How to Propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle leaf fig is a popular houseplant because of its glossy green intricately shaped leaves. Smaller plants are used on table tops and shelves, while the tree version can grow six to eight feet tall. Plants generally live only a few years indoors but you can propagate new ones in several different ways.


How Do I Grow Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The fiddle leaf fig is relatively easy to grow if you meet its basic requirements. These plants need lots of bright indirect light but not full sun. Make sure the container is not too big – it encourages soggy soil and root rot – and that the soil drains well. Water about once a week. Use balanced organic liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month in spring and summer.

Can I Grow Fiddle Leaf Fig Outdoors?

Fiddle leaf fig is a west Africa native and can be grown outdoors in areas that don’t get too cold. However, it is not a desert plant and can be damaged by excessive heat in USDA Zone 12. It usually does well outdoors in Zones 10b to 11. In colder areas, you may be able to grow it in containers that are moved indoors for the winter.

Can I Grow Fiddle Leaf Fig From Seeds?

In its native habitat, the fiddle leaf fig does produce fruit that contains seeds. Indoors, however, it rarely sets flowers or fruit. If you are able to find seeds, expect very poor germination – 10 to 20 percent at best – and compensate by sowing extra seed. Sow the seeds in commercial potting soil, keep warm and provide high humidity with a plastic cover over the seedling tray.

What Are My Propagating Options?

Since fiddle leaf figs are unlikely to grow well from seed you must propagate in other ways. These are possible options:

  • Leaf cuttings – rooting individual leaves in water or soil.
  • Stem cuttings – rooting a cut stem in water or soil.
  • Air layering – cutting a stem and wrapping with rooting medium and plastic.
  • Division – only an option if the plant has multiple stems.

Is There a Best Time to Propagate?

Like many plants, fiddle leaf figs have a distinct growth period and a corresponding semi-dormant period. They grow new leaves and add height in spring and summer, then take a rest in fall and winter. You’ll have much better luck in propagating these trees if you take advantage of their urge to grow. Once the plant is developing new leaves in spring, initiate the propagation process.

What Tools/Supplies Do I Need?

Although there are a few variables depending on the method you’re using, these are the basics:

  • Containers – either pots or glass jars.
  • Media – potting soil for pots and rainwater or filtered water for jars.
  • Tools – sharp clean knife or pair of shears.
  • Rooting hormone – optional, for leaves and stems.
  • Sphagnum moss – for air layering.
  • Plastic – bags or sheet to cover containers or moss.

How Do I Use Leaf Cuttings?

Water the plant well the day before. Clean the leaves with a damp rag so they will breathe well. Make a cut at a 45-degree angle where the leaf joins the stem. Dip in water, then in rooting hormone. Place the leaf in a shallow jar or bowl filled with rainwater or in moist potting soil. Cover with plastic bag and place in bright indirect light. Change water if it looks dirty.

How Do I Use Stem Cuttings?

As with leaf cuttings, make sure the plant is well-watered and leaves are clean. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle close to the base. Dip in water and roll the base of the stem in rooting hormone. Insert the stem about one inch deep in moist potting soil. Cover plant with a plastic bag – use support to keep bag off the leaves. Place in bright indirect light.

How Do I Use Air Layering?

Damage the plant stem by making a shallow cut just below a leaf node, cutting about one-third of the way through the stem. Insert a toothpick into the cut to keep it open and dust with rooting hormone. Wrap the cut with a handful of moist sphagnum moss secured top and bottom with twist ties. Keep moss moist. Once roots appear, cut off below roots and plant in a new pot.

Can I Divide the Plant Instead?

Some fiddle leaf figs have multiple stems. These can be propagated by division. Use a sharp knife to cut the plant in several sections, ensuring you have a root mass on each. Replant in fresh potting soil and water in well. Keep in a warm area with bright indirect light.