If your read my first blog EVER, you’ll remember that my very first plant was a fiddle leaf fig. I had seen FLF’s in all of the home decor magazines and decided I needed one in my house – because clearly I am a cool and trendy person (HA!). I found a gorgeous – expensive! – fiddle leaf fig at my local plant nursery, and proudly brought it home…then stuck it in a semi-dark corner, expecting it to thrive. I watered it faithfully, keeping the soil nice and moist. (Are you cringing yet?)
After living in my home for about a month, the leaves on my fiddle leaf fig began dropping off one by one. I tried to make changes to make it happy, but I literally had NO idea what I was doing. In the end, I ended up killing my FLF until it was merely a stick in the middle of a pot of dirt. (Major OOPS!)
Today I am excited to have Claire Akin, author of “The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert” (available on Amazon now) sharing tips and tricks on how to keep your own fiddle leaf fig happy. (Boy, do I wish I had these tips when I had mine!) I hope you find this to be a helpful and informative blog!
Incidentally, I haven’t been brave enough to bring another fiddle leaf fig into my home. However, after reading this blog, I just might brave it again!
Caring for your fiddle leaf fig can be complex and overwhelming, especially if you are a new to houseplants. In fact most fiddle leaf fig owners are first time plant owners! This creates a tricky situation, since ficus lyrata can be particular about their needs, and many times first time plant owners have no idea what they’re doing.
You may not know the basics of houseplant care or why good habits are important for your plant. Yet it’s important to know that good care makes your plant stronger and more resistant to disease; poor care creates a downward spiral of sickness and problems. If you’re having trouble with your plant, don’t give up! Follow these rules for a happy and healthy fiddle leaf fig.
Provide Adequate Drainage
A plant’s root system is the basis of its health. Many people are not aware, but to grow properly, as well as provide adequate nutrients to the plant, roots need both water and oxygen. Proper drainage allows your plant’s root system to breathe and stay healthy. Without adequate drainage, root rot can set in and kill your plant.
When it comes to fiddle leaf figs, lack of drainage is one of the most common problems that fiddle leaf fig owners face. Fast draining soil and adequate room at the bottom of the pot (allowing better drainage) can help prevent the dreaded affliction of root rot.
Don’t Drown Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
In addition to providing proper drainage, it’s important to let your plant’s soil dry out a bit between waterings. Too much water is one of the most common mistakes fiddle leaf fig owners make. Be aware of your plant’s water requirements and make sure you aren’t drowning your plant. Always err on the side of letting your fiddle leaf fig get too dry, instead of too wet.
Feed Your Plant Properly
Fiddle leaf fig plants require a lot of nutrients to grow their large, beautiful leaves. Feed them with a liquid fertilizer like Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food once a week, which is specially formulated with a NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ratio of 3-1-2. Providing plenty of nutrients allows your plant to stay healthy and supports new growth.
Give Your FLF Plenty of Sunlight
Many fiddle leaf fig owners underestimate the amount of sun their plant needs. Native to Africa, fiddles love the sun. Place your plant in the sunniest area of your house, preferably in a south-facing window just out of direct sun.
Act Quickly if You See Trouble
Fiddle leaf fig plants are relatively slow growers, since their large leaves require a lot of energy to build. This makes treating ailments quickly even more important, since it takes them so long to recover from problems. Be sure to act quickly if you see brown spots, leaf drop, or an insect infestation.
Repot Every Few Years
If your fiddle leaf fig is healthy, its root system will begin to outgrow its pot after a few years. If you see roots growing near the bottom or edges of the pot, it may be time to repot to give your plant more space to grow. If you’ve reached your maximum container size, topdress instead of repotting by removing the top four inches of soil and replacing with new soil.
Check on Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Every Week
The best way to take good care of your plant is to get to know it better. Take the time to check on your fiddle leaf fig every week. First, take a look a the soil to see if it’s wet or dry before you water. Look at the leaves for any signs of wilting or brown spots. Rotate your plant to make sure it gets even sunlight. Finally, take an overall assessment of your plant and make a note of any changes like new growth.
How to Learn More
Do you feel ready to take on the adventure of growing a fiddle leaf fig? Share your thoughts in the comments below!