Ficus lyrata a.k.a Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig Quick Overview
|Full Size||90cm to 1.5 metres indoors |
12-15 meters outdoors
|Light||Bright filtered light|
|Temperature||50 to 95°F |
(10 to 30˚C)
Ficus lyrata most commonly referred to as fiddle leaf fig are a species of large flowering plants native to Western Africa. Ever increasing in popularity as an indoor plant, these can now be found world wide making statements as living decor.
Boasting beautiful deep green foliage, with clearly defined veins strung throughout the Ficus lyrata is a must have for any indoor plant collection. It’s tree like shape and size adds a great height element which contrasts nicely with other indoor plant varieties.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Size
When kept indoors within a pot, you can expect your plant to reach 3-5 foot (90 cm to 1.5 metres) in height. Leaves on a mature fiddle leaf fig will typically reach 10 Inches in length and 5 inches in width (25cm L x 12cm W).
Outdoors planted directly into the ground, Fiddle leaf figs can grow up to 40-50 foot (12 to 15 metres). The large height is credited to the plants roots able to spread further. This allows the plant to capture more nutrients and water, which is vital to growth.
You can control the height of your fiddle leaf fig when kept in pots by re potting your plant into the same size pot. Make sure when you do this to provide new soil to allow the plant to have access to new nutrients. Gently removing 5-15% of foliage and roots whilst re potting will assist in size control.
Fiddle leaf figs prefer to be positioned in bright filtered light, as this is similar to that of the conditions they are grown in at nurseries and garden centers. However; due to being native to the hot sunny environment of Western Africa, fiddle leaf fig can be conditioned to live in full sun for around 8 hours per day.
The process of light conditioning is called hardening. This can be done successfully by gradually introducing your plant to more and more light, whilst increasing duration of sun exposure. Be sure to slowly acclimate your plant to avoid sun damage. Signs of sun damage include burnt or dried out foliage.
A sign your fiddle leaf fig is not getting enough light is yellow leaves, brown spot and leaf drop. Low light problems are easily resolved by changing the position of your plant to somewhere that better suits its light requirements.
Fiddle leaf figs will perform best when in an area which maintains a temperature of 50 to 95°F (10 to 35˚C). Being kept outside of this temperate range for prolonged periods of time can lead to poor plant health.
Maintaining an average to slightly above average humidity (between approximately 30 and 65%) will help assist in keeping your Fiddle Leaf Fig happy and healthy. If your plant is housed in a spot with a humidity level consistently outside of this range click here for tips on how to increase or decrease humidity levels.
You can expect your fiddle leaf fig to require water once a week in its growing period when the top inch of soil is dry. When watering your fiddle leaf fig be sure to water thoroughly until water is draining into the saucer. Aside from solely relying on the watering frequency to tell when your plant is thirsty, a tell tale sign that your fiddle leaf fig needs water is when the leaves are starting to look floppy.
As a rule of thumb your fiddle leaf fig should be fertilized once during spring and once a month during summer. This will assist in keeping your plant alive as well as promote healthy growth. If you over fertilize your fiddle leaf fig, it can cause it to grow leggy and could even kill the plant. Fertilizing isn’t necessary during winter when the plant grows naturally.
Fiddle leaf figs require a well aerated, fast draining soil. They prefer a relatively dry soil that keeps the roots moist but not wet. Poor soil can cause fungus and bacterial problems in your plants root system as well as cause problems with root aeration.
As for re potting the warmer seasons, spring and summer, are the best time to change pots. Depending on your plants age and growth will determine how often it should change pots. Young, fast growing plants should be re potted every 8-12 months, whereas more mature plants should need re potting every 1-2 years.
When re potting choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one to avoid drowning your plants roots. Typically pots 2-4 inches (5-10cm) are the way to go.
Re potting is an excellent time to check the health of your fiddle leafs roots, which are otherwise unseen. Make sure to go over and visually check for bacteria or fungal growth. If you notice signs of infection such as root rot, take the appropriate steps for treatment & prevention immediately. For more information on root rot check out our identification and treatment article.
Diseases & Pests
The most common diseases and pests that you can encounter whilst caring for your fiddle leaf fig are mealy bugs, scale, mites, whiteflies and aphids. A healthy plant is the best deterrent and combatant for pests. However, if you do happen to find one, simply wipe it off with a soapy wet towel.
Preventing pests on fiddle leaf fig can be done naturally with a neem oil solution sprayed periodically to the foliage and soil. If kept in a pot make sure to spray the underside as this area is prone to harboring pests.
For a wide range of information on combating a large range of indoor plant diseases and pests click here.
Fiddle leaf figs are considered to be toxic. The leaves of a fiddle leaf fig contain toxic calcium oxalate. For an adult, a bite out of a leaf won’t kill you but if ingested by children or animals, it can be slightly more dangerous. If accidentally ingested and any symptoms occur make sure to seek the appropriate medial attention immediately.
Pets, such as cats and dogs, are susceptible to ficus lyrata poisoning especially if they are young and teething. The most common signs of ingestion in pets is vomiting, excessive drooling and signs of distress. In rare cases swelling of air ways may occur and cause breathing difficulties.