So, you want that fiddle leaf fig…
It all started with the hunt for a statement plant to fill that large empty corner of your house. You’ve browsed the internet, seen it in cafés and have fallen in love with the large fiddle like leaves of the Ficus lyrata, aka, the fiddle leaf fig.
Stop! Before you go out and pick up the perfect fiddle, you need to ensure you have the ideal conditions to allow this plant to thrive. Although amazing, these plants can be temperamental, to say the least, and without the proper care, you may find your fig beginning to droop, brown or drop its leaves. That said, there are a few easy steps to take to ensure your tree flourishes and your heart does not get broken.
Lighting & Location
Lighting is of paramount importance for these trees, and in order for them to thrive, it must be optimal conditions. Bright and indirect lighting near a window is ideal to keep your fiddle leaf fig happy. Therefore, the direction of the window is important to consider, South facing windows will provide sun for most of the day, while a north facing window provides much less. Keep in mind though; everything in moderation! Too much direct sunlight may cause the leaves to burn and crisp, so consider a light sheer or curtain to protect the leaves by diffusing the light.
What if you are unable to provide the proper natural lighting? Do not worry, artificial lighting is an option! Grow lights are available and supply the correct lighting required for your plant friend.
When considering placement, be concious of areas that could be drafty. Those winter breezes are not a friend of the fig. Once your plant is doing well in the spot you have placed it, do not move it. Allow it to flourish where it is happy. However, rotating once a week is good to ensure even growth but the fiddle leaf doesn’t do well with change. Make sure you consider the placement in proximity to a bright window.
Humidity & Warmth
The Ficus lyrata is native to the warm and humid tropics. In order for your fiddle to thrive as a houseplant, it will need similar conditions. Therefore, if your home is quite dry, you will need to increase the humidity. Try the following:
- Place your pot on a pan with rocks and water just below the rock line. Water will evaporate and create a rise in humidity.
- Misting the leaves with a spray bottle.
Keep in mind that homes can get especially dry during the fall and winter months when the indoor heaters get turned on. If you’re finding your home is getting too dry during the colder months, try combating it with a humidifier – this will not only benefit your fig, but you as well!
A proper watering schedule is very important for your fiddle leaf fig! Over and under-watering can cause leaves to brown and begin to drop. One of the most important tools to keep your fig healthy is a simple moisture meter. Depending on which one you use, it will come with a guide on when to water the fiddle leaf. Trust this tool. Do not doubt its ability
During the growing months, it is important to check on your fig every few days with your moisture meter, as conditions can change quickly. When indicated, water and fertilize your plant thoroughly just until water drains through the bottom of the pot, which you can expect about once a week during the growing season. During winter months, cut down on watering since the plant will not be as thirsty. Something to consider; if you are finding the plant is drying out too quickly, it may be time for a larger pot. Too much root and not enough soil will not make for ideal growing conditions. However, don’t go up no more than two inches in pot size to keep your fiddle pleased, and resist the temptation to move the tree (remember, these plants don’t do well with change).
To Fig or Not To Fig
Now, as you begin the journey of bringing a fiddle leaf fig home, take this information to heart. Following these steps will help you support your new tree, it is possible and you can do it! If this is your first house plant remember, the Ficus lyrata can be a demanding plant that requires attention and great conditions. If you think this plant may be too high maintenance for you… leave it behind, for now. Do not let this plant break your heart.
Though you may have to say goodbye to the fiddle at this time, do not say goodbye to houseplants altogether! There are many other beautiful plants which thrive on neglect such as snake plants or zz plants, to name a few. Allow yourself to find success and develop that green thumb! Come visit us in store to learn more, ask us questions and see our selection of beautiful houseplants!