Fiddle Leaf Fig Roots Showing – What To Do?

Sometimes when you have an indoor plant you may come across an issue that you are unfamiliar with. One common issue with fiddle leaf figs is when their roots stick out from the soil. How do you go about fixing this issue? We've checked with what the garden experts have to say about this and have the answers for you.

If your fiddle leaf fig plant is starting to display its roots above the soil, then it's definitely time to repot the plant. These plants are considered "root bound" plants, meaning that they prefer to fit snugly in their soil pots. If you start to notice that the plants and roots are edging around the perimeters of the soil pot or starting to poke out from the top of the soil (or through the bottom training holes of the pot), then it's time to re-pot your plant.

There are, of course, other considerations when it comes to exposed roots on your fiddle leaf fig. In this post, we'll go into greater detail on what to do about this. We'll also discuss some other common root and potting topics. So be sure to keep reading!

Close up of fiddle leaf fig tree and monstera planted in black pot, Fiddle Leaf Fig Roots Showing - What to Do?

How To Re-Pot Fiddle Leaf Fig When Its Roots Are Showing

Repotting fiddle leaf fig tree in big modern pot. Ficus lyrata

The easiest way to fix this issue is to re-pot your plant and give it some fresh soil. Typically, you can re-pot your fiddle leaf fig every 2 to 3 years and be fine, but if your tree grows faster, you'll need to re-pot it sooner. Repotting helps the plant to access fresh nutrients so that it may continue to thrive.

1. Decide what pot size you need

If your fig plant's roots are sticking out of the pot or circling its perimeter, you'll need to find a bigger pot so that the roots can continue to grow. Generally, it's best to do a new pot that's only about one to three inches wider than the current soil pot. These plants prefer snug fits in their pots, and bigger pots will cause them to expand a lot of energy just to grow new root systems (as opposed to branches and leaves).

Also, if you've just re-potted your fig plant, and notice that there is a stunt in its growth, the pot size could be the cause of it. Pots that are too big don't allow for the correct amount of drainage for the plant, often creating disease-causing conditions such as root rot and other issues. Make sure that your plant has sufficient drainage and that it's only slightly bigger than the pot that you are replacing.

2. Prepare your soil

Use a 2 or 5-gallon bucket to prepare your soil mix. If you are mixing your own soil, a grocery or freezer bag will also work if your plant is on the small side.

3. Remove the plant from the old pot

Grab the tree firmly by its base. Next, tip the tree slightly to the side and wiggle it gently to lift it out of the pot. This should not require a lot of force. However, if you are having trouble removing the plant, try squeezing on the base of the pot. You may want to hold the plant and the pot over a plastic bag or sink so that the soil doesn't spill all over your floor.

Check out this pot set on Amazon. 

4. Remove the old soil

Before planting the tree in new soil, it's important to remove most, if not all, of the previous soil-- and to do so without damaging or snapping the roots. Next, hold the tree in one hand and gently shake the soil off of the roots while using your hand to break it up. Some breakage is to be expected, especially with the smaller roots.

However, you'll want to take special care to handle the tree gently, as this process can be very taxing on the plant (don't worry if you break some of the baby roots as they will grow back). You can also run the bottom of the plant under slightly cool or lukewarm water to help rinse some of the soil away.

5. Trim roots as needed

If the roots have grown especially long, use your cutting shears to trim them down so they will fit snugly in the new pot. Keep in mind that this is only for roots that have gone extra-long. Try not to trim more than an inch or two away.

Check out these gardening shears on Amazon.

6. Pour in new soil

Now that you've removed all of the old soil from the plant, you can now add your new soil to the new pot. Fill the pot with the new soil about a third of the way up. Next, add your plant to the pot and make sure that the soil completely covers all of the roots with an extra inch or two on top.

Then, pour the remainder of the soil on top of the root so that it reaches about an inch or two from the top of the pot. Make sure that the soil touches all of the sides of the pot and press it gently around the trunk of the plant.

7. Water the tree

It's really important to water your fiddle leaf fig after you re-pot it. A good watering session will help the soil to settle amongst the roots and provide them with immediate nutrients. When you add water to the plant, always make sure that it drains from the pot, as not to cause root rot.

Also, you will know that you've added enough water when it pools above the surface of the soil and then drains down (it shouldn't remain there).

8. Place in the best condition

After re-potting your plant, be sure to place it back in an area environment that's not too different from the one from where it came. Consistency is important after a re-pot, as the tree will need to adjust to its new conditions.

What kind of soil does fiddle leaf fig need?

Fiddle leaf figs need soil that's fresh and well-aerated. They are root-bound plants and thrive when they are in soil that provides nutrition and is well-draining. Once the soil becomes old, or the plant's roots outgrow the soil, it will need to be replaced with new soil so that the tree's foliage can continue to grow.

Check out this soil mix on Amazon.

Are fiddle leaf fig roots invasive?

Yes, the roots of fiddle leaf figs can be very invasive, though it really depends on their environment, soil, and the cultivar. You can minimize root invasion of your fiddle leaf fig by simply planting the tree in a pot or another structured system where the roots can be maintained.

Can a fiddle leaf fig recover from root rot?

Yes, fiddle leaf fig seeds can absolutely recover from root rot. Fiddle leaf figs will develop this when they have been overwatered or improperly drained. You'll notice brown spots on the leaves or the dropping of leaves when root rot is present. You may also notice a foul smell coming from the pot of the plant.

To combat root rot, you'll first need to change the plant's soil and you may need to cut off any deteriorated or damaged roots (these roots may appear darker and have a mushy feel) after you take them out of the pot. Once you replant the tree in new soil, wait for one to two weeks before you water it again. This will give the plant time to repair itself and adjust to the new soil.

How do you know when to repot a fiddle leaf fig?

Sometimes it can be hard to know when it's time to re-pot your fiddle leaf fig plant. The general rule of thumb is to re-pot the plant when it becomes unhealthy in its current pot. Here are a few scenarios that demonstrate this.

It's Too Big For The Pot

If your fiddle fig leaf has been in the same pot for over a year or you are starting to notice that roots are sticking out from the soil, it may be time to move the plant to a slightly bigger pot. Another sign that it's time for a re-pot is if you notice the soil of the plant starting to pull away from the edges of the pot.


Any time you notice mushrooms or any type of fungus growing on top of the plant's soil, it may be time to repot the plant in a pot of new soil. You can also scoop out the fungus with a spoon or sprinkle antifungal agents on the surface of the soil (such as cinnamon or a small amount of neem oil).

Check out this neem oil on Amazon.

Plant Infections

Fiddle leaf figs that have bacterial infections will also need to be re-potted. If your plant leaves become spotty all of the sudden, chances are that it has a bacterial infection (likely caused by bad soil or a pest infestation). To help save your plant, it's best to re-pot it as soon as possible so that it can absorb the nutrients from fresh soil. You may also need to add a bit of fertilizer later on.

Do fiddle leaf figs like small pots?

Fiddle leaf fig plants don't necessarily have a preference for the size of their pot. However, they do prefer to fit comfortably in their soil pot. The ideal pot size for a fiddle leaf fig is one that's about an inch or two wider than the previous pot (or one that gives the roots only a little wiggle room to grow and fill out). 

Can you plant fiddle leaf fig in the ground?

Ficus lyrata commonly known as the fiddle-leaf fig tree

Yes, you can plant a fiddle leaf in the ground as long as the temperature outside is not too cold and the ground is not frozen. To ensure the success and growth of your plant, it's best to only plant the tree in the ground in an environment that has a stable temperature around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (with humidity between 50-60%).

The tree will also need a considerable amount of sunlight for photosynthesis, so planting the tree in an area where you can control the amount of sunlight that reaches it is important. Too much direct sunlight, however, will cause the plant's leaves to wither and eventually fall off.

Wrapping Things Up

The most important thing to remember when repotting your fiddle leaf fig is to choose the right pot size and remove as much of the old soil from the roots as possible. We hope that this post has provided you with adequate instruction on how to re-pot your fiddle leaf fig plant if the roots are starting to show.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

7 Best Fiddle Leaf Fig Fertilizers

Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves- What To Do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *