Indoor Plants

Everything you need to know about the Fiddle Leaf Fig

Everything you need to know about the Fiddle Leaf Fig

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.

fiddle-leaf-fig-with-basket

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.

Watering

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. During summer and spring the plant would require more water and you would need to reduce watering during winter months. 

When it is time to water your plant, thoroughly saturate the soil until water comes out of the bottom of the pot. Do not let your plant sit in a pool of water. If you are able to, carry your plant to the sink or shower to water it before returning it to the saucer.

Being a tropical plant, they love the warm and humid condition. Therefore to increase humidity around your plant mist the leaves every now and then. Increase misting to every few days during drier winter months.

Location

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 will 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. They are quite adaptive will adjust to most home and office temperature. However they don't like cold drafts. Be sure to keep your plant away from air conditioning vents and windows specially 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.

close-up-view-of-fiddle-leafs

Feeding

Feed your fiddle leaf fig once per month during the growing months such as summer and spring. While reducing in autumn, do not fertilize during winter months when plants growth naturally slows down. Over-fertilization can encourage leggy growth and can even kill your Fiddle Leaf Fig to grow leggy.

Re - Potting

Fiddle leaf figs like most plants would outgrowing its pot, therefore you need to either repot it or trim the root ball once a year to once every 2 years depending on the growth of the plant. If you see roots coming out of the holes at the bottom of your pot it's a good sign that your plant needs a bigger pot. Another way to tell if your Fiddle leaf requires a bigger pot would be to take it out of the pot and see if there is a root ball at the bottom. When this happens you need to either repot it or trim the root ball to ensure the plant stays healthy and have access to all the nutrient it requires.

Repotting is best if you want your plant to keep on growing taller. In that case, put the plant in a pot that is a couple inches larger than 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 are sensitive to excess moisture and prone to root rot. Select a pot that is a bit larger than the pot in which you currently have your plant. It must have a hole in the bottom so water can drain out.

The soil you select is also very important for the health of your Fiddle leaf fig. They prefer a fast draining well aerated premium indoor potting mix that retains water yet still drains quickly to keep its roots moist but not wet.

Place your pot in a saucer and line the first five centimetres with small rocks to help with drainage. Pour the potting mix 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!

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.

Common Problems 

Overwatering is one of the most common problems fiddle leaf fig ironically the second most common problem is under-watering. The worst part is it's actually hard to tell if your plant is looking unhappy due to overwatering or under-watering as the leaves drop, get brown spots, curl edges in both situations. Over watering leads to root rot that kills the plant’s roots and leaves. Under watering leads to a dry plant with leaf damage. The easiest way to tell the different is that under-watering will impacts leaves all over the plant where as overwatering will impact the lower leaves more than the top leaves.

Prevention is the key to maintaining a healthy plant therefore keeping the leaves dry, monitor your watering, and provide well-drained soil and ideal temperatures. Clean your plant regularly, at least once a month. Keeping plants dust-free not only helps them stay healthy and attractive, it also helps to rid them of insects. You can place the plant in the sink or shower and run lukewarm water over them to wash the leaves. 

Some of the most common pests that can attack your fiddle leaf fig include  Spider Mites, Mealy bugs and Scale.
  • Spider Mites are the most common. If there are tiny specks of webbing on the undersides of leaves and between stems and leaves it's time to take a closer look.  
  • Mealy bugs are small, white, and fuzzy insects. They feed on or around the leaf axils or under the leaves. Their eggs are incubated in white, cottony areas. Some species feed on roots; and 
  • Scales are flat, brown, hard-shelled insects that cling to the stems on the underside of leaves.

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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. 

The two most common problems for fiddle leaf fig plants are ironically the opposite: too much and too little water. But what’s worse is that it’s actually tough to tell which is which. Over watering leads to root rot, a fungal condition that kills the plant’s roots and leaves. Under watering leads to a dry plant with leaf damage.

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.