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Last Updated:September 17, 2023

How to Repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

featured-how to repot a fiddle leaf fig

You’re not sure how to repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig, but your plant needs transplanting badly? Perhaps you’re not sure if it needs repotting at all. Or you want to learn the most important tips related to repotting? You’ve come to the right place! This guide will teach you everything you need to know.

Yes, you need to repot it once a year. Using fresh potting mix for your indoor plants annually will provide enough nutrients necessary for health and growth. You should remove old compacted soil that lacks oxygen. It will also provide more space the plant needs when it outgrows its current pot. Another benefit of repotting your plants every year is that, in most cases, you won’t have to use liquid house plant fertilizer.

When Should I Repot My Fiddle Leaf Fig?

You can repot your plant any time of year. In case your fiddle plant gets enough light, you can repot it during any season.

Holding a Fiddle Fig in soil

What Are The Signs A Fiddle Leaf Fig Needs Repotting?

There are several signs that a Fiddle Leaf Fig needs repotting. Here are a few simple ways to determine whether it’s time for a slightly larger pot. If any of these symptoms are present, it’s time to repot:

  • Roots are coming out of the bottom of the pot
  • There are lots of roots on top of the soil
  • When you gently pull the entire plant out of the pot you see mostly a root ball and not a lot of soil
  • Soil dries out much faster than it used to.

How Often Should You Repot A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

You should repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig once a year. By repotting once a year, you are providing fresh, non-compacted soil, full of oxygen for the roots.  You are also providing soil full of nutrients, as the old soil might be depleted of them.

If you keep the plant outside in your garden, you might need to repot it more frequently. Plants kept outdoors receive much more light than plants kept inside a home. As a result, outdoor plants grow much faster.

If you have just purchased your plant from a nursery or a plant shop, it might need to be repotted immediately. Plants are usually sold in pots that they have already overgrown.

How To Repot A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Here are the repotting steps for a Ficus Lyrata:

  • Remove the plant from the pot
  • Loosen up the rootball
  • Inspect the roots. If some of the roots are soft, mushy or smelly, cut them off
  • Take a new pot that’s 1-2 inches larger in size.  If over 8 inches in diamater, go for a pot 2-3 inches larger in size. Use a pot with drainage holes. Even though it’s possible to grow a Ficus Lyrata in a pot without a single drainage hole, it’s easier with drainage holes
  • Fill one third of the new pot for Fiddle Leaf with soil. Use 2 parts any potting mix, 1 part perlite
  • Place the plant in the new pot
  • Fill up the new pot with soil. Just make sure to leave 1 inch of empty space from the top, so you can properly water the plant
  • In a few days, once the soil has fully dried out, water the plant

This type of repotting is called potting up. Potting up means that you leave the plant’s root mass and soil moistly intact while moving it to a new pot. You then use additional soil to fill in the remaining space inside the new pot. This repotting method will temporarily give space for fine roots to grow. Potting up is recommended if you don’t have a lot of indoor plant experience.

There are pros and cons to potting up. Pros of potting up are:

  • it’s easier for beginners
  • it’s less risky for beginners and less likely to affect the plant’s health

Cons of potting up are:

  • Roots in the rootball will continue to grow, and at some point will start constricting each other. They will restrict the flow of water and nutrients.
  • the soil inside the rootball will stay compact, without oxygen
  • the soil in the rootball keeps excess salts that could damage the roots

If you have more experience with indoor plants, you can do a full repot. Full repotting is the best way to repot. Full repotting means once you take a plant from its existing pot, you will remove all the soil from the roots. Pros of full repotting are:

  • you remove old compacted soil without oxygen for the roots
  • you remove excess salts trapped in the rootball
  • it provides more space for the root system to grow
  • it allows your Fig tree to get all the oxygen and nutrients from the soil

Cons of full repotting:

  • it stresses the plant
  • it can take a few weeks for the plant to recover from repotting and to continue growing
  • if you don’t provide proper after-repotting care to Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, you could easily kill it

If you’re not quite sure you can perform a full repot, use the potting up method.

In the video below, you can see how I repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig step by step:

What Are The Best Tips For Repotting A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The best tips for repotting a fiddle leaf are simple yet effective ways to provide the best environment for your plant to stay healthy. These are the top tips to follow when moving your fig tree into a new pot:

  • Do a full repot if you are experienced with plants and repotting. This is one of the most efficient ways to provide the plant with nutrients from the soil.
  • Pot up if this is your first Fiddle Leaf Fig or you don’t have a lot of experience with plants. While not as efficient as full repot, pot up is still beneficial to your plant and safer than a full repot.
  • Ensure the pot has holes for excess water to exit. Ficus Lyrata highly dislikes staying in moist soil so you must make sure that it has proper drainage system.
  • Keep the plant in bright light after repotting. If you can, place the plant in direct sun. Bright light will help the plant photosynthesize more, and provide it with the energy needed for the roots to establish well in the new soil.
  • Select the right pot. You may want to go for a decorative pot that looks nice but make sure it’s functional as well. Terracotta pot is the best option for FLF plant, because it will absorb excess water from the soil, unlike plastic pot that doesn’t absorb any water. Of course, any pot you choose should have a large drainage hole. You may also need to choose a container that’s larger than the old pot.
  • Choose the right potting soil. A well-draining potting soil mix is a must for a healthy Ficus. Feel free to use any commercial mix but make sure you amend it with perlite, pumice, bark, or another amendment.

Fiddle Leaf Fig in soil before re pot

Best Potting Mixes For A Fiddle Leaf Fig

Best potting mixes for a Fiddle Leaf Fig have one quality in common – they’re well-draining. You can simply make your own Fiddle Leaf Fig soil mix. Start by choosing any commercial mix. You’ll want to use 2 parts of regular potting and mix it with 1 part of perlite, bark, pumice, or another amendment.

This is how I make my own soil mix:

Can I Repot My Fiddle Leaf Fig In Winter?

Yes, you can repot your plant in winter. No reason to wait until spring if it’s time to repot. Plants “know” what season they’re in based on temperature, and most houseplants don’t experience extreme changes in temperature since they live indoors. So, unless your home gets extremely cold in winter, any season is good season for repotting. If you’re wondering about repotting in fall or in spring, the process is the same. Keep reading to find detailed instructions.

What Is The Best Pot Size When Repotting A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The best pot size when repotting Fiddle Leaf Figs is 1 to 2 inches larger than the current size of the pot. For pots over 8 inches in diameter, the best pot size is 2 to 3 inches larger. Don’t let your plant stay in the same pot if it has outgrown it. If you skip the repotting process, roots won’t have enough space and this may lead to different issues including soil compaction.

Soil compaction is explained in detail in the following Instagram post:

Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Like Being Root Bound?

No, Fiddle Leaf Figs don’t like being root bound. They are comfortable being reasonably snug in their pots but may experience all sorts of issues when root-bound. Why is this the case? The reason is that roots need space to develop and absorb water and nutrients from the soil. But this becomes harder when roots are wrapped too tightly. Cramped roots may lead to various problems so avoid letting your fig become root bound. The easy solution to prevent this is to repot your plant.

How Can You Tell If A Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Root Bound?

You can tell if a Fiddle Leaf Fig is root bound by doing one of the following things:

  • Gently pull the plant and check the root ball out then it s root bound,
  • Check the bottom of the pot. If you notice roots growing out of the bottom of the pot, then they’re most certainly cramped.
  • Take a look at the top of the soil. In case you see roots circling on top of the soil, that’s an indicator that Fig is root-bound.
  • Compare how fast the soil dries out. If it takes much shorter for the soil to dry out than it did before, this may be a sign that Fiddle plant is root-bound.

Can A Fiddle Leaf Fig Recover From Root Rot?

Yes, a Fiddle Leaf Fig can recover from root rot if the issue is not left untreated for too long. The best way to revive the plants is to recognize signs of root rot quickly and act fast.

Will Root Rot Go Away On Its Own Fiddle Leaf Fig?

In most cases, root rot will not go away on its own. You will need to revive your plant quickly before it’s damaged beyond repair if you want to save it. Brown spots and dropping leaves are a few red flags to pay attention to.

How To Repot A Fiddle Leaf Fig With Root Rot?

To repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig with root rot you’ll want to first rinse the root ball and remove any rotten roots. Any brown or mushy roots must go! Use sharp and disinfected pair of pruning shears to remove roots safely. Next, find a new container with drainage holes, preferably a terracotta pot. Repot your fig plant free of any rotten roots using a fresh well-draining potting soil mix. Make sure the plant is getting enough direct sunlight or indirect light. Insufficient light can seriously harm a plant, even if your fig has proper drainage. So, sufficient light is a must when you want to prevent root rot. Once you repot, water thoroughly and then wait for the soil to completely dry out before you water again.

Soil and potting tools

How To Repot A Dying Ficus Lyrata?

To repot a dying Ficus Lyrata, you must first figure out what’s the reason behind its poor condition. Start by inspecting the root ball. If you’re dealing with root rot, the previous paragraph will teach you how to save your plant. But there may be another reason why your fig is dying. Is the root ball too wet, or too dry? Is there too much soil or perhaps the root ball has barely any soil? Before you move on to repotting, make sure you identify and fix any issues you observe. You should also check if the plant has enough light exposure since light is the most limiting factor when it comes to houseplant growth. So how to repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig that’s dying? Once you identify and eliminate the reason for plant’s poor health, follow the same repotting process as you would for a healthy plant.

How Do You Repot A Small Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Repot your Fiddle Leaf Fig in a few easy yet effective steps. Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to repot Fiddle Leaf Fig plants with ease:

  • Fill the new container with soil. About a third of a new pot should be filled with the well-draining potting mix you previously made. This is a base for your plant’s roots to rest. Make sure you don’t put too much soil at this point, a few inches is usually enough.
  • Remove the plant from its old container. Turn the container sideways and hold the plant gently. You can tap the bottom of the pot until the plant slides out. In case your Fiddle Fig is stuck, don’t force it – use scissors to cut the pot instead. You want to make sure that roots remain intact and forcing the plant out of the pot may harm the roots.
  • Place the plant upright and add more soil. The additional potting soil mix should be added once the plant is in the new container. Fill in all the sides around the roots until the container is full.
  • The next step is to gently press the soil. Fiddle Leaf Figs need their roots to grow and this is not possible if the soil is compacted. Add more soil if needed.
  • Water generously. Once your plant is repotted, give it a thorough watering. Remove any excess water from the plant saucer. Make sure the soil is completely dry before the next watering.

How Do You Repot A Large Fiddle Leaf Fig?

You repot a large Fiddle Leaf Fig by following the same step-by-step potting process you’ve just read about for repotting small Fiddle Figs. The only difference between repotting a small and large Fiddle plant is that you need to adjust the amount of soil and the size of a pot.

Should I Remove Old Soil When Repotting A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Yes, you should remove old soil when repotting a Fiddle Leaf Fig. This is beneficial because you’ll avoid build up of mineral salts, give fresh soil full of nutrients to your plant and you’ll avoid soil compaction. In case you don’t have much experience with repotting, you can pot up instead of doing a full repot.

Should I Water My Fiddle Leaf Fig After Repotting?

Yes, you should water your Fiddle Leaf Fig after repotting. After watering, check if the middle of the soil is higher than the edges. If this is the case, you’ll want to add more soil to even the top out. Once the top soil level is even after watering, you’re all done.

How Do You Split And Repot A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

You will split and repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig by pruning its roots first. Cut a trench in the middle of the root ball, right between two plants. This should be done 6-8 weeks before separating plants. You’ll need a sharp and clean spade for this. Once this is done, fill the trench with some fresh potting soil mix. Water thoroughly and wait for several weeks. This will allow for new roots to develop and you will be ready to split your Fig plant. After you pull those trunks apart, you can go ahead and repot each plant individually. Be patient after splitting – slow growth is expected after such an event. It can take a few months for your plants to start growing new leaves.

Can You Plant 2 Fiddle Leaf Figs Together?

Yes, you can plant 2 Fiddle Leaf Figs together. Just make sure there is enough space in the pot for the roots to grow

Me holding one of my Fiddle Leaf Figs

Which Are The Most Common Problems After Repotting A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The most common problems after repotting a Fiddle Leaf Fig plant are easy to notice – they usually involve changes in color or shape of the leaves. There may also be problems with plant’s roots. These are the most common problems to look out for:

  1. Brown spots
  2. Brown edges
  3. Yellow leaves
  4. Black leaves
  5. Dropping leaves
  6. Droppy leaves
  7. Rotten roots
  8. Anything else that makes your plant not look healthy or happy.

No need to panic – most of these issues can be fixed. Common problems are usually related to the amount of light, the amount of water, the quality of water, and potting soil mix type. Learn all about problems after repotting a Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Yours Truly,



  1. Sandra April 26, 2023 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    I’m to the point where I can’t find bigger pots, should I trim the rootball on the FLF?

    • MrHouseplant April 27, 2023 at 5:15 am - Reply

      Hi Sandra, yes, you can trim the roots. Note that trimming roots on any plant will cause temporary stress to the plant and will slow down or stop its growth for a while. But your plant will recover :)

  2. Caitlin June 4, 2023 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Can you use Hydrogen Peroxide on the roots of a FLF before repotting? My FLF was overwatered… UGH! I should have just let it dry out, instead I made the mistake of repotting to a larger plastic pot that is not allowing the soil to dry out thoroughly. I am grateful I found your website, it has provided me with the information I need to bring my FLF back to where it was.

    Thank you!

    • MrHouseplant June 24, 2023 at 4:12 am - Reply

      Hi Caitlin, yes, you can use hydrogen peroxide on the roots before repotting. Hydrogen peroxide is often used to treat roots.

  3. Zachary Adams September 11, 2023 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    Houseplants do indeed experience some form of winter dormancy. Dormancy is when an organism stops or slows its growth during a period of adverse conditions. Winter dormancy is widely experienced by outdoor plants and is visibly noticed in trees that lose their leaves over the winter. This is due to both the temperature, but more importantly the lack of adequate sunlight. During winter, yes the temperature drops but also there is significantly less sunlight. Daylight hours are shorter and the sunlight we do receive (especially closer to the poles) is vastly more indirect and than during the summer months. This is the reason why indoor plants experience some level of slowed growth (dormancy) during winter months even though temperatures stay relatively stable. There is a significant decrease in the amount of sunlight they receive which constitutes adverse conditions, and so to conserve energy the house plant will slow or stop its growth. Idk why you would say that houseplants don’t experience dormancy.

    • MrHouseplant September 17, 2023 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Zachary, thank you for your comment, I appreciate it. I didn’t write well that section of the blog post, I revised it after your comment.

      As you mentioned, houseplants can experience dormancy during winter, depending on the temperature and amount of light they receive. If a plant is getting enough light and the home is warm (as most homes are), many houseplants won’t experience any dormancy and will continue growing normally, same way as they do in their tropical habitats.

      But for a lot of people, their indoor plants will slow down growth or stop it completely during winter, as the amount of light will reduce drastically and in some cases temperature.

      It’s worth noting that some apartments get the same or even more light during winter than during summer. The reason for that is that even with shorter days, the angle of the sun is much lower, so the plants get more light because they will be exposed to more direct sun.

      Thank you again for helping to make this site better 😊

  4. Tarryl M December 13, 2023 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful and thorough post! I have just purchased a dying Fiddle that I hope to revive and have been searching for all of this info everywhere. So nice to find it all in one place!
    My fiddle has two plants in one pot that is a) too big for both b) has been overwatered like crazy so I’m pretty sure they have root rot – drooping, curling yellowing leaves, with browning tips. Not to mention white, dense, moist soil.
    So we need to do a repot tomorrow.
    My questions are:
    1) The pot is way too big for even both plants. Not sure if I am going to split them yet or not. But how do I determine pot size either way?
    2) Best way to go about this to minimize shock – winter, new house, less light (maybe) etc
    3) Do I prune off browning patches from leaves and/or yellow leaves
    4) remove a branch that has no leaves on it at all that appears to be dead but has a whole other limb that is very much alive?
    Any help or tips would be fantastic!
    Thanks again, love the blog!

    • MrHouseplant December 24, 2023 at 1:38 am - Reply

      Hi Tarryl

      1) If you’re not splitting the Fiddle Leaf Figs, a general rule of thumbs is to go for a 2″ bigger pot size. If you’re splitting them go for a pot size where the roots can fit and they have another 2″ of space in diameter to grow.

      2) To minimize shock, don’t remove old soil or try to minimize removal. If there is root rot, you will have to remove some of the old soil and remove rotting roots. But the more you disturb roots, the more of a shock it will be. More light will be helpful to reduce shock. And do not water the plant until the soil has fully dried out.

      3) You don’t have to. But if you don’t like their look, and the plant has a lot of healthy leaves, you can. The main thing is to leave a high number of leaves, so the plant can photosynthesize.

      4) You can notch the branch if it’s still alive. You can also cut it off, the plant will be fine.

      Good luck 🙂

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