After years of professing to have a black thumb, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover over the past couple of years that fiddle leaf figs seem to love me as much as I love them.
Other posts in my fiddle leaf fig series are:
Today, I’m sharing tips on repotting your plants. I just repotted my two largest plants, which actually turned out to be a serious workout! (Or so I told myself when I had dessert later…)
What are some signs it’s time to repot your plant?
- You just bought a new plant – most new plants from the nursery have been in their small pots for a while and should be repotted.
- The soil isn’t holding water – water runs through more quickly than usual, because much of the soil is filled with roots
- You see roots coming out the bottom of your pot (see below!)
- It’s been a couple of years since you repotted. The timing depends on how fast your plants are growing. I’ve had to repot every 1-2 years
This plant had been in the same pot for about 20 months, and it was definitely time to repot it!
Tips for repotting your plant:
Ideally, try to repot in the spring or summer, when your plant is growing fastest, as this will help it recover more easily. Since we’re in California, where winters are shorter and milder, I’ve been able to repot in winter without issues – this was out of necessity, when I suddenly realized my plants were suffering from outgrowing their pots.
Pick a pot that’s a few inches bigger than the previous pot. Going up too far in size will leave too much empty soil and risk overwatering. Ideally, use a pot with good drainage, though I have do have several growing successfully in pots without drainage holes – I did put more rocks at the bottom of those, to create a space for water to drain within the pot.
If the roots are really matted and tight (left picture below), you can gently loosen and trim them (right picture below). If you can’t or don’t want to use a larger pot, you can also gently trim the roots, brush off as much of the soil as possible, and use the same pot, though this might limit your plant’s growth overall. I’ve just put my biggest two plants into 24″ diameter pots, which I think is as big as I’ll go, so I’ll need to try just trimming the roots next time. I had to look in a few places before finding this size at Flowercraft in San Francisco.
Line the bottom of your pot with small rocks to keep the soil from leaking out and add extra drainage. Add a layer of fresh potting soil on top of the rocks, and put your plant back in. Adjust the height by adding or removing soil until the top of the root ball sits a little below the rim of your pot, remembering that the soil will compact a bit over time.
Fill in soil around the root ball until about two inches from the top. Add some slow release fertilizer pellets – I use this one from Osmocote – and the continue filling in soil until it’s even with the top of your root ball.
Give your plant a good watering, and watch it grow!
Here’s a picture of the craziness while I was in the middle of repotting the two big trees – it’s a jungle in here!
My plants sure seem happy in their new pots! I have a plan to sew some giant planter bags for them, similar to this one, which is now going to be handed down to a younger FLF! UPDATE: Here are some pics of the plants in their new planter bags, and here’s a link to the tutorial for the new giant planter bags!
Let me know if you have any questions, and happy gardening!
Julie aka “Jewels”