How Long Can a Fiddle Leaf Fig Go Without Water?

A Fiddle Leaf Fig is a beautiful addition to any space, indoor or outdoor. On-trend this majestic work of mother nature has become a staple for indoor showstopping styling for many urban and suburban gardeners alike. Unfortunately, you have been busy and not being the plant mom/dad that you committed to being, and now the huge leaves of your plants are droopy and sad.

Fiddle Leaf Figs can go approximately 7 to 10 days without needing to be watered. How this plant thrives is specifically dependent on how much water it gets. The most important knowledge you’ll need to care for your Fiddle Leaf Fig is knowing if your fiddle leaf fig needs water.

Caring for a Fiddle Leaf Fig will be determined by where it’s planted. These plants have become very popular indoors. If your plant is indoor, it will require a little more attention than your average house plant. Your plant’s love language is physical, and the rest of this article will identify key indicators that your Fiddle Leaf Fig may use to show you it needs water.

How Do You Know if Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Needs Water?

The Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is native to tropical western and central Africa, so while it can survive a small lapse in watering, it does need water to feed those big bountiful leaves. 

These plants can thrive indoor and outdoor but will grow much smaller if potted and grown as a houseplant. Changes in its physical features and appearance are distinct indicators that it isn’t getting the water it needs. 

If you notice any of the following signs, you should start watering your plant more often:

Wilting Leaves

The most common indicator that your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs water is wilting leaves. The leaves of a Fiddle Leaf Fig are big and commanding, so to see your leaves hanging can be a sad sight. Wilting leaves is your plant’s most direct communication to you that it needs water. In this case, wilting is a symptom of a lack of water passing through the cells of the plant.

Plants have pores on the surface of leaves called stoma. The stoma allows air to enter plants. When plants do not have enough water, they close their stomata to stop evaporation, and this leads to wilting. If the leaves are not rigid and upright, and they start to look droopy, they’re telling you they need water. 

Brown Spots on Leaves

If brown spots start showing up on your leaves, the first thing is taking note of where the brown spots are. If your plant needs watering, the brown spots will show up on the edge of the leaf, as opposed to in the center. These brown spots will also show up all over the plant, from top to bottom.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown

Brown Curling Leaves

If your plant is not getting enough water, the rim of the leaves will start to brown and curl in, which will eventually spread throughout the whole leaf. If your plant starts losing leaves and the fallen leaves are curled, fully brown or mostly brown, and dry to the touch, your plant needs water. 

Ideally, you should be watering your plant every 7 to 10 days to keep it healthy.

Dry Soil

The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is a tropical plant, and it won’t thrive if it doesn’t have enough water in the soil it’s planted in. If you feel the soil and it is dry and brittle without any sign of moisture, then it’s definitely time to pull out the old watering can, because your plant needs water.

A good test is to use a pointed object like a pen to pierce the soil. When the soil is moist, your pen should penetrate the soil easily. Obviously, how deep the pen goes will depend on your strength. 

As the soil dries up, the pen will be harder and harder to push into the soil. To get an accurate reading, you should consider getting a moisture meter such as this one from Amazon, Dr.Meter S10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter.

Fiddle Leaf Figs thrive in warm, wet conditions. Think tropical! Warm air, moist dirt, these are exactly what this plant needs. If you’ve established that the top inch of the soil is dry, you’ll need to thoroughly drench the soil until the water drains into the saucer at the bottom of your pot. If you allow the soil to dry more than a few inches, it will lead to leaf loss. 

You can now breathe for a week and a half or so before watering it again because you DO NOT want to overwater your plant. It will cause root rot, which is exactly what it sounds like, rotted roots. This can mean sure death for your plant if not caught early.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are particular in having their soil dry out a bit between waterings. Even though they take a significant amount of water to keep healthy, overwatered soil will drown the plant. Take into consideration that during fall and winter, you may need to adjust your watering routine.  

Slowed Growth

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is healthy, it should be sprouting new leaves every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season in the spring and summer. If you notice your plant is not growing at a normal pace, this is an indicator that it needs water.

If you constantly forget to water your plant, this can cause slow growth to become permanent. This means that your plant will produce new leaves at a slower pace. However, if you are forgetting to keep up your plant’s water supply only once or twice a season, growth will still be slowed down but only for a short period of time.

Unhealthy New Leaves 

You’ve been able to skate by barely watering your Fiddle Leaf Fig, missing scheduled waterings, and allowing the soil to dry. By some miracle, your plant is still growing, but you notice the new leaves are shriveling, drying up, and falling off! New leaf growth is exciting to see as a plant mom or dad, but not if they don’t look healthy. This is a definite sign your plant needs water. 

During it’s growing season (spring and summer) the Fiddle Leaf Fig needs more water than normal. It also needs to be kept on a watering schedule. Growing taller and producing new leaves take a lot of work! Water, among other nutrients, such as the right amount of air and light are essential during this time.  

Final Thoughts

There are many indicators to know if your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs water. In some cases, one indicator will lead to another. 

  • Issues with the existing leaves.
    • The leaves are wilted.
    • There are brown spots, or curling on the outer parts of leaves.
  • The soil is dry and brittle.
  • The plant is growing slowly
  • New leaves, shrivel up, curl up, and fall off.

The key to you successfully growing a Fiddle Leaf Fig, is knowing when it needs water and how much water it needs. The soil the plant is growing in needs to be drenched in water, then allowed to dry out a bit. The mid layer of the soil (below 2 inches) needs to always be moist. You should water your plant every 7 to 10 days and stick to a consistent watering schedule. Water it at the same time and same amount of water each time.

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