Fiddle leaf fig plants are a dramatic addition to any household. Named for its broad, violin-shaped leaves, the fiddle leaf fig is the darling of home decor. Fiddle leaf fig plants are extraordinarily popular, with hashtags in over 100,000 Instagram posts. But popularity doesn't mean that they're easy to care for. Fiddle leaf fig plants need specific conditions to keep them alive and looking good.
Want to learn more about this trendy plant? We've got you covered. Read on to learn everything there is to know about the fiddle leaf fig.
Where Do Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants Originate?
Fiddle leaf fig plants are native to the lowland tropical rainforests in western Africa. They grow wild everywhere from Cameroon to Sierra Leone. It helps to know a bit about the conditions in which they naturally grow in order to care for them.
The rainforests in which they originate have a warm and wet climate with average temperatures between 20 degrees and 34 degrees. Tropical rainforests receive an average of 175 centimetres to 200 centimetres of rain every year.
In the wild, they most commonly grow as an epiphyte, which means that they grow on top of a tree. Other well-known epiphytes include mistletoe and orchids. Less commonly, they grow on their own up to 15 metres tall.
You'll probably bring your plant home from the nursery in a plastic container. The container is great for temporary use, but won't work very well in the long run. Transfer your fiddle leaf fig to a clay or earthenware pot when you bring it home so the soil its planted in can breathe.
Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to excess moisture and prone to root rot. Select a pot that is a bit larger than the pot in which you brought your plant home. It must have a hole in the bottom so water can drain out.
Place your pot in a saucer and line the first five centimetres with small rocks to help with drainage. Pour dirt around the sides of the pot and place your plant in it. Make sure the plant is sticking up straight and you're good to go!
If it looks like your plant is outgrowing its pot, then you need to either repot it or trim the root ball. Repotting is best if you want your plant to keep growing taller. In that case, put the plant in a pot that is a couple inches larger the one it's currently in. If you want to keep you plant the same size, then trim the root ball and put it back in the pot.
Fiddle leaf figs have particular water requirements. It is sensitive to both over-watering and under-watering.
They don't have a set schedule in which they must be watered. Instead, water them only when the top inch of soil is dry. Over time you'll get a good feel for how often you should water it. Be aware that seasonal changes in humidity will have an effect on how often you water it.
When it is time to water your plant, thoroughly saturate the soil until water comes out of the bottom of under the pot. Do not let your plant sit in a pool of water. If you are able, carry your plant to the sink to water it before returning it to the saucer.
Fiddle leaf figs are extremely popular in the interior design world because their dramatic beauty brings drab spaces to life. That does not mean that they will thrive anywhere. To keep these picky plants alive, you have to remember where they came from.
Location within the home is a huge part of keeping this not at all low maintenance plant alive. If you picture the rainforests from which they originated, you can understand why dark, drafty corners equal death for the fiddle leaf fig.
These plants need lots of indirect sunlight like they would receive through rainforest canopies. Place them by big bright windows or patio doors and rotate them every so often. Be careful not to expose them to direct sunlight or their leaves with turn brown and fall off.
If fiddle leaf figs had it their way, you'd keep your home at 30 degrees and humid all day long, unfortunately, most humans aren't into that. The good news is that your plant will thrive even if you keep your home around 20 degrees. Be sure to keep it away from air conditioning vents and drafty windows during winter months.
Another thing to keep in mind is that fiddle leaf figs hate being moved. If you're planning on moving a plant you've kept in one spot for a long time, prepare yourself for the possibility that it might not survive.
Feed your fiddle leaf fig once per month during the growing months. Don't fertilize in the winter months of June, July, and August.
Pruning and Propogating
It may sound counterintuitive, but pruning is a great way to help your fiddle leaf fig's leaves come back fuller and longer. The place on the tree that you prune will split into two branches instead of one.
Find the node, where the leaf grows out from the tree, and cut above the leaf. Leave several centimetres of bare branch on your cutting. You can use this cutting to propagate a new plant.
Stick the cutting in a glass of water and place it in the sun. The cutting will start to grow roots over the next several weeks. Change the water about once per week. Once the roots have reached 8 to 10 centimetres long you can pot it.
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The fiddle leaf fig plant needs a moderate amount of care to keep it alive. Follow these care tips to help your plant thrive. In turn you'll have a stunning plant that will wow even the most discerning of guests for years to come.
Interested in adding more plants to your home? Check out our blog for more information about gorgeous indoor plants that'll work perfectly for you.