Mr. Houseplant is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our blog, we may earn affiliate commission on qualifying purchases.

Last Updated:April 27, 2023

Fiddle Leaf Fig Watering (The ULTIMATE Guide You’ll Love)

featured-fiddle leaf fig watering

In this Fiddle Leaf Fig watering guide, you’ll learn everything about watering your Fiddle Leaf Fig. When it needs water, how long it can go without water, and how to save Ficus Lyrata from overwatering. You will learn what’s the best time to water your Fiddle Lif Fig and much more.

There are 3 ways to know if your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs water:

  1. stick a finger in soil – go as deep as you can. If your finger comes out dry, your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs water
  2. stick a chopstick in soil – stick it in to the bottom of the pot. Take the chopstick out. If it comes out dry and there is no soil attached to it, it’s time to water your Fiddle Leaf Fig
  3. Use a moisture meter – Stick the moisture meter in soil. It will tell you the level of moisture in the soil. If it shows that the soil is completely dry, it’s time to water.
  4. Look at the leaves – if the leaves are droopy, your plant is significantly underwatered. However, droopy leaves can also indicate the plant is overwatered. How can you tell the difference between overwatered and underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig? Follow the link for more info.

How Moist Should A Fiddle Leaf Fig Be?

To determine how moist a Fiddle Leaf Fig should be, check its environment first. Go ahead and saturate the plant’s soil fully if your Ficus Lyrata:

  1. is getting enough light – over 5,000 lux (500 FC)
  2. is in a well-draining potting mix

Aim for 50% saturation if your Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant:

  1. isn’t getting enough direct light or bright indirect light – less than 5,000 lux (500 FC)
  2. is not in a well-draining potting mix

Here’s an example of what may happen if the plant’s soil is left moist for too long. I kept my Fiddle Leaf tree in the sunroom during Spring and since there wasn’t a lot of light, it stayed moist for 2 weeks. This led a whole branch to rot:

Fiddle Leaf Fig tree rotted branch

What Is The Best Time To Water Fiddle Leaf Fig?

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is potted in well-draining soil and the plant is getting enough bright light, you can water it any time of the day. However, most Fiddle Leaf Figs are not getting bright light and are not potted in well-draining soil. Watering such plants in the evening could lead to edema. That’s why the best time to water a Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is in the morning. By watering in the morning, your plant will have a whole day to photosynthesize and use water from the soil. This drastically reduces the chances of edema.

What Is The Best Way To Water A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The best way to water a Fiddle Leaf Fig is by fully saturating the soil and doing so slowly. Why is slow watering recommended? That’s because this method gives the soil enough time to absorb the moisture instead of water just running through the pot. And this almost always happens when you pour a large quantity of water too fast.

After watering, check the soil to make sure it’s watered properly. Check in several spots one inch below the surface. This is especially important if you’re using a peat moss-based potting mix. The reason for that is because peat repels water so it may happen that only the top soil is wet and soil below the surface remains dry.

How Much Water Does A Fiddle Leaf Fig Need?

The specific amount of water a Fiddle Leaf Fig requires each week is determined by the environment it’s in. A simple guideline is to use one cup of water for every foot of the plant’s height. So if your Fiddle Leaf Fig is two feet high, it would need two cups of water per week. But this is a general rule, that doesn’t take into account your plant’s specific environment.

Here are the other factors that affect the amount of water you need for Fiddle Leaf Fig watering:

  • Plant’s size – Mature plants will require a larger amount of water than little plants. As your plant grows, you’ll notice its water requirements increasing.
  • Pot size – The same applies in this case – you need more water for bigger pots than you need for small-sized potting vessels.
  • Amount of light the plant is getting – The more light exposure the Fig gets, the more water it requires to stay healthy. If your Ficus tree is exposed to direct sunlight, it’ll be more thirsty than if it was placed in low light.
  • Potting mix – well-draining soils need more water than less porous potting mixes.
  • Humidity – in lower humidity, a plant transpires more (loses more water through the leaves) and will need more water when watering. In higher humidity, it needs less water
  • Temperature – in high temperatures, the soil will dry out faster, and the plant will need more water. In lower temperatures, it will need less
  • The material the pot is made of- Plants in terracotta pots need more water than those planted in ceramic or plastic pots. That’s because terracotta absorbs water from the soil. Whichever type of pot you choose, make sure it has a drainage hole and remove any excess water left after watering the plan

Observe all the previously mentioned factors and adjust the amount of water accordingly.

What Should A Fiddle Leaf Fig Watering Schedule Look Like?

Fiddle Leaf Fig watering schedule looks different for each person and its individual environment. You may need to water your Fiddle plant once a week but another person will find that a bi-weekly watering schedule works better. As a general rule, wait for the soil to fully dry before you provide thorough watering again. An easy way to check if it’s watering time is to use a dry chopstick. You’ll want to insert the chopstick all the way down to the bottom of the pot – if it comes out dry, it’s time to water.

Which Type of Water Is Best for My Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The best types of water for your Fiddle Leaf Fig are rainwater, distilled water, and reverse osmosis. You can also use tap water, as long as you make sure to flush the soil every few weeks or repot your Fiddle Leaf Plant annually. Tap water contains minerals that may build up in the soil over time. When they build up, they may lead to root damage which will manifest as browning on the leaves.  Learn more about the best type of water for Fiddle Leaf Fig.

How Do You Use A Fiddle Leaf Fig Moisture Meter?

You use a moisture meter for a Fiddle Leaf Fig by first inserting it into the soil. Then wait to see the readings on the meter. Note that the moisture meter may give you different readings depending on what part of the soil you insert it into. Too close to the surface and readings may indicate the soil is dry. But too close to the bottom and you’ll get high moisture readings. So where do you measure the moisture in the soil and how to interpret the results?

Don’t use it at the pot edge – use it in the center instead, where most roots are. Make sure the tip of the moisture meter is at the depth of the roots. The meter will show you the content of water from 1 to 10, where 1 stands for dry and 10 stands for wet. Although it will not tell you explicitly whether it’s time for Fiddle Leaf Fig watering, it is still a great tool. You will use its readings to figure out how wet or dry the soil is and work from there. Besides Fiddle Leaf Fig, you can also use it for other tropical plants you have and all other types of plants.

Can I Use A Watering Globe For Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Yes, you can use a watering globe for Fiddle Leaf Fig but it may not be the best option for long-term use. Fiddle Leaf Fig plants prefer to dry out between two waterings and watering globes keep the soil constantly moist. Therefore, they’re likely better for short periods – for example, when you’re going away from home for a while. While being away from home, a watering globe can be an easy fix that will keep your plants watered.

What Does An Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig Look Like?

An overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig will usually have browning leaves. Pay attention to where this brown color occurs. An overwatered Ficus will display brown color in the center of the leaves and those will usually be the bottom leaves. If you see leaf veins turning brown, then your plant is most likely overwatered. Here’s an example:

Fiddle Leaf Fig leaf with brown veins

Underwatered Vs. Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig: What’s The Difference?

The difference between underwatered and overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig is not easy to determine because they have very similar symptoms. Here’s what to look for:

  • droopy leaves
  • brown patches
  • dropping leaves
  • yellow leaves
  • browning edges
  • brown spots

So how to tell the difference? In most cases, over watering leads to the bottom leaves dropping while under watering makes leaves drop throughout the plant. But there’s quite a simple way to identify the issue: check the soil. If the soil is dry, then you’re probably dealing with underwatering. If the soil is wet, you’re likely looking at overwatering.

Droopy leaves on underwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig

How To Save An Overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig?

To save an overwatered Fiddle Leaf Fig, do a full repot (full repot means removing all of the old soil) into a very well-draining potting mix and remove all roots that are dead, soft, smelly, or mushy.

If you are uncomfortable with full repot, then you want to try to get the soil to dry as soon as possible by:

  1. providing as much light as possible
  2. increasing air circulation around the plant with a fen
  3. moving a plant into a terracota pot, so that the pot absorbs water from the soil and makes it dry faster.

Can A Fiddle Leaf Fig Live In Water?

A Fiddle Leaf Fig can live in water for a very short time – a couple of weeks only. After that, the plant will experience root rot. It is important that you provide the plant with plenty of oxygen and a sufficient amount of nutrients/fertilizer while it’s living in the water.

How Long Can A Fiddle Leaf Fig Go Without Water?

Fiddle Leaf Figs can go without water anywhere from several days to several weeks. This depends on the specific plant and its environment. Its size, the amount of light it is getting, humidity, potting mix type, and plant’s pot type all play an important role when it comes to how long a plant can go without water. One of my Fiddle Leaf Figs didn’t get any water for 2-3 weeks and all of these leaves dropped:

Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves dropped

Can You Bottom Water Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Yes, you can bottom water Fiddle Leaf Fig trees. Bottom watering will provide better saturation of the soil. However, there is a downside to bottom Fiddle Leaf Fig watering. In this case, excess salts will be pulled up by the soil unlike with top watering where salts exit through the drainage whole. Because salts can build up in soil over time, they may cause damage to the roots.

Yours Truly,