We recently gave an overview of some of our favorite indoor tropical plants.  One of our readers mentioned we should have included Fiddle Leaf Fig.  I know this plant has been very popular in the last few years and I have seen photos of this plant in many magazines, but I personally do not have experience growing one.  The glossy, green leaves on the plant are very large and have heavy veins. They are violin-shaped leaves that grow upright and will definitely add a tropical look to your home.

After doing some research, I discovered it is a great looking plant that I need to add this plant to my collection.  If you are new to growing houseplants, however, you might want to wait on this one. Here is what I found out!

Fiddle leaf fig comes from the tropical jungles of West Africa and is also known as ficus lyrata or fiddle leaf ficus. The plant belongs to the Moraceae family, which is the same family as the rubber tree.  It can be grown outdoors in hardiness zones 9-11.  Studies have shown that this plant and other ficus varieties can help purify the air.  Plus, being around houseplants calms us, makes us happier and more relaxed.

Most Fiddle leaf figs are floor plants.  If you take care of the plant properly, they can actually grow a few feet.  You might start off with a smaller plant on a shelf but if you have ideal growing conditions the plant can get as big as 6 feet or more.  If you have an empty corner or want to fill a gap in a room, this can be the plant for you.  It can also add some green as an accent color to your room.  

How To Care For Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Potting – When you purchase your plant it might be in a plastic container. Replant it in a terracotta or ceramic pot.  This type of pot will allow the soil to breathe. Make sure the pot you select has a drainage hole and a saucer. Fiddle leaf figs do not like to be soggy. Also, when you place the plant in the pot be sure that it is straight.

Light – The ideal lighting conditions for your plant is steady, bright, filtered light. Be sure to rotate the plant every few months, otherwise, it will grow towards the light. The best location is an east-facing sunny window.  The afternoon sun from a south or west-facing window might be too intense and will burn the leaves.  Clean the leaves every week to keep dust off the leaves, which will help the plant soak up the sunlight.

Watering – When the top inch of the soil becomes dry, then thoroughly water the plant.  This means water the plant until you see water in the saucer.  If the water level is too high in the saucer empty it as you don’t want the plant roots sitting in water.  If you do not water enough, the leaves will become limp and floppy eventually turning brown or yellow and then falling off.  If you overwater the plant dark brown spots appear on the leaves edges and there is a disagreeable odor near its soil. Brown spots can also indicate the plant is getting too much sun or the location is too cold.

Humidity – Since it is a tropical plant, Fiddle leaf fig trees thrive under warm, wet conditions. Especially during the winter to increase the humidity try misting the leaves.

Room Temperature – As previously mentioned, the plant enjoys a warmer temperature. It will easily adjust to your home or office environment. Just make sure the room does not have a cold draft. If it does, you will have to fix it if you want this plant to survive. 

Nourishment – With this plant, a little bit of food goes a long way. The plant needs fertilizer to encourage plant and root growth. During the winter there is no need to fertilize the plant since this is a slow-growth time.  In the spring feed it once. In the summer fertilize it monthly.  If you give the plant too much food it can kill the plant. 

Plant Toxicity – The plant is slightly toxic to humans and pets. If the plant is ingested it will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting.

Repotting – If you start seeing roots coming out of the bottom of the pot you can repot the plant or cut the root ball. If you want to keep the plant the same size, then cutting the root ball is your best option.  Do not cut the roots more than 20 percent or you will damage the root system.

Pruning – Every once in a while it is a good idea to cut back a few leaves. This can help with your plant’s growth.  Cut back any leaves that are damaged. You can also cut back any branches that are crossing because the plant needs breathing room to promote healthy growth. The plant can be pruned into a specific shape or height. When pruning cut the plant at least an inch from the trunk; it is important not to damage the main trunk. It is good to stay on top of pruning to keep it fresh and strong. 

Pests – Fiddle leaf fig plants are prone to aphids, mealy bugs, mites, and scale. Check both sides of the leaves regularly for these unwanted pests. If you find them wipe them off with a hot and soapy cloth or with a mild insecticide.

Additional Care - The plant is not a fan of being moved around, so try to find a location and keep it there.  If you do move it, leaves will drop and this will continue until it is acclimated to its new location.

To keep your plant in top form make sure you monitor it regularly and take care of any issues you find right away. 

If you have a fiddle leaf fig, share your experiences and photos with the plant on our Facebook page

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