Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) Care
Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are among the most beautiful house plants and can transform your entire space in a way few other plants can. They are presence-full, architectural, and beautifully green. They are also known in the plant world to be some of the most finicky plants, but we're here to help, and with a little research and preparation you can be ready to help your fiddle thrive.
Though they are slow growers, fiddles can get quite large over time. If you are thinking of adding a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree to your houseplant collection the best thing to do is do a little research first. Make sure you choose a space that has adequate BRIGHT filtered light. You don't want direct sun hitting its leaves, but bright light is key to the health of your fiddle. In California, if you have windows that face North or East, you might have very limited light, and would need to consider placing your plant right in the center of a large window for it to get enough light. South or west-facing windows provide plenty of bright light, just be careful about direct sun unless it's morning or late afternoon sun. Also consider the impact that obstructions like large buildings, trees, and even porches or overhangs might have on your light. Fiddles are known to react poorly to change, so once you choose a space try not to move it around too much once you've found it's spot.
The most common killer of fiddles seems to be root-rot caused by overwatering. Make sure never to let your fiddle sit in standing water. Plant it in a pot with drainage and if you know you are prone to over-watering try a terracotta pot to help absorb excess moisture. Water your fiddle when the soil is dry to the touch down 2 inches or 2 knuckle lengths. Depending on your home environment, you will likely end up watering every 10-14 days, with those in warmer or dryer areas watering a bit more frequently. You can also purchase a moisture meter to help take out some of the guess-work, just make sure you read the directions and understand how to measure and how far down to place your meter in the soil.
Spider Mites and Scale Insects are some of the most common pests found on Fiddles. To avoid problems with infestations, keep your fiddle healthy and spray the leaves top and bottom and soil with Neem Oil once a month if you have a large plant collection. Large leaves can gather dust, so you can also wipe the leaves with a wet cloth to keep them clean.
Wait until your plant has acclimated to its new space before you repot it, usually 4-6 weeks, or until you notice it has new growth. Also keep in mind that as your tree grows you will need to repot it over the years. Once you notice excess root growth in its pot, you can select a pot 2 inches in diameter larger than the one you had it in and use a soil with medium water retention and good drainage. You can start with a base soil like Black Gold Potting Soil and mix well with some perlite.
Do not fertilize your tree at the same time that you re-pot it. Most potting soils have fertilizer built in, so fertilizing it at the same time that you add new soil may give your tree fertilizer burn. Fertilize your tree during it's growing season in the spring and summer, not with every watering, as some fertilizers suggest.
LEAF DROP & SPOTS:
Fiddles will drop lower leaves when they experience a change in environment or care regimen. Fiddles also develop brown spots on the edges or from the center for a variety of reasons. If you notice occasional brown spots or if your fiddle drops a few leaves here and there, first take a deep breath and try not to worry too much. Fiddles will naturally go through a process of acclimating to their new environment, so if you just got your fiddle less than 2 months ago it might just be having a normal reaction to the drastic change it experienced from a nursery to your home. Assess whether it is just a few leaves or if it seems widespread and your whole tree looks sad, and do your research before you react, repot, or make any changes.
Fiddles are some of the most rewarding plants to have in your space, and with a little care and commitment to keeping your plant in good health, you too can enjoy the jungle vibes of a beautiful fiddle.