Searching for a way to bring a bit of the tropics into your home? The Fiddle Leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is just what you need. With its large, glossy leaves and striking silhouette, the fiddle leaf fig is a stunning addition to any room.
Not only is it a beautiful plant, but it’s also relatively easy to care for with little effort. We’ll review all the necessary steps to cultivate and care for your Fiddle Leaf fig, ensuring it will stay in top condition for many years.
Orgin & Rise In Popularity
Fiddle Leaf fig is native to the West Africa tropical rainforests, where it flourishes as a large tree. It became accessible to the Western world in the late 1800s, and has since earned fame as a beloved houseplant for its large, lustrous leaves and for being low maintenance.
In recent years, the fiddle leaf fig has become a trendy plant, with its popularity surging thanks to social media and home design blogs.
Where to Place Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant
When choosing a spot for your fiddle leaf fig plant, it’s important to remember that these plants prefer bright, indirect light. It is advised to keep your houseplant away from direct sunlight, as the leaves may display signs of yellowing and scorch if exposed to too much sun.
A spot near a window with plenty of natural light, but not direct sunlight, is ideal. If you don’t have a bright spot in your home, you can also place your plant near a grow light to ensure it gets the light it needs to thrive.
Temperature & Humidity Levels
In addition to light, Fiddle Leaf figs also thrive in warm, humid environments. These plants are native to tropical rainforests, so they prefer temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C) and high humidity levels.
If your house is dry, you can raise the moisture in the air near your fiddle leaf fig by keeping a humidifier nearby or spritzing the foliage with water. You can also try grouping your fiddle leaf fig with other plants to create a more humid microclimate.
Soil & Watering
The key to successful fiddle leaf fig care is getting the watering and soil right. These plants prefer well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter.
A good potting mix for fiddle leaf figs can be made by mixing equal parts potting soil, perlite, and peat moss.
In regard to watering, it is imperative to let the potting soil dry out a bit between waterings. Too much moisture can cause root rot, one of the most frequent issues with Fiddle Leaf figs.
To determine the moisture of the potting mix, insert your finger approximately one inch into the soil. If it feels dry, watering is necessary. If it appears damp, wait a few more days before watering.
Fiddle Leaf figs benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer).
A well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer (like 20-20-20) used at a lesser intensity every two to four weeks should be adequate.
In the fall and winter, reduce fertilization to once a month or skip it altogether.
Pruning & Repotting
As your fiddle leaf fig develops, you may have to trim it to preserve its size and shape.
To prune your fiddle leaf fig, use clean, sharp scissors to remove any brown or yellow leaves and any branches that are growing in an undesirable direction.
As your new indoor plant grows, it may become necessary to transplant it into a larger planter. Once the roots reach their maximum capacity within the existing container (i.e., they take up all available space), it is time to give them a new home.
Repotting will help prevent issues from the plant being root-bound. Choose a pot one size larger than the current pot, and use a fresh potting mix.
If you’re looking to grow more fiddle leaf figs or want to share your plant with a friend, propagating your plant is a great option. You can propagate a few different methods, including stem cuttings and air layering.
To propagate your Fiddle Leaf fig using stem cuttings, follow these steps:
- Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to cut a 4-6 inch section of stem from a healthy, mature fiddle leaf fig plant. Ensure the cutting has at least two or three leaves and a few nodes (the small bumps on the stem where leaves and roots emerge).
- Take off the bottom leaves from the cutting, leaving only the top two or three.
- Dip the trimmed stem in a rooting hormone, which will assist in root development.
- Place in a small container with a soil blend that drains well, such as one that is composed of an equal amount of perlite and peat moss.
- Plant the cutting in the soil, ensuring the nodes are buried in the soil, and the leaves are above the soil line.
- Give the cutting a good watering and put it in an area that is brightly lit but not directly exposed to sunlight.
- Ensure the soil is damp but not saturated, and spray the foliage frequently to raise the level of humidity.
The cutting can take several weeks or even months to root and grow new leaves. Therefore, be patient, and continue to care for the cutting as you would a mature Fiddle Leaf fig plant.
Another method you can use to propagate is air layering. This method is a little more advanced, but it can be a great way to create a new plant if your Fiddle Leaf fig is too large to easily take stem cuttings from.
To air layer your Fiddle Leaf fig, follow these steps:
- Choose a healthy, mature branch on your fiddle leaf fig plant at least 3 inches in diameter.
- Using a clean, sharp knife, make a shallow cut into the bark of the branch about halfway through the wood.
- Dust the cut with rooting hormone, and wrap the area with moist sphagnum moss.
- Cover the moss with plastic wrap, securing it with twist ties or rubber bands.
- Keep the moss moist, and check the cutting in a few weeks to see if roots have formed. Once roots have formed, cut the branch below the roots and plant the rooted section in a pot filled with well-draining soil.
With either of these methods, it’s essential to be patient and give your new fiddle leaf fig plant plenty of time to grow and establish itself. With the proper care, your new plant will thrive and bring a touch of the tropics to your home.
Common Problems & Pests
Fiddle leaf figs are generally easy to care for, but you may encounter a few common problems. These include:
- Yellowing leaves: This can be caused by too much or too little water or a lack of light.
- Browning or crispy leaves: This can be caused by too much direct sunlight or dry air.
- Wilting: This can be caused by underwatering or root rot.
In addition to these problems, fiddle leaf figs can also be prone to pests such as scale, spider mites, and mealybugs.
If you observe any of these bugs on your plant or soil, employ a natural insecticide such as neem oil or a combination of water and dishwashing liquid to get rid of them.
Tips for Keeping Your Fiddle Leaf Fig in Top Condition
Here are a few additional tips to help keep your tropical houseplant in top condition:
- Dust the leaves regularly to help them photosynthesize efficiently.
- Keep the plant away from breezy locations or drastic temperature fluctuations.
- Rotate the plant periodically to ensure even growth and prevent the plant from leaning towards the light source.
- Refrain from using tap water, as it may contain minerals that can accumulate in the soil and cause damage to the plant. Use filtered or distilled water instead.
- If you notice your plant is looking droopy or wilted, it’s probably due to a lack of water. Increase watering frequency and ensure the soil is adequately moist.
With the proper care, your fiddle leaf fig can thrive and bring a touch of the tropics to your home.
You can keep your fiddle leaf fig healthy and happy by providing it with bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, and regular watering and fertilization.
Remember to prune and repot as needed, and keep an eye out for pests. You can enjoy this beautiful plant for years to come with a little effort.
How Big Will the Fiddle Leaf Fig Get?
One of the great things about the fiddle leaf fig is that it can be easily kept to a manageable size with regular pruning.
The Fiddle Leaf fig can grow over 50′ tall in its natural habitat, but it’s typically kept much smaller as a houseplant. Depending on the size of your pot and how much care you give it, your plant will grow anywhere from 3-10 feet tall.