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How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig – Black Thumb’s Guide

How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig – Black Thumb’s Guide

If you read my post last week, you might recall I mentioned how attention to certain details is what distinguishes a well-designed interior from a mediocre space. I know it sounds so damn cliche, but it is so true. Fiddle leaf fig trees, or indoor plants in general, are a great example of this point.

If you haven’t noticed, just about every swoon-worthy  space within the past few years includes one of these exotic beauties. I wanted one for the longest time, but my black thumb held me back. I was intimidated.

You see, more mature fiddle leaf fig trees can cost upwards of $300. Not only can they be costly, from my research I had gathered that they could also be a little finicky. I simply couldn’t justify investing hundreds of dollars into something I might kill within a month. But when I found a smaller variety at a local nursery for only $50, I decided to put on my big girl panties and give it a try. Not only have I kept my fiddle leaf alive for 8 months, but my precious baby has grown almost 2 feet.

If you are considering buying a fiddle leaf but have a black thumb (I feel your pain), this post is for you. I am going to show you how I kept mine alive. However, if you decide ain’t nobody got time for that, I have rounded up some great faux fiddle leaf figs at the bottom of this post.

how to care for a fiddle leaf fig - black thumb's guide

Fiddle leaf Location

Location, location, location! Fiddle leaf fig trees need to be placed in an area with lots of natural light. While indirect light is ideal, mine gets about an hour or so of direct light everyday and it seems to be just fine.My tree is parked in front of a bay window in my living room and I have not disturbed it.

Once you decide on a suitable location for your fiddle leaf, it is important not to move it. These babies need stability in temperature and lighting conditions and will not be happy if you move them from room to room. (Which means, I am going to be in a bit of a pickle once it is time for me to pull out my Christmas tree in December). While they do not like to be moved from room to room, depending on the lighting conditions in your room, they may need to be rotated every 3 weeks or so. This is to ensure that all angles of the fiddle leaf get equal sun exposure. So if one side of your fiddle leaf fig starts to look sad, you may need to rotate the “sad” side to face the window-ensuring more sun.

how to care for a fiddle leaf fig when you have a black thumb

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

How much water required for your tree is totally dependent on the size of the plant and the size of the pot (and thus amount of soil) you have. The larger the tree, the more water needed.  My fiddle leaf is about 5 ft tall , in a 17” planter, and I water it with 108 ounces of water once a week. When it was smaller, I only used about 3/4 of that amount.

Basically, you need to get in touch with how much water your baby needs and likes. If leaves start to wilt or become brown at the top, it probably is not getting enough to drink. However, if the leaves get ugly and brown from the bottom of the tree, you are likely over-watering (and water in excess can be just as devastating as under-watering). What I concluded from experience, is that mine likes to be watered once a week.

And for all of my fellow black thumbed peeps, I created a mnemonic device of sorts: “Water Me Wednesdays”. I think the main reason I have killed so many plants in the past is that I could never adhere to a regimented watering schedule.  But when I brought my little fiddle leaf home from the nursery, I was determined to let this baby thrive. So every freaking Wednesday, without fail, I water all of my indoor plants. I think having a designated day to water your plants will keep yo ass in check.


fiddle leaf fig tree care

Special Tricks

I have good intentions of adding fertilizer to my tree now that it is summer, but I totally keep putting it off. The only “special trick” I have for you guys is milk….yes, milk! Every other week (or every other 2-3 weeks as I sometimes get lazy about this), I dust the leaves of my fiddle leaf fig with a napkin dampened with some whole milk. I read somewhere that milk is good for the actual leaves of the tree and while I am not sure if it really works any magic, I will say you definitely need to make it a point to dust your leaves every now and then. If not, your leaves become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus and if too much dust accumulates, the plant will be obstructed from absorbing light. The milk, while I cannot say that it is necessarily keeping the leaves healthy, at least provides added moisture to the leaves (in lieu of spraying the plant with a water bottle…sort of like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Omg…I sound like an old person)

So there you have it….that is how I care for my fiddle leaf fig tree.

F**k all of this effort, Give Me a Faux Fiddle Leaf

For those you who are too “black thumbed”, plain lazy or maybe do not have a room with the ideal lighting conditions, I have dedicated an entire post to my picks for the most realistic faux fiddle leaf fig trees (aint no shame…I actually have a fake in my dining room, it is pictured right below,  and I love it and if you check out the article, you can get the same one too!). Click here to read the post.

the most realistic artificial fiddle leaf fig

Now go ahead….elevate your space with a fiddle leaf.

And also, go out there and design some good vibes and spread the love by Pinning…

how to care for a fiddle leaf fig tree when you have a black thumb



My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...

Julie S

Friday 11th of August 2017

This looks so good! I'm a new reader and have been enjoying your blog. Not quite on topic but can you tell me if your poufs are truly a cognac color (caramel-orangey-brown)? I went to the Etsy listing for P55 color poufs that you linked in the pouf post and they appear lighter and pinker (like terra cotta tile) on his pictures than in yours which makes me scared to pull the trigger! Are those indeed the ones you got or was it another color? Thank you so much.

Julie S

Friday 11th of August 2017

Sorry, that should be color P74 that you linked to. Looking at too many listings ;-)


Wednesday 26th of July 2017

Yeah girl!! And, she looks real good too! I bought one at Home Depot a month or so ago and I really hope it lives! It has sprouted one leaf so far! Thanks for the tips!!!

Designing Vibes

Thursday 27th of July 2017

Your home depot must be much better than ours, because I could never find one there. Yay...I'd say new leaves are a sign that your plant baby is happy.