With adequate sunlight and proper watering, your fiddle leaf fig will truly make a statement in any living space. Learn how to take care of this trendy tropical plant.
A houseplant that seems to be taking the world by storm; it appears on blogs, interior design magazines, and home-makeover television shows. What is that tall, lush plant with large violin-shaped leaves?
The answer is fiddle leaf (ficus lyrata)!
Small living space, big plant
The fiddle leaf fig is beloved for its unique, glossy foliage that suits any living space; big or small, chic or modern. They create a dramatic statement with contemporary and eclectic interior styles; it’s even making its way into offices and residential lobbies.
Considering there are various sizes of the fiddle leaf, pot sizes can range from 6” and upwards so you can have a touch of greenery on your desk or even a bathroom with adequate sunlight. A dwarf form of the fiddle leaf ficus (Ficus lyrata ‘compacta’) was recently introduced and is ideal for smaller spaces such as condos.
Pruning and Watering
A common question we receive is, “Should I prune my fiddle leaf fig?”
While pruning this plant, it is necessary to have a sharp pair of pruning shears. It’s a good idea to prune the trees in April to early May. Since pruning of the plant will encourage new growth, you need the days to be longer so the plant receives enough sunlight to produce fresh leaves. The best location to cut is just above a healthy leaf, pointing out away from the centre.
Gloves should be worn because the plant produces latex in the sap. It’s normal for the plant to bleed fluid for a short period after pruning, so don’t fret!
As this indoor tree trend keeps growing, it can be easy to forget this houseplant can be on the fussy side when it comes to water and sunlight.
Avoid over-watering or allowing the plant to sit in water, as it can cause root damage. If you see leaves dropping, over-watering could be the culprit. Water levels might fluctuate depending on the season; you might notice your plant needs less water in the winter but is craving more humidity.
An excellent way to check if your plant needs water is to poke the top 1-2 inches of soil and invest in a moisture metre. Misting your fiddle leaf is highly recommended, especially in the winter months when heaters can dry the air out in our homes. As with many houseplants, keep your fiddle leaf away from any drafty windows or vents.
You will know it’s time to repot your plant when the roots start to grow outside any drainage holes (generally every one to two years).
You can also trim the roots up to 20% off the root ball to keep the plant a compact size. Always use soil with good drainage.
Don’t Forget the Sunshine
Fiddle leaf figs require bright, filtered sunlight. If it does not receive enough sunlight, it will fail to produce new growth.
Direct afternoon sunlight can burn the leaves which will have a copper/bronze colour. Although the damage rarely kills the plant, it takes away from its beauty.
Turn your plant regularly to ensure it receives sunlight from all angles to grow evenly.
Common name: Ficus lyrata
Origin: Africa, Cameroon west to Sierra Leone, in lowland tropical rainforest
Water: It’s time to water when the top 1-2 inches of the soil feels dry
Light: Bright, indirect light
Dislikes: Over-watering, direct exposure to afternoon sunlight
Benefits: Large leaves help clean the air
Fertilizer: A balanced fertilizer can be applied through the spring and summer months, reduce to every other month during the autumn and winter