Repotting benefits houseplants in many ways, and it’s a great way to swap planters, encourage root growth, and change your potting mix. However, while you must repot most plants at least once every two years if you want them to thrive, plants like the fiddle leaf fig don’t do so well when changing any part of their environmental conditions. So, should you immediately repot the plant?
You shouldn’t immediately repot a fiddle leaf plant as doing this can harm the plant. Fiddle leaf figs are hardy, but they’re also prone to root shock—which can result in leaf loss. However, you can immediately repot if the pot is damaged or you notice the potting mix is unsuitable.
Many people take hardy plants for granted since they can get by with minimal care, but you—and your fiddle leaf fig—will feel better if you treat your plants right. In this article, I’ll tell you the best time to repot the plants, how to repot them, and share vital tips to ensure you only have healthy fiddle leaf figs in your home or garden. Let’s get started!
When to Repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant
Saying its name might seem like a mouthful, but the fiddle leaf fig plant is a great house plant that’s perfect for any corner of your home. It’s a flowering plant native to the tropical forests of West Africa, grows beautiful foliage that is amazing for aesthetics, and is known as the lyre leaf tree or the banjo fig in some circles.
Despite its popularity, there are still a few misconceptions about its repotting needs.
You should repot your fiddle leaf fig plant when it’s root bound and when not repotting might harm the plant’s health. It’s also a great idea to repot fiddle leaf figs every 2 to 4 years to ensure its potting mix stays ideal for growth.
However, there are a few things you need to understand about fiddle leaf fig plants. First, they aren’t fans of change—any kind of change.
The plants are hardy, but they prefer average conditions. So, they’ll grow in their original planters without severe problems for most of their life if you care for them appropriately. But the plants need the change sometimes; otherwise, they can become root bound.
And while a root-bound fiddle leaf fig might not seem like a problem, it can interfere with its water and nutrient absorption, affect the plant’s health, and lead to more severe problems. So, I recommend you repot your plant immediately after noticing its root growing through the planter’s drain holes or outside the soil.
However, you might also need to repot if you suspect the plant might have root rot, pests, or conditions that may affect its roots. Sometimes, repotting might be a great idea if your plant has balance issues, although staking might be a better alternative.
I recommend you repot your fiddle leaf fig plant every 2 to 4 years—depending on its growth rate—to renew the potting mix and transfer the plant to a bigger pot. It’s an excellent practice if you’re keeping houseplants in general, and it will help ensure your plants stay healthy and eliminate the chances of having root-bound plants.
But you might need to change the pot sooner if you notice brown spots on the plant’s leaves and mushy roots. Remember to examine the plant thoroughly so you can determine the cause of the problem and repot if needed.
As I’ve said before, repotting is beneficial, but you must be careful when repotting fiddle leaf figs. In fact, repotting when the plant is fading might lead to more severe problems, so save this practice for the times I’ve highlighted above.
How to Repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant
Repotting is pretty straightforward, but you need to be careful, so you don’t accidentally hurt your fiddle leaf fig plants while trying to care for them.
It’s best to put off repotting until you need to, but ensure you pick the summer or spring months for the activity. This period is the plant’s growing season and will help reduce the risk of failure and issues like transplant shock.
Follow these steps to repot a fiddle leaf fig plant:
Water It the Day Before
Adequately water the plant no later than 24 hours before repotting. You can decrease the risk of transplant shock and help the plant avoid stress by carefully hydrating it.
Choose an Appropriate Pot
Regardless of your reason for repotting, I advise you to go for a planter no more than one size up from the previous pot to ensure the fiddle leaf fig stays snug.
Prepare a Potting Mix
You can use any DIY, well-draining soil mix for your fiddle leaf fig plant. However, I’d recommend getting a high-quality soil mix that comes with all the necessary nutrients your houseplant needs.
Put Your Plant on Its Side
Move the fiddle leaf plant to the light and set it on its side. I recommend using a repotting mat to minimize the mess and isolate the plant when repotting.
Remove the Plant From Its Pot
Carefully tug the fiddle leaf fig plant from its pot and shake it to remove the soil. You only need to shake it a little; most of the soil will fall off the roots. Remember to discard the old soil when you’re done.
Inspect for Abnormalities
Inspect the plant’s roots for damage, pests, knots, and dead parts. Cut these away using a pair of shears, but ensure you only remove more than you need.
Remember to use clean shears if you’re removing damaged roots, and keep an alcohol-soaked rag nearby to clean the tools after each cut.
Add New Potting Mix
Fill one-third of the new pot with the potting mix and carefully place the fiddle leaf fig in the planter. Ensure the plant is upright, but keep a stake nearby if you need to help the plant. Remember to place the plant in the planter’s center to ensure it’s balanced.
Fill the Rest of the Pot
Fill the rest of the pot with the potting mix. You can pat the soil, but be careful not to push down on it. It can compress your soil, damage the plant’s roots, and affect the soil’s drainage efficiency.
Slowly Add Water
Water the plant to ensure it starts acclimating to its new home. Slowly add water to the soil until it flows through the planter’s drainage holes. You can also bottom water your fiddle leaf fig plant to avoid overwatering and encourage the roots to grow downward.
Provide Adequate Light
Move the pot to a position with indirect to low sunlight. Harsh sunlight can damage your fiddle leaf figs, and it’s better off in a shade or a room with dark curtains. If you do want it to get some sunlight, ensure it only receives indirect early morning and late evening sunlight.
Began Caring for Your New Plant
Start caring for the fiddle leaf plants immediately. Repotting is stressful for your plant, but you can help it transition into its new home by caring for it. Fortunately, it’s not difficult, and your plant should be comfortable in its new pot in a few weeks or less.
I also recommend you don’t move the plant around for a couple of weeks to ensure its roots have enough leverage. Premature moving or mishandling can affect the repotting process, stress the plant, and result in transplant shock. And it might lead to warped shoots, leaf loss, or even death.
If you would like to explore your options to keep your fiddle leaf fig alive, check out my article: How To Keep a Fiddle Leaf Fig Alive
It might seem like a good idea, but you should never immediately repot a fiddle leaf plant. And while there are a few exceptions to this rule, frequent and premature repotting can stress your plant and severely harm it.
This article has an extensive step-by-step guide to help you learn how to repot a fiddle leaf fig and answer essential questions about repotting the plant. Remember to treat the plant with extreme care throughout the process to ensure it thrives.