Trying to figure out the fussy Fiddle Leaf Fig

by Jessie K on July 9, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy friends got me a Fiddle-Leaf Fig — the trendy plant du jour — for my baby shower seven months ago and I’ve been trying to figure out this tricky plant ever since.

Everything I’ve read about these plants say they’re finicky and fussy. They like a lot of light, but not too much. They don’t like a lot of water. They don’t even like to be moved all that much.  When I asked friends about it, I kept getting all sorts of different advice:

“Oh, they hate direct sunlight. They need filtered sunlight.”

“They love the shade.”

“Water them once a month.”

“Rotate it counterclockwise once a month on the lunar moon.”

Yeah. Okay. Sure.

When I first got it, I put it before a sun drenched window in our upstairs landing. This was over the winter and the plant just didn’t seem very happy. The tips of the leaves took on those unsightly ubiquitous burn spots. But I thought, how could the leaves be burning when it’s getting the filtered direct sunlight it apparently needs?

Then I read that when it gets warm, I should put it outside so it can soak up the humidity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I placed it on our expansive front porch. For a time, it seemed to thrive. The sun it was getting was bright and direct and unfiltered. The card it came with said the plant likes “bright light,” even though that runs contrary to what friends and some decor blogs have indicated.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe leaves looked strong and healthy. I’m careful to water it only once a week….even on these punishing 95 degree days. But I noticed some of the leaves are still turning brown and crisp! Arrrgh!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I moved it again to another spot on the porch where the light it receives is more filtered…more of a dappled quality. So far, she seems to be doing okay even as the condition of some of her leaves are not making me happy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAre there any Fiddle Leaf Fig experts out there? Do you have any advice? I really like the look of the plant and want to do right by it. I hate it when plants don’t do well. It’s a heartbreak!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe nice thing about this plants is that I got a two-fer deal. The pot came with two separate plants that I can transplant at some point in the future, but I don’t want to do that until I know exactly what this fussy fuss pot needs!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sasha Joy July 9, 2014 at 9:44 am


I think leaf tip burn is usually a nutrient or water issue not an issue with leaves. If it were an issue with light, you would see more generalized burn and in areas that had been more exposed to light. Here’s a good extension publication on houseplant problems:

melissa July 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm


I bought a fiddle leaf fig about a year ago, and it’s still doing well. I have mine in a spot that gets a lot of natural light from skylights but is away from windows. I potted it in the IKEA PS FEJÖ pot (in black). I love the pot because it’s self-watering, it’s on casters, and it’s only $19.99. I worried the self-watering feature would over-water it, but it’s still looking healthy and growing new leaves. Here’s a link:
(the pot looks a bit cheap in the product pictures, but not so in person). Good luck!

Jessie K July 14, 2014 at 9:56 am


I’ll have to check out the pot you suggest. Thank you!

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