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FLFFL: fiddle leaf figs for life

We brought home a fiddle leaf fig five months ago. We jokingly refer to him as Finn’s brother and we’ve named him Leif. I’m not saying that treating the plant as a person is the reason we’ve successfully kept it him alive, but it’s not not working. I’ve received some questions about the care and keeping of Leif along the way, so I figured I’d share what’s worked for us here.

1. Plant in a pot that drains.

I mentioned in this post that I’m easily offended by the cost of planters and plant stands–what blows my mind even further is that many of them don’t even drain. I’m not a seasoned gardener by any means, but every plant I’ve brought home needs a draining pot so that the roots don’t drown. This is definitely one of those! I’ve noticed that Leif does better when the soil can air out a little bit, and having a draining pot helps that along.

It’s annoying because I don’t have one of those convenient little trays that sits under the pot to catch the water, so I have to put a towel under there for a while and then take it out from under the plant later, but no one said being a plant parent is easy, guys.

Leif the Fiddle Leaf Fig

2. Bright, indirect light.

When we first brought Leif (Fiddle Leaf Fig, Absorber of Water, Needer of Light, First of His Name) home, we had him stationed in a spot that was about 15-20 feet away from several south and west-facing windows. The room gets lots of bright light in the afternoons, and I had heard that bright, indirect light was the best route for FLF’s. I noticed that he was getting sad and droopy, and it wasn’t a water issue, so I started picking him up and lugging him right in front of a window a couple of times a week. His leaves stood right up and he looked v happy.

My back was not v happy. Luckily, I had some furniture I was looking to get rid of in our living room. Once that was gone, Leif got settled in his new perma-spot right near a window. Win/win!

west elm craigslisted indigo rug

3. Water every other day.

This is a generalization–your actual routine will be based on your pot size, whether or not your pot drains, how big your fiddle leaf fig is, etc. What has worked for us is a fairly generous watering every other day. The soil dries out just a bit and is ready for more by day two. I’ve noticed that when his leaves start to droop, that either means he needs water or more sun. Sometimes a bit of water perks the leaves back up.

fiddle leaf fig with credenza

4. Wipe leaves every few months.

I’ve only done this twice since getting Leif five months ago, so every two-three months I think should be okay? I was raised with a healthy fear of putting my fingers directly on to plants-THE OILS WILL KILL THEM! (Is this just me? Did anyone else get this drilled into their heads as a child?) Based on that fear, I think more than that could be over-doing it. Anyway…I take a damp dishcloth and very gently wipe the dust off the leaves–this is supposed to help remove dust that blocks the leaves’ ability to absorb light.

leif the fiddle leaf fig

And YAS QUEEN that IS a lil’ preview of the freshly painted black accent wall! 😀 But back to the matter at hand–if you’ve been debating becoming a member of the FLFFL club but have heard that they are finicky or tough to take care of, I’d encourage you to go for it! I really, really love the color and freshness that he brings to the living room, and honestly it’s taken more effort for me to refer to a plant as a “he” and “him” throughout this blog post than it does to actually care for it.

If you’ve got any other tips, I’m all ear-shaped leaves!



  1. Holly Twitchell Holly Twitchell

    Molly – I am compelled to say that I gave you zero direct plant advice when you were small. maybe I said not to EAT the leaves? Some other crazy but I’m sure well-meaning person must have told you not to touch leaves? What. even. that. does. mean?

    Love Lief – want to hear more about that wall. xoxo


      Maybe it was a teacher or something?? I don’t remember who it was but I remember feeling like it was very important that the oils from my fingers did not touch the leaves of plants.

  2. Carolyn Tolley Carolyn Tolley

    Love the black wall! and Finn’s brother!


      Excited to share more black wall pics this week, but even more excited to see you guys next week!

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