What is a fiddle leaf fig?
The Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is native to tropical Cameroon in Africa and is in the fig/mulberry family, Moraceae. The natural environment is hot, humid, and it rains often but lightly, while the sun dries up moisture quickly. They have giant green leaves with lots of cells that need lots of sunlight for food production. It is a finicky tropical rainforest plant and needs more attention than your average houseplant.
Fiddle leaf fig leaves are giant compared to most other plants, so they’ll need lots of sunlight. Each cell needs light to make food, eat and generate food for the rest of the plant. If the leaves are dropping, the plant is not getting enough light. If your Fiddle is indoors it’s going to need bright indirect light to full sun. That means, putting it in a window, rather than next to or a few feet away from. My girls are each in their own front facing window, getting full sun all day and they are thriving.
Like most other plants, the Fiddle is relatively easy to water. When the soil dries out, add water. The rate you water will depend on the temperature of your home, so gage watering between every 1-2 weeks. Water with ¼-⅓ of the pot’s volume of water so that you can saturate the soil with just enough water and then let it dry out.
Tips & Tricks
Fiddle Leaf’s are definitely a tricky plants. Fiddle-leaf fig trees don’t like: drafts, soil that is too wet, soil that is too dry, too much sun, not enough sun, dry air, loud music, or someone looking at them funny. They literally die out of nowhere for no reason so don’t get discouraged if yours didn’t make it! Read on to see how you can fix it for next time
- Fiddle leaf figs are tropical rainforest plants, i.e. they like it hot & humid. If your plant is dying consider getting a humidifier for the room.
- The best way to make sure your Fiddle has sufficient water is to use a soil moisture, light, and PH meter and get an accurate reading. You can get one a Lowe’s or Home Depot for $10.
- You can revive a dying Fiddle leaf by chopping off the trunk just below the dying part of the plant. They sprout from the trunk when you cut it back. And with luck, it’ll sprout several new leaves and be even bushier than when you started.
- Properly cared for Fiddle Leaf’s will outgrow your home. They grow to over 50 feet in the wild, but a potted one can reach heights of 10-12 feet in your home. How to stop this? Simple, pruning. I have to prune my umbrella tree and my Monstera Deliciosa regularly because they grow out of control. Don’t be afraid to prune your plants! They’ll be fine! Also, Fiddle Leaf’s can only live outside in tropical environments, so if you live in New England like me, your tree will most certainly die if you move it outside.