3 Fiddle Leaf Fig Mistakes You Need to Avoid — You'd Probably Never Have Guessed This One Big Potting Error

The 'diva of the plant world' requires a very specific care approach, say plant experts

a large living room with a fiddle leaf fig in the corner
(Image credit: Jean Bai and Rina Movsisyan. Design: Blaine Architects + Marshall Interiors)

It should come as no surprise that fiddle-leaf figs are often deemed the queen of the plant world. They have been reigning supreme for a few years now, and we can understand why. These luscious, leafy and sumptuous plants are an enviable, statement addition to any interior. 

While it’s easy to be blinded by their botanical beauty, it’s important not to forget that fiddle leaf figs require considered care. Queens, after all, tend to be prone to tantrums. They are one of the pickier plants out there, and it’s crucial to follow certain care instructions in order for them to thrive and flourish. 

Richa Kedia, gardening expert at Simplifyplants and Leafyloves, explains just how easy it is to put a foot wrong when caring for these particular and pernickety plants. ‘Fiddle-leaf figs are the divas of the plant world,’ she says, ‘gorgeous but a bit fussy’. 

We spoke to indoor garden experts to better understand some of the most common mistakes plant parents make when looking after their fiddle leaf figs, so that you can learn how to treat them like the queens they are.


a neutral space with a large fiddle leaf fig in it

(Image credit: Luke Arthur Wells)

Fiddle leaf trees or plants are notoriously tricky to make happy, which means they're not really the best houseplants for beginners. A common mistake when it comes to caring for fiddle leaf fig is inadvertently starving them of sufficient sunlight. Richa explains that these plants require bright light to thrive, but it’s important to keep an eye on them to make sure their leaves don’t get scorched in the sun. ‘They crave bright, filtered light, she says. ‘Too little light stunts growth; too much direct sun can burn leaves.’

Paris Lalicata, plant expert at The Sill, agrees that sunlight is crucial for a fiddle-leaf fig, and window placement is key. ‘A common mistake is placing the fiddle too far away from a window or in a window that isn’t bright enough,’ she explains. ‘Fiddles are bright light loving plants so they need bright light and a few hours of direct sunlight in order to thrive. A south or west facing window will be ideal for them, especially larger specimens. Otherwise a grow light should be incorporated over the plant.’


A fiddle leaf fig in the corner of the room

(Image credit: Bill Abranowicz. Design: Matt Blacke)

Fiddle-leaf figs are creatures of habit. They don’t take well to unpredictable environments. These indoor trees prefer stable surroundings. Paris explains that once you choose a position for these picky plants, it’s best that they stay put. ‘Fiddles don’t like to be moved around so once you find an ideal spot with good lighting you should leave the plant there instead of moving it around,’ she says. ‘Too much moving can cause stress and premature leaf drop.’

Richa adds that keeping them in an environment with a consistent temperature is key. ‘Keep them away from drafty spots and maintain a steady temperature,’ Richa says. Paris agrees that temperature stability is crucial. ‘Maintain a stable environment for the plant with consistent temperatures and humidity, and avoid placing it near unfavorable drafts from AC or heating units,’ she explains. 


most Instagrammed houseplants

(Image credit: Coco Tafoya/Unsplash)

Potting is not a straightforward task when it comes to fiddle leaf figs. Paris explains that these plants need to be in a certain condition before they are potted. ‘You should allow you fiddle to get pot-bound before potting it up into a larger container,’ she says. ‘Some plant parents accidentally pot them up too soon which can lead to issues at the roots due to too much moisture!’

Richa adds that fiddle leaf figs can be overwhelmed and shocked by repotting. ‘They hate change,’ she says. ‘Only repot when necessary, and be gentle when you do.’

When fiddle-leaf figs are consistently cared for and these common mistakes avoided, Richa explains that they will pay you back with their flourishing beauty. ‘Treat your fiddle leaf fig with consistent care, and it will grace your space with its lush, violin-shaped leaves for years to come.’


Katie Baxter
Trainee Writer

Katie is a freelance writer and MA student at City, University of London studying Magazine Journalism. Katie discovered her passion for lifestyle journalism after finishing her BA at The University of Oxford, when she started pitching to major lifestyle publications and covering various topics from popular culture to wellness. She is a regular contributor at Well+Good, where she writes experiment-based beauty and fitness pieces.