The Weird, Free Trick to Make Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Stronger and Healthier

updated Sep 15, 2022
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Credit: Emma Fiala

Since its launch back into popularity, the fiddle leaf fig‘s (or Ficus lyrata‘s) finicky reputation has been solidified. The most devoted of plant parents have moved these trees around the home, chasing the perfect light, or have invested in humidifiers and moisture meters. But, after all the panic and coddling, it turns out that the best way to take care of this plant is to mostly leave it alone, along with one unexpected tip: shaking your fiddle leaf fig.

So, why should you shake your fiddle leaf fig? In short, even if you have mastered the art of fiddle leaf fig care, you may still find that your tree is leaning in one direction. This could happen because it’s stretching towards the light or because it’s become top-heavy with healthy growth. To solve this, you need to physically move (shake) your tree.

The tip recently went viral on TikTok, where a ficus lover explained that shaking the trunk of the ficus for a couple of minutes every day actually helps it grow stronger and healthier. As wild as it sounds, it’s true!

Credit: AnanR2107 | Getty Images

Why You Should Shake Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Here’s why it works: F. lyrata is native to the lowland jungles of western Africa, where it gets jostled by the wind, rain, and wildlife. These events strengthen the trunk of the tree from a young age, which allows the plant to become naturally stronger over time. The movement contributes to the tree’s overall health, which helps extend its lifespan.

Generally, when you purchase one of these trees from a nursery, the salesperson isn’t going to tell you to shake your tree to make it stronger. In fact, they’re probably going to tell you that this plant is a temperamental toddler. But if you own a fiddle leaf fig, it’s time to add a little movin’ and shakin’ to your plant care routine.

The Correct Way to Shake Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

All you have to do is this: Grab the trunk of your fiddle leaf fig and gently wiggle it for one to two minutes a day (or really, whenever you remember to do it). Mimic the motion of the wind. It doesn’t take a huge movement. Think of it as one-on-one bonding with your tree.

This practice is especially beneficial if your tree depends on a stake to stay upright. Remove the support before you exercise your tree, then replace it after your session. After a few months you’ll notice that your tree’s trunk is stronger and will no longer need the stake to support it.

While not all plant advice flying around on social media is accurate, this trick is solidly based in truth—and the best part is, it takes no extra money, no fancy equipment, and barely any time. Not too bad!