How to Grow and Care for Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) Indoors


Fiddle Leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata

Botanical name: Ficus lyrata
Family: Moraceae

Description

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is a good choice for a specimen plant. The striking large violin-like leaves are excellent for the large spaces.

Ficus lyrata is relatively tough and can withstand less than perfect conditions fairly well.

The leaves are up to 1.5 ft long, leathery in texture, have prominent veins and a wavy margin.

Size

When grown in a container Fiddle Leaf Fig can grow to a height of 6 ft. The leaves are about 1.5 ft long.

Origin

Ficus lyrata is native to western Africa from Cameroon West to Sierra Leone, where it grows in lowland tropical forests.

Where to Buy

Ficus lyrata is readily available online at Etsy. Buy beautiful and healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) from Etsy.

Fiddle Leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata

Ficus lyrata Care Indoors

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) thrives in bright light with some direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Ficus lyrata requires regular pruning to keep it neat and also encourage a bushy growth. Repotting is only needed when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Fiddle Leaf Fig grows best in bright, filtered light. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

Under lower light, the plant may die. Ensure it receives bright, indirect light for optimum growth.

Protect Ficus lyrata from direct sunlight as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth to prevent lopsided grpwth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Fiddle Leaf Fig liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist as growth is minimal at this time.

Avoid overwatering and soggy soil as it can lead to leaf drop and root-rot.

Use tepid, chlorine-free water to water Ficus lyrata to avoid spots on the leaves. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Fiddle Leaf Fig indoors is an average warmth with a minumum of 130C. Protect it from draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature as it can lead to leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Fiddle Leaf Fig. If the air is too dry especially where temperature is high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Fiddle Leaf Fig monthly during the growing period with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Fiddle Leaf Fig at the beginning of the growing season only when it has become pot-bound. Avoid frequent repotting as it prefers to be pot-bound.

Repot only when it has outgrown its current pot; when roots begin to grow through the drainage holes.

Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.

Pot the plant in a heavy pot as it can become top-heavy and topple over.

Never allow the roots to sit in soggy soil as it may lead to leaf drop and root-rot.

For the large plants which may be difficult to handle, annually replenish the top 2-4 in. of soil with fresh soil.

Soil

Soil for Fiddle Leaf Fig should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant. Buy quality potting mix for Fiddle Leaf Fig from Amazon.

Pruning

Pruning Fiddle Leaf Fig is easy. Remove dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

When the plant has reached maximum height or it has become leggy, cut back the branches to rejuvenate growth.

The foliage emanating from pruning can be used to propagate new plants. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) can be propagated by air layering or by stem tip cuttings during the growing season.

How to Propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig by Air Layering

Air layering consists of notching the stem of a healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig and coating the notch with a rooting hormone.

Surround the notched area with damp moss and cover the notch with a polythene film or clear plastic wrap.

Once the roots have formed, sever the stem just below the covered part.

Remove the polythene or plastic wrap and carefully pot the rooted cutting in moist free-draining soil.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

New shoots will sprout from the shortened stem of the old Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Place the new Ficus lyrata in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the plant is well established.

How to Propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig from Stem-tip Cuttings

Take stem-tip cuttings of about 6 in. long from a healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Strip off the lower lower leaves and retain at least 2 sets of leaves on top.

Dip the cut end of the cutting in a rooting hormone to enhance rooting.

Insert the cutting in moist rooting soil. Ensure the rooting container has adequate drainage to avoid getting soggy soil.

To hasten rooting of the cutting, create a mini-greenhouse by covering the set up with a clear polythene sheet or bag.

Ensure the leaves of the cutting do not touch the sheet or bag too much by propping it up with sticks.

Place the set up in warm, well-lit spot and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges. New growth indicates the cutting has rooted.

In about 2-4 weeks, rooting of the cutting will have taken place.

Gradually over a period of two weeks, remove the plastic bag cover to acclimatize the new plant.

In 4-6 months, there will be adequate root development and and normal care for Ficus lyrata can begin.

Fiddle Leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata

Ficus lyrata Problems Indoors

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults (improper care). These problems include leaf drop, yellow leaves, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Leaf drop

There are four possible causes of leaf drop in Fiddle Leaf Fig. One possible cause of sudden leaf drop is any changes in the growing conditions like soggy soil.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

The second possible cause of leaf drop in Fiddle Leaf Fig is low temperature.

Protect the plant from cold draughts to avoid a drop in temperature to maintain an average warmth with a minumum of 130C.

The third possible cause of leaf drop in Fiddle Leaf Fig is too little light.

Move the plant to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright light away from direct sunshine or instal a grow light where natural light is not adequate. Read more on understanding light for houseplants.

The fourth possible cause of leaf drop in Fiddle Leaf Fig is overfeeding. Feed the Fiddle Leaf Fig monthly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing period.

Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Loss of the lower leaves

Loss of lower leaves is a normal occurence in Fiddle Leaf Fig. As the plant matures, it losses the lower leaves leaving a bare stem with a crown of leaves at the top.

Cut back the stem at the desired height to rejuvenate growth. New growth should start below the cut.

Yellowing leaf edges

Yellowing leaf edges in Fiddle Leaf Fig are due to underfeeding. Feed the plant monthly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing period. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Brown leaf spots

Brown leaf spots are natural for Fiddle Leaf Fig. The spots are due to mechanical injury or attack by spider mites. The plant produces a mildly causatic sap that causes these spots when exposed to the air.

Pests

The common pests in Fiddle Leaf Fig are Aphids, Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap. Keep the plant properly pruned at all times to reduce the hiding places for these pests.

Diseases

Fiddle Leaf Fig is prone to root-rot disease. The disease is promoted by soggy soil due to poor drainage of the pot or the soil.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining. Read more on root-rot disease and how to deal with it.

Is Fiddle Leaf Fig toxic?

According to Petal Republic, Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is toxic to both humans and pets if ingested.

It produces a sap that may cause skin irritation on sensitive skin. Always wear gloves when handling Fiddle Leaf Fig.

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