With spring in the air, I’ve received more plant inquiries than normal and one question in specific… you guys want to know how to repot a fiddle leaf fig tree. They really can be tricky plants and you don’t want to shock them (or worse, kill them).
It just happens to be perfect timing because my tree is ready to be repotted, and I’m going to show you step-by-step photos of the process I use to upgrade planters. I’m moving this guy from the modernica pot to a larger basket.
Alright, let’s get to it! First of all, now is the time to replant… I’m giving you the green light. Remember this post: tips for healthy houseplants? I urged you not to repot your houseplants in the winter because they are in a dormant stage. Well, the best time to encourage growth is to replant in the spring during a plant’s natural growth cycle- that’s happening right now.
STEP ONE: find a planter. Be sure to buy a planter that is 2″ – 3″ larger in diameter than your existing pot. Drainage or no drainage… it truly doesn’t matter. I personally prefer no drainage hole because it’s less messy.
STEP TWO: if you’ve purchased a pot without drainage, fill your planter 1″ – 2″ full of rocks or gravel. Once the gravel is in place, top with soil.
STEP THREE: What type of potting soil is best? You guys know I have a serious obsession with houseplants, so I have a lot of gardening supplies in my garage. I actually prefer to mix soils….
I combined three Miracle Grow products: Cactus, Palm, & Citrus Potting Mix, Moisture Control Potting Mix, and Twice As Big Potting Mix. I used equal parts of each. You obviously don’t have to go to the trouble of combing a million different containers of dirt, but it’s what I had on hand and what works for my tree. If I had to choose just one, it’d probably be the Moisture Control.
STEP FOUR: Remove your tree from the existing pot. I’d recommend doing this outside; it definitely takes a lot of clean up later. Gently pull on the base of the trunk; if the tree is ready to be repotted, the entire rootball should come out, as shown below.
STEP FIVE: Position the tree into the new planter. Center the trunk and make sure there are 2″ – 3″ of negative space around the root ball.
STEP SIX: Backfill the edges with potting soil and gently press until firm. If the soil isn’t well compacted, once watering the tree, you might have to add additional soil around the outer edge as it settles.
STEP SEVEN: Prune any leaves that are yellowing. On my tree, these leaves are usually very small and located at the bottom… they pluck off very easily.
STEP EIGHT: Clean the leaves with a damp sponge or towel. I usually use warm water and a dish towel- no soap required! Removing the dust will allow the plant to absorb more sunlight and promote growth.
STEP NINE: Wait and water. I usually wait a day prior to watering my tree after repotting. This is a debated topic, it’s just what I’ve always done and what has worked for me. I know a lot of people like to water immediately after planting and that’s ok too! My friend Ashley posted a good guide on how to water a fiddle leaf fig tree. Whatever works for your plant. Most definitely wait a day before placing it back in direct sunlight because the sun can be harsh on a weakened plant.
That’s all there is to it! For those of you wondering about the basket, I just bought a cheap plastic planter to sit inside it… they didn’t come together. I hope my detailed notes are helpful once you’re ready to repot your fiddle leaf fig. Isn’t it funny how this is the same tree, but it looks different in every photo? My tree definitely has a good side. Ha! I should probably spend more time rotating it.
The ficus lyrata remains a staple in design and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but I’ve been keeping an eye on other trendy interior plants (I’m looking at you, palms). Check out my pinterest board for more.
If you’re looking for cool planters, here’s a roundup of my favorites (of all prices)…
Leah PrevostMarch 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm
I just repotted all my plants earlier this week and I mixed my potting soil too. I spent over an hour at Home Depot with my 6yr old son picking out succulents. It was a blast. I also stopped at Ross and picked up 5 planters, 2 big ones and 3 small ones, for the same price I would’ve paid for 1 at Home Depot! I don’t have a fiddle fig but I do have a fern in my living room, it’s beautiful.
SarahMarch 18, 2016 at 12:04 am
I always spend forever in the garden center at Lowes and Home Depot! Sounds like you came out with a lot of great stuff ;) xo
VelondaMarch 12, 2017 at 10:17 pm
Sarah ~ I just re potted my fiddle fig tree I followed your directions to a T it already looks much happier, is there anything else I should do for it? What about firtilizer? Or plant food? Do you ever use any of that kind of stuff for Fiddle fig trees? :)
SarahMarch 13, 2017 at 2:37 pm
So glad to hear that, Velonda! I do use fertilizer and this is the perfect time of year to start. Read this post for more. xo
SamanthaAugust 9, 2020 at 1:25 pm
hi — I have two ficus lyratas and they definitely need drainage or you will drown the roots. So yes, I would personally repot them to make sure the roots don’t get flooded.
Mine almost died twice – first time I had a self watering pot but was overwatering and the pot didn’t drain so I didn’t realize I was drowning my trees. It was horrible! I repotted them (they are HUGE — about 14-16 feet tall) into drainage pots with succulent soil and they are happy. The best thing you can do is leave these plants alone , not over water, not under water. Other than that if you “fiddle” with them they get upset !
James ScottOctober 25, 2021 at 2:35 pm
Yup, me too! haha! My wife and I just got home, actually. We picked up 8 plants from the clearance rack and got some good ones! One is a “Little Fiddle Leaf Fig”. I think it’s a miniature tree but not sure. I was wondering if it would be a bad idea to do a quick repot job now. It is most likely quite root bound because I can see the roots circling the pot from the top! Plus, it’s in a 6 inch pot and I think it would thrive in a bigger pot. Should I just wait till spring to repot it? I already have a nice, ncw 8 inch pot to put it in, so I’d really like to repot it. Plus, anytime I bring plants home from Lowe’s I end up with fungus gnats, so now I just repot ’em right away. Although, sometimes I get the bugs anyway since half of the Miracle Grow potting mixes they stock at Lowe’s or Home Depot are infested with FGs. I also water my freshly potted plants with a solution of Mosquito Bits and water to kill any potential larvae that might be in the potting mix.
Anyway, does the season make enough of a difference that I shouldn’t repot now? I wouldn’t do it in the dead of winter, but since it’s just before Halloween right now, I think it should be ok.
Thanks for the post! I have learned everything that I know about plants thru Googling a million things and sifting thru the info available on the web to answer pretty much every question I’ve had about my plants over the last couple years of me being a plant parent. We have about 100 plants right now and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, but I love ’em!
MendyMarch 24, 2017 at 3:31 am
Please help – my fiddle leaf only has 2 leaves left but just sprouted a new baby leaf. The only problem is that I have a ton of gnats in the soil. Is this bad? Should I report? It’s so delicate, I’m afraid of shocking it and killing it.
RachelJune 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm
Hi, Mendy! I live in South Texas…bugs o’plenty down here! :( When we get gnats in our houseplants, we use Mosquito Dunks. You can buy them at Home Depot, etc. Just break them up into tiny pieces and spread them on the top of the soil. Water them and the gnats should die out. It’s worked really well for us!
SarahJune 19, 2017 at 2:08 pm
Awesome tip, Rachel! Thank you!! xo
ErinMay 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm
Do you water your tree a few days ahead? I’ve heard that can help makes the roots not so brittle. I’m about to repot mine so I need all the advise I can get! Thanks
SarahMay 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm
Hi Erin! Yes, water it 2-3 days in advance… it just helps to transport the root ball (making it not so dry and crumbly). Mine is doing great! There are 4 new recent leaves this week. xo
KylaMay 15, 2016 at 4:09 am
Where did you find your basket? And how big is it?
SarahMay 15, 2016 at 12:53 pm
Hi Kyla, it’s 18″ tall by 20″ in diameter. You can find it here or here.
NinaAugust 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm
Thanks for sharing Sarah! I will pick up my Fiddle Fig Tree this Sat. Can’t wait ☺️! Where do you buy your no drainage pots?
SarahAugust 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm
You can find them at local greenhouses, big box stores (Lowes) or online… they’re pretty accessible! I like Modernica planters.
jyothi krishnaMay 18, 2016 at 4:31 pm
Hi Sarah,I recently bought our first house and i am very much interested in having few indoor plants. I bought a ficus Pandurata Bush tree from Home Depot.
Should i repot this tree now or wait till next spring to do so?do you suggest a self watering pot for this tree or a regular planter with a drainage?
Thanks in Advance.
SarahMay 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm
Hello! It’s just fine to go ahead and plant it now- just make sure the planter you select isn’t too large for it. I prefer a regular planter with drainage as opposed to a self watering pot. Hope this helps, good luck!
jyothi krishnaMay 20, 2016 at 2:11 am
Thank you Sarah
AliJune 26, 2016 at 3:03 pm
Kinda late to this party but I just brought home my fiddle about a month ago. Some of her roots are poking out of the top of the pot she came in but otherwise seems very healthy. Have I missed my chance to repot until next spring? If the roots are coming out the top will she be unhappy all year if I wait that long!? Any advice helps!
SarahJune 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm
Hi Ali! I’d say go ahead and replant her now… from what I’ve read, the growth season can last from spring til the end of summer. In fact- my fiddle leaf is sprouting two new leaves this week. The main point I was trying to avoid replanting during fall or winter. Hope this helps! xo
AliJune 27, 2016 at 11:15 am
Thanks so much for your advice!
MalarieJune 30, 2016 at 10:36 pm
Miracle Grow Moisture Control is so bad for Fiddle Leaf Figs because the soil retains so much water that the roots eventually rot.
SarahJune 30, 2016 at 10:50 pm
Mine is doing really well with it… it’s going on five years and each time I transplant, I check for root rot. It’s been growing really well! What type of soil do you prefer. Thanks, Malarie
MalarieJuly 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm
wow, you’ve been potting with this soil for 5 years! no issues – that’s great news. i should have spent a little extra $$ and combined 3 soils like you did. i made a big mistake and repotted using only moisture control soil, which retains so much water that the roots are crushed under the weight.
i just bought all the ingredients online to make “al’s gritty mix” (equal parts crushed granite, clay with calcium, shredded pine bark).
SarahJuly 4, 2016 at 7:01 pm
Yeah! I just use whatever I have on hand mostly… but I definitely mixed them. Good to know though!! Thanks for sharing your input and success with a different soil. I was super pumped to find 3 new leaves this week :) Isn’t that the best?! Ha! Thanks, Malerie! Happy 4th.
KrishannaJuly 9, 2016 at 6:14 pm
I bought my fiddle leaf fig in May and about 2 weeks ago the leaves on one entire branch turned brown and brittle and fell off in what seemed like overnight. Since then, every few days another branches leaves are doing the same. I’m down to 2 branches of leaves and they are starting to droop. I’ve held off from watering because the soil is damp from last weeks water. I’ve tried putting it outside to “dry out”, I’ve tried rotating it and now I’m lost. I’m thinking I should replant it because maybe I’ve overwatered or its root bound? Any suggestions?!
SarahJuly 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm
Hi Krishanna! I think if it were my plant and since it’s already doing poorly, I’d go ahead and try to replant it with dry soil. Even though it could shock it, I think this might be your only option. Fingers crossed it doesn’t have root rot. I’d also try moving it to a South facing window, so it gets an adequate amount of light. I try to water my tree once a week… I usually do half a pitcher (about 4 cups)- but my tree is larger. I hope this helps! Good luck!
MaJaJuly 13, 2016 at 5:56 am
Do you ever trim the root ball when transplanting?
SarahJuly 13, 2016 at 12:31 pm
Hi Maja! Yes, sometimes… I’ve done it once with trimming and once without. I didn’t really notice a difference, but that was just my experience.
KatrinaJuly 13, 2016 at 12:21 pm
I have a problem I need your help with. I purchased a Fiddle tree a week ago (last Tuesday). The tree was in a grow-pot. I watered it the first day and put a tray under it to catch the water I bought a new planter for the tree. I had watered the tree lightly on Monday to prepare it for re potting it in a few days (I did not want the dirt to be too dry causing it to crumble once I started to re pot). I received the planter yesterday. I re potted the tree. I made sure to loosened up the roots so it could grow.
I have noticed on the some of the leaves black spots This is very concerning to me. Please let me know what the problem is and how to fix it.
After re potting the tree I did not water it. I don’t know if I should wait to water or not. I really need to know what is wrong with the tree. Please advise.
SarahJuly 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm
Hi Katrina, I’m not an expert, but my guess is your tree is a little shocked from the transplant or maybe overwatered. When I first got my tree, it ended up getting a few spots, but after moving it to a more suitable location it’s been growing like crazy ever since. I’d recommend finding a window or light source that faces south. My tree does best on that side of my home. Don’t water it again until the soil is completely dried out (dig down and take a sample). Just give it a bit to adjust! Hope this helps.
MichelleJuly 16, 2016 at 5:42 pm
I have never seen directions for potting a plant with no drainage holes. Wouldn’t the sitting water be bad for the plant? Or do you just water very sparingly? Curious, as I find watering my fig so difficult in the winter when I can’t put it outside to drain. Thanks for this great post — beautiful photos!
SarahJuly 17, 2016 at 8:11 pm
Hi Michelle, my tree is doing really well and it’s never had drainage holes. You just have to make sure there is someplace for excess water to go (the reason for lining the bottom with rocks). In the summer, I water my tree a couple times a week. In the colder months, usually only once a week. Be sure to check the soil each time before watering. Hope this helps!
JustinJune 24, 2020 at 5:51 am
Hi Sarah, I know this post is from 4 years ago… hoping you’re still replying here. My question is about the drainage holes. I understand the water goes down to the rocks, but doesn’t the water eventually build up in the rocks without a drainage hole? I mean it has to go somewhere right?
SarahJune 24, 2020 at 9:23 am
Hi Justin! If your planter doesn’t have a drainage hole, the water filters through the rocks, so the root ball isn’t in standing water. As your plant dries out, it absorbs the water from the rock well. I hope this is helpful!
KatieJuly 13, 2020 at 9:10 am
I wasn’t sure if you are still replying but when I saw this most recent one I became hopeful! Do you have suggestions of both draining and non draining planters? I would be moving mine from a 10 inch nursery pot. When my plant arrived it had roots growing on the top of the soil and wrapped all around the top of the plant. It also appears incredibly compacted. Water is not getting down through the soil and instead resting on top. Any advice helps!
Kayla WolofskyJuly 25, 2016 at 11:57 pm
I bought my fig last week, it was in the potter for the week and did great. I bought a new pot that unfortunately had a narrower top than I expected. I repotted my plant, but it took some removing of the dirt and loosening up the roots so I could get it in ( it was not a pretty process lol). I am 100% sure I shocked my plant, the bottom leaves are doing o.k but the top seem to be droopy. I haven’t watered it since I brought it back from the store because every where I read says to leave it alone. Any suggestions on how to get it through this “shock period”. Is there a good chance I have put it on the path to dying? Unfortunately the repotting process was not as simple as just putting it into a new pot, like I said I had to remove some dirt and separate the roots to get it in ( It was an expensive pot that I couldn’t return). I don’t think I actually removed any of the roots tho. Is the best thing to do just leave it in indirect light? Or should I water it since I haven’t since I brought it home? The new soil itself was pretty moist.
SarahJuly 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm
Thanks, Kayla! Based on the fact you’ve described your tree as “droopy”, I would give it a little water and see if the leaves return to their normal upright position. Anytime the leaves on my tree start to droop, I give them water and you can immediately see the difference (within the day of watering). My tree actually faces south and prefers a good amount of light… you could also experiment with the location! Hope this helps. xo
AliciaAugust 19, 2016 at 10:36 pm
Hi Sarah. Thanks for your thorough report on repotting. I have two single stem fiddle leaf plants that I was thinking of combining into the same pot. Is this possible? Or too risky from a plant stress point of view?
SarahAugust 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm
Hi Alicia, I honestly don’t have experience in combining two plants… I have tried propagating plants though. I think as long as the pot is large enough for the both of them and they’re in good shape- it should be fine. Like any repotting, it could potentially go into shock, but most of the time they’ll come out of it! Good luck!
JessicaAugust 21, 2016 at 8:41 pm
Hey Sarah – this is the exact post I’ve been scouring the internet for, thank you! One quick question, would you say it’s an ok idea to repot my fiddle fig now (late August)?
SarahAugust 22, 2016 at 11:20 am
Hi Jessica! So glad you liked the post. My tree is surprisingly still sprouting leaves, so I’d say it should be fine to go ahead repot. Good luck!
heidi adamsAugust 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm
How do you water your tree? I see some people like to water a scant cup every week while others flush it full and let it drip.
SarahAugust 25, 2016 at 4:02 pm
I like to do a cup every week! Sometimes in the summer, I can tell that it will need a little bit more than a cup, because the leaves start to droop. It’s much easier for me to water it this way! xo
Katrina BlackleySeptember 5, 2016 at 12:06 pm
I read your story when you repotted your FiddleTree to a larger planter. This was a great help to me when I reported my fiddle tree from a 10″ grow pot to a 15″ pot.
You mention that you only water you tree with one cup of water weekly.
My question is when you water, do you focus on watering around the tree only or try to water the entire pot? I am wondering when the roots spread will they have enough water if I only focus on watering around the trunk if only using one cup of water like you advise. Please advise. Thanks.
SarahSeptember 6, 2016 at 2:33 pm
Hi Katrina, I’m not too particular about how I water my tree… it typically gets poured down the trunk. I find once they’re established and doing well, even after being repotted, they seem to be just fine :) One cup is definitely sufficient for my tree, but it could be different for yours depending on your climate. Hope this helps! xo
BriannaSeptember 10, 2016 at 7:58 pm
Hi there! I just bought a fiddle leaf fig plant about 2 months ago and needed to move it into an actual pot which I finally did last week. It’s fairly small right now and it started browning around the edges, a few bottom leaves fell off, it’s a little droopy and not as bright in color anymore. I’m worried it is going to die. I was wondering do you give your tree direct sunlight? I had read everywhere that it shouldn’t have direct sunlight but now I’m wondering if my plant isn’t getting enough light. I also put it in a pot without drain holes and didn’t do the rock trick like you suggested. Any suggestions or tips would be wonderful!
SarahSeptember 11, 2016 at 12:09 am
Hi Brianna! Sorry to hear your tree isn’t doing so well right now. My tree loves direct sunlight, but maybe it’s a climate thing? I’d make sure it’s not in a drafty area as well. Overwatering and drainage might also be an issue. The soil shouldn’t be soaked and always check it prior to watering- make sure it’s completely dried out or you could cause root rot. Hope this helps!! xo
BrendaSeptember 28, 2016 at 9:56 pm
I just got my first fiddle-leaf fig yesterday, and it is beautiful! It is still in the plastic container from the nursery (9 inches tall x 7.5 inches across). It is just over 4 feet tall. Should I re-pot it now, or wait until spring- and what size pot? I have it in a south facing window with no draft or air-ducts nearby. I’m glad I found your blog!
SarahSeptember 28, 2016 at 10:00 pm
Hi Brenda! Congrats on your newest plant addition. I’d check the roots and see how they look in the pot from the nursery. If it’s not too crowded, I’d try to leave it until next spring. Hope this helps! Good luck xo
Jenny SmithersOctober 2, 2016 at 9:16 pm
It’s October and I just bought a fiddle leaf tree. Should I wait until the spring to repot it? The roots are coming up out of the soil. Will it be ok if I wait until spring?
Also, I’m on well water, is that ok to water with?
SarahOctober 3, 2016 at 3:40 pm
Hi Jenny! If it seems happy in it’s original pot, I would wait…. otherwise, you should be fine to repot it now. I’m not certain about well water- I haven’t had experience with that. Maybe ask your local nursery? Good luck! xo
susanOctober 9, 2016 at 9:36 pm
If there is no drainage hole in your planter how can you tell if you are over watering?
I guess I could keep a stick in and see when it’s wet more than 1/2 inch?
My house in Berkeley is filled with beautiful fiddle and palms plants but I hate the drainage mess.
Never tried working with no drainage. Advice?
SarahOctober 10, 2016 at 1:06 am
Hi Susan, I prefer planters without drainage holes for that very reason. I layer rocks in the bottom to help filter excess water, and feel the soil with my hand prior to watering. I haven’t had any trouble and I’ve been doing it for a few years… hope this helps!
MichelleNovember 30, 2016 at 5:05 pm
Hi, I have 2 fiddle leaf figs (2 trunks in each pot) that I just got in September. They are about 5 feet tall and are in 15″ nursery pots. The person I bought these trees from had re-potted them a couple of months before. Originally they were all in the same pot and he split them into 2 pots. Do you think it would be ok to re-pot these again so soon? I want to re-pot them into new planters that are slightly smaller in diameter. I live in Eastern Pennsylvania and these plants are very hard to find here. If you do find tall ones they’re very expensive. I don’t want to chance killing them..
SarahNovember 30, 2016 at 7:27 pm
I’d give them a little while to get established, Michelle! I think you’re safer if you wait until spring (in my experience). xo
kpatelDecember 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm
I bought a HUGE fiddle fig, about 11ft tall, and it looks pretty good. It lost a ton of leaves in the beginning but its OK, as there are still some attached. I have some brown spots here and thre but for the most part its fine. Im watering it every Sunday and water is coming out of the base as well. Hopefully all thee are good things. The roots when i bought the tree are showing a lot, and wrapping around each other but thats how I bought it. The lady at the nursery said just leave it alone but should I repot it? You can see the roots…
Shelcee BinghamDecember 30, 2016 at 6:31 am
I have the same situation. My tree isn’t speaking to me like I expected.
SarahDecember 30, 2016 at 2:06 pm
I’d leave it alone and wait until spring! This isn’t an idea time to replant because they’re in the dormat stage. Hope this helps. xo
jmeyerDecember 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm
Hi Sarah, my fiddle fig has only one stem. I would like to have a least 3 stems so it looks more like a fuller tree. Is this possible to force more stems? Thank you.
SarahDecember 28, 2016 at 3:51 pm
Hello! Unfortunately, I’m not certain there is a way to split the main stem or trunk. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. xo
AnnaJanuary 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm
my fiddle fig has 3 stem’s, I have had for a while so I think I may have put them together in the pot. they are 2 years old. outside and doing well. would it shock them if I took them apart and replanted to make 3 trees? I live in Florida and have them on the porch. after reading through some of your blog I want to make sure I understand that if I place in a container that does not have drain holes it is best to have it in another plastic container to drain?
I have wood floors and I am so nervous to have the plant on the floor so I like the idea of the roller but then I’m afraid it will scratch the floor…..will keep outside since they are doing so well!!
ElenMarch 4, 2017 at 9:21 pm
Hi Sarah! I love the fig plant. Do you mind sharing where you purchase it?
SarahMarch 4, 2017 at 10:57 pm
Hi Elen! The fig tree came from a local green house in Ohio… Siebenthaler’s. However, now that I’m in Salt Lake- I know they have a TON at Cactus & Tropical. If you’re not in Ohio or Utah, I’d recommend finding a local greenhouse. Hope this helps! xo
JennMarch 5, 2017 at 7:13 pm
Hi there! Where did you get the black planter you used to re-pot? I have a very tall fiddle that I got in December that I’ve been waiting to re-pot. The black pot it came in a believe is 16″ top to bottom (it doesn’t taper in at bottom like the one your pic) trying to figure out what I should buy? Any help would be appreciated! :)
SarahMarch 6, 2017 at 9:40 pm
The black planter came from Lowes. It was super cheap… under $20. It’s important not to increase the diameter of the pot that much- only 2-3 inches. Hope this helps! xo
DianaMarch 19, 2017 at 4:21 am
I really enjoyed reading this and it helped a lot!! I also do have a question that I hope you can answer. My fiddle leaf fig has 3 stems growing and to grow the plant into a tree do I have to separate the 3 to make 1 tree that looks like yours? Will it harm the plant?
SarahMarch 20, 2017 at 1:13 am
So glad you liked the post, Diana! I honestly have never split any fig trees. I’d consult with your local greenhouse. xo
Gwenette SpannMarch 22, 2017 at 7:38 am
I bought my fig leaf plant from Home Depot beautiful, but after a month dark spots started showing up. I read that I was to remove them. I also noticed that the roots were at the top of the pot so I bought a new one and repotted it. But now I only have 4 leaf left. Please tell me it we grow back it will recover?
Carolina EsquiviasMarch 28, 2017 at 9:49 pm
What it be OK to fertilize when repotting?
SarahMarch 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm
Yes ma’am! In fact, I did the same thing last time around… repotted and immediately fertilized. Hope this helps!
MichelleMarch 29, 2017 at 2:05 pm
Hi there! I have 2 very happy fiddle leaf fig trees. I’d like to re-pot them because I don’t like the pots they were purchased in. This is the only reason for me wanting to re-pot. I’m soooo afraid I’m going to mess up a good thing. I don’t have a green thumb and the plants are very happy with whatever I’m doing or not doing.
I live in Eastern Pennsylvania and I’ve had a plant light on them for the winter to subsidize some indirect sun light. I’ve had a few new leaves over the winter too. :)
I really love them. They weren’t cheap and are hard to find in my area.
What are your thoughts on this? Are there any precautions I should take?
SarahMarch 29, 2017 at 3:55 pm
Hi Michelle! It sounds like you’re doing great with your trees. I was also nervous to repot mine and it was MUCH happier after I did so. Just follow the tutorial and continue as you were. They’ll thrive in a slightly larger pot. xo
DanielMarch 31, 2017 at 6:00 am
Hi Sarah – how did you keep the ficus so neat and straight with only leaves at the top? I’m new to this and bought a baby one because all the adult ones were messy and crooked. I want one that would look exactly like this and hoping for some tips to grow it into this shape!
SarahMarch 31, 2017 at 2:44 pm
Hi Daniel! Surprisingly, this one was pretty straight and balanced on it’s own. I didn’t have to tie it off or trim leaves or anything, but in the case that they are crooked, you can use a stake and ties to straighten it. You can also trim leaves that grow too close to the bottom. Hope this helps!
courtneyMarch 31, 2017 at 7:28 pm
This is helpful! I can’t see your planter roundup at the bottom – is there another way to share?
SarahMarch 31, 2017 at 8:31 pm
Let’s try these links:
KendraApril 7, 2017 at 2:07 am
Quick question for you… I just ordered a Fiddle Leaf from Home Depot – it arrived today and looks great. It isn’t a proper tree yet, probably about 30 inches high (from the bottom of the pot to the top of the plant) – but it came with two plants. I will eventually be repotting this into a bigger pot, but do you think I should separate the two plants? My eventual goal is for it to looks similar to what you have, more tree like (just the stalk on the bottom and then bushy on top). Any thoughts on separating them? Here is a link to what I bought…
SamanthaApril 23, 2017 at 6:18 am
HI Sarah, thanks for all this great info here. I have two huge ficus lyratas — over 12 ft tall — that are outdoors south facing beneath an overhang. The top leaves are great but the bottom leaves are turning yellow with brown spots. I did see spider webs and determined a spider mite infestation and have been washing the leaves with Castille soap (pretty hard to do since they are so tall!) and warm water. But now I’m also worried about lack of drainage — they came in self watering pots that I don’t rely on and water them. It’s very hard to tell how much water is the best amount. What would be the best and how often? We are in a dry, warm climate in L.A. and I am worried about root rot. Should I re-pot them? They are so huge this would be no small task! thanks for any tips.
SamanthaAugust 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm
Just wanted to follow up here and tell everyone I did repot the plants because they were DYING before my eyes… when I took them out of the pots, I discovered they had been sitting in about 6 inches of black stinky water. Horrible! I put them both in larger pots with drain holes, organic cactus soil and watered them and then let them sit for 2 weeks. About 4 weeks later all the places where the plant had lost leaves started sprouting new leaves — amazing! Now my fiddlehead fig trees are healthy again. I saved them. The lesson here is definitely have a pot with drainage and NEVER use fertilizer — it is too harsh on the roots for this tree. This tree thrives with VERY LITTLE ATTENTION and a good watering system which you figure out by “watching them.” Just wanted you all to not make the mistake I did!
SarahAugust 2, 2017 at 7:09 pm
Hi Samantha! Sorry I missed your first comment. Repotting was definitely the thing to do! I’ve used rocks as drainage with pots that don’t have a bottom hole, along with fertilizer for years and have had great success with my trees. The key is not to overwater, check the soil (they should NEVER have sitting water), and fertilize as directed. If you fertilize too closely or on the tree, that’s when it can burn the plant…. otherwise, it helps accelerate growth. Thanks for your feedback.
TengMay 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm
Hi Sarah! I have a ficus lyrata that is about 3 feet tall but the leaves cluster at the base. How do i get leaves to grow along the stem? I can send pictures if you let me know where to send them. Thanks in advance for your help.
EmilyMay 6, 2017 at 1:29 pm
Hi there! Great post, it’s nice to read tips from someone who has had success with their fiddle leaf fig. I wanted to pick your brain about light….many of the sites I am reading advise to keep it in bright/indirect light but it sounds like you have yours right in the direct sun and it does well? I’m trying to find the ideal spot for my little guy and he is doing pretty good but some of the leaves have brown crispy edges or brown crispy holes in the centre of the leaf. Thanks!
Anne ConnorsMay 21, 2017 at 11:03 am
Hi, A friend gave me a cutting from a Fiddle Fig, and it is doing well, sprouting lots of roots. It is time to move it to soil. Do you have any tips? Thanks, Anne
Sophie ElliottJune 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm
I purchased a 5ft Fiddle Leaf Tree from William Sonoma. What size planter would you recommend repotting it into?
SarahJune 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm
It really depends on what size it arrives in… You could even sit the temporary pot inside of a decorative planter. They don’t like having a ton of excess space. Good luck! xo
LaurenJune 22, 2017 at 4:05 pm
I just purchased another fiddle fig leaf tree, but the pot actually has two separate trees in it. The roots appear to be at least slightly intertwined. Do you think it’s safe to split the two trees? Or should I just repot them together in a larger pot? I’d love to get two out of it, but I don’t want to risk killing both!
SarahJune 22, 2017 at 4:09 pm
I’m guessing you can probably gently separate them!
JillJuly 22, 2017 at 10:28 pm
Where did you get that black planter? I love how simple and clean looking it is :) all of the planters i can find locally are too fancy for me =P
Thank you SO MUCH for all of this helpful info that you are sharing!!
SarahJuly 24, 2017 at 4:12 pm
So glad this is helpful, Jill! The planter was actually under $20 and came from my local Lowes. xo
DianaAugust 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm
My plant has tiny tiny white bugs. How can I rid them. Only on top of the leaf. How can I get rid if them without loosing my plant?
Thank you- Diana
SarahAugust 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm
Oh no! I haven’t had that experience before, so I’m honestly not 100% certain. I’ve heard of people using products like Sevin on their plants, but it’s not super safe for kids or pets. Sorry!
SamanthaAugust 2, 2017 at 5:55 pm
One way you can get rid of them is to dilute orange oil in water 1/2 ratio and mist the plant. Basically the oil coats the bugs and kills them because they can’t breathe. Just make sure your plant doesn’t get direct sunlight because you could burn the leaves (with the oil). Hope that helps!
aussiebushgirlOctober 2, 2017 at 4:28 am
Hi Diana. Those are mealy bugs you’re seeing. I find the best way to control them is to use undiluted ACV (apple cider vinegar, with the mother – try Bragg’s) and wipe both sides of the leaves to remove any mealy bugs you see. The female likes to lay her eggs along the stalk and in the new shoot crevices, so make sure that you thoroughly saturate these areas too. Repeat regularly until you eliminate all signs of mealy bug, but be sure to regularly check for them and reapply ACV as necessary. Alternatively you can also spray an eco pest oil to help control mealy bugs, or use in conjunction with the ACV as a preventative measure.
For heavy leaf infestation, remove the leaf and destroy.
Also watch out for spider mites as they spread! Remove as above or spray with an eco pest oil.
stuAugust 20, 2017 at 8:18 pm
this was helpful … thank you!
PatrickSeptember 20, 2017 at 12:10 am
The original planter from the store (with drainage) is 14″ diameter and I want to buy a 13.5 diameter pot because 15″ diameter pots are too tall. Do you think this is a bad idea? I was planning cutting the original planter and then trying to shave off the soil to get the diameter to around 13″.
SarahSeptember 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm
It should be fine! Hope this helps.
Liz CamSeptember 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm
Good day, I purchased an fiddle leaf fig from Home Depot. I have been experiencing leaves dropping off, so I repotted it into a quite larger pot. I have notices brown leaves. I think that it is getting the right amount of light. Do you think that my pot is too big, now I just have leaves on the top. Is this normal, Should I just leave it. I love this plant and just recently bought two babies. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
KatieNovember 4, 2017 at 10:51 pm
Hi! I just bought my first fiddle leaf baby. :) it looks pretty healthy- although I’ve only owned him a few hours so who knows what could happen to him over the next week or so. But- a lot of roots are showing at the base of the plant and are wrapped around the top of the pot it came in. Water ran right through when I watered it. Would you repot him now or wait until spring?
SarahNovember 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm
I’d maybe just add a little potting soil to the existing pot / root ball… and then repot in the spring! Give it some time to get used to it’s new home :)
Lilly FloresJanuary 17, 2018 at 9:29 am
Hi Sarah! Thanks for your posts and comments on all these questions! I have had my fiddle lead fig for about a year and am thinking it’s time to repot. I read somewhere that you only ever want to use a 12-14” planter for these plants? It’s in a size 12” pot right now and about 4’2” Wondering if I should go larger?
SarahJanuary 17, 2018 at 10:37 am
When increasing the pot size, you just want to be sure not to increase it too much! I’d stick between 2-3″ larger each time you upgrade. Other than that- you can go as large as you want as it matures and keeps moving up the line. Hope this helps!
Chris HFebruary 10, 2018 at 6:06 pm
Hi Sarah! Where did you get that terrific basket? I would be perfect for my tree!
SarahFebruary 12, 2018 at 7:46 am
That one came from TJ Maxx Homegoods!
Maureen BeleiFebruary 14, 2018 at 11:49 am
Hello! Beautiful tree! I’m wanting to buy my first but not sure what size tree to get?? Should I start small or go for a larger tree??
SamFebruary 18, 2018 at 11:30 am
I followed you instructions at the start of spring. It’s been growing like crazy ever since, it’s a really healthy looking plant… My only issue is that roots have begun to emerge from the trunk about an inch above the soil line. Do you think this means it’s ready to be transferred into an even bigger pot? We’re nearing the end of summer here in New Zealand and I don’t want to do anything to shock it before it goes a dormant (you can already see that the leaf and height growth has started to slow down). Any advice would be greatly appreciated (:
SarahFebruary 20, 2018 at 4:05 pm
Hi Sam! I’d say it’s time to repot. Since you’re in the summer months, it should be ok- just be sure not to choose a pot that is too large… increase the diameter just slightly. Hope this helps! xo
Lindsay LFebruary 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm
Thank you for this post!!
I’ve just inherited a 3 year old 6ft. tall fiddle leaf fit in good condition from a friend. She said she has never repotted it, and I’ve been reading that around 3 years it would definitely need to be done, if not before. The soil looks slightly dry but really not bad at all, but when I touch it it feels spongey. Is this normal? Should I repot or leave it for now? Help!
Angela SchroederMarch 11, 2018 at 10:25 am
I’d like to chat about the drainless pot. You mentioned that it didn’t matter. I used your instructions to repot my FLF and so far so good so thanks a lot! Before I repotted it I was taking it outside to water and completely wet the root ball and my plant loved it! Now I’m just not sure how much water to give it since it’s a drainless pot. Please help!
Lauren FrostMarch 17, 2018 at 9:04 pm
Where did you get the black pot to replant in?
SarahMarch 18, 2018 at 4:00 pm
That was just one I already had on hand… if I had to guess, I’d say it came from Lowes.
AlyssaMarch 21, 2018 at 3:46 pm
Hi! How do you know your fiddle is ready to be repotted? And can you explain why you should only by a planter 2-3 inches bigger than the previous one? I bought a new planter online but it’s way too big (it’s 15 inches across) and my current one is about 8 inches across. Is it a bad idea to plant it there? thank you so much!
SarahMarch 22, 2018 at 10:00 am
Hi Alyssa! You’ll know it’s ready to be repotted when you begin seeing the roots compact and poke through the top. The soil kind of settles and you’ll notice the root ball getting tight in the pot. You should definitely only increase the pot size little by little because fiddles like to fit pretty snug in their containers. Too much change too quickly usually doesn’t end well. Hope this helps!
MartyMay 28, 2018 at 1:25 pm
I just bought my first Fiddle Leaf Fig. I am concerned as to what kind of water I should use to water it with. I have heard that tap water is bad for your plants because of the chemicals and chloride in it. I had a bottle of Spring water that I watered with for the first time. Should I continue to use this water. I tend to kill all plants but want to keep myFLF alive.
DonayJune 20, 2018 at 10:33 am
Hello, I just repotted my fiddle leaf, it has about 2 – 3 inches of space between its original soil and the pot, along the top. Should I add more potting soil and keep it compacted? or is it ok with extra room around the sides?
SarahJune 20, 2018 at 9:02 pm
I think it should be ok, Donay! As a precaution, I’d definitely pack in some more soil to keep it nice and snug if you’re feeling worried about it.
KristinAugust 16, 2018 at 9:19 pm
How long will it take for my new fiddle leaf fig tree to actually get tall like a tree lol like yours? Mine doesn’t have much of a “trunk” I guess it’s more of a shrub.
WhitneySeptember 3, 2018 at 8:37 pm
What is the moss you’ve got on top in the first photo? Thanks!
SarahSeptember 4, 2018 at 9:49 am
It’s just some spanish moss from my local green house.
Armand JacksonSeptember 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm
I’m have my fig trees outside, what is your suggestion for growing Clitella fig trees.
LauraOctober 10, 2019 at 10:50 am
I just picked up a FLF last night, my first and I bought it from a family whose mother the tree belonged to. He was pretty clear that he wanted to be sure that it went to a good home and carried on his mom’s love and care. Thank you for this article, I am determined to help his mom’s plant thrive!
KateDecember 8, 2019 at 9:33 am
Hi, thank you for this post. I have a fiddle leaf fig tree that I got in August and its still in its original nursery pot (which has drainage holes). Its not looking so great, some leaves are brown and others have fallen off. I’m not sure if its because I wasn’t watering it enough or if I should repot it (December is probably too late to do that). Hopefully I didn’t kill it!!
Taylor BettsAugust 9, 2020 at 11:25 am
I repotted mine yesteray from the original plastic one it came in. Then, just read your article! I regret not putting rocks at the bottom. Is it too soon to take it out an add rocks?
VeronicaAugust 12, 2020 at 12:49 am
though. It’s my first time owning a FLF got mine from a nursery and repotted it on the same day, last Sunday (Aug 9th) with MiracleGro Potting Mix.
So my question is, once the soil is completely dry, can i take it out of my plastic pot, change the soil to a mix of cactus soil and miracle gro and put it back in? Plus i want to add pebbles at the base of my new plastic pot before i add in the mix of miracle gro potting mix and cactus mix…or will that stress my FLF too much?