One of the trendiest indoor plants at the moment is the fiddle leaf fig (ficus lyrate). Its large, leathery and glossy fiddleshaped leaves add a certain architectural elegance to a room, especially when potted up in a sophisticated planter. Help your fiddle leaf fig thrive with these tips on pruning, propagating, watering, fertilising and repotting. Here's everything you need to know when it comes to caring for your fiddle leaf fig.
Fiddle leaf figs can grow up to 15m tall outdoors and 3m tall indoors, they add the perfect splash of colour and height to any room. Be careful though, these beauties are toxic to both dogs and cats.
Fiddle leaf figs like to be watered well, but they also love to dry out slightly in between waterings. Avoid just putting on a cup here and there however. "We like to take ours outside and give them a good drenching, this allows them to really take up lots of water into the potting mix. A shower is ideal. Water more in the spring and summer months, less in winter” Richard Unsworth, Director at iconic Sydney plant emporium, Garden Life told Home Beautiful.
Keep the leaves dry when watering your plant and remove any leaves that are rusty or discoloured with a simple snip of the secateurs.
You can always prune the stem with clean sharp secateurs, but beware of cutting off new buds from the stem - small brown swellings that could be future leaves. "New growth will come back if the conditions are right and your fig is happy in its spot," says Richard.
In spring fertilise them with a slow release fertiliser, and it should last for 6 months. Or you could alternatively use a monthly liquid feed like ‘nitrosol’ to encourage the green fresh growth.
Make your fiddle leaf figs leaves green and shiny by dusting the leaves regularly and wiping off any excess dust will help them absorb light better and “breathe.” Use an old cloth and some lukewarm water every couple of weeks to help keep them happy. The condition of the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig are a big indicator on its health.
If brown spots start to appear on the leaves this is your fig tree’s call for help. It could mean a magnitude of things but generally, it is a sign that you have overwatered your botanical friend so cut back on the love for a little while.
The most common cause of drooping leaves is shock, drooping leaves can occur after you've moved your plant or if it is severely dehydrated.
Yellowing leaves are a sign of stress. This generally indicates that your FLF is either under or overwatered but it can also occur when you have moved it to a new spot or repotted it.
Position it in a well-lit spot indoors but avoid direct sunlight as it will burn the leaves. Every couple of week rotate your pot to make sure each side is getting enough light, this will also help it to grow tall and straight.
Angie Thomas Horticulture Consultant to Yates gave us a couple of pointers on moving your FLF around. "If your fiddle-leaf fig is not liking its current spot and is not looking happy, then move it to a better location (such as with brighter light or away from a draft). Otherwise, try to avoid moving your fig or if you do have to move it, do it gradually and hope it doesn't notice.”
Keep your fiddle leaf fig away from drafts and air conditions as they love a humid environment. If you are worried about the pot damaging your floors, stick felt pads to the underside just to be safe.
How to repot
During winter fiddle leaf figs growth slows down completely, but during the warmer months, it will grow quite quickly (around 2-3 ft a year!). Make sure your pot has proper drainage holes and pot in fast-draining soil otherwise the root system will get too soggy.
If you start to see roots coming out of the bottom of your pot it is time to consider finding your friend a new home. This will help your plant grow faster and will also help with water retention.
- Choose the next size up in pot (eg from a 20cm dia to a 30cm dia pot)
- Use a general potting mix to fill the new pot to one-third full
- Loosen the plant out of it’s current pot, tease out the roots and place into the new pot
- Top up to just below the pot rim with fresh potting mix and water well
How to propagate
It is relatively simple to propagate a fiddle leaf fig. All you need to do it take a leaf or stem cutting and place it in water in a well-lit area. Keep the stem upright and change the water every week and within a month you should start to see roots developing. Once you have a couple of roots you can plant your rooted cutting in moist soil.
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