If grace and beauty are what you are looking for in a house plant, the fiddle leaf fig plant is the one for you. These plants have come into the limelight for the past couple of years for their picturesque looks and beautiful silhouette. This gorgeous plant with shiny violin-shaped leaves is a great addition to any room with the definition and structure it adds to space. This article will take you through details about the fiddle leaf fig plant, its origin, conditions it requires to grow with special emphasis on how to grow them and fiddle leaf fig care tips.
Before going into care details, it is important to understand where the fiddle leaf fig plant comes from and the conditions it requires to survive. These details are essential to maintenance the plant better.
What is a fiddle leaf fig plant?
The fiddle leaf fig botanically known as Ficus lyrata is a tropical plant native to the rainforests of western and central Africa. The weather and growth conditions required are largely dependent on the fact that these plants have a tropical origin.
As the fiddle leaf fig plant comes from regions that are high on humidity are receive a large amount of natural light and warmth these plants are a little tricky when it comes to caring. This being said once they adjust to space, they can withstand almost everything making them tough plants.
Most of the indoor variants of the fiddle leaf plant, grow up to 10 feet without much effort. Their height, however, can be controlled by regular pruning. The basic growth pattern of this plant is that it grows tall and upright with leaves clustered from the middle till the top. The fact that these plants have heavily veined and have extremely large leaves makes them unique and desirable.
The fiddle leaf fig plant can be grown from the seed or purchased as a sapling. Here are details about how you can incorporate these unique plants in your living space.
How to grow a fiddle leaf fig plant at home?
Fiddle leaf figs get their name from the shape of their leaves, which look like fiddles or violins. These plants are tough and can withstand varying climates in the wild but when grown indoors can be a bit sensitive to growth conditions. The fiddle leaf fig plant can reach up to 40 to 50 feet in the wild contrary to this when planted indoors their growth is stunted and they do not bear fruit.
Growing and caring for fiddle leaf fig plants at home is not very difficult, with the right growing conditions they can grow to about 6 to 10 feet in no time. Making them desirable and apt for bigger rooms.
As mentioned, the fiddle leaf fig plant is sensitive about growing conditions here is how you can manoeuvre around these specifications.
Where should I place my fiddle leaf fig plant at home?
Fiddle leaf plants grow well in bright indirect light. If exposed to direct sunlight their leaves will burn. Hence it is important to place them close to a window but not directly under the sun. As these plants are native to tropical warm conditions, pay attention to the temperature in the room. The fiddle leaf fig plant does well in about 68 degrees F, hence, they need to be kept away from cold, drafty areas, across from doors and windows during winters, as well as heat vents.
If you plan to plant them outdoors, they do well in zones 10 to 12. However, most households in the US prefer having these in their living space as they are unique and unconventional as compared to other indoor plants.
Details about the weather conditions are important to put into perspective how to look after the plant. There are often speculations about buying the plant as a sapling or planting them as seeds.
As these plants are tropical and the germination process can be tricky especially when planted at home, we suggest that you buy these plants as saplings and continue to care for them till they grow and mature.
Here is a step to step guide on buying a Fiddle leaf fig plant.
When to by a fiddle leaf fig plant?
This plant is sensitive to growing conditions and loves warmer conditions as compared to colder ones hence, it is advisable to purchase these plants in summer or spring. This will give the plant time to adjust better. The fiddle leaf fig plant is a tropical plant and loves warmer conditions hence getting them in summer or spring will make the ride home more comfortable.
Another important characteristic of this plant is that they do not like temperature variations. Buying them in winter will expose them to several temperatures, for example, the one they are used to in the greenhouse, the one on the way to the car, the one in your car, the one from the car to its new home. With so many variations the plant can go into shock easily especially if the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This hypersensitivity can prove to be fatal to the plant.
Tip: If at all you need to buy the plant in winter. Cover it well to help the plant retain warmth and moisture.
How to buy a fiddle leaf fig plant?
Fiddle leaf plants are a little fussy hence it is important to purchase these plants locally as they need to be checked thoroughly. Here is what to look for:
Keep in mind that the fiddle leaf fig plant comes in several variants – one type is the one with large leaves that are dark and shiny while the other kind that is stunted and smaller. Before you buy the plant check with the seller what variant it is and the special care tips that come along with that variant.
The Bambino meaning small is a baby variant, these plants do not have large leaves like the original plant and are often mistaken as smaller versions of the fiddle leaf fig plant. These plants are more common as they are ergonomic and take up less space. If you have a smaller space opt for this variant. The original fiddle leaf fig is twice as big as the Bambino.
Once you zero down on the variant you need to inspect the plant closely before purchasing it.
Buy plants that have lush foliage. The bigger the leaves the better for this plant. The plant you buy needs to have as many leaves as possible. So, the first thing to look at is the number of leaves on the plant. The number of leaves on the plant determines the quality. Plants of inferior quality will have fewer leaves. In these plants, it is important to go in for plants that are of superior quality as they will grow well.
Tip: Some variants are low on leaves so cross verify the variant.
Leaves are the most important part of the fiddle leaf fig plant. The leaves on this plant bring structure and uniqueness to it. Another thing about the leaves of this plant is that they do not regenerate easily. So, if you pick a plant with fewer leaves or leaves that are damaged, they will not regenerate like other house plants. Even if they do it will take a lot of time and effort.
Once satisfied with the foliage cover of the plant look closely at the stem. look at the distance between two leaf nodes on the stem. what you are looking for is a plant that has the least distance between the leaves. these have been cared for and grown well. plants with greater distance have grown in a hurry at the greenhouse and will not have a dense cover.
Smaller variants of the plant are more compact as compared to bigger variants. They have more leaves as well.
After inspecting the number of leaves and the stem it is important to examine the quality of the leaves. these plants grow new leaves only at the top of the plant and therefore it becomes extremely important to look at the conditions of the existing leaves as they will not get better with time like other plants.
Check for damage on the leaves
These are tropical plants and love water and heat. If the air around the plant is dry they will be brown spots on the leaves. These brown spots on the fiddle leaf fig generally happen when the water does not reach the entire leaf. There are many other reasons for these brown spots on the fiddle leaf fig plant read on to find out.
Once you are satisfied with the quality of the leaves its time to look at the roots.
What to look for:
The roots of this plant will pretty much cover the entire pot.
Once you pull off the pot the roots should hold the soil together. If the soil is not held together the roots are damaged or the rooting system is underdeveloped.
Turn the plant over and inspect the roots closely
The roots of this plant are yellowish-brown and not white like other plants. The newer leaves start as white and get darker as they mature. Rots that are rotting will have a dark brown to black hue.
If all seems fine you can purchase the plant.
Now that you have your plant and are ready to take it home, it is important to look at fiddle leaf fig plants care tips, like Do these plants require compost and other additives? How often do these plants need to be repotted? Do they need frequent watering? These questions are more are answered in the next section that deals with fiddle leaf fig plant care tips.
How to care for a fiddle leaf fig plant indoors?
The fiddle leaf fig plant is an excellent choice as a house plant. Though these plants are a little sensitive to growth conditions they are easy to care for once the basics are done right. Here are care tips for the fiddle leaf fig plant on all aspects and specifications.
The most important thing that the fiddle leaf plants require to grow is sunlight. these plants are native to tropical conditions and hence they love a good 6 to 10 hours of sunlight per day. While placing these plants keep them away from direct sunlight as this will do more harm than good to the plant. Bright indirect light is what it longs for.
A good quality potting mix is good for the fiddle leaf fig plant. A well-draining potting mix does well as this plant does not like soggy soil. Before leaving the plant to grow in a pot, it is important to check for drainage holes at the bottom. This will help get rid of excess water and keep the plant healthy.
The fiddle leaf fig plant requires moderate watering. If you water the plant too much it will droop and suffer from root rot, at the same time if not watered adequately the leaves will start to lose their bright green color and will dry.
When do you know it’s time to water a fiddle leaf fig plant?
The best way to tell that a fiddle leaf fig plant in your care needs watering is when about two inches of the soil it is potted in is dry. To check, stick your finger in the soil if it comes out completely dry its time to water. If you have soil sticking to your finger you can go a day or two without water.
Tip: During spring and summer the plant needs to be watered more often as compared to winters.
Additionally, an excellent fiddle leaf fig plant care tip to include to your maintenance routine is flushing salt from the soil once a month. As the fiddle leaf fig plant is sensitive to high salt levels in the soil, getting rid of excess salt prove beneficial to the overall health of the plant.
How do you flush salt from the soil the fiddle leaf fig plant is planted in?
The flush the salt from the soil either move the pot to a bathroom or open area where you do not mind making a mess. Then water the plant till the water starts to drain from the bottom. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how big the plant is. You can then wait for the excess water to drain and move the plant back to its original position.
Caution: the fiddle leaf fig plant does not like to be moved too often it will start shedding leaves. to avoid this the salt draining process can be done in the same spot it is in if the salt content is too high.
Tip: Test the soil to check for salt levels in it.
The fiddle leaf fig plant likes fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen. Choose fertilizers that are slow to dissolve, you could also buy fertilizer sticks and leave them in the pot through the growing period.
When the fiddle leaf fig plant is a younger plant to repot the plant annually every spring. To repot the plant, loosen the soil and transfer the plant to a pot that is about 2 to 3 inches larger than the previous one. Then fill the pot with potting mix and water it well so that the roots can set.
When the plants begin to grow it will become increasingly difficult to repot the plant. In such cases, every spring remove the top layer of soil (about 3 to 6 inches depending on the size of the plant) and replace it with fresh potting mix.
As caring for the fiddle leaf fig plant can be a challenge, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions about fiddle leaf fig plant care.
Why is my fiddle leaf fig getting brown spots?
Fiddle leaf fig can develop brown spots for a number of reasons. To treat brown spots it is important to understand the cause.
Cause 1: Overwatering or poor drainage
Overwatering the fiddle leaf fig cause the saturation in the soil causing the roots to rot. Root rot spreads from the roots to the leaves of the plant. This attracts fungal growth on the leaves causing brown spots. Root rot will generally affect older leaves first, this is how you can identify the problem.
Key symptoms: small black spots on older leaves that increase in size eventually causing the leaf to droop and fall off.
Cause 2: Bacterial infection
Bacterial infections are the most common in fiddle leaf fig plants and the most difficult to treat. Bacterial infections can easily be mistaken for root rots and hence you need to pay close attention to other signs if the root rot treatment doesn’t help get rid of the spots.
Key symptom: yellowing of the leaf along with brown spots
Cause 3: under watering
Like overwatering the plant, under watering is also harmful. It can cause the leaves to dry out. When you do not provide enough water for the plant only a portion of the leaf receives nutrients
Key symptoms: light brown spots on the edges and tips of the leaves
Cause 4: Too much sunlight
The fiddle leaf plant can get sunburnt if left under direct sunlight. This plant likes bright indirect sunlight.
Key symptoms: orange-brown spots on the interior and edges of the leaves
Cause 5: Not enough light
As the fiddle lead fig plant is native to tropical conditions, they like a well-lit room. If the light is not enough it will start to brown
Key symptoms: brown spots on the edges
What are the care tips for fiddle leaf fig with brown spots?
Treating brown spots on the fiddle leaf plant or caring for plants with brown spits is difficult but not impossible. Once the plant is damaged it takes very long for the leaves to regenerate. Hence it is important to pay attention to signs and stop the spots before they affect the entire plant.
Overwatering or poor drainage
The brown almost black spots caused due to overwatering can be taken care of by spacing the watering sessions and punching drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. to aid in drainage mix cocopeat, earthen pot pieces or gravel. This will aid in drainage and reduce saturation.
The best way to treat bacterial infection in fiddle leaf fig plants is to treat it early before it spreads to the entire plant. If the damage is not severe cut off the leaves that are affected and repot the plant. Give it plenty of light and water it well till it recovers. You can use over the counter bacterial sprays available for fiddle leaf figs.
Tip: If more than 50% of your plant is affected consider discarding the plant and starting afresh with a new specimen.
If you see light brown spots on the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig plant its indicative of the fact that you are not watering it enough. To counter this, have a fixed watering schedule and let the plant stand in a nice shady spot. It will recover sooner.
Too much sunlight
If the plant is in a spot that receives too much sunlight change the location. Keep the plant away from the window or barricade the window in a way that the plant receives indirect light. This will reduce burns.
Not enough light
If you notice that the plant is developing brown spots due to not enough light, move them to a brighter location. Fiddle leaf fig plants require 6 to 10 hours of indirect light every day.
What are the fiddle leaf fig plants care tips for plants whose roots are peeping out of the soil?
If the roots of the fiddle leaf fig plant in your care are peeping out its time to repot the plant. The roots of the fiddle leaf plant like to move around and occupy all the space they can. They form a net-like structure to support the plant. If the roots of the plant are peeping out of the soil they are begging for more space. Repotting the plant will solve this problem.
Which is the best fiddle leaf fig variant?
There are a number of fiddle leaf fig plant variants available in the market. The plant that suits your needs the best is the one to welcome home. We have put together a list of fiddle leaf plant variants that we feel are the best of the lot
Ficus lyrata ‘Bambino’:
This is a dwarf variant suitable for smaller spaces. They reach only a few feet in height and have leaves smaller than the original plant variant.
Ficus lyrata ‘Compacta’:
This is a slightly taller variant that can reach up to 5 feet in height. The leaves of this plant are more bunched as compared to other variants. So, if you are looking for a fuller plant this is the one for you.
Ficus lyrata ‘Variegata’:
This variant is rather uncommon but has a lot of structure and style associated with it. this variant has leaves that are a mix of green and cream and is a rather rare variant to find here in the US.
To sum it up
The fiddle leaf plant is a marvellous indoor plant that will definitely add to your style quotient. It brings with itself definition and elegance and blends well with any décor. These plants can be a bit difficult to manage and you may sometimes come across brown spots, drooping leaves, leaves sheading or untimely death of your fiddle leaf fig plant, but its all part of the plant parenting process.
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The bottom line is there is nothing that cannot be fixed so propel ahead even if you face a few obstacles while caring for fiddle leaf fig plants. The fiddle leaf fig care tips mentioned in this blog will help understand the plant in your care better and put you in a better position to maintain a sensitive plant like the fiddle leaf fig. Happy gardening!
I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
I am sharing all the practical tips on how to grow various plants, flower plants, vegetables in the garden. Read more about me.