Introducing the Fiddle Leaf Fig
The Fiddle Leaf Fig, also known as ficus lyrata, is a plant known for its gorgeous and elegant silhouette. The fiddle leaf fig plant has become one of the most common indoor plants, trending for quite a long time now.
The fiddle leaf fig tree initially originates from the tropical forests in West Africa and belongs to the same plant family as the rubber plant. In its natural habitat, the plant grows as a natural epiphyte, a little fiddle leaf fig beginning its growth on a different tree and then reaching its own root down to the ground.
The fiddle leaf fig tree is known to grow as long as 40 feet in height. The fiddle leaf fig indoors grows as long as 6 feet, growing a couple of feet every year.
The fiddle leaf fig plant can be a statement addition to your house. But as much as it adds beauty to your interiors, the plant is much harder to care for.
What conditions does the Fiddle Leaf Fig thrive in?
The fiddle leaf fig plant is one of those houseplants that need an abundance of care to thrive well. Here are the different conditional requirements that you should adhere to see your little fiddle leaf fig plant in full bloom.
Sunlight: The fiddle leaf fig light needs are as normal as any other common household plant. The fiddle leaf fig is best placed at a spot with lots of filtered bright light. The best option to place a fiddle leaf fig indoors is on the east side, next to a window, so that it can soak in enough light throughout the day. Rotate the pot every few months, as you see the leaves of the plant trying to draw themselves towards the light. Also, remember to clean the dust off the leaves in order to ensure that the pores are open to absorb the sunlight.
Water: Water is an essential requirement of the fiddle leaf fig plant. It is important to be able to calculate how much water fiddle leaf fig needs as over-watering is extremely harmful to this plant. It is important to ensure that the top layer of the soil in the pot is dry before you decide to water the plant. The fiddle leaf fig needs regular watering, but it doesn’t require being drenched at all times. Use lukewarm water or that of room temperature. Avoid cold water as it can lead to a shock in the fiddle leaf fig.
Temperature: As the fiddle leaf fig originates in the rainforests of West Africa, it prefers similar weather to grow. So, warm, humid weather is the correct temperature for these plants to thrive in. The preferable climate for these plants to grow is 65-75°F; never do they thrive in a climate less than 50°F. The fiddle leaf fig plant is also known to grow very adaptive to the spot that they are placed at. Due to this adaptability, any sudden changes in their position can lead to the dropping of the leaves.
Soil: The soil in your fiddle leaf fig planter needs to be kept evenly moist at all times. As mentioned earlier, it is important to note that you water the plant each time the top layer of the soil, or at least the top 2 inches, dries out. You can never let the soil completely dry out, or even to the depths, as it can lead to the dropping of leaves in your fiddle leaf fig plant. However, make sure that you do not end up over-watering the soil as it is equally harmful to the plant. Instead, try aerating the soil as it helps the soil to breathe.
Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig Indoors
With the right amount of proper care, a fiddle leaf fig can be easily grown indoors, letting it go as high as 6 feet. Here is how you can efficiently plant a fiddle leaf fig at a corner of your home.
Choose the Right Location: Choose a place right beside the window, preferably on the east side of the house. Make sure that the window is covered with curtains to filter the bright sunlight as direct sun rays can be harmful to its leafy pores. Ensure that the room that you are planting it in doesn’t use an AC, as the low temperatures are not at all suitable for the little fiddle leaf fig to grow.
Setting up the Planter: Choose a planter that is at least 3 times wider than the plant’s root ball, and has enough drainage holes. Fill one-third of the planter with potting mix, and then add the plant, along with the root ball. Then, place the root ball so that it is exactly an inch below the top of the planter and cover the same with some more potting mix. Water the plant and let it soak in the water well before you move it to its location.
When you start with a little fiddle leaf fig, it will grow at a rate that might require repotting every year. Re-pot as and when required as the plant doesn’t like to be disturbed much.
Identifying the Time and Way to Repot Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant
The fiddle leaf fig is known to quite take to the spot that they grow in. Their adaptability to that spot becomes so fixed that a changed location can even lead to the dropping of leaves. In such a case, it should be ensured that you do not move your plant too much, except the rotations to ensure that each part of the plant gets the required sunlight. Repotting too should be only done when necessary, and not just because you feel like it.
One effective way to learn that the plant is in dire need of repotting is when its roots, or even the plant, start to outgrow the planter that it is currently growing in. In its initial stage, the little fiddle leaf fig grows at a rapid rate and might need repotting every year. Thus, for the first three years or so, you can plan out a time of the year, like spring, to repot the plant.
While repotting the fiddle leaf fig, or any other plant for that concern, always pick a planter that is at least 2 inches larger in diameter than the one that the plant outgrew. Do not choose a planter that is too large or even too small, as it can stunt the growth of your plant.
Here’s how you can repot the plant without causing it any harm.
- Gently pull the plant out of its current planter, without breaking off any leaves. Trim off rotten roots, if any, carefully. Now, if you do not want to shift the plant to a larger pot, you can also try trimming its roots. However, be careful and do not end up trimming away the root ball. A good 20% of the root can be trimmed off without getting up to the root ball.
- While repotting, many people tend to choose a planter much larger in size, just to avoid repotting often. Choose a planter that is 2 inches wider in size, with enough drainage holes, and fill it up with potting mix to one-third its size. Next, place the root ball and fill it up again with some more potting mix, as you did while initially planting the fiddle leaf fig.
- You can start adding water as you are adding the soil, as it helps the soil pores to open up. This allows the air to travel more freely, also allowing the moisture to escape without getting locked up in the soil. You might need to water more frequently after repotting if the potting mix is very dry.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Care: Important Things to Remember
The fiddle leaf fig plant is native to the rainforests of West Africa. Thus, it is only apt that one needs to take proper care to be growing fiddle leaf fig indoors.
Here’s what you should always remember while caring for your fiddle leaf fig.
Perfect Drainage: Use a planter with proper drainage. Fiddle leaf fig does need a lot of water, but not too little of it either. The roots prefer to stay relatively dry and might rot if drenched in water at all times. It is important that the extra water present in the soil seeps out while you decide to water it again, in accordance with its watering needs. So, choose a planter with enough drainage holes.
Fast Draining Soil: The roots of the fiddle leaf fig prefer to stay dry, away from lots of water, as well as bacterial infections. Now, if the soil in the planter remains unchanged for quite a long time, the chances of bacterial infections are higher, and they also make the roots soggy. Using fast-draining soil helps to keep the roots healthy, provides moisture, aids in aeration and allows the root to breathe.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Light Needs: The fiddle leaf fig tree grows in rainforests, and thus is susceptible to thrive in bright sunlight. Fiddle leaf figs, when planted indoors, need at least 8 hours of sunlight every day, bright and filtered. It is important to ensure that the sunlight does not fall directly on the plant as it can end up burning the leaves. Thus, a curtained window is always the best idea for placing your plant.
Careful Watering: As mentioned earlier, it is important to be able to calculate how much water fiddle leaf fig requires. Many people often end up over-watering their fiddle leaf fig plants and complain of the plant requiring higher maintenance to thrive. But the key here is to ensure that you are present to water the plant each time the top layer of the soil dries out, also allowing the roots to dry out once in a while.
Aerating the Soil: Plants tend to grow better in natural habitat as the earthworms and natural decomposition is constantly aerating the soil. Aerating the soil is important as the roots also need some space to breathe, along with the moisture. But in the indoor scenario, the soil becomes compacted in the planter, if kept for too long. So, every once in a while, pick up some tiny sticks and poke the soil and help it loosen up.
Feeding the Plant: Going by the huge size of the fiddle leaf fig, they are bound to have a voracious appetite. To suit that purpose, you can use any fertilizer meant for household plants. However, a fertilizer with the 3-1-2 formulation works effectively better for fiddle leaf fig plants. You can spray some fertilizer onto the soil, each time you take up watering the fiddle leaf fig tree. You can also fix the fertilizer with the water that you pour down.
Avoid these while Caring for a Fiddle Leaf Fig
The fiddle leaf fig tree, with proper care, can be a beautiful addition to your house. There are, however, some situations that should be avoided at all costs while taking up fiddle leaf fig care.
Here’s what you should be careful of avoiding in your fiddle leaf fig tree.
Brown Spots on Leaves: The tiny brown spots on leaves are often normal in the fiddle leaf fig plant. The concern however rises when these brown spots start developing and spreading at a rapid rate. There are two causes to this: over-watering and under-watering.
Brown spots that start developing and spreading from the middle of a leaf is a sign of over-watering the plant, leading to root rot. Under-watering too leads to root rot and can be identified if the brown spots start growing from the edges and towards the middle of the leaves. In both cases, repotting the plant, and taking the correct watering measures are the sole way to save the plant.
The brown spots can also occur due to the stress of being moved too frequently.
Dropping Leaves: The fiddle leaf fig is known to drop some leaves every time its location is changed. But that’s not a cause to worry about as the plant adapts to the new location before losing too many leaves. Dropping of leaves is also normal when new leaves are growing.
But it becomes a cause of worry if the plant loses multiple leaves within the span of a few days. This, again, occurs due to overwatering and under-watering. If the leaves are falling off from the bottom, then over-watering is the cause. And if the leaves are falling off from all over the plant, it is a result of under-watering the plant.
Yellow Leaves: The leaves of the fiddle fig tree tend to turn yellow in order to warn us of several unwanted problems. For instance, yellowing of leaves is common when the plant is not able to absorb enough sunlight. It is important to ensure that the plant gets at least 8 hours of bright yet unfiltered sunlight every day.
Then again, the leaves can also turn yellow to indicate the lack of nutrition. A fertilizer with the 3-1-2 formulation is the right choice to provide the fiddle fig plant with its proper nutritional requirements.
The leaves can also turn yellow as a result of an insect infestation.
Thus, the fiddle leaf fig plant requires a pet’s care. Just like you tend to your favorite pet, you will need to take similar care of this plant. And gradually, this caring will become a normal lifestyle, making it easier for you to look after your fiddle leaf fig plant.
Here we have answered some FAQS related to the fiddle leaf fig plant care.
How to best care for a fiddle leaf fig plant?
The simple way to best care for the fiddle leaf fig is to ensure three things- light, water and temperature. Locate the plant in a space with enough sunlight throughout the day. Water it just enough, not less and not more. Make sure the temperature is humid, preferable between 65-75°F, and your plant will be thriving just well.
Will an indoor fiddle leaf fig produce edible fruit?
An indoor fiddle leaf fig producing fruit is certainly a very rare sight. The fiddle leaf fig needs a lot of light to grow, and even more to bear fruits. The absence of pollinators is another reason that leads up to the absence of fruits in the indoor fiddle leaf fig trees.
How to properly care for an indoor fiddle-leaf fig tree?
To properly care for a fiddle leaf fig indoors, place your plant next to a window that lets sunlight in for at least 8 hours in the day. Also, make sure that you water the plant enough, also giving it the time to dry out its roots. It is also important to ensure that the location of the plant maintains a temperature of 65-75°F.
Is a fiddle leaf fig a tree?
The fiddle leaf fig is a tree native to the tropical rainforests of Western Africa. In its natural habitat, the tree can grow as long as 40 feet in height. As an indoor plant, the fiddle leaf fig is tamed to grow to a height of just around 6 feet.
Why can you not see the flowers of a fig tree?
We cannot see the flowers in a fig tree as they tend to bloom internally in the plant. Also, the fig trees need to be pollinated by the fig wasp to bloom the flowers, even if it blooms just internally.
Is it good to have a fig tree in the back of the house?
Yes, it is certainly good to have a fig tree at the back of the house, or even in the living room. The fiddle leaf fig, with its shiny violin-like leaves, can make up for a statement piece in one’s home.