How to Grow: Fiddle Leaf Fig

Alex.volma

Sun Requirements
Bright, consistent light. In the North grow them in a sunny South-facing window with some curtains as a light filter. Turn the plant regularly if it starts to lean towards the light.

Bloom Period, Plant Shape
Fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata) are grown as a houseplant for their large, dark green leaves and tall architectural shape. They rarely flower indoors.

Mature Height x Spread

Fiddleleaf fig can grow into a large 50 foot tall tree outdoors in its home in West African tropical rainforest areas. Luckily, as a houseplant it stays more manageable. However, it can grow to 10 feet tall if happy in your home. That’s a good problem to have since it means you are caring for it properly. In warm areas, you can move it outdoors into a part shaded porch area to continue growing or you can prune the top (see below) to keep it shorter.

How to Plant
Plant fiddleleaf figs in containers filled with moistened, peat-based potting soil. Fiddleleaf figs like an organic soil that stays consistently moist, but not

wet. Fiddleleaf figs can grow fast when happy, so you may have to repot the fig in a few years. Avoid cold drafty areas.

Growing Tips
The biggest problems gardeners have growing fiddleleaf figs indoors is humidity, watering, and plant size. Fiddleleaf figs grow naturally in a rainforest. They like it humid. This can be a problem, especially in cold winter areas, that often have dry houses in winter. Place a humidifier near the plant, group houseplants together and place them on a pebble tray filled with water to keep the humidity high in winter.

Keep plants well watered, but not wet. When the soil is dry 1- to 2-inches deep, water thoroughly so it drains out the drainage holes. Let it dry out again before watering. Cut back on watering in winter. If you water too much the lower leaves may have a brown edge, or completely brown and drop. If you don’t water enough the new leaves may have brown spots and drop. Brown spots can also mean your plant is getting too much direct sun or cold temperatures. Fertilize in spring and summer with a regular houseplant fertilizer.

If the plant is growing too tall for the space, in spring, cut off the top growth point on the main trunk. It will look unsightly for awhile, but a new shoot will soon grow to replace the cut one. Another method to keep the tree short is to root prune the root ball. In spring, remove the root ball from the pot, take off no more than 20% of the roots with a pruner, and repot with fresh potting soil.

Figs are susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Watch for these and spray insecticidal soap to kill them. Periodically wipe off leaves with a soapy water mixture to kill these pests as well. Fiddleleaf figs can cause stomach irritation in pets if ingested.

Design Tips: Fiddleleaf figs have become all the rage in the houseplant world. Their tall, statuesque shape and large leaves make them highly desirable floor plants to add height and depth to a room. You can grow baby fiddleleaf figs to grow in smaller pots on tabletops and plant stands as well.

Varieties: Most fiddleleaf figs grow into large trees. However, there are some dwarf varieties such as ‘Suncoast’ and ‘Compacta’ that will stay shorter and bushier.

 

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