Ultimate Care For Your Fiddle-Leaf
The fiddle-leaf fig can rise to about 50 feet, producing a 25- to 30-foot crown and various cinnamon-brown trunks with stems that support leaves about 15 inches in length and 10 inches in width, somewhat resembling the bellies of fiddles or perhaps large paddles.
The green is a rich forest color, and in spring, the tree can produce 2-inch-long fruits at the tip of each branch. Like many other fig species that grow in Florida, it can create air roots — but minimally, compared to some.
Due to its glossy, violin-shaped leaves and angular form, the Ficus lyrata, often known as the fiddle-leaf fig, has been a Pinterest-worthy staple. Unfortunately, the plant is tough to maintain.
How Did Fiddle-Leaf Figs Become So Popular?
The fiddle-leaf fig has been featured in several interior design magazine spreads over the years, owing to its popularity with interior designers.
Its slim trunk and dense foliage give it a beautiful sculptural character that complements warm boho and stark, minimalist interiors.
In the past few years, the fiddle-leaf fig has also exploded in popularity on Instagram. People are attracted to its vibrantly colored, dark green foliage, which photographs well. They stand out in any environment.
Also, our interest in plants in general, and the difficult-to-care-for fiddle-leaf fig in particular, is a way of connecting with nature that gives us a sense of pride.
When you get the plant home and it begins to grow, it is satisfying to know that you’ve provided it with a suitable environment for growth.
Why Do Fiddle-Leaf Figs Cost So Much?
If you’ve just visited your local big-box retailer, you’ve likely spotted little fiddle-leaf figs for less than $30.
There is a good rationale for the price discrepancy, even though this may be a bargain compared to the exorbitant price tag commonly seen at specialized nurseries (we’ve seen them for over $200).
When you purchase plants from a large chain, they are placed on the floor and only seldom watered.
Also, specimens sold in large retail outlets are often smaller than those available in nurseries, partially explaining the price disparity.
A commercial nursery has cultivated $200 or $300 specimens for several years. Every month it spends in a retail nursery is an entire month’s worth of pay,
caretakers, and space that could be used to cultivate something else.
There is no reason you shouldn’t give a big-box fiddle-leaf fig a decent home. However, you may get more prominent (and, consequently, more expensive) examples in nurseries, where workers nurture them under optimal conditions for years.
You may score a deal and take satisfaction in caring for your fiddle-leaf fig throughout its various stages of life if you are willing to accept that it will take years to reach an impressive size and are committed to educating yourself on how to keep your new plant happy.
What Should I Know Before Buying A Fiddle-Leaf Fig?
Before traveling to the nursery, it is essential to examine whether or not you can provide your plant with a thriving habitat.
The fiddle-leaf fig is native to the lowland tropical rainforests of West Africa. While you do not need to duplicate tropical conditions at home to keep your plant healthy and happy, it is essential to receive sufficient indirect sunlight and be protected from drafts.
Another consideration is that fiddle-leaf figs dislike being relocated. Once your plant has established itself in a warm, light location, it is preferable not to relocate it.
When selecting a fiddle-leaf fig specimen from the nursery, personal preference is all that matters. Depending on the scale required to fill your space, you may pick a thin tree with a single branch or a massive tree with dense foliage.
When Should One Purchase A Fiddle-Leaf Fig?
Winter may appear like the ideal time to start an indoor garden, but experts warn against purchasing tropical plants like the fiddle-leaf fig.
While fiddle-leaf figs are available year-round at nurseries, it is preferable to wait until the weather warms up before bringing one home. Even five minutes in the cold might kill all of the plant’s leaves.
How Much Of Sun Exposure Does A Fiddle-Leaf Fig Require?
The most crucial aspect of care for a fiddle-leaf fig is ensuring that it receives ample sunshine.
The plant requires indirect, bright, and warm light, meaning that the rays do not shine straight on it (if the room gets straight light throughout the day, you can use a white curtain to diffuse it).
A south or west exposure is optimal, but your plant can still flourish even if your home’s orientation is north.
Choose a location near a large, unobstructed window whenever feasible; this will guarantee that your plant receives as much light as possible. Remember that fiddle-leaf figs require indirect sunshine to thrive.
To replicate an ideal nursery environment at home, diffuse direct light with a white curtain.
If you have a balcony, porch, or sunroom, you can move your plant outside during the summer (not to move it too frequently) and hang a curtain to shield it from direct sunlight.
If you opt to allow your fiddle-leaf fig to bask in the summer sun outdoors, beware of insects that may have dug into the soil before bringing it back inside.
How Much Of Water Is Required For A Fiddle-Leaf Fig?
When it comes to the picky fiddle-leaf fig, your standard weekly watering routine will not be enough.
The amount of water it requires changes based on several circumstances, including the season, the amount of sunlight it receives, and its surroundings.
The rate at which a plant absorbs water is also affected by indoor heating and drafty windows.
The best way to determine if a plant requires watering is to get your hands filthy. “I suggest inserting your index finger approximately two and a half inches into the earth. Wait a few days if you feel dampness on the tip of your finger.
Before watering, she recommends letting the soil dry out between two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half inches during the warmer months and between three-and-a-half and four-and-a-half inches in the fall and winter, when the sun is not as intense.
Is There Something Else I Can Do To Ensure My Plant’s Health?
Are the leaves of your fiddle-leaf fig a little lackluster? The leaves are dusted when a buildup is observed. These leaves are porous and should be washed, just like you would your face. It aids their oxygen absorption.
While pre-made foliage cleaners can be purchased in nurseries to make the leaves more glossy, water will suffice.
Use a moist paper towel to dust your fiddle-leaf fig, then support the leaf you are cleaning with a large sponge.
A monthly application of an all-purpose fertilizer is also advised for plant health.
How Will I Know When To Repot My Fiddle-Leaf Fig?
A healthy fiddle-leaf fig typically requires repotting every two years to continue growing. While you may leave your plant in the container it came in (or in an attractive planter of the same size) for a while, a healthy fiddle-leaf fig needs to be repotted every one to two years to continue growing.
Examining the roots is the best technique to determine if a plant needs to be transferred to a larger container. When the plant is primarily dry, you should unpack it and inspect its base for coiled roots.
If the roots have encircled the pot’s base, it’s time to repot your fiddle-leaf fig. Choose a container no more than 5 cm (two inches) larger in diameter than the one it’s currently in; this will guarantee that the plant has room to expand while remaining comfortable.
If possible, choose a container with drainage holes. Alternately, place a layer of rocks at the bottom of the new planter to shield the plant’s roots from water that collects there.
Search for indoor-specific soil when replacing the potting mix or transferring your plant to a new pot. Good soil contains perlite, which enhances drainage and aeration.
You should only transfer your plant to a larger container if there is sufficient room for growth. Every time you [repot a plant], you give it space to grow longer, stronger roots, allowing it to begin growing larger.
While fiddle-leaf figs can reach up to 50 feet in the wild, they rarely exceed 10 feet in height when grown indoors.
Even if you don’t wish your fiddle-leaf fig to get more extensive, you can replace the potting mix to provide it with new nutrients.
The Leaves Are Forming Brown Patches. Is It Too Late For My Plant To Be Saved?
If the foliage of your fiddle-leaf fig exhibits symptoms of illness, such as brown spots or fading leaves, it does not necessarily signal that the plant is hopeless.
You won’t be able to rescue leaves that have already changed color (although you can clip them to keep your houseplant looking its best), but you can likely still save the plant itself.
Identifying the origin of the problem is the first step in rescuing your plant. Leaves that are fading or turning brown and crispy at the margins indicate that your plant is somewhat too dry and not watering enough, whereas brown spots in the middle of the leaves suggest that you are overwatering your plant.
To get to the bottom of the issue, consider its origins. If they are fibrous and white, your plant is still healthy and robust.
If they’ve gone orange, your plant is in poor condition, but there’s still a chance to salvage it; your best bet would be to seek advice from an expert at your local nursery.
If the roots have entirely become black and mushy, it indicates rot, and there is nothing that can be done.
Some of the older leaves at the bottom may fall off as your plant sprouts new leaves. No matter how excellent a plant parent you are, this is to be expected; it’s nature taking its course.