Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
Fiddle leaf fig, Banjo fig
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Fiddle leaf figs are notorious for being difficult to grow, however I don’t think that’s really the case. I would consider them to be amore of a “medium” care plant. The reason for this is simply because they are forgiving and will tolerate incorrect care and bounce back from neglect well. To help them truly thrive you do need to be more hands on and pay closer attention but your efforts will reward you! They are fast growing and a true statement houseplant to add to your home!
MEDIUM OR BRIGHT INDIRECT SUNLIGHT.
Indirect sunlight is sunlight that has been filtered in some way, through a sheer curtain or simply by being pulled a little further away from the window. Fiddle leaf figs want as much indirect sunlight as possible! I have found that a few hours of direct sunlight, especially if you live in an area with less constant sunlight, is especially helpful. Just avoid hash, evening sun and keep an eye on your plant as it acclimates to it’s new environment watching for warning signs (listed at the very bottom).
MEDIUM TO HIGH: WATER ROUGHLY ONCE A WEEK.
I never suggest trying to stick to a hard and fast watering routine, always feel the soil before you water! During the summer months keep the soil slightly moist at all times and avoid soggy soil. A drainage hole is a must. Allow all excess water to drain, never it sit in water for long.
Water a little less in the winter and fall, this is because your plant is getting less sun and therefore will need less water in order to photosynthesize. During less sunny months allow the soil to dry 1-3 inches down and water very deeply each time.
KEEP IT HUMID.
Proper watering is far more important than fussing with humidity, however adding additional humidity needed to help your fiddle leaf fig truly thrive! The simplest way is to place a humidifier nearby. You can also group it together with other houseplants or add it to your bathroom provided you get enough sunlight and have enough room for it in there.
Make certain to keep it’s leaves free of dust and debris. I suggest wiping each one down every time you water. Rinse the leaves at least once a month using room temperature to lukewarm water.
See that crumpled leaf below? That happens when there is insufficient humidity and the plant literally sticks to itself as it’s unfurling. Though misting your houseplants isn’t really a very good way to increase the overall humidity around your plants it does help unfurling leaves to open more smoothly and lovely! Simply use a spray bottle with plain old water and spray the unfurling leaf once a day or so as it opens up.
Soil + Pot
CONTAINER POTTING MIX IN A TERRA-COTTA POT.
Potting is a very crucial step to ensuring houseplant success! I tend to suggest using terra-cotta for just about most houseplants and a drainage hole is nonnegotiable. As far as the soil using a simple, all-purpose houseplant/potting mix has worked very well for me. I try and keep things simple and rarely add any soil amendments to my houseplants.
Repot to a larger pot every two years in the spring. The root ball on fiddle leaf figs can get gigantic, if you want to maintain a smaller plant don’t repot up a larger size.
If you notice your plant is root bound you don’t absolutely have to wait until spring, though this is when your plant is coming out of a resting period and would appreciate the new nutrients that adding fresh soil will offer.
Proper fertilization is essential and easy to misunderstand. Always err on the side of too little plant food as opposed to too much! I recommend using an all purpose houseplant fertilizer, liquid concentrate* at half strength every time you water in the summer and spring. Use once a month (at most) during the fall and stop you all together in the winter.
Remember that if you use a soil that has a slow release fertilizer already in it (most do) wait to add more until 4-6 months after potting it in new soil.
Watch your plant closely as you use it and adjust as needed. Over feeding a plant can cause the plant to die.
To take a cutting cut the newest growth right below the nod of the node.
Place your cutting in a vase or jar filled with water so the aeral root(s) stay fully submerged in water. Keep in their until roots are well established, about two weeks, though you should start to see roots forming within one week.
Keep in a mildly light space and away from direct sunlight. I suggest repotting your rooted cutting back into the pot you clipped it from for a more lush plant. Or you can pot it in it's own home!
Rooting mostera in soil is the recommended method. Simply pot your cutting in soil so the aerial root is fully covered. Keep the soil moist as it develops new roots. You can also opt to use a rooting hormone. To do this wet the areal root and tip of the cutting and dip in the rooting powder before you pot it.
Pinch new growth to create branching
Fiddle leaf figs are very easy to train to grow into a specific shape and are favorable to pruning. I suggest pinching off a newly grown leaf to force your fiddle leaf to branch out. Ideally you should do this when your plant is a bit younger, to help it be more balanced and stable, but it’s not a deal breaker. You can also prune off lower leaves to expose more stem and create a more true “tree” shape.
Pests + Common Problems
Too little or too much water, though it is usually too much. Feel the soil to be certain. (see the photo above)
If you also spot little brown spots in addition to the yellowing on the leaves or small, dark new leaves it is likely under-watering or at the ver least un-even watering.
If you are confident you are watering correctly but are still getting yellowed leaves underfeeding could be the issue. Follow fertilizer instructions above.
Dropping lower, older leaves is very normal and nothing to worry about. This just happens with age.
If your plant is dropping new leaves or dropping a lot very quickly look for other warning signs. Dropping new leaves can be a sign of not enough water or too much temperature fluctuation.
Leggy growth or small, pale leaves
Move to a much sunnier location. Make certain you are watering appropriately.
Brown, cripsy edges
Typically a sign of overwatering. It can also mean a lack of humidity or under watering. Feel the soil to determine what your plant may need.
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