We are sure you have heard of the fiddle leaf fig (ficus lyrata) by now. You might also heard the reputation of it being a very difficult plant to keep alive? And yes, it’s true, kind of. But don’t despair, we have learned some tricks on how to keep your beautiful fiddle leaf healthy.
Where to place it
You bring a gorgeous fiddle leaf home … now what? The fiddle-leaf fig needs the kind of light most houses and apartments naturally provide — not too much, not too little. Place your plant in an east-facing window so it will get lots of indirect sun, but be spared from the strong afternoon sun from a south- or west facing window. Don’t stick it in a dark corner away from the light (if you can help it). And to make sure that you purchase a healthy plant to begin with, check for droopy, spotty leaves when in store. Another great tip? Don’t move your fiddle leaf fig tree, but rotate it often. Since fiddle leaf figs tend to grow toward sunlight, rotating your planter once a month can help your plant grow more evenly and keep it from bending on different sides.
How to water
Watering is the simplest yet trickiest part of caring for plants — and it’s really easy to overdo it. Overwatering your tree can be deadly and waiting too long to water it (when it is bone dry) can cause the leaves to brown and drop. Fiddle leaf figs should only be watered when the top inch or two of their soil is dry. A quick way to tell is to stick your finger in and see if it feels dry or not. If it feels damp, skip the water for now and check again later. When watering, make sure to drench until water comes out the bottom of the pot and leave it to slowly dry out again. And don’t forget to mist them with water from a spray bottle a couple times a week and clean the leafs with a damp cloth when needed. You can also rinse your fiddle leaf fig in the shower every three months, which not only cleans the leaves but also fully rehydrates the soil.
Fig trees generally likes fertiliser, but the fiddle leaf not so. Try to mimic the natural seasons of growth for the fig and fertilise only monthly throughout summer. Over-fertilisation can cause plants to grow leggy and can even kill them. One tip is renewing the top several inches of soil with a fresh, nutrient-rich layer annually. Then use your regular water-soluble fertiliser. Speaking of soil, repot your fiddle leaf fig tree annually. Get a pot that is not much bigger than the original pot that it came in. The roots like to be somewhat snug. Plant it in an indoor potting mix soil mixed with 1/3 cactus soil. Cactus soil is rockier than most potting soils and it’s help with your water drainage. The most important thing to remember when it comes to fiddle leaf figs is the drainage. A compact soil will cause root rot, and you don’t want that!
Pruning and Propagating
Did you know you can make new fiddle leaf babies from cutting a branch off of your tree? Pruning your tree will promote horizontal growth. The tree will actually grow more when you prune i, the spot where you cut will split into two new growths. If your tree is looking a little spindly or top heavy, then it might be time for a trim. To prune, find where a leaf connects to the tree (also called a node) and cut right above the leaf. Once you cut if off, stick the cutting in water and place in sunlight. Throughout the weeks, the branch will start growing roots. You can pot your cutting once the roots have grown a little bit (at least 4-5 cm long). This process can take a month or longer, so be patient. Change the water about once a week so it stays fresh. Follow the same potting process noted above and you should have lots and lots of fiddle babies. Good luck with your fiddle leaf fig!
For even more fiddle leaf fig inspiration, please check out our video below:
Image credits: Nittonarton, Unsplash, Interflora & Urban Plants