8 Tips for Nurturing Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

The fiddle leaf fig, with its striking large leaves and impressive height, has become a beloved addition to many homes. This African native brings a touch of the tropics to any decor. While Ficus lyrata can be a bit challenging to cultivate, with proper care, it will reward you with a lush and vibrant display.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Essentials

USDA Zone: Most areas of the U.S. consider the fiddle leaf fig as a houseplant, but gardeners in the southern United States can potentially grow it outdoors (Zone 10-12).

Soil: Opt for fast-draining soil with a pH level between 6 and 7.

Light: Provide bright, indirect light. Morning sun is ideal, but be cautious of too much direct sunlight which can scorch the leaves.

Water: Let the top 2 inches of soil dry out before watering thoroughly.

Food: During the growing season (February to September), mix one tablespoon of 3-1-2 liquid fertilizer with a quart of water and use it each time you water.

Temperature and Humidity: Maintain consistent warmth between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Aim for a humidity level between 40 and 60 percent.

Propagation: You can propagate fiddle leaf figs using stem cuttings or air layering for larger plants.

Safety: Keep in mind that the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig are toxic to pets and humans if ingested.

Mastering the Art of Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

Originally from Central and West Africa, the fiddle leaf fig is a member of the Ficus genus, known for its epiphytic nature. In the wild, these plants grow atop other plants. To best care for your fiddle leaf fig, find a suitable spot in your home and let it thrive there.

The large leaves of the fiddle leaf fig resemble violins, which explains its name. Although this tropical plant produces small green figs in its natural habitat, it is rare for them to bloom or fruit indoors. The allure of the fiddle leaf fig lies in its majestic form and show-stopping foliage.

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1. Soil Selection

Choose well-draining soil rich in organic matter with a pH between 6 and 7. Look for a soil mix that offers good aeration, drainage, and some grit to prevent clumping. Perlite, vermiculite, peat, coir, and sand are ingredients that address these needs.

2. Optimize Lighting

Fiddle leaf figs crave bright, filtered light. The more leaves a plant has, the more light it requires. Position your plant in front of an east-facing window to benefit from soft morning light. If you can’t provide this type of exposure, consider supplementing with LED grow lights. Keep in mind that excessive direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so rotation is essential to maintain even growth.

3. Watering Techniques

Proper watering is crucial for fiddle leaf fig care. Use room-temperature water to give your plant a thorough soaking, being careful not to shock it with water that is too hot or cold. While fiddle leaf figs prefer moist soil, overwatering can lead to root rot. On the other hand, underwatering can cause wilting and loss of vibrant green color. Water when the top 2 inches of soil has dried out, which is typically once a week during the active growing season (February to September) and less frequently in winter.

4. Nourish with Fertilizer

Feed your fiddle leaf fig with a high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer (3-1-2 ratio) throughout the growing season. Add one tablespoon of fertilizer to a quart of water and incorporate it into your regular watering routine. However, avoid using supplements like coffee, which are acidic and can harm the plant, causing yellowing of the leaves. Aim for a neutral pH soil (around 6.5) for optimal growth.

5. Maintain Temperature and Humidity

Consistent warmth between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit suits fiddle leaf figs best. Avoid placing them near drafts, heating vents, or air conditioning units, as rapid temperature fluctuations can damage the plant and lead to dry or discolored leaves. Ideally, the humidity level should be between 30 and 65 percent. Boost indoor humidity by placing a humidifier nearby, misting the plant, or using a tray of pebbles filled with water (ensuring the pot does not sit in the water). Proximity to other plants can also raise humidity levels.

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6. Pruning for Optimal Growth

Pruning plays an essential role in managing the growth of your fiddle leaf fig. To maintain a healthy plant, trim away dead or dying leaves using sharp and clean pruners. If necessary, prune lateral branches that make the tree too bushy or wide for its space. Remember to prune only during the plant’s active growing season.

7. Propagation Techniques

If you want to expand your collection, you can propagate fiddle leaf figs using stem cuttings or the slower but effective air layering method. With stem cuttings, take 3 to 4 inches of firm tip growth with at least two leaves. Dip the stem in rooting hormone and plant it in a small pot with seed and cutting mix or a 50:50 ratio of peat and perlite or propagating sand. Look for roots to develop in 6 to 8 weeks. Air layering involves creating a pocket around a chosen branch, filling it with wet sphagnum moss, and waiting for roots to form before separating and transplanting the new plant.

8. Repot When Necessary

Fiddle leaf figs can grow rapidly, and you may find your plant drying out quickly and requiring more frequent watering, which indicates it’s time to repot. Repotting every two years, or even annually, is typically necessary. Choose a pot that is about 2 inches larger in diameter than its current one, and perform the repotting in the spring for optimal results.

Explore Different Varieties

Apart from the standard fiddle leaf fig, which can reach towering heights, there are other captivating varieties to consider. The dwarf ‘Bambino’ variety grows to a more manageable 2-3 feet, making it a perfect choice for smaller spaces. For a unique touch, the ‘Variegata’ variety features variegated leaves with dark green centers and pale yellow or cream rings. ‘Compacta’ is another option, with smaller leaves and a more modest growth rate compared to the standard variety.

Safety First

While the fiddle leaf fig is a stunning plant, it’s important to note that its leaves are toxic if ingested by pets or humans. The milky sap can cause oral burning, irritation, and gastrointestinal upset. Take precautions to prevent accidental ingestion and contact your vet immediately if you suspect your pet has consumed any part of the plant.

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Pest and Disease Prevention

As with any houseplant, fiddle leaf figs can fall victim to common pests. Address these issues promptly:

  • Mealybugs: Remove by hand or treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Scale: Gently scrape with a toothbrush or use insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Whiteflies: Remove with a handheld vacuum or spray a dish soap solution.
  • Aphids: Spray off with water or use a dish soap solution.
  • Fungus gnats: Apply food-grade diatomaceous earth to the soil surface and avoid overwatering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Caring for fiddle leaf figs doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s essential to follow the right practices for successful growth. Here are some common questions and answers:

Q: Why do brown spots appear on my fiddle leaf fig leaves?
A: Brown spots are often a sign of overwatering. Allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering again.

Q: Are fiddle leaf fig leaves toxic to cats?
A: Yes, fiddle leaf fig leaves are toxic if ingested by cats. Seek veterinary assistance if your pet has consumed any part of the plant.

Q: How quickly do fiddle leaf figs grow?
A: Fiddle leaf fig trees can grow between 1 and 2 feet per year.

Q: Why is my fiddle leaf fig dropping leaves?
A: Lack of water or a dry environment can cause a fiddle leaf fig to shed its leaves.

Q: How do I clean my fiddle leaf fig leaves?
A: Simply spray the large leaves with water and gently wipe them with a soft cloth.

With these tips and a little care, your fiddle leaf fig will thrive and become a stunning focal point in your home. Remember to monitor its needs, make adjustments accordingly, and enjoy the beauty it brings to your space.

![Fiddle Leaf Fig](https://www.thespruce.com/thmb/rQo2q9FWSYVX6n8dyNF6xIz2Alw=/450×0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc():format(webp)/fiddle-leaf-fig-tree-5af24a5dc673350037fdc171.jpg)

Image courtesy of Ames Farm Center