This tall tree with gorgeous green foliage is a crowd-pleaser. So much so that it has been crowned the “IT” plant of the design world by New York Times.
For all its beauty and popularity, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is actually a touchy plant that needs punctilious care. One wrong move and the plant goes berserk.
But fear not, we’re here to tell you all there is to know about how to care for fiddle leaf figs. Let’s discuss the common problems you can face and how to tackle them if they should arise.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Tips
The Ficus lyrata, a flowering plant, is a natural inhabitant of western Africa. In the wild, the plant can grow up to 39-49 ft. tall. Wild fiddle leaf figs have insignificant flowers that grow into fig fruit. But this doesn’t happen indoors.
The tree’s native environment is warm, humid, and bright. So when you bring the tree indoors, you should try your best to replicate these conditions.
Temperature, Light, and Humidity Requirements
A room where the temperature stays between 60-85°F is where the FLF is happiest. The tree is intolerant of temperature fluctuations. So try your best to keep the range steady.
FLFs need bright light to thrive. But the light shouldn’t shine directly on the leaves, or else they will burn. But if the tree doesn’t get enough light, the growth rate will decline. Keep your plant near an east-facing window. The plant will get morning light but will be shaded from bright, afternoon light.
The tree needs 30-60% humidity. So if you live in a dry climate, you need to invest in a humidifier to keep your tree alive. You can also mist your plant regularly to maintain the humidity levels.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
The fiddle leaf fig needs well-draining potting soil. The plant cannot tolerate sitting in water, so the soil needs to be sandy or loamy.
Make sure the soil is fully mixed through and there’s no large rock particle anywhere. The roots need even water distribution throughout.
The plant does well if you feed it fertilizer during its growing season – spring and summer. But it doesn’t require fertilizer in the winter.
You can usually get specific fertilizers for fiddle leaf figs. But if you can’t get that, look for high-nitrogen fertilizers. The nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio should be 3-1-2.
Both liquid and slow-release granular fertilizers work well for fiddle leaf fig trees.
How to Water a Fiddle Leaf Fig
This is where you have to pay close attention. Fiddle leaf fig trees like a moderate amount of water. Too little, and the plant will develop brown spots. Too much and then there’s root rot.
The ideal time to water a FLF is when the top inch of soil feels dry. Fiddle leaf fig trees are intolerant of salt. So if your tap gets hard water, water your tree with purified water.
You should also flush your tree, till water drains from the bottom holes, once a month. This will get rid of the salt deposits in the soil. Remember to drain the base dish of the planter. Your fiddle leaf fig should never sit in water.
Common Diseases and Troubleshooting For Fiddle Leaf Fig
Being the finicky plant that it is, fiddle leaf figs are very susceptible to diseases. And it’s imperative that you take action at the first sign of a disease. Else, the plant can easily die.
Due to Water
Root rot occurs when your fiddle leaf fig tree gets too much water. Zealous plant owners tend to go overboard when watering their plants. The FLF doesn’t appreciate these owners.
The first signs of root rot will be spots of leaf drop on older leaves. If you notice this, immediately check the soil condition with your finger. If the top is moist, then allow your plant to dry completely in in-direct sunlight.
Prune back dead leaves with clean shears. This will inhibit the rot from spreading.
This is a symptom of under watered plants. The telltale sign is dry and brittle soil that cracks at the touch. Older leaves may also curve inwards and develop brown spots.
For an immediate remedy, mist the leaves and water the plant till water starts draining from the holes. Then, be mindful of a watering schedule. Your tree typically needs water once a week during the growing season.
Due to Sunlight or Temperature
Plants get sunburnt too. The fiddle leaf fig is accustomed to growing under a canopy of larger trees in the west-African forest. So too much direct sunlight makes the leaves lose their bright green color.
If you notice this on your plant, prune the affected leaves. Then, move the plant to a location that doesn’t get enough sunlight. You should also ensure that the leaves don’t touch the glass window. That will cause the plant to burn.
Dropped or Droopy Leaves
The tree enjoys being in a warm climate with no drafts. So even the slightest chance of cold air will affect the tree.
Never place your tree near vents or air conditioners. The tree will develop brown, droopy leaves if it’s in the cold. Typically, avoid placing your FLF where there could be drastic temperature fluctuations.
Dry and Cracked Leaves
Dry leaves are a result of fluctuating temperatures. Avoid placing the tree in a room with an AC. And keep a humidifier running in the colder months.
Regularly mist the plant with water if the leaves start to crack.
The fiddle leaf fig typically isn’t affected by any pests. But it can attract a ton of parasites. A variety of scales, insects, and mealybugs like to make their meals out of the FLF. Keep a watchful eye for these parasites. Apply pesticides, clean the leaves and soil.
Taking care of a fiddle leaf fig may seem tricky. But the deep green foliage is the greatest reward you could ask for. Buy your first FLF now!