How to Fix a Leggy Fiddle Leaf Fig

You might be worried if you notice that your fiddle leaf fig is getting leggy. This usually happens when a plant doesn’t get enough light. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to fix the problem.

Fiddle leaf figs are prized for their large fiddle-shaped leaves. But if they start to get leggy, it’s time to take a closer look at what’s happening with them. Because let’s face it. A leggy Fiddle does not make the statement you want, right? Plus, legginess is also a clue that something is wrong.

In this article, you will learn about the different things that can cause a leggy fiddle leaf fig and how to fix them.

closeup of a leggy fiddle leaf fig branch

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What Does It Mean When a Plant Is “Leggy?”

First up, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when we talk about leggy plants.

When a fiddle leaf fig is “leggy,” it means that it is tall and sparse. You’ll notice long stems or branches with gaps between leaves. (This is called etiolation if you’re interested.)

And it may not be the whole plant. So you may notice that only one side or one branch getting leggy.

Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Leggy?

Legginess is caused by insufficient light.

Plants that don’t get adequate light start reaching for the sun. Because they need sunlight to perform photosynthesis. So this type of growth is a survival technique.

If your fig isn’t getting at least 6 hours of bright light a day, chances are it will start reaching for the sun. Unfortunately, this leggy growth tends to be weak, spindly, and generally unattractive.

How Much Light Does a Fiddle Leaf Fig Need?

So how much light do fiddles actually need?

These plants prefer bright, indirect light, and lots of it. Therefore, you want to make sure your fig gets at least 6-8 hours of light each day. In fact, mature plants can even handle several hours of direct sunlight each day.

If you don’t have enough natural light in your home, then consider getting a grow light to supplement the natural light your plant receives.

etiolated fiddle leaf fig

How To Fix a Leggy Fiddle Leaf Fig

Now that we know what causes legginess let’s talk about how to fix it.

You can do a few things to help your leggy fiddle get back on track.

Fix the Lighting

The first and most important thing you need to do is ensure your Fiddle Leaf Fig is getting enough light.

That likely means you need to move it to a brighter spot in your home, like an east-facing or south-facing window.

Place your fig near an east-facing window for best results. This way, they’ll get direct sunlight in the morning and indirect sunlight the rest of the day.

If you only have south- or west-facing windows, then you can use a sheer curtain to filter the light so that the leaves don’t burn in the afternoon sun. Another option is to place your fig tree a little further away from the window.

If you don’t have a suitable spot with plenty of natural light, then using artificial light will help.

fiddle leaf fig near a window with a sheer curtain in a minimalist office

Prune off the Leggy Portions

Fixing the lighting situation will help your plant start to produce healthier growth. However, you’ll also need to prune off the leggy portions to improve the shape. Pruning will encourage the plant to branch out and become fuller. It will also make it stronger and more compact.

You may want to cut off the top to make your fig tree look its best. To do this, remove any growth that is within 8 to 10 inches of the ceiling.

If the legginess has gotten out of control, you can cut off up to a third of the branch length.

I know this can be scary to do, but it really will make your tree look better in the long run. Just make sure to cut above a leaf node (the place where the leaves attach to the stem). This will help encourage new growth. And in fact, pruning the top can actually promote new growth lower down on the trunk.

Prune Away Dead Leaves and Branches

In addition to pruning away the leggy growth, you should also remove any dead leaves or branches. These can be unsightly and take away from the overall health of your plant.

To do this, simply cut off any dead leaves or branches at the base with a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears.

Notch the Leggy Branches

Another option is to notch the leggy branches. Notching will encourage new lateral branches to grow, creating a bushier plant. This is a more advanced procedure, so don’t try it unless you’re confident in your pruning skills.

To notch a branch, use a sharp knife to make a clean diagonal cut about 1/2 inch above a leaf node. And don’t cut too deep – about 1/3 of the way into the stem is enough. If you cut deeper than that, you risk accidentally cutting off the whole branch.


Be careful when pruning or notching if you have indoor pets. Fiddle leaf fig sap can be harmful if ingested or if it gets on their skin. This applies to you, too! Wear gloves.

Rotate Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Each Time You Water

Another helpful tip is to rotate your plant each time you water it. This will help evenly distribute the light and prevent the plant from becoming lopsided as it reaches for the sun.

Other Problems That May Cause Your Fiddle Leaf Fig To Look Unhealthy

In addition to legginess, a few other problems may cause your fig tree to look unhealthy.

One common problem could be incorrect watering. These plants like to be kept evenly moist but not wet or soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot, and underwatering can cause the leaves to drop off.

Or, your plant may be suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Make sure you’re using a high-quality fertilizer designed for foliage plants.

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food

  • Apply directly to soil or mix with water
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  • 2-pack

A third possibility is that it’s root-bound. This means the roots have outgrown the pot. When this happens, the plant needs to be transplanted into a larger pot.

If you’re unsure what’s causing the problem, start by correcting the lighting. If it’s getting sufficient light, then check the watering, as that’s the next most common issue. Then move on to fertilization and finally try repotting.

With a little bit of care, you can get your leggy fiddle back on track and looking healthy again in no time!

fiddle leaf fig against a white background with lots of natural light

More Tips To Grow a Beautiful and Healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig

Once you get the legginess under control, these tips will help ensure that your Fiddle grows into a beautiful and healthy indoor plant.

Give It Plenty of Light

As I said earlier, fiddle leaf figs need lots of bright, indirect light to thrive. If you don’t have a location in your home that gets enough natural light, then grow lights will help supplement the natural light.

Prune It Regularly

To keep your fiddle looking its best, prune it regularly. Every 3-4 months, remove any dead leaves or branches and trim away any leggy growth. This will help encourage new growth and maintain a compact shape.

Fertilize It Monthly

Fertilize your fig tree monthly during the growing season. Use a high-quality fertilizer designed for foliage plants. This will help ensure it gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Repot It Every 2–3 Years

Finally, make sure to repot your fiddle every 2-3 years or when the roots start to outgrow the pot. Use a high-quality potting soil and a pot that’s slightly larger than the current one. This will help ensure that your plant stays healthy and continues growing for years to come!

fiddle leaf fig being repotted

Follow these tips, and you’ll have a beautiful, healthy fiddle leaf fig that’s the envy of all your friends!


If you’re looking for ways to fix a leggy fiddle leaf fig, then look no further! In this post, I shared several helpful tips for correcting the problem. I also gave advice on how to keep your plant healthy and thriving with regular pruning, fertilizing, and repotting.

So what are you waiting for? Fix your leggy fig tree today and enjoy watching it grow into that iconic houseplant you’ve dreamed of!


How do you get a fiddle leaf bushier?

The number one thing is to prune it regularly to encourage new growth. You can also make small cuts (aka notches) on the trunk. This will also encourage new growth.

Why is my fiddle leaf tall and skinny?

This is usually caused by insufficient light. So make sure your plant gets at least 6-8 hours of bright, indirect light daily.

How can I thicken my fiddle leaf fig?

Pruning is the best way to encourage new growth and help thicken up your plant. You can also shake or wiggle the trunk to simulate windy conditions. This will encourage the trunk to grow thicker.

Can I cut the top off my fiddle leaf fig?

Yes, you can cut the top off your fiddle leaf fig. This is a common way to encourage new growth and make the plant bushier. However, make sure you use sharp, sterile pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant.

How often do fiddle leaf figs grow new leaves?

Fiddle leaf figs typically grow new leaves every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). However, If the plant is stressed, it may take longer to produce new leaves.

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