Get to know your Fiddle Leaf Fig. It simply takes a little bit of history and know-how. The Ficus lyrata or Fiddle Leaf Fig as it is more commonly known is a native of the rain forests of Africa. Its size is such that it is often used as a shade tree in tropical climates. The fiddle leaf can be grown outside in zone 10 and within its native environment often reaching a mature height of 50 to 60 ft. tall- certainly not the size you would want for your home.
The FLF can be a little picky about where you put it. And, it could mean moving it several times to find just the right spot. A normal home has less than 10% humidity inside. The FLF really requires a humidity level of 50%. So, wherever you put it, it may not be a bad idea to have a humidifier somewhere close by. However, if that isn’t an option, you can always mist the leaves every day to increase the humidity around the plant. The soil around the FLF should stay damp but not wet. do not allow the soil to dry out completely before you water again. If it is a well-drained pot, water it when the top 1/2 inch of the soil is dry. do not allow your FLF to stand in water as this may lead to root rot. A consistent level of moisture in the soil is ideal.
You may purchase your plant from a garden center in a 6″ pot and it’s only about 18″ tall at that moment. Be aware that in an indoor environment, the fiddle leaf fig can still grow to around 10 ft tall. You can cut them back and the top will bush out more but after so many times you may start to notice that the plant is dying. So, you will want to keep them at a manageable size but then plan for width where you lose height. Your baby FLF won’t be a baby forever.
While it is possible to propagate a fiddle leaf fig at home it must be done with care. You will be able to get the leaves to take root in water but that will not usually produce a viable plant for soil. Instead, you need the leaf and about four to six inches of the woody stem. Place in water until roots are formed and move to the soil. You can then start over fresh when your mature plant has outgrown its space. You may want to consider donating your overgrown specimen to a local library, school, or business that may have more room to accommodate the large plant. Or maybe, you might be able to relocate it within your home.
Your FLF will let you know when it isn’t happy. If the leaves begin to brown and drop, that’s a pretty good indication that your plant needs some water. However, if it isn’t dry, you may be watering too much. Let the soil dry out just a bit before you water it again. If you notice the edges turning light and curling, then you probably have a light issue. Too much direct sun through a window can scorch the leaves and make them have yellow spots or the whole leaf may turn yellow. Likewise, if it isn’t getting enough light the leaves may turn yellow and begin to drop.
Overall, a fiddle leaf fig is not impossible. But, they do demand a little more attention than others. But when they are happy you will know it. They will grow lush and green and take up and enjoy all the space you will give them. Don’t forget to feed your FLF! A good all-around tropical plant food will be best or an all-purpose time-released fertilizer would be a good choice as well.
Enjoy your Fiddle Leaf Fig for years to come. Bring a little piece of the African wild into your home.