It’s every fiddle leaf fig owner’s worst nightmare: you go away on a trip to Disneyland or your dream vacation to the Caribbean and return to find your fiddle leaf fig has turned into a dried-out husk of its former self—or worse, a naked stick. So how can you care for your fiddle leaf fig on vacation so this doesn’t happen?
This is tricky, because there’s no one who knows your fiddle better than you do, and you simply don’t have the same level of observation or control when you’re not there. But there are some solutions that will keep your fiddle in good shape until you get back and can resume your usual care routine.
Before You Leave
The best way to ensure that your fiddle survives your vacation is to allow yourself ample planning time so you aren’t scrambling for solutions the day before you leave.
This isn’t always possible, of course. Sometimes you’re called away for an emergency or you win a last-minute trip to Baja and don’t have time to map out a perfect solution. In that case, do your best and cross your fingers.
But if you have your trip planned in advance, don’t leave plant care to the last minute. Start making arrangements as soon as possible, whether that means lining up a competent plant sitter or testing out self-watering systems and timed grow lights. The more time you have to test and tweak, the better.
One of the best and most overlooked ways to ensure that you’ll come home to a healthy fiddle is to make sure your plant is healthy before you leave. A healthy plant will be able to handle a few hiccups in its care routine.
Try these resources for the healthiest fiddle possible:
Also, if you will be gone for less than two weeks and can sync your watering day with your departure date, you may not need to arrange for care at all! Simply give your fiddle a good watering before you leave and water it again when you get back.
How to Care for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig While You’re on Vacation
You have two basic options for plant care while you’re away: find a plant sitter or set up automatic care systems.
Note: If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, your best option may be to combine these methods and find a sitter to refill your self-watering systems every once in a while.
Option 1: Find a Plant Sitter
Where to find plant sitters
You can find competent sitters on sites like Thumbtack or Housesitter. There are also sites that can direct you to plant sitters in your area, so it’s worth it to Google “find a plant sitter in (your area).”
Tips for plant sitters
1. Leave specific written instructions.
Write down the location of each plant that needs care, including your fiddle. Write specific instructions for caring for your fiddle, like which days it needs water, how to tell if it needs water, warning signs, etc. If you can show your sitter how to care for your plants beforehand, do that on top of leaving written instructions. (This is especially helpful if your sitter isn’t experienced with plants.)
And, of course, always leave your contact info so your sitter can get ahold of you or send pictures if they have questions.
2. Leave out supplies.
Leave out any watering cans, moisture meters, fertilizer, or any other supplies your sitter will need to care for your fiddle so they don’t have to go looking for them. If you know how much water your fiddle needs (like if you use the cup watering method), set out a container of pre-measured water your sitter can empty into your fiddle (and don’t forget to mix in the usual amount of Fiddle Leaf Fig Food). This should mostly mitigate the risk of over- or underwatering.
Option 2: Automatic Care Solutions
If you aren’t able to find a sitter, there are ways to water your plant and make sure it gets enough light and humidity while you’re gone. Make sure to test these methods in advance so you can fine-tune before you leave!
This is the most challenging part of caring for plants while you’re away, but there are plenty of self-watering hacks out there!
One of the simplest ways to provide your fiddle with water while you’re gone is to use a water globe, which is a water-filled blown-glass globe with a long stem that you stick in the soil. This allows water to slowly drip into the soil over time, keeping it evenly moist.
Similarly, you can use a bottle to do the same thing, though the drip rate won’t be quite the same. Wine bottles work well for bigger plants and beer or soda bottles work well for smaller ones. Simply fill the bottle with water, dig a hole in your fiddle’s soil that’s roughly the size and length of the bottle’s neck, and insert the neck of the bottle into the soil. (Hold your thumb over the opening until the last second to avoid spilling.)
Try this beforehand on watering day to monitor how quickly the bottle empties. That should give you a good idea of how much water your fiddle will get with this method.
This method works best if you will be gone for less than two weeks. If you’re going to be gone longer than that, you can try a programmable automatic drip system like this one to keep the soil damp for longer.
Ideally, your plants are in a location where they receive the right amount of sunlight throughout the day without any extra work from you (like opening and closing blinds).
If this is not the case, try shifting the plants to a nearby area where the light is more consistent. Since you won’t be home, your fiddle won’t be in the way if you have to scoot it back a few feet from a window!
Default to a slightly shadier area if you must, as your fiddle will do better here than in direct sunlight if it’s not acclimated to full sun. You may come home to a slightly droopy fiddle instead of a sunburned one.
If you have grow lights, we suggest setting them up on a timer. If you have smart home devices like Google Home, use your device’s guidelines to set this up. If not, 24-hour timers that you plug into the wall work well for grow lights and humidifiers.
If you use a humidifier, you can set it up on a timer with your smart home system or a simple plug timer.
You can also place your fiddle on a pebble tray that will provide humidity for a few weeks. Simply fill a shallow tray with pebbles and water and stick your fiddle’s pot on top, but make sure the roots and soil do not touch the water. This will create some humidity around your plant as the water evaporates!
Hard truth: No matter how competent your plant sitter is or how carefully you set up your automatic watering system, there’s a chance your fiddle will suffer a little if you go out of town. But that doesn’t mean curtains for your tree! If your fiddle is droopy when you come home or has lost a few leaves, it will recover! Simply resume your usual care routine so it can get into a good groove again.
If you find that your sitter misread your instructions and your fiddle has developed more serious issues, we’ve got you with these articles and resources: