If you want to give your living room a jungle-like vibe you can choose to have fiddle leaf fig.
These are plants with huge, wavy green leaves that tend to grow more than a foot long.
Moreover, this tropical plant is lush and sculptural and is capable of growing up to 50 feet tall in its natural habitat.
However, indoors, it tends to grow very slowly and you can keep it for years for it begins to touch the ceiling of the room.
Even when you have space to grow them, a fiddle leaf fig can be challenging to live in the long run.
Due to its well-earned reputation as finicky, this cold-sensitive rainforest plant will need the right conditions to thrive indoors.
Though it may not be the best houseplant to have for apartments or horticulturally challenging, if you are willing to give extra attention, growing this plant will be rewarding.
Keep on reading to learn more.
Fig Leaf Fig: Quick Facts
A fiddle leaf fig or Ficus lyrata is an indoor tree that features very large heavily vined, and glossy violin-shaped leaves that tend to grow upright.
When you allow your plant to grow at least 6 feet tall, it can be a focal point of your room if you situate it in a floor-standing container.
Moreover, it tends to be a fast-growing plant and you can put it at any point in the year if you are like most gardeners.
However, it is important to note that this stunning plant is toxic to your pets, both cats and dogs.
|Common Name||Fiddle-leaf fig, banjo fig|
|Botanical Name||Ficus lyrata|
|Plant Type||Broadleaf evergreen|
|Mature Size||50 ft. tall (outdoors), 10 ft. tall (indoors)|
|Sun Exposure||Part shade|
|Soil Type||Loamy, medium moisture, well-draining|
|Soil pH||6 to 7|
|Bloom Time||Rarely flowers outside of its native area|
|Hardiness Zones||10-12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Tropical western Africa|
|Toxicity||Toxic to cats and dogs|
Learn more about Poisonous Plants for Pets here.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Care
Fiddle leaf fig is native to tropical parts of Africa where they tend to grow in warm and wet conditions.
This makes them somewhat challenging to grow at your home, as you will likely have trouble duplicating such steamy conditions.
However, these plants tend to be relatively tough and can withstand a least than perfect environment for a long time.
Moreover, these plants are not demanding as long as they get their growing conditions right.
When you grow them as houseplants, you should make sure to rotate them every few days so that different parts will face sunlight.
This will, they will grow evenly, rather than leaning toward the light.
Furthermore, you should dust the leaves every week or two with a damp cloth.
This will make the leaves appear shiny and more appealing, however, it will also allow sunlight to hit the leaves for photosynthesis.
You can trim off the damaged or dead leaves as they rise, as they will no longer be advantageous to the plant.
If you want to prune, make sure to prune off the top main stem for bushier growth.
Learn more about English Ivy: Plant Care and Growth here.
Light and Soil Requirments
Fiddle leaf fig tends to thrive best in bright, filtered light to grow and look their best.
It is important to note that direct sunlight can burn the leaves of your plant, especially exposure to a hot sunny afternoon.
Moreover, if you keep your plant in very low light conditions, it will fail to grow rapidly.
Another important thing to note is that any quality indoor potting mix will be suitable for your fiddle leaf fig.
However, it is important to make sure that the soil is well-draining.
Learn more about Potting Soil: Ingredients and DIY recipes here.
Water, Temperature, and other Requirments
Fiddle leaf fig will thrive when you water it moderately. If the plant does not get enough water, the leaves will wilt and lose their bright color.
However, if your plant gets too much water, it may drop its leaves and suffer from root rot which will eventually kill it.
During the growing season, i.e. spring to fall, you will need to water your plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry.
While in the winter months, water your plant slightly less.
Moreover, these plants tend to be sensitive to high salt levels in the salt.
Therefore, it is ideal to make sure that you flush the soil until water comes out the bottom of the post at least monthly.
This will help to prevent salt build-up in the pot.
It is important to note that this plant does not like extreme temperature fluctuations.
If the room temperature is between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it is fine, though you will need to place your plant away from drafty areas.
Moreover, keep your plant away from air-conditioning and heating vents.
This is because these can cause sudden temperature shifts.
You should aim for a humidity level between 30 and 65%.
However, if you need supplement humidity, you can mist your plant with clean water in a spray bottle.
Or you can place a tray of pebbles filled with water, as long as the bottom of the pot is not touching the water.
Furthermore, fiddle leaf figs tend to benefit if you place a humidifier in the room.
During the growing season, add a fertilizer with high-nitrogen plant food, and follow the instructions on the label
You can also find fertilizers specially made for fiddle leaf figs.
You will not have to feed the plant over the winter in most cases.
Types of Fiddle Leaf Fig
The species Ficus lyrata is the most common one that you can grow.
However, there are other varieties you can grow as well. These cultivators are:
Ficus lyarata ‘Bambino’
This one is a dwarf variety that will only reach a few feet tall.
Ficus lyarta ‘Compacta’
This variety can reach up to 5 feet tall and features smaller, more bunched leaves than the min species.
Ficus lyarta ‘Variegata’
One of the uncommon varieties with showy leaves that are a mix of green and cream.
Pruning and Propagating your Plant
In most cases, fiddle leaf fig will benefit when you prune its leaves.
You will need to cut back any damaged leaves, overgrowth, or crossing branches to let the plant breathe.
Moreover, you should make a cut an inch away from the truck to avoid damaging the trunk.
However, if you are taking off a dead brown leaf, make sure to pull on it gently before trying to cut it as it may come off by itself.
Surprisingly, it is easy to propagate your plant with stem cuttings and extremely difficult to do with seeds.
When you are working with cuttings, it is just about fail-proof. Follow the steps below:
- with the help of sharp shears make a cut on stem that is about 12 to 18 inches long with a few leaves
- pinch off the leaves except for one
- then place the vase of the cutting in a jar or vase of clean, room-temperature water
- place it in a warm place with bright indirect sunlight
- change the water when it appears cloudy
- in a few weeks, white bumps will appear at the base of the stem that is sitting in the water
- in a couple of weeks after that, roots will grow in the water from these spots
- when the roots reach about 1 to 2 inches long, plant the cutting in a 1-gallon pot with potting soil and water until damp
- continue to keep the soil moist but not soggy or overwatering
Learn more about Pruning Tips and Techniques here.
Potting and Repotting Fiddle Leaf Fig
Every spring, you will need to repot the young fiddle leaf fig.
Make sure to select a sturdy container that is about 2 inches larger in diameter than the existing one.
Then gently loosen the plant from its current pot, lift it supporting its base, and place it in the new pot.
Fill in the space around the plant with potting mix.
Once your plant is mature, it will be too large to repot it. In such a case, remove the first few inches of the soil every spring and replace it with fresh soil.
Moreover, if you doing this outdoors, do it when the temperature is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the temperature is colder, it can cause too much stress for the plant.
Common Pests, Plant Diseases, and Problems
It is important to note that this plant does not have any serious pest infestations or diseases, however, they can be prone to:
- spider mites
- scale insets
- bacterial or fungal diseases
With such issues, you may notice leaf damage like spots or dark patches as well as small bugs on the leaves.
You can treat this issue as soon as possible with the right fungicide, pesticide, or other remedies.
Make sure there is enough air circulation and is not sitting in overlay damp conditions, which can help prevent future problems.
Moreover, your plant can be sensitive to its environment and watering schedule. so when you feel something is not right, you can tell by the behavior of the plant.
The plant can develop spots on leaves or drop leaves, in some cases, at a faster rate,
Make sure to be on the lookout for the first signs of leaf distress.
Bleached Leaves: If you see light brown or bleached spots on the top of the leaves, your plant is getting too much direct sunlight.
This is leaf sunburn or leaf scorch.
In this case, you will need to prune off the leaf with the help of help shears and relocate the plant away from the direct and harsh rays of the sun.
Brown Spots on Leaves: When your plants begin to develop dark brown spots or browning edges, the plant may be suffering from root rot.
This is when the plant tends to sit in too much water.
In this case, check the roots to see if they are brown and mushy. Cut the spotted leaves and gently cut the mushy roots.
Repot and then monitor your watering to make sure you are not overwatering your plant.
Moreover, brown spots can also be when your plant is experiencing extreme temperature swings.
Thus, check for drafty spots or heating/cooling units or vents and move your plant to a consistently warmer location.
Yellowing Leaves: If the leaves are yellowing, it can indicate a bacterial problem.
Moreover, it can be too late to save the plant in such cases.
However, you can try cutting off the affected leaves and repotting the plant in fresh soil.
Dropping Leaves: When a fiddle leaf fig loses its leaves, it is often a sign that your plant is getting too much or not enough water.
Additionally, the plant may be exposed to extreme temperature changes which can also cause dropping leaves.
In this case, move your plant away from heating or cooling units, vents, or drafty areas.
Pull back on watering a bit so that the soil is never soggy and only slightly moist.