Should You Acclimate Your Fiddle Leaf Fig to Full Sun?
One of the fiddle leaf fig’s favorite things is light.
These tropical plants LOVE light and can develop all kinds of health problems when they don’t get enough. Without sufficient light, fiddles can also get leggy, leaning, and lanky instead of full and strong.
But you might be confused about how much light to give your fiddle. You hear all the time that they love bright, indirect sunlight (and we say that a lot around here) and you’ve probably seen tons of sad pictures of sunburned fiddles that got left outside for too long.
But what about all those beautiful trees in the wild, thriving in full sunlight? What about people who swear by full sun and whose trees love the outdoors?
Which one is it: indirect light or full sun?
The answer is…both!
Fiddles actually love full sun IF they’re properly acclimated to it. The problem is that most fiddles sold as houseplants were planted and grown indoors in indirect or artificial light. You can’t put these trees right in full sun or they’ll get sunburned.
BUT you can slowly acclimate your fiddle to full sun, which you may be thinking of doing now that the weather is getting warmer.
If this is news to you, here’s a quick look at WHY you might want to acclimate your fiddle leaf fig to direct sunlight:
The Benefits of Full Sun for Your Fiddle
Remember, fiddles evolved outdoors in the sun. They have broad, green leaves designed to carry out photosynthesis and make energy from the sun, so light helps them grow up tall and healthy!
When people ask us why their fiddles aren’t growing, the FIRST thing we tell them is to make sure their plants are getting plenty of light. 90% of the time this fixes the problem.
Expanded placement options
If your fiddle can only handle very specific light conditions, you’re going to have a harder time finding the right spot for it in your home. And what if you have beautiful south-facing windows and not a lot of the ideal east-facing windows?
When your tree’s light tolerance is more flexible, your tree will be healthier and more resilient in general.
Resistant to pests and disease
Low light conditions put your fiddle at risk of root rot, pests, fungal and bacterial growth, and more!
Bright light is a wonderful way to help your tree use water efficiently and ward off pests and pathogens that thrive in dark, damp conditions. (We also recommend using our Houseplant Leaf Armor to protect your fiddle leaf fig from bacteria, fungus, and insects. As an added bonus, it also cleans and adds shine to your plant’s leaves!)
How to Acclimate Your Fiddle Leaf Fig to Full Sun
Start with a little direct morning light.
The whole reason why fiddles get sunburned is because they’re suddenly blasted with more light than they can handle.
Start by exposing your fiddle to an hour of direct morning sunlight each day.
The key here is MORNING sunlight because morning light is much “cooler” due to the angle of the sun, and it’s less likely to burn your fiddle. If your tree sits in an east-facing window, just open the blinds or scoot into direct sun for an hour each morning.
Do this for a few days.
If your tree is handling the direct morning light well, add about 15 minutes each day until it’s enjoying several hours of direct morning sun each day.
If the tree lives in an east-facing window, this might be all you need! Start adding a little midday-afternoon light if you want it to live in a south-facing window, but be very careful. Just add 10 or 15 minutes at a time (on top of its morning light regimen) and keep an eye on leaves for signs of scorching.
If your tree handles the change well, keep adding time in the sun.
Gradually move outside.
If your goal is to move your fiddle outside eventually (either permanently or just for “vacations”), start by putting it out in the morning and bringing it in before noon, when the sun is highest. You may want to check on it once or twice to make sure the leaves aren’t burning.
If the tree handles that change well, gradually increase time like you did inside.
After a few weeks, your tree will be able to handle (and LOVE) a full 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, and it will probably grow like crazy!
Case Study: Sunburnt Leaves
Tips for Even More Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth
If you’re putting your tree in full sun for it to grow more, here are a few tips to help grow a taller, healthier fiddle.
Keep that trunk strong
Try a little “wiggle therapy” to help your tree grow a strong, rigid trunk that can support lots of beautiful leaves!
If your fiddle is root-wrapped and the soil is starting to get compacted, repot it in a pot with drainage that’s 2-3 inches larger than the root ball. And make sure to use a fast-draining soil like our Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig Soil!
As you gradually give your fiddle more light, keep a close eye on the moisture level of the soil, because its watering needs may increase. Use a wooden stick or moisture meter to determine when to water your tree. (Read our Ultimate Watering Guide here!)
Your fiddle needs nutrients to grow, so make sure to include a good fertilizer in your care regimen. I love Fiddle Leaf Fig Food because it’s specifically formulated for fiddles, it’s gentle enough to use year round, and you can use it with each watering, so you don’t have to remember a fertilizing schedule!
You can buy Fiddle Leaf Fig Food on Amazon here.
When you acclimate your fiddle leaf fig to full sun, your plant will reward you with more height and lots of gorgeous new leaves!
Grab the Essentials for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig:
- Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Soil
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food
- Root Rot Treatment
- Houseplant Leaf Armor to protect against insects, bacteria, and fungus (As an added bonus, it also cleans and adds shine to your plant’s leaves!)
- Moisture meter to always know when your plant is thirsty.
To learn more:
- Sign up for our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar or enroll in our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Course for advanced fiddle leaf fig care.
- Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter.
- Read The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now!
- Click to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.