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

August 24, 2022

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

Overwatering can seriously harm (even kill) your plant but underwatering may be dangerous just as much. So what’s a plant parent to do? This handy guide will teach you all you need to know about Fiddle Leaf Fig watering.

How Do I Know If My Fiddle Leaf Fig Needs Water?

You will know that your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs water if the soil is dry all the way down to the bottom of the pot. In case watering is overdue you may notice the plant’s leaves becoming droopy.

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?

The best time to water Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is in the morning. In this way, your plant will have a whole day to photosynthesize and use water from the soil. An evening watering routine could lead to edema if a potting mix used is not a well-draining one. But in the plant’s soil has proper drainage and is getting enough bright light, you can water it anytime during the day.

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.

Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Need A Lot Of Water?

Fiddle Leaf Figs may need a lot of water but this greatly depends on their environment. Here’s what affects 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.
  • Nursery pot size – The same applies in this case – you need more water for bigger pots than you need for small-sized potting vessels.
  • How much 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 type – Soils with well-draining quality need more water than less porous potting mixes.
  • Potting vessel type – 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 plant.

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.

What is the best PH for a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The best pH for a Fiddle Leaf Fig is in the range of about 5.5-7. Besides the slightly acidic soil, the University of Florida also suggests that the medium should have good aeration and can be amended with sphagnum peat, pine bark, vermiculite, or perlite. You can try out this pH tester to check pH levels.

pH tester

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. These types of water don’t contain chemicals or other ingredients that may build up over time. You can also use tap water just make sure you repot your Fiddle Leaf Plant annually or flush the soil every few weeks. You want to do this because salts and minerals from tap water tend to build up and may lead to various issues such as browning leaves, root rot, etc. Learn more about the best type of water for Fiddle Leaf Fig.

How Do You Use A Fiddle Leaf Fig Water Meter?

You use a water 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 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 to 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 water 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 may seem difficult to determine because they may have identical symptoms. Here’s what to look out for:

  • droopy leaves
  • brown patches
  • drop 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 scenario.

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,


Leave A Comment