If you are getting ready to repot a fiddle leaf fig tree, you may feel overwhelmed by the size of the root ball or the perceived delicate nature of the plant. A lot of people out there may tell you that repotting a fiddle leaf fig is complex or difficult, but it’s actually easy to do and is not a big risk to the plant! In fact, especially if you’re repotting a plant you’ve just bought, your fiddle leaf fig will be much happier in its new pot, so don’t delay. Here’s the easiest way to repot a fiddle leaf fig tree and add a decorative container.
Getting Ready to Repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
1. Don’t wait to repot your new plant.
If you’ve purchased your plant from Home Depot or another wholesaler, it probably came in a plastic growing pot. These containers have drainage holes on the side, designed to keep the roots dry as a bone. That’s because the growers water their plants daily to soak the roots and the growing pots are designed to drain immediately. This reduces (or eliminates) the risk of root rot, but it’s dangerous for your plant once you get it home.
Fiddle leaf figs can dry out and suffer permanent damage within just a few days in these pots, so don’t wait to repot your plant. If you must wait a few days or weeks, water your plant every single day while it’s in the grower’s pot and make sure you pour the water on the plant slowly so it has a chance to sink in and doesn’t just run out the side drainage holes.
2. Understand proper drainage.
The most important long-term investment you can make in your fiddle leaf fig plant’s health is understanding proper drainage. Fiddle leaf fig trees are susceptible to root rot, so you’ll want to make sure your container has perfect drainage and that your plant will never sit in water. This means a container with a drainage hole, along with a ballast like gravel or other materials at the bottom of the container to keep your root ball dry. My favorite types of planters are ceramic with drainage holes, like this one, or the following, with drainage and a saucer, which can be found at Home Depot.
3. Select the right container.
You’ll need to get a container that is 3-4 inches larger in diameter (all the way across the top) than your plant’s current container. Grab a tape measure to make sure your new container is both wider and taller than your existing container. Don’t go too big, as too large of pots can promote root rot. At most, the new pot should be 6 inches larger in diameter than the current pot. Most large fiddle leaf fig trees at Home Depot are in 12- or 14-inch containers, so a 16- or 18-inch pot will work. Your new pot will need holes at the bottom for drainage or it’s plant homicide. I find the easiest container to use is a large ceramic pot like the one below.
4. Get the right potting soil.
Soil is important to provide your plant with nutrients and also to allow for good drainage and moisture control. (A moisture meter like this one is essential to know when your plant is thirsty.) I always use our Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Soil. Do not be tempted to use dirt from your yard or soil for succulents or other plants. Houseplants need soil designed to provide air circulation and water retention.
How to Repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Now that you’ve prepared your materials, it’s time to repot your plant. Be sure to do these steps outside, as they’ll get a bit messy. If going outside isn’t an option, put down an old bedsheet to capture the excess dirt.
1. Fill the new container with 4 inches of soil.
Add a layer of soil to your new container to provide a bed for the root ball to rest. Make sure your root ball will not sit too high once it’s in place, as the top of the soil should be slightly lower than the top of the container. Add more soil if it’s sitting too low.
2. Remove the plant from the old container.
Next, you’ll want to remove your root ball from the existing pot. Be careful not to damage the roots. If your root ball is stuck, consider cutting down the side of the container with scissors. I don’t recommend watering your plant before you repot, as that can cause the root ball to be messier and more likely to break apart.
3. Place the plant in the new container and fill with soil.
Holding the plant upright, put handfuls of soil around the base to fill in the sides of the container surrounding the root ball. Gently compact the soil around the root ball until your container is full. Don’t over compact, as your plant needs room for the roots to grow.
4. Water your plant generously.
Water your plant generously, flooding the pot to make sure any large air bubbles are filled in with soil. You may need to add more soil at this point if the edges of your soil are lower than the middle. Once you’ve watered your plant and the soil is even across the top of the container, you’re done! Give the leaves of the plant and the container a quick rinse to remove any dust or dirt.
5. Let your plant dry and drain the reservoir.
Give your plant an hour or so to dry off, then you’ll need to drain the reserve of the pot by tilting it sideways. Make sure you’ve drained as much of the water in the reservoir as possible before bringing your plant inside to avoid leaks.
6. Wait one month, then fertilize.
Give your plant one month to rest and recover from the transition, then begin feeding it every time you water with Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food. Dilute 1 teaspoon per cup of water and water normally. Soon your plant will be growing new leaves and thriving!
You’ll also want to be sure to protect your fiddle leaf fig from bacteria, fungus, and insects by using our Houseplant Leaf Armor. (As an added bonus, the Houseplant Leaf Armor also cleans and adds shine to your houseplant’s leaves!)
Adding a Decorative Pot for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
Of course, the reason you bought your fiddle leaf fig tree is to look gorgeous in your home, so you’ll want to add the final touch of a decorative pot. If you have a decorative pot that includes drainage holes, you could plant your tree directly into that pot. However, most decorative pots do not have drainage holes, so you’ll want to properly pot in an interior container, then place that container within the decorative container.
Choose a decorative container slightly larger and taller than your interior pot. For a smaller plant, add self-adhesive felt pads to the bottom of your container to protect your surfaces. For a larger fiddle leaf fig tree, place it on a plant stand or rolling plant stand so you can easily move and turn your plant. Once your plant is all dressed up, sit back and enjoy your new beauty!
- Be sure to read “The Most Beautiful Pots for a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree” to find the perfect decorative container for your plant.
- 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.
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