What is the best soil for fiddle leaf figs? Experts reveal the perfect recipe

Treat your fiddle leaf fig to this DIY soil recipe and it will reward you with luscious leaves and healthy growth

fiddle leaf fig and soil
(Image credit: Bogdan Kurylo/Alamy Stock Photo)

Soil is an important component in successfully growing fiddle leaf figs, so make sure you choose the best soil mix for your plant’s needs. With the right soil and proper care, your fiddle will reward you with lustrous growth and beautiful leaves. Put your plant in the wrong soil, however, and the results will show up pretty soon as you'll find the leaves droop, go brown or even drop off completely.

Finding a well-draining soil mix that allows proper drainage and aeration is key as this means your plant's roots have freedom to spread. Nail this and your work is done, as you'll find your fiddle thrives happily in the same soil for many months. Your options include following an expert soil mix recipe, making up your own custom blend, or buying a pre-mixed product off the shelf. 

Happily we've got all three options covered, so take your pick and make sure that when it comes to fiddle leaf fig care, you've got it sorted. 

fiddle leaf fig in terracotta pot and soil

When your fiddle leaf fig is still small switching out the soil is easy. Not so much when it's six feet tall!

(Image credit: Daria Kolpakova/Getty Images)
Sarah Wilson headshot
Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015, covering everything from garden design to houseplant care. She has studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry. A proud houseplant parent, she has three large fiddle leaf figs in her house. Over the years, she has worked out the ideal soil mix to help them thrive. 

What is the best fiddle leaf fig soil?

A good-quality fiddle leaf fig soil is one that drains well and contains a good mix of organic material, such as compost, peat moss, and perlite to provide adequate aeration and drainage. Indeed, poor drainage can be one of the key reasons why your fiddle leaf fig leaves turn brown, so look out for this telltale sign. 

'The soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5,' explains James Rivenburg of plantandpest. But fiddles aren’t too picky and can generally handle a pH that is a bit outside this range.

The correct soil recipe can make a massive difference to the overall health and appearance of your indoor plant. Fiddle plants prefer soils that are high in organic matter, as it helps retain moisture and nutrients. 'A good soil mix for a fiddle leaf fig should contain one part compost, one part peat moss, one part perlite and one part sand,' says James. This mix will provide the plant with all the nutrients and moisture it needs to grow and thrive.

When planting your fiddle leaf fig, be sure to add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil, as this will provide the plant with a steady supply of the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. It's a good idea to include water storing crystals as well, such as these Miracle Gro ones on Amazon, to improve moisture retention without letting the soil become overly wet. 

Alternatively try a pre-mixed fiddle leaf fig compost, like this one from Perfect Plants on Amazon, which is a mix of coconut coir, pine bark, perlite and sand to create the right balance of water and air. 

fiddle leaf fig plant in terracotta pot and soil in hands

Fiddle leaf fig soil needs to be free draining and include nutrients to feed your plant

(Image credit: Andrey Zhuravlev/Getty Images)

Can you make your own fiddle leaf fig soil mix?

The ideal soil mix for a fiddle leaf fig plant is not necessarily a case of one size fits all and you might find your individual plant's needs are different according to its location in the house and the temperature. 

Even after choosing a type of soil for your fiddle plant you will need to monitor it to ensure it responds well. If you see your plant is flagging, you will need to replant it in new soil as soon as possible. Clues that all is not well include drooping leaves, your plant shedding leaves and brown pigmentation on leaves. 

If this is the case it's a good idea to experiment with different ratios of ingredients in your soil mix.  

In general, potting mixes comprise three key ingredients: a base such as coir or pine bark, compost to provide plant nutrients, and perlite, sand or other to help drainage. I like playing around with different combos and also try to make my own mix as sustainable as possible as it's often hard to work out what's in shop-bought soil mix.

I'm not too scientific about getting the exact mix right and instead aim for a light and airy mix that's a good balance of ingredients. And it seems to work just fine.

fiddle leaf fig plant in terracotta pot being repotted

There is something satisfying about coming up with a formula for your own fiddle leaf fig soil

(Image credit: Westend 61/Getty Images)

Can you use regular potting soil for fiddle leaf figs?

Regular potting soil does not have the right pH balance for a fiddle leaf fig, nor does it provide the proper drainage, so it's not a good idea to use it. Instead find a soil mixture that drains well as fiddle plants don't like sitting in water. This is why a potting mix that doesn’t hold too much moisture is your best choice. 

'Regular potting soil is not ideal for growing fiddle leaf figs since they tend to need more essential nutrients,' says Alex Tinsman of howtohouseplant.com. Instead, you should use a soil specifically designed for fiddle leaf figs. This type of soil will provide the right pH balance and proper drainage necessary to ensure your fiddle stays healthy. 

If you're stuck and only have some regular potting mix handy and want to use it for your fiddle, just add an ingredient like perlite or sand to increase drainage. 

fiddle leaf fig leaves

Change the soil when your fiddle leaf fig plant needs it and the result will be healthy and happy foliage

(Image credit: Nataliia Tymofieieva/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Do fiddle leaf figs need their soil changing regularly?

The good news is that although fiddle leaf figs are easy indoor plants that grow tall pretty quickly, you will only need to freshen up the soil every couple of years when you repot your plant. 

If you've had your plant for a while the best thing to do is gently ease it out of its pot to see what's going on with the roots. If the roots are packed and coiled tightly round it means your plant is root bound and it's time for fresh soil and a larger pot if your plant's going to thrive. The best time to re-pot and change out the soil is in spring, which can also be a good time to clean your fiddle leaf fig leaves too. 

Stick with the formula of finding the best soil for a fiddle leaf fig and you'll soon see the benefits with a super-healthy plant.

Sarah Wilson
Content Editor

Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about flowers, plants, and garden design and trends since 2015. Having already studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently adding to her list of qualifications with an RHS Level 2 course in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development. In addition to homesandgardens.com and livingetc.com she's written for gardeningetc.com, Modern Gardens and Country Homes & Interiors magazines.