One year with a Fiddle Leaf Fig

For a few years now, the fiddle leaf fig (Ficus Lyrata) has been a popular plant not only with home owners,  but interior designers world wide. It has graced the covers of popular magazines, been featured in many home design TV shows and continues to be an eye catching decor piece in storefronts, hotels and office spaces! Though beautiful and somewhat adaptable, this plant, with tree potential, can sometimes be a tricky one to keep healthy and thriving.
That was my attempt at a knowledgeable sounding opening paragraph and as true as those details are, I’m far from an expert. What I have had though, is some decent success in my first year of growing a Fiddle leaf fig tree! The funny thing is, I don’t have a strong history at all in plant care. I think that’s because in the past I had commitment issues which leads to the first of the 5 main things I’ve been doing to keep my FLF’s happy!

1) Commit!
Be willing to put in the time to care for your plant or tree. Educate yourself on your new “baby” that likely cost you a few dollars!
Figure out how to best care for your Fiddle Leaf Fig so you don’t have to learn the hard way as you go. That’s kind of what you’re doing now, so you can check number one off your list!

2) Lighting & Location
Find a large window with great indirect but bright lighting.  I’ve learned that a healthy FLF can adapt pretty well to things like vents nearby and cooler temperatures (though you may read otherwise elsewhere) but good light exposure for the majority of the plant is crucial! I like to let my FLF’s get a little direct sunlight as well once in a while but only for 30-45 minutes at a time. They seem to love it! Also, make sure to turn your plant every  1-2 weeks.

3) Pot Size & Soil
Make sure your FLF is in a spacious planter! Fiddle Leaf Fig’s do not like to be pot bound so if you’re not seeing any new growth or very slow growth with your plant and you think you’ve got watering and location down try sizing up your planter! Those roots like room to grow. They also seem to like a good hearty all purpose potting soil and don’t necessarily need a pot with a saucer or tray.

4) Watering
Give your plant or tree an adequate amount of water so it’s well soaked but don’t water again until the soil is dry at least an inch down (if not two). Fiddle leaf figs will not thrive if soil is kept continuously moist. I usually water once per week on average depending on the amount of sun we’re getting. A good fertilizer every few months is a good idea though I’ll admit I really don’t do it as often as I should especially during the winter/fall season when its most important.

5) Leaf Care
I love to wash my plant leaves and especially since learning that keeping them clean allows for better absorption of sunlight. I add a tiny bit of dish soap to my water when I wash and this helps to keep any possible bugs away.
If you have several leaves that are browning and have enough that are in good health, consider removing the brown ones to promote new growth.

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March 2017- I brought it home staked with a braided trunk, one trunk was completely dried up and useless, the other two have thrived.
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After one year- March 2018
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June 2018- Loving the sun and at least a foot taller at the 15 month mark!

A few additional tips:
>Fiddle Leaf Fig plants are natives of the rainforest and love warm, humid environments so keep aware of potential cold drafts nearby that could be a hindrance to healthy growth. Again, as I mentioned above, I’ve noticed with adequate lighting and the right amount of watering, FLF’s can adapt to cooler temperatures and/ or less humidity.
> Try to keep your plant in the same spot if possible. They aren’t fans of “travelling”. Only move if you know they aren’t getting the best lighting.
> Be cautious about putting your plant near a window with a sheer curtain, even if it’s a bright spot. The curtain can block  the necessary sunlight and keep those leaves from growing to their full potential.
> Do your research on potential pests! Spider mites and mealy bugs are two that can take down your plant quickly so inspect closely every so often and keep those leaves clean!
> Be aware that sometimes a plant can arrive at it’s store location in an already unhealthy or deprived state. I bought two recently from the same place and one is incredibly healthy and thriving and the other has been hanging on by a thread. I haven’t lost hope yet though!
> I didn’t get into it in this post but if your plant is getting tall enough and you want to help it branch out, look up “pinching and notching” to get started!
> Lastly,  if you have little ones, don’t be afraid to let them help you with watering and even leaf cleaning!  It’s a sweet thing to be able to teach them plant care. It’s fun to watch them learn the appreciation of new growth too!

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I truly hope you’ve found some good info here and maybe inspiration to go get your own Fiddle Leaf Fig!
Feel free to ask questions and I’ll try my best to answer. You can also email me at lynnelle@tiptoemeadow.com.

Have a wonderful summer friends!

~Lynnelle

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