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19 Reasons Why Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Not Growing | Ficus Lyrata

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So, you’ve recently brought home a new fiddle leaf fig plant. The dark green leaves add a sense of magic to your home and you’re enjoying the larger-than-life effect it has. Although maybe a few months (or weeks) into having it, you may begin to wonder – why isn’t my fiddle leaf fig growing as it should?

Fiddle Leaf Fig big leave plant with paper pot
Fiddle Leaf Fig plant with paper pot

Causes Why Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Not Growing

Owning a new plant can become quite daunting without a little bit of guidance. Luckily, this post will help you to troubleshoot at least 19 reasons why your fiddle leaf fig isn’t growing properly. Keep reading to find out what your plant needs to thrive.

Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Not Growing New Leaves?

Before you begin to panic, rest assured that plants are complex things, and your issue may be simpler than you think.

Understanding how your plant should behave will ensure that you’re not changing any aspect of its environment when there’s absolutely nothing wrong.

Small Fiddle Fig with beautiful green leaves
Small Fiddle Fig with beautiful green leaves

For a fiddle leaf fig, new growth may not occur for several reasons. These issues could range between light, temperature, humidity, or even pests that have stunted growth. The best way to ensure a healthy fiddle leaf fig is by troubleshooting the issues listed below.

Signs of a Healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig

A healthy fiddle leaf fig can come in all shapes and sizes. Your fiddle leaf fig is fine if you’re getting new leaves sporadically, with around 12 – 18 inches of new growth each year.

Ensure that your leaves are green and uniform, as signs of distress usually become apparent through the leaves.

As long as your fiddle leaf’s are not growing black or brown spots, yellowing leaves, or playing house to tiny white bugs roaming free, you’re set.

The reason for stunted growth could be that your fiddle leaf fig might just be going through dormancy or not getting enough light.

Potted Ficus Larata Plant in pot
Potted Ficus Larata

Understanding Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth Rate

As previously mentioned, Fiddle leaf figs can grow anywhere between 12 to 18 inches per year. Although, this is not factual for all plants in all environments.

So, it’s hard to say exactly how fast your FLF should be growing. You can rest easy as long as you’ve got random bursts of new growth and a noticeable difference in new height and leaves.

If the stem seems to be growing but you’re thinking, “why is my fig tree not growing leaves?” Well, ensure that you’re feeding it fertilizer regularly, watering your plant when needed, and giving it adequate light, humidity, and temperature.

Your fiddle leaf fig will grow at least 12 inches in a year. If any of these conditions are amiss, you may find less stem growth or stunted leaf growth.

Troubleshooting Reasons Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Stopped Growing

Here are 19 reasons why your fiddle leaf fig has stopped growing new leaves. Be sure to read through them carefully and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

When dealing with tropical indoor plants, it’s best not to jump to conclusions. In this case, trial and error will be best.

Fiddle Leaf Figs are Sensitive to Stress

Yes, your FLF is quite sensitive to stressful environments. This means that they take a while to acclimate and won’t appreciate too much movement.

After bringing your baby home from the store, allow it to get comfortable in its new home before repotting or repositioning it around the house. Monitor your plant for at least a month (just to be safe).

The branches and stem can be quite weak and while some experts advise a good shake now and again, it’s best to only disturb them once they’ve gotten used to their new conditions.

Fiddle Leaf Figs Can Struggle to Acclimate

There are some different schools of thought regarding acclimatization. Some people would suggest repotting right away to avoid further stress, while other people prefer waiting a while so that the plant can get accustomed first.

All this means is that once you purchase your new plant, you’ll have to think about the environment you took them out of and the new space they’re going to live in.

If these two spaces are quite different, you may want to hold off on repotting.

If you’re easily able to mimic the natural habitat of the plant or the nursery you bought it from, then your plant will be able to manage quite easily.

Keep in mind that it also endures some stress while traveling home, so try to handle your fiddle leaf fig with care.

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig May Need Repotting

While we understand the joys of repotting a new plant immediately, hold off until you’re 100% sure that it’s necessary. If you see any root growth protruding out the bottom of the pot, you can change the pot to one size bigger.

Although a small pot doesn’t necessarily mean that your plant will stop growing. Keep in mind that you’ll notice straggly roots first before you notice stagnant growth.

So, be sure to only repot your plant once you have ruled out all other causes for lack of growth, and be sure to use the best pots for fiddle leaf fig.


Fiddle Leaf Figs Can Grow Bigger in a Bigger Pot

Yes, any plant will grow as big as possible in the right-sized container. Certain plants like Pothos will seem to grow slower in a bigger pot as the roots need to develop first.

Similarly, once our FLF has an adequate root system, your indoor plant will develop accordingly (provided it has the right growing conditions).

Before moving your plant into a bigger container, be mindful that your plant needs as little stress on the roots as possible.

Upon repotting, try to disturb as little of the root ball as possible and be sure not to break off too much of the existing roots as well.

You Might Not Be Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Properly

An overwatered plant will produce yellowed leaves, will drop leaves, and simply become unsightly. An underwatered fiddle leaf fig will have leaves that droop, wilt, or become dry and crunchy.

Be sure to water your plant with about one cup of water every 7 to 14 days. This will vary based on how much light the plant gets and other factors like growth rate and season.

Small Fiddle Fig with water
Fiddle Leaf Fig plant Ficus lyrata plant

It’s important to monitor your plant to see how often to water your fiddle leaf fig.

Keep in mind, an underwatered plant is a dream to repair as opposed to an overwatered plant, so be sure to get a soil meter that will help you get the watering schedule just right.

Fiddle Leaf Figs Need Good Potting Soil

You’ll need a soil mix that is high in organic matter and allows for good drainage. You can buy a pre-mixed soil mix that will work wonderfully for your fiddle leaf fig.

Although, you’ll need to think about the quality of the soil. And be mindful of the reputation of the company from which you’ve purchased the soil.

If you’d prefer to do it yourself, you’ll have to mix a few things to allow for aeration, adequate nutrients, and good drainage.

You can add around a third of perlite or vermiculite, two-thirds peat moss, and add a dash of premium soil or a decent quality compost for good measure.


Proper Drainage System For Fiddle Leaf Figs

A decent drainage system is a multi-factored concept. The first step to good drainage is in the soil. By using a premium soil mix, you’re inadvertently avoiding any other issues that may arise.

Here’s the controversial bit, you can add a layer of rocks or gravel to the bottom to increase drainage. Although, this has to be a thin layer. If you’re using a third or two-thirds of your pot for gravel and stones, you’re inevitably creating a perched water table.

A perched water table is a collection of water at the bottom of the pot that the roots are going to grow into.

This could potentially cause root rot and a range of fungal infections. The best way to avoid this is by adding some fine bark chunks or perlite to the soil mix itself. If you do this, a layer of gravel at the bottom of your pot is not necessary.

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Needs Proper Fertilising

The best fertilizer for a fiddle leaf fig is a fertilizer with a 3.1.2 NPK ratio. This means that you’ll have 3 times as much nitrogen, with 1% phosphorus and 2% potassium.

The reason your plant will do better with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer is that nitrogen is responsible for the leafy, green growth in plants. Phosphorus aids in flower and fruit production while Potassium helps the overall well-being of the plant.

There is a range of fertilizers on the market, so as a beginner, you may want to start with something specifically designed for a fiddle leaf fig. Liquid fertilizers work a lot quicker although it means you’ll have to fertilize just a little bit more often than when using granules or a powder.

Give Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Adequate Light

Fiddle leaf figs can take up to five hours of direct sunlight. The common misconception is that your plant should only receive indirect light.

This is true to an extent, if you’re putting your plant into direct light, be sure to harden off your plant first so that you avoid sunburn and scorching.


These plants originate in the tropical rainforest of western Africa, where there is tons of light.

Essentially, the more natural light the better. If you’ve got your plant somewhere with less than adequate light you can always make up for that with a full-spectrum grow light

Be sure to add your grow light at the right height as sometimes a grow light can end up burning your plants in the same way the sun could.

Fiddle Leaf Figs Can Sunburn

Yes and no. Your fiddle leaf fig will burn if left in direct sunlight (or too harsh a grow light) for a long period. The plant will also scorch if you’ve forced it into direct light without ensuring that the leaves are accustomed to the light.

While they are susceptible to sunburn, some fiddle leaf figs can eventually live outside. Ensure that you’ve acclimated your plant to the light by taking it outside for an hour a day, increasing exposure incrementally.

After a few weeks, your plant will be able to handle up to five hours of direct sunlight.

Humidity For A Fiddle Leaf Fig

Light and humidity work together. Since this plant is of tropical origin, your plant needs to receive between 30% to 65% humidity. There are humidity gauges that you can use to offer accurate readings.

Although, if you can feel the air is dry, there are ways to solve this problem. By misting your plant regularly or using a tray filled with water at the bottom, you can ensure there’s some kind of humidity around the plant.

Other plant parents add a humidifier or tend to group their plants in one area. This allows all of your babies to create an ecosystem and the air from other plants will impact the humidity of your fiddle leaf fig.

There you go, that’s your reason to get some more plants!

Fiddle Leaf Figs Are Sensitive to Temperature

Temperature is quite an important growth factor. While the daytime temperatures are noteworthy, plants grow most at night after the sun has set.

It’s important to keep your fiddle leaf fig somewhere with as little zephyr as possible. This will ensure that your FLF has some kind of warmth throughout the night.

If you’re living in colder regions, you can get a grow light or a heating mat that will help your plant survive the freeze. Most fiddle leaf figs need 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit to function normally.

Fiddle leaf fig tree in the living room
Fiddle leaf fig tree

Seasons Can Affect Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth

Yes and no. Normally, the change of season dramatically affects flowering plants and outdoor plants.

Although, your plant will experience dormancy when the days are shorter and the temperature drops. Especially if you’re keeping your plant in a natural environment without grow lights and other tools.

This is natural though. Sometimes, allowing your plant to go through dormancy (provided you can keep it alive) will help the plant come back stronger in the spring.

You can also fake an all-year-round summer by adding grow lights, maintaining humidity, and by mimicking an adequate summer environment.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Need To Breathe

Fiddle leaf figs are known to breathe life into a room with their big lush leaves and are known as one of the best air-cleaning plants. While they have the potential to improve the air we breathe, we need to also ensure that they can breathe.

Your fiddle leaf fig breathes through their leaves (as with any plant), they respire and transpire carbon dioxide into oxygen, and light into starch and sugars, while sucking water into their leaves.

This means that your leaves need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that the plant can function optimally. 

Fiddle Fig Ficus Lyrata or Ficus Lyrata Bambino
Fiddle Fig, Ficus Lyrata

In order to clean your leaves appropriately, you can either use some lukewarm soapy water or specially designed cleaning wipes.

Once you’ve ensured your plant is dust-free, you can utilize some leaf armor to delay potential dust build-up in the future. 

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig May Have a Fungal Infection

Fungal infections occur when there is too much moisture in the soil. This is easily identifiable through the leaves.

You’ll notice fiddle leaf fig problems like black or brown spots, a brown and mushy appearance, or healthy leaves falling off the plant.

This is not only unsightly but dangerous for the roots of the plant as you’re essentially exposing your plant to root rot.

With extreme fungal infection, root rot occurs and there’s little you can do to save the plant. Although, in less severe cases, some TLC and a simple repot into clean, healthy soil can help your plant rehabilitate.

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig May Have a Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections are harder to spot and can be a lot more difficult to treat. If your leaves are yellowing, dry, powdery, or have black spots, you’ve unfortunately got a bacterial infection.

This type of infection can sometimes look similar to a fungal infection, but instead of wet mushy leaves, you’ll have dry crackling leaves. A fungal infection attacks the soil first and the plant follows whereas a bacterial infection mainly attacks the plant.

With a bacterial infection, you will have to pay extra attention to your plant. Prune it, repot it in new soil and after giving it a fresh sterilized environment, you’ll have to keep your fingers crossed.

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig May Have a Pest Infestation

Fiddle leaf figs are unfortunately susceptible to the most common house pests. You can expect things like aphids, scale, mealybugs, mites, and fungus gnats. While most of these are easy to take care of, the key is to catch the infestation early.

Wipe your plant off with some warm soapy water, spray it with diluted neem oil and you’ll be well on your way to rid your plant of pesky pests.

If you’ve got a larger infestation, throw your baby in the shower, wipe off each leaf and the stems, change the soil and quarantine the infected plant.

Pruning Can Help Restore the Health of Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Yes – pruning is beneficial in helping your plant redirect necessary energy to creating healthier roots and healthier leaves.

If you’ve noticed burnt, diseased or dying leaves, you can snip them right off to allow your plant to heal.

Be sure not to drag the leaf off and create a tear down the branch or stem. Use clean, sharp pruning scissors to quickly and easily cut off the rotten bits.

Do not prune too much of the plant at once, as this can also cause shock. But, a simple tidy will do wonders for your fiddle leaf fig.

So, What Are the Optimal Conditions for My Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Just to recap, there are a few things to keep in mind for your new fiddle leaf fig. You’ll want to check that it’s in a warm environment of between 30% to 65% humidity and 60 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Besides the external factors, you’ll need to check that your pot is big enough and that you’ve got the right well-draining soil to allow your usual fertilizer to take full effect. Your healthy fiddle leaf fig plant should be green, lush, and perky.