How to Care for Fiddle Leaf Figs

Written by Gabrielle Smith

The Ficus lyrata, also known as the Fiddle Leaf Fig, gets its name from its fiddle shaped leaves. This beautiful flowering tree has glossy green leaves and can grow between 2 and 3 feet every year! It’s fast growing ability makes the Fiddle Leaf Fig large for a houseplant. The Fiddle Leaf Fig has a bold appearance that has made the plant extremely popular for interior design. Many homeowners choose to make this plant the centerpiece of their room due to its ability to immediately attract the eye. Originating from the tropical rainforests of Western Africa between Cameroon and Sierra Leone, the Fiddle Leaf Fig fruit is rarely produced outside of its natural habitat. The Fiddle Leaf Fig grows outdoors by spreading its seeds on the top of another tree and growing from that tree. Slowly wrapping its roots around the host tree to compete for sunlight. In the wild, the Fiddle Leaf Fig can grow up to 60 feet tall and produce bright green circular fruits. Indoors, this plant loves conditions that replicate their natural habitat. Fiddle Leaf Fig plant care can be tricky as it requires large amounts of water and indirect sunlight. 

Botanical Name:Ficus lyrata
Common Name(s):Fiddle Leaf Fig, Banjo Fig
Plant TypeEvergreen tree
Place of Origin:West Africa
Sun Exposure: Indirect sun or filtered sun
Watering Schedule:Every 10-12 days
Seasonality: Spring through summer
Bloom Time: Spring
Toxicity:Unsafe for cats and dogs

FIDDLE LEAF FIG LIGHT REQUIREMENTS:

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig pot should be placed in a location where it receives indirect sunlight or filtered sun. Filtered sun is when your plant is placed in a location where it receives about 1 hour of direct sun through a sheer or thin curtain. This filtered sun replicates the rainforest canopy of the plant’s natural habitat. The ideal indoor location for your Fiddle Leaf Fig is about 5 feet away from a southern or western facing window. This location will provide indirect sunlight whilst protecting your plant from being scorched!

How To Use Artificial Light For Your Fiddle Leaf Fig: 
The Fiddle Leaf Fig requires light to survive! If your home does not have a lot of natural light, this can be supplemented with about 6 to 8 hours of artificial fluorescent or LED lights per day. The red and blue wavelengths provide the necessary light without the potential of becoming too hot and causing Fiddle Leaf Fig sunburn. Ensure your Fiddle Leaf Fig is positioned about 12-24 inches below the fluorescent light to protect the leaves from becoming burnt from too high temperatures. The closer your plant is to the fluorescent or LED light, the more intense the temperature your plant will be exposed to. Depending on the climate of your home, adjust your grow light accordingly.

FIDDLE LEAF FIG WATER REQUIREMENTS:

It is extremely important to not overwater your Fig Leaf Fig. The best watering method for this plant is to only water once the soil is about 75% dry. Once the soil is about 75% dry, water deeply and thoroughly with rainwater or filtered water. Ensure that water is not drowning the soil, as this could cause potential root rot and damage to your plant. 

FIDDLE LEAF FIG TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS:

An ideal temperature for your Fiddle Leaf Fig is between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the Fiddle Leaf Fig prefers moderate temperatures, it can handle lower temperatures at night. This means that the average house temperature will be ideal for your Fiddle Leaf Fig. How much cold can a Fiddle Leaf Fig tolerate? Nothing below 55 Degrees Fahrenheit. The Fiddle Leaf Fig is not resistant to cold temperatures, as it can cause damage or death to your Fiddle Leaf Fig.

FIDDLE LEAF FIG HUMIDITY REQUIREMENTS:

In addition to moderate temperatures the Fiddle Leaf Fig also prefers high humidity. High humidity is between levels of 65 and 80 percent. If your home is prone to lower humidity levels, make sure to mist your plant occasionally and position your plant around others to increase humidity levels. Both of these methods will ensure your Fiddle Leaf Fig is maintaining average humidity levels and able to thrive in it’s indoor environment.

How to higher humidity for your Fiddle Leaf Fig:
01.Spray plants with mist: A great way to increase humidity for your plant is by spraying with a mist of water. The best water to use is room temperature rain water because it contains minimal chemicals.

02. Add gravel or stones: Find a shallow ceramic bowl and fill with gravel or stones and stand the plant in the gravel. The gravel will encourage a damp environment that will increase humidity for your plant. Always ensure the gravel is kept moist to keep the humidity high. Be sure to not overwater your gravel because this can cause damage to your plant.

FIDDLE LEAF FIG SOIL:

The ideal soil for your Fiddle Leaf Fig is peat soil. Peat Soil is an acidic soil that retains a lot of moisture and slows decomposition. Due to such a high moisture retention this mix may require irrigation to help with draining. This soil type is best used when paired with organic matter.

FIDDLE LEAF FIG FERTILIZER:

Being a tricky plant to care for, the Fiddle Leaf Fig requires fertilizer once a month during the spring, summer, and autumn months! During winter, only fertilize this plant once in the middle of the season. The best fertilizer to use for the Fiddle Leaf Fig is a liquid fertilizer high in nitrogen. The best fertilizer to use is a 46-0-0 fertilizer. This fertilizer is 46% concentrated nitrogen. It is recommended to apply only a small amount of this fertilizer due to the intensity of the nitrogen concentrate. The nitrogen in the fertilizer will stimulate growth for your plant. During the colder months of winter your Fiddle Leaf Fig is dormant and therefore only needs to be fertilized once in the middle of the season. 

FIDDLE LEAF FIG REPOTTING:

The Fiddle Leaf Fig growth rate is relatively fast. When indoors, the Fiddle Leaf Fig grows between 2 and 3 feet every year. It is recommended that your repot this plant once every 2 years or once its  pot is looking a little tight! 

FIDDLE LEAF FIG PROPAGATION:

Have you fallen in love with your Fiddle Leaf Fig and want more? You're in luck! Below are a couple of ways that you can propagate your Fiddle Leaf Fig. Propagation is the process of multiplying plants and can be split into two different categories. There is sexual propagation that is through seeds and planting seedlings and then there is asexual propagation which is through taking cuttings of your plant to place in soil or water to grow as its own plant.

Here are two ways in which you can propagate your ZZ Plant using the propagation method of cutting: 
01. Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Cutting and Soil:  If you keep your original Fiddle Leaf Plant healthy this will lead to healthy thick stems and multiple leaves that will be perfect for propagation. Using sanitized scissors or a knife, make a straight cut at the node, or also known as the area where a leaf and the stem meet. Make sure you are cutting a stem that includes 3 nodes. Once the stem is cut, place it in a pot of moisture retaining, porous soil. The perfect soil recipe is half perlite and half peat moss. Your Fiddle Leaf Fig cuttings must receive high levels of humidity. To replicate its native humid, tropical environment, place a plastic bag on the top of the cuttings and mist daily. Additionally, ensure your plant is placed in an area where it will receive bright, filtered sun. Sunlight is one of the key ingredients to ensure your Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting will grow! Your plant should develop roots within 4 to 6 weeks. 

02. Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaf Cutting and Water: Although the leaf cutting and soil is the most recommended method of propagation, many plant lovers choose to use the water method. Through the water method you are able to watch the roots develop and see your cuttings grow in real time. Similar to the cutting and soil method, ensure you cut the stem of your Fiddle Leaf Fig to include 3 nodes. Once you have your cutting, place it in a pot of freshwater and under indirect light. It is essential that you change your water every few days in order to preserve oxygen levels.

FIDDLE LEAF FIG DISEASES & PESTS:

Although sometimes considered a hard plant to take care of, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is not affected by too many diseases or pests. Below is a list of the most common diseases that can affect your Fiddle Leaf Fig. 

01. Fiddle Leaf Fig Root Rot - Are your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves drooping? Are your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves falling off? The main cause of this predicament is most likely root rot. Root Rot is the number one killer of Fiddle Leaf Figs. Root rot is primarily caused by overwatering and not allowing your plant to properly drain. There are a few signs that your plant is experiencing root rot. One sign is your Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves turning brown or beginning to wilt. Another sign is mushy roots and moldy soil. In order to check for mushy roots is to take your plant out of its pot and check the roots themselves! Healthy roots have a white appearance. If the roots appear a black or brown color and a slimy texture then they are definitely suffering from root rot! If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is suffering from root rot the best way to treat your plant is through repotting. 

02. Fungus Gnats, Mealybugs, Gall Mites, Whiteflies, and Aphids - In addition to root rot, fungus gnats, mealybugs, gall mites, whiteflies, and aphids can cause growth and health issues for your Fiddle Leaf Fig. These pests typically begin their infestation at the base of the plant’s leaves and feed on the fluids inside the leaves. The best way to protect your plant from these pests is by regularly removing all dead leaves from the pot and removing dust from leaves using a damp cloth

FIDDLE LEAF FIG TOXICITY:

Unfortunately, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is toxic to both cats and dogs. If consumed, all parts of the Fiddle Leaf Fig are toxic to your pets and can cause digestive issues or even death. If you do not want to depart with your Fiddle Leaf Fig, be sure to place it in an area where it is not easily reached. 

Download the Flora App for more tips and tricks on how to take care of your Fiddle Leaf Figs! 

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