Fiddle leaf fig owners prize the houseplant for its showy, large foliage and the tropical ambiance it lends to their room. They are ideal for anyone who wants to make a statement piece.
These houseplants have above-average care requirements, making them better suited for people with a green thumb. Fiddle leaf figs grow surprisingly fast – if they have the right conditions. The following sections will discuss strategies to make fiddle leaf figs grow taller.
What to Expect from a Fiddle Leaf Fig
You may already know that fiddle leaf figs are finicky houseplants with stringent care requirements. They are native to West Africa but can be found in many other low-lying tropical areas, including Sierra Leone and Cameroon.
If you have seen fiddle leaf figs growing in their natural habitat, you will know they can reach heights of 60 feet and above.
Similarly, the biggest leaves on wild fiddle leaf figs can be up to one foot wide. While you can’t expect indoor fiddle leaf figs to reach these heights, there are a few things you can do to improve their growth potential.
Indoors, fiddle leaf figs usually reach a maximum height of around 6 feet. And if you’re good at what you do, a fiddle leaf fig will tower over you at an imposing height of 10 feet.
Read: Why Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Lose Leaves, and Can This Recover?
How Fast do Fiddle Leaf Figs Grow?
Fiddle leaf figs can grow very quickly, but their growth rate depends on the care they are given. Their growth period coincides with the summer months, and they enter a dormancy stage in winter.
Nutrient absorption, humidity, exposure to light, and temperature will play a key role in how quickly this houseplant grows, as do the type of soil and pot size used.
Fiddle leaf figs in California benefit significantly from a balanced fertilizer during its growing season. Anecdotal evidence suggests that you can expect 3 feet of growth per year if the plant is kept in ideal conditions.
Unfortunately, most fiddle leaf fig owners cannot provide exactly what the plant wants, so it is probably more realistic to lower your expectations.
With that said, there are few other houseplants that can reward you with stunning foliage that grows at such a high rate.
Report Your Fiddle Leaf Fig in a Larger Pot
For maximal growth potential, try providing your fiddle leaf fig with a larger pot when it’s ready. For example, if it was kept in a 16-inch pot, repot the houseplant into a 20-inch pot, and so forth.
This provides more room for the roots to grow and reach maximal length. Note that repotting in a larger pot will lower the rate at which the moisture dries out.
This means the plant is at a greater risk of being overwatered, which is a surefire way of killing the growth rate.
Keep an eye out for the moisture level in the soil by using the finger test. A more accurate method is to use a moisture meter.
In any case, space out the watering sessions at greater intervals if you notice that the soil takes longer to dry out. Never overwater your fiddle leaf fig because it increases the risk of root rot.
Light is King
Fiddle leaf figs need light to grow to initiate the photosynthetic process. Without light, your fiddle leaf fig will struggle to grow thick, lush foliage.
The plant may get taller without light, but not due to photosynthesis. Instead, the foliage will stretch to seek the light.
Keep your fiddle leaf fig in a brightly lit room with plenty of indirect sunlight. This will encourage photosynthesis and improve growth.
In the dark, your fiddle leaf figs may grow taller – but this is only because they compete to find more light.
When it’s night, the photosynthesis process stops, and respiration occurs, in which the plant releases carbon dioxide and water.
In other words, your fiddle leaf fig needs a healthy balance of light during the day and darkness during the night.
If you can’t find a sunny spot for your houseplant, you can always supplement with a grow light. By providing more light to your fiddle leaf fig, it will grow taller at a faster pace.
A good idea is to install solar tube lighting. These devices are installed into the ceiling from the roof of your home. They make the room much brighter and provide more sunlight to your plants.
If that is out of your budget, try placing your fiddle leaf fig in south or west-facing windows. This will provide your fiddle leaf figs in California with more sunlight.
The amount of sun your plant receives depends on various factors, including the size of the windows and any obstructions.
It can be challenging to ensure how much sun your fiddle leaf figs are actually receiving, so you might want to invest in a light meter to make an informed choice.
Fiddle leaf figs absorb nutrients from the soil. Excellent soil provides your plant with access to all the necessary nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, organic matter, and water.
You can improve the soil quality by adding some fertilizer. Just don’t overwhelm the soil with too much fertilizer because it alters the salt concentration and could kill beneficial soil microorganisms.
Another way of supplementing the nutrients is by adding compost. In fact, compost may be better than fertilizer in many ways because it releases nutrients at a slower pace and doesn’t cause fertilizer burn.
When shopping for fertilizer, look for something that has an NPK of 3-1-2. Any fertilizer or compost that provides this ratio of nutrients or similar will be ideal for fiddle leaf figs in California.
Note: Do not add coffee grounds to your fiddle leaf fig. Doing so will increase the nitrogen concentration of the soil and increase its acidity. Coffee does more harm to your fiddle leaf fig than good.
That said, you can use coffee grounds to create compost. Once they are broken down with other organic matter, they can provide valuable nutrients to your fiddle leaf fig.
Controlled Temperature and Humidity
For best results, try to mimic the native habitat of fiddle leaf figs. The plants grow in the forests of Western Africa, where temperatures rarely drop below 60 Fahrenheit and average out at 80 Fahrenheit.
The humidity levels are usually 60% to 80%, bordering on the higher end during the rainy seasons.
Fiddle leaf figs thrive in the temperature range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants will not respond well to cold or hot air.
Keep them far removed from vents, fans, and drafts from windows or doors. Try to keep the humidity levels above 50% for the best results.
These conditions should be consistent throughout all seasons.
If the temperature plummets below 50 Fahrenheit, the plant will alert you by turning the leaves into a shade of brown. If you don’t take care of the issue right away, the leaves will fall off the plant.
Cold damage is not reversible and will easily kill the plant by destroying it at the cellular level. Keep a temperature and humidity sensor near your fiddle leaf fig to alert you when the settings are less than optimal.
Clean the Leaves Regularly
Over time, your fiddle leaf fig leaves will accumulate dust and dirt. As this happens, your houseplant will struggle to grow properly.
The method used to clean your fiddle leaf fig depends on how big the plant is. Smaller plants may be moved around for easier cleaning in the shower.
Larger plants that cannot be moved will need more manual cleaning. Early morning is a great time to clean your Fiddle Leaf Fig, so it has a chance to dry before it gets chilly at night.
This will also prevent fungal growth and prevent the burning of leaves from sunlight.
Smaller fiddle leaf figs can be cleaned by lifting them up and turning them upside down. The advantage of this method is that it is quick and effective.
Moreover, the dunking method doesn’t add too much moisture to the soil. Simply prepare a bucket of tepid water and pick up your fiddle leaf figs.
Put your hand over the soil to stop the houseplant from falling out and turn it over.
Dunk the leaves into the water and move them to clear any grime or dust that has accumulated on the surface. Remove the plants from the water and leave them to dry.
For medium-sized leaves, showering may be a better method because the plants are too big to be turned upside down.
Before turning the shower on, make sure that the temperature is just right. Extreme temperatures could send the plant into shock!
Decrease the pressure setting on the showerhead when washing the plant to avoid damaging the leaves.
Never shower your fiddle leaf figs if the pot has bad drainage. The extra moisture will drown out the roots and lead to root rot and other issues with the fiddle leaf fig.
Finally, for larger fiddle leaf figs, you will have to wipe the leaves using your hands. This is a laborious process.
Use a microfiber cloth and dip it in a bucket of lukewarm water. Slowly wipe down the leaves. This will take time, but it’s worth it.
So, there you have it, a quick look at how you can make your fiddle leaf figs grow taller. As long as you can provide the right combination of nutrients, lighting, and water, your plant will achieve its maximum indoor growth potential.
Share your tips about growing fiddle leaf figs with us, and we might update this space with more information!
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.