- Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs – the Essentials
- Why Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs Is Necessary
- How Often Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Need Repotting?
- Best Times of Year to Consider Repotting
- The Best Soil Mix When Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs
- What Tools Will I Need When Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs?
- Size & Types of Potting Vessel Considerations
- How to Repot Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Post Repotting Care
- Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs FAQs:
- Wrap Up
Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs – the Essentials
Smaller Fiddle Leaf Figs require repotting once yearly in early spring, while older plants need repotting every one to two years, depending on their growth rate. Choose a new pot large enough to accommodate the plant’s size and growth rate. Repot into well-draining soil and water after repotting.
Why Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs Is Necessary
Repotting may seem like another care task to tick off the list, but the process is essential for your plant’s health and continued growth. This is especially true for Fiddle Leaf Figs that outgrow their pots quickly (or these recently propagated) and often require more space.
There are many reasons why repotting is necessary, but these three are the most important:
Plants are not designed to grow in containers. Roots continue to grow and extend over time to help the plant grow. Once they have taken up all the available space in a pot, they have nowhere else to go.
Fiddle Leaf Figs that are root bound will have roots circling around the bottom of the pot or growing through the drainage holes. After a while, the plant will stop growing altogether.
Repotting gives your tree the boost of growth it needs to reach its full potential.
As roots take up more and more space in the soil and use up all the available nutrients, soil quality begins to degrade. The structure slowly breaks down, unable to hold enough moisture or nutrients to feed the plant or to hold the roots in place.
As Fiddle Leaf Figs need repotting often, soil quality isn’t usually a reason to repot as it takes a few years to disintegrate. However, if you’ve kept your tree in the same pot for a while, it will eventually need a soil refresh.
Pests & Diseases
Repotting is not usually an urgent activity, but it can be in the case of pest and disease problems.
Many pests and diseases are soil-borne and hide out around your plant’s roots, causing havoc. The quickest and most effective way to remove them from the soil is to repot. Additionally, keep an eye on the ambient temperature and humidity levels where you’re locating your Fiddle Leaf Fig.
How Often Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Need Repotting?
Fiddle Leaf Figs can grow over 40 feet tall when planted outdoors. If you want your tree to grow to its full potential, it will need repotting (and pruning) often until it has reached full size.
Young plants tend to grow far quicker than mature ones and will outgrow their pots in no time. In this case, an annual repotting is recommended. This prevents growth stunting due to lack of space and gives your Fiddle Leaf more room to expand.
In older plants, repotting every one to two years is suitable, depending on the environmental conditions and growth rate.
While they will appreciate more space in their pots, they are not fond of changes in the environment and often go into shock when repotted. Rather than religiously repotting older plants each year, it’s best to wait until they really need it.
For fully grown Fiddle Leaf Figs that are almost hitting the roof, more growth is not the goal – containing growth is.
In this case, you can keep the plant in the same size pot. However, you will still need to repot every three to four years to replenish the soil in the container and keep your tree healthy.
Best Times of Year to Consider Repotting
Repot your Fiddle Leaf Fig in early spring, just as the growing season kicks off. Repotting can cause shock, so the quicker your plant can recover from any potential damage, the better.
If you need to repot urgently due to stunted growth or pest and disease issues, you can repot any time of year. In these cases, repotting will be better for the plant’s health than waiting. However, make sure you do so carefully to limit growth issues later on.
The Best Soil Mix When Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs
Soil is the foundation of good growth. Incorrect soil mixes can cause various issues with your plants, some of them irreparable. Your soil mix must be suitable for your plants.
Fiddle Leaf Figs need a soil mix that is airy and well-draining. A slightly acidic pH between 5.5 and 7 is preferred, but the drainage properties of your soil are far more essential to consider.
Specialized houseplant soil is available to purchase at your local nursery or online and should be suitable for Fiddle Leaf Figs. However, these mixes can be pretty pricey. Depending on the size of your plant, you will likely need a lot of soil when repotting.
A far more cost-effective option is to make your own soil mix. Not only is it cheaper in the long run (you can use the same components when repotting other houseplants), but it also allows you to tailor your soil mix perfectly to the needs of the plant and the environmental conditions in your home.
Houseplant soil mixes are typically a combination of these components:
- Peat moss: Retains moisture and lightens mixture.
- Coconut coir: A sustainable alternative to peat moss with the same properties.
- Perlite: White rocks of expanded volcanic glass that improve drainage by increasing the spaces between soil particles.
- Bark: Larger pieces that also improve drainage and soil structure.
To create your own Fiddle Leaf Fig soil mixture, combine two parts of high-quality potting soil with one part coconut coir and one part perlite. If you live in a cooler climate or plan on placing your fiddle leaf fig in an area with lower light, add a handful of bark chips to improve drainage further.
What Tools Will I Need When Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs?
Depending on the size of your tree, repotting can be tricky. Make sure you have these tools prepared before you get started:
- Enough soil mix to fill the entire pot.
- Floor covering to gather the old soil and prevent mess.
- A new pot with plenty of drainage holes.
- A friend to help you lift the tree if it is too large or heavy.
Size & Types of Potting Vessel Considerations
The general rule for houseplant repotting is to choose a container one to two sizes up at most. This prevents the excess soil from holding too much moisture and rotting the roots. Some plants also grow best when they’re a little cramped, so a smaller pot size can actually improve growth.
However, you can throw that rule out the window when it comes to Fiddle Leaf Figs. As they are accustomed to growing several feet tall, these plants grow relatively quickly and have extensive root systems.
Like other houseplants, they don’t mind being slightly root-bound. However, if you want them to reach the towering heights they often do indoors, they will need tons of space in the pot to expand.
The size of your new pot will depend on your plant’s current size and growth rate. If you are repotting every year, choose a new pot that will accommodate this growth rate. Don’t go far too large (you need to repot every year anyway), but make sure it is large enough to give the roots enough space to expand.
As Fiddle Leaf Fig pots are large, and you’ll be buying new ones frequently, plastic or recycled posts are the most cost-effective options. However, the trees will be happiest in a material that drains well, such as terra cotta or fabric.
Make sure your container has enough drainage holes to prevent root rot. You can use containers without drainage holes as pot covers, but larger trees can be tricky to remove for watering and become more of a hassle than they’re worth.
How to Repot Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
With your materials gathered and your soil ready, repotting your Fiddle Leaf Fig is easy:
- Lay down newspaper or plastic sheeting to keep the floor clean. You may need to lay larger trees on their side, so make sure you have enough space around you.
- Gently squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the soil and release the plant.
- Tipping the container on its side, gently pull the plant out from the base. Do not pull from the top branches as this can damage the leaves and doesn’t provide enough leverage. If your tree is several feet tall, ask a friend to help.
- Prepare the new container by filling the bottom layer with soil. You can use the empty old pot to measure how high the soil should be at the bottom to meet the roots.
- Tease the roots of your Fiddle Leaf gently to release them and lower the plant into the pot. Holding it steady and straight up, fill around the gaps with the remaining soil mix. If you want to support any branches with a stake, install it now.
- Fill the pot to a few inches below the rim. This ensures no soil spills out when watering. Press down gently around the base to anchor the plant in place and eliminate large air pockets.
Post Repotting Care
Water immediately after repotting, leaving the excess water to drain completely. Place your plant back into its previous spot as soon as possible to lessen the changes in environmental conditions and prevent shock.
Fiddle Leaf Figs are quite temperamental and will take a while to recover after repotting. A few yellowing leaves, brown spots, or even drooping or dropping leaves and slow growth are normal. Avoid fertilizing to solve growth problems at this time as it will only cause more damage. Give your tree time to recover and it should return to normal after a few weeks.
Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs FAQs:
Should I soak my Fiddle Leaf Fig before repotting?
Fiddle Leaf Figs are easiest to repot when their soil is slightly dry. It’s better to hold off on watering for a few days before repotting.
Should you water a Fiddle Leaf Fig immediately after repotting?
Watering after repotting is recommended as it helps settle the roots and prevent shock after exposure to the air. However, if your soil was pre-moistened, you may be able to skip this step.
Do Fiddle Leaf Figs like big pots?
These trees love large pots. The more space they have to grow, the better. Large pots are a must if you want your tree to grow several feet tall indoors.
Why is my Fiddle Leaf Fig limp after repotting?
Fiddle Leaf Figs are known to go into shock with a change in environment. If the soil is adequately moist and the plant is in the right conditions, slight limpness is normal and should resolve itself after a few weeks.
Should I mist my Fiddle Leaf Fig after repotting?
Avoid misting after repotting as this can encourage pests and diseases when the plant is still vulnerable.
Should I fertilize my Fiddle Leaf Fig after repotting?
Avoid fertilizing after repotting as this can cause growth problems and may burn the roots while the plant is still trying to recover. If you need to fertilize, wait about a month before applying a balanced liquid fertilizer at half strength to start.
Repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs may seem like a daunting task. But, with a bit of help and the right equipment, it’s as easy as any other repotting.
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.