Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree - Optimal Growing and Care Tips
The fiddle leaf fig tree features heavily-veined, oval-shaped leaves that grow upright. These tropical plants thrive in very warm and humid conditions, but growing them at home can be somewhat challenging. The good news is, these plants are very hardy by nature and can withstand less-than-ideal conditions for quite a long time.
Since fiddle leaf fig trees can be potted at any time throughout the year, you can keep them indoors and enjoy their lush appearance for many years. If you’re a beginner gardener and want to learn how to grow and care for these plants, then you’ve come to the right place. We have all the lowdown on fiddle leaf fig trees right here!
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Quick Overview
|Origin||Western and Central Africa|
|Scientific Name||Ficus lyrata|
|Plant type||broadleaf evergreen|
|Max growth||40 feet outdoors, 6 feet indoors|
|Poisonous for||cats and dogs|
|Water||fair amount every 10 days|
|Temperature||warm and humid|
|Soil||medium moisture, loamy and well-drained|
|Humidity||mist regularly in summer|
|Pests||scales, aphids and mites|
Interesting Facts About the Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Ficus lyrata consists of approximately 1000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees. Most of these plants have milky white sap and grow in tropical regions.
- If grown outdoors, the fiddle leaf fig can kill the nearby plants. This is because fiddles grow on the surface of other trees. Once their roots become established in the ground, they surround the host tree and strangle it! But don’t let that worry you as indoor fiddles grown in pots won’t harm your other houseplants.
- Fiddle leaf figs need time to adjust to their new environment. These houseplants will brighten up your home as the centerpiece. However, avoid moving them around a lot. Otherwise, they can’t adapt to their new place.
- Fiddles thrive in even temperature and high humidity levels. If your indoor air is too dry, consider a humidifier or mist the leaves of your fiddle regularly to help keep your plant happy.
- Fiddles can live up to 50 years if they are taken care of properly. But as houseplants, most don’t live beyond 25 years because of their less-than-perfect environment. Furthermore, fiddles that are grown indoors normally remain shorter (6-10 feet max).
- The large leaves of fiddles purify the air, thus making them a popular choice for indoor use.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Guide
Temperature and Humidity
Fiddles prefer warm and humid climates as they thrive in rainforests. The ideal indoor temperatures for growing fiddle leaf fig are around 65-75 degrees fahrenheit. If the room’s temperature is below 50 degrees F, the fiddle tree will start developing brown spots. Make sure you increase humidity by keeping other houseplants near your fig tree or place a tray of gravel underneath the container. Mist the leaves of the plant regularly during summer and dry winter months.
Keep in mind that fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to cold drafts. Keep the nearby windows shut and prevent other draft sources like air cons away from your plant. Too much exposure to dry air will cause the leaves to drop. Refrain from moving your plant to another location unless absolutely necessary as any sudden change can cause their leaves to drop.
Watering a fiddle can be a little tricky to get the hang of at first, but once you become familiarized with the plant’s watering warning signs, you will be able to adjust the amount of water you give to the plant.
An underwatered fiddle’s leaves will turn brown and eventually drop, while an overwatered fiddle will experience dark brown spots along with an unpleasant odor near the plant’s soil.
When watering your fiddle, wait for the top inch of the soil to dry before getting your watering can out. Room temperature water works best as cold water can shock the roots of the plant.
Fiddle leaf figs like deep waterings but they don’t cope with sitting in water. To prevent this, make sure the container has drainage holes and place a tray under the pot.
By preventing watering mishaps, you can promptly rectify your mistakes and keep your fiddle alive. Remember, if it’s overwatered, change the soil, and if it’s underwatered, water the plant more often.
Fiddles prefer plenty of filtered, bright light. Keep your plant near a sunny window so it can benefit from lots of sunshine throughout the day. For optimal care, rotate the container every few months to help the plant get the light it needs. Wipe down the leaves of your fiddle once a week to keep it dust free and boost its light absorption. This is very important as the large leaves of fiddles are prone to dust.
If ingested by pets, fiddle leaf figs can cause stomach irritation. Always keep your plant out of reach so that your pets can’t reach it. The sap of this tree can also be mildly toxic to children if consumed.
Any good quality indoor potting mix will work fine for a fiddle leaf fig. Just make sure the soil is well-drained and add bark chips to keep the plant happy. Alternatively, you can mix four parts potting mix with one part horticultural charcoal and one part pine bark as mulch. This mixture will help retain moisture in the soil and prevent the roots from drying out.
Keep in mind that not all soils have adequate nutrients. To enhance your fiddle’s growth and encourage new leaves, feed the plant with diluted liquid fertilizer during the growing season in spring and summer. Fiddles need more resources to thrive during these periods so regular potting mix and mulch will not suffice.
For best results, feed your fiddle every month starting from early spring to late summer. Fertilizing it more often than the stated times will cause leggy growth or even kill the plant. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter months as the plant’s growth naturally slows down.
Potting and Repotting
If you’ve bought your fiddle leaf fig from a nursery, it will require repotting annually every spring. Choose a pot that’s around 2 inches bigger in diameter than the previous container. Follow these quick steps to repot your fiddle:
Step 1. Gently loosen the plant from its nursery pot by lifting it out. Be sure to support the base of the plant while placing it in a new container.
Step 2. Fill the empty spaces around the fiddle plant with more potting mix to keep it securely in place.
Step 3. Water the soil thoroughly.
After a year, your fiddle will likely be too large for its pot. In that case, move the plant to a larger pot and replace the first few inches of soil with a fresh mix. If you plan on putting the potted plant outside, do so when temperatures are above 50 degrees fahrenheit. Otherwise your fiddle will get stressed and turn yellow.
To encourage optimal growth, cut back a few leaves every once in a while. Begin by trimming back any damaged leaves to help the plant focus on its healthy leaves instead. You may also prune any crossing twigs to maximize air circulation. Some people prefer to prune their fiddles to a specific height or shape.
To prune your fiddle leaf fig correctly, make the trims at least 1 inch away from the tree’s trunk so as not to cause damage to the main trunk. Make a habit of pruning your fiddle whenever you notice overgrowth. This will help keep your tree strong and fresh.
If you just can’t get enough of growing one fiddle leaf fig tree, you may want to consider propagating your plant. This is the best way to replicate a healthy fiddle tree and produce more beautiful houseplants. There are 3 stages of propagating a fiddle leaf fig tree:
1. Cutting a healthy section of the plant
2. Nurturing the cutting in a rooting hormone until it grows roots
3. And finally replanting it in soil.
The simplest way to propagate a fiddle is by using water. This method requires a pair of sterilized shears or a knife as well as a jar of water.
When cutting a section of the tree, make sure it is at least 6 inches long. Leave 2 inches of the stem intact. Next, wipe off any residue sap from the shear and make sure the leaves on the cutting aren’t touching the water. Put the cutting in a jar of water and place it in a well-lit window so it can receive enough light. If necessary, add more water to the jar whenever it evaporates. The stem of the cutting should remain in the water. After 2 weeks, you should start seeing roots on your cutting.
It may take as long as 6 weeks for the roots to grow a few inches. Once they are long enough, plant the fiddle in a small pot and keep the soil extra moist for the first few weeks.
Common Pests and Problems
Fiddles are prone to common pests, such as aphids, mites, scales, and mealybugs. Always check their leaves for holes or odd growth. If you spot these pesky critters, simply wipe them off using a cloth immersed in a mild insecticide and soap.
Dropping leaves are often a cause of too little or too much water. How to fix: check the indoor temperature as fiddles are native to humid and tropical climates where they can get consistent moisture. If your fiddle fig’s soil is too dry, mist it regularly and increase the watering schedule.
Brown spots on leaves are a cause of root rot. This is a fungal infection that stems from the roots. Overwatering or poor drainage cause root rot, which will turn the leaves of the plant brown. How to fix: the best way to tell whether your fiddle is suffering from root rot is to inspect its roots. If they are turning brown, let your plant dry out for a week or two before watering it again. You must also remove the diseased leaves and provide your fiddle with more light.
White spots on the top of the leaves are an indication of sunburn. This means your fiddle is getting too much sunlight. How to fix: remove the affected leaves using scissors or a trimming shear and move the plant to a protected area away from direct sunlight.
By keeping a close eye on your fiddle leaf fig, you can keep it healthy and happy. Be sure to treat any issues right away in order to prevent further damage to the plant.
Can I grow fiddle leaf figs outside?
If you place your fiddle leaf fig in a sunny area, your plant can thrive outdoors. However, moving your indoor plant outside should be done gradually so that the fiddle leaf fig can adjust to the change in the environment.
Is it necessary to mist my fiddle leaf fig?
Since fiddle leaf figs are native to humid, warm, and tropical climates, they require consistent moisture and stable temperatures. You should mist the plant often to boost its humidity during warmer seasons.
How often do Fiddle Leaf fig trees grow new leaves?
Healthy fiddles grow new leaves every month during spring and summer. Growth tends to be sporadic, with several new leaves within a matter of days or weeks.
Can I cut off the top leaves of a fiddle leaf fig?
Fiddles look their best when their top leaves are around 10 inches below the ceiling, so if your fiddle is getting too tall, prune the plant in order to encourage healthier growth.
With some tender loving care, your fiddle leaf figs will grow into stunning trees that you can propagate year after year. Although these trees are fruitless and flowerless, they can become the true focal points of any home. Just remember to pay attention to the plant’s watering needs to ensure a long lasting relationship.