TikTok Has A Weird Reason Why You Should Shake Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

It might seem strange to shake your fiddle leaf fig tree (Ficus lyrata), but the movement can actually help the plant grow stronger and gain a sturdier trunk. The viral TikTok hack demonstrating this brand of plant care isn't fictitious, and there's some science to explain why these particular houseplants benefit from being shaken. Fiddle leaf figs are notoriously finicky, and often will lean over to one side. This sometimes occurs when the top of the plant becomes too heavy to be supported by the trunk.

In the wild, these plants are native to jungles in western Africa, a place that experiences high wind and rainy conditions. The movement from the weather and from passing animals strengthens the trunk of the fiddle leaf fig tree, allowing it to stand upright. If your fiddle leaf fig needs support or is leaning over, shaking it for a few minutes every day can mimic its natural environment and help your plant grow stronger.

Why shaking your fiddle leaf fig is a good idea

A TikTok by @wearewaldecks showed a fiddle leaf fig being grabbed by the trunk and shaken, with captions saying that not only will this make the trunk stronger, but that the plant enjoys the motion. According to a study published by Scientia Horticulturae, these claims are true.

The study explains the environment around plants affects their development, noting, "Mechanical stimulation in nature occurs, e.g., through wind, rain, neighboring plants or predatory animals, and induces a range of morphogenic responses that have been summarized under the term thigmomorphogenesis." It adds, "[A] number of examples suggest that mechanical stimulation applied in a greenhouse setting can be used to alter plant growth in order to produce marketable plants."

While outdoor plants benefit from the movement of wind and other conditions, your indoor fiddle leaf fig can as well, with your help. By gently holding and moving the trunk of your fiddle leaf fig tree back and forth, you'll help it to thicken its trunk and, over time, allow the tree to support itself.

How to shake your fiddle leaf fig

Though the manual movement of the tree is referred to as shaking in the TikTok video, you won't want to vigorously thrash your fiddle leaf fig tree. This could possibly hurt the plant, especially if it's already weak or very young. Rather than being rough, imagine your movement as a gentle breeze rustling the tree. With tender motions, your tree will grow better and stronger.

Shaking your fiddle leaf fig shouldn't be an intense exercise for you or your plant. Though it'll take time to see results, giving your fiddle leaf fig small movements for about two minutes every day will eventually cause the trunk to thicken. If your tree is supported by a stake, take it out before your wiggling session and put it back when you're finished. Within several months, you should be able to get rid of the support all together. It may seem weird, but shaking your fiddle leaf fig is good for the tree.