Ficus lyrata, commonly known as the fiddle-leaf fig, is a species of flowering plant in the mulberry and fig family Moraceae. It is also called as bush plants and banjo fig. It is the most beautiful plant that looks like an umbrella due to its semi-lobed, oval-shaped, glossy, and dense leaves. The name fiddle given to this plant comes from its kind of fiddle (or violin) like leaves and delicate veins. It is native to western Africa, from Cameroon west to Sierra Leone, where it grows in lowland tropical rainforest. This plant is widely grown as a decorative species in Europe, Indonesia, and North America. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. This gorgeous plant is toxic to cats and dogs.
This fiddle leaf fig can grow in outdoors and indoors. It is a slow-growing plant, so you can easily grow this plant indoors with little maintenance. They can be pinched out the tip or give notching to prevent them from growing taller. After 3 or 4 years of growth, it starts to become an attractive tree. Fiddle leaf fig produces bright, fleshy, and heavily veined green leaves that grow upright. It is 8 to 15-inch-long and 10-inch-wide leaves that are quite attractive. The stem grows preferably 6 inches or more long, which makes the plant a bushy tree type. The fruits, solitary fleshy, usually peer shaped, variable in size and color. In the wild this plant produces flowers and then fruits; however, it does not bloom or fruit indoors.
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Upto 10 feet (indoors)
Upto 60 feet (outdoors)
2 - 8 feet
6.0 - 7.0
Growth Nutrition of Fiddle-Leaf Fig
NPK stand for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Every plant needs a different blend of these nutrients, which is why you can find plant specific fertilizers. Fiddle Leaf Figs prefer fertilizers with an NPK ratio of 3-1-2. This is because they have the high-nitrogen content that these plants crave.
Varieties of Fiddle-Leaf Fig
Ficus lyrata ‘Bambino’
Ficus lyrata’ Bambino’ is a dwarf variety of fiddle leaf figs that only grow a few feet tall. They are compact, bushier, and upright with thicker, leathery leaves. You can easily put these plants in small, decorative pots and place them on your desk, window sill, shelf, or nightstand.
Ficus lyrata ‘Compacta’
This variety of fiddle leaf figs can only grow as tall as 5 feet. These houseplants usually have a more bunched appearance with a glossy sheen and noticeable veins. For proper growth, you should water this indoor plant about two times a week and keep it in a bright spot.
Ficus lyrata ‘Variegata’
Ficus lyrata’ Variegata’ is a rare variety of fiddle leaf figs with creamy white or olive green variegations. Unfortunately, these plants are not available easily, but they are exquisite to look at and can be a charming addition to your home.
Growing Fiddle-Leaf Fig
How to Grow a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Outside
Even if you live in a very warm zone, you may not want to start growing fiddle-leaf figs. The trees grow with a spread just a little smaller. Trunks grow several feet (1 to 1.5 m.) thick. That may be too large for small gardens. If you decide to go ahead, plant your fiddle-leaf fig trees in a sunny location protected from the wind. This will increase the tree’s longevity. Another step you can take to keep the tree alive longer is to prune the tree early and often. Remove branches with tight branch crotches, since these can break off in storms and put the tree’s life at risk.
How to Grow a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Indoors
In cooler climates, you can start growing fiddle-leaf ferns as attractive container plants. Use a pot and potting soil that provide excellent drainage, since these trees won’t survive wet soil. Place it in a spot where it gets high, indirect light exposure.
Fiddle-leaf fig care includes adequate water, but the worst thing you can do to fiddle-leaf fig trees is to overwater them. Don’t add water until the top inch (2.5 cm.) of soil is dry to the touch.
If you start growing fiddle-leaf figs in containers, you’ll need to repot them every year. Move up one pot size when you see roots emerging from the pot.
Fiddle-Leaf Fig Care
Fiddle-leaf figs are not especially demanding plants as long as you can get their growing conditions right. When grown as a houseplant, be prepared to rotate your fiddle-leaf fig every few days so a different part faces the source of sunlight. That way, it will grow evenly, rather than lean toward the light.
Also, every week or two dust the leaves with a damp cloth. Not only does this make the leaves appear shinier and more appealing, but it also allows more sunlight to hit the leaves for photosynthesis. Moreover, you can trim off any damaged or dead leaves as they arise, as they no longer benefit the plant. And if you wish, you can prune off the top of the main stem for a bushier growth habit.
Fiddle-leaf figs require bright, filtered light to grow and look their best. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves, especially exposure to hot afternoon sun.
And plants that are kept in very low light conditions will fail to grow rapidly.
Any quality indoor plant potting mix should be suitable for a fiddle-leaf fig. Ensure that the soil drains well.
Fiddle-leaf figs like a moderate amount of moisture in the soil. If the plant doesn’t get enough water, its leaves will wilt and lose their bright green color. And if it gets too much water, the plant might drop its leaves and suffer from root rot, which ultimately can kill it. During the growing season (spring to fall), water your fiddle-leaf fig when the top inch of soil feels dry. And over the winter months, water slightly less.
Furthermore, these plants are sensitive to high salt levels in the soil. So it's ideal to flush the soil until water comes out the bottom of the pot at least monthly. This helps to prevent salt build-up.
Temperature and Humidity
Fiddle-leaf figs don’t like extreme temperature fluctuations. A room that’s between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit is typically fine, though you must position the plant away from drafty areas, as well as air-conditioning and heating vents. These can cause sudden temperature shifts.
Aim for a humidity level between 30 and 65 percent. If you need to supplement humidity, mist your plant with clean water in a spray bottle daily. Or you can place it on a tray of pebbles filled with water, as long as the bottom of the pot isn’t touching the water. Plus, fiddle-leaf figs can benefit from being in a room with a humidifier.
Fertilize throughout the growing season with a high-nitrogen plant food, following label instructions. There are fertilizers specially made for fiddle-leaf figs available. You generally won’t have to feed your plant over the winter.
Pruning and Propagating Fiddle-Leaf Fig
A fiddle-leaf fig benefits from having its leaves pruned every so often. Cut back any damaged leaves, overgrowth, or crossing branches to let the plant breathe. Make any cuts about an inch away from the trunk to avoid any damage. If you are taking off a dead brown leaf, pull on it very gently before trying to cut it because it may come off by itself.
Propagating Fiddle-Leaf Fig
It's easy to propagate fiddle-leaf fig with stem cuttings, and extremely difficult to do with seeds. Working with a cutting is just about fail-proof.
Use a pair of sharp shears to cut a stem about 12 to 18 inches long with a few leaves. Pinch off all the leaves except for one.
Place the vase of the cutting in a jar or vase of clean, room-temperature water and put it in a warm place with bright, but indirect light.
Change the water only when it appears cloudy.
In a few weeks, small white bumps will appear on the stem's base that's sitting in the water. In a couple of weeks after that, roots will grow in the water from those spots.
When the roots reach 1 to 2 inches long, plant the cutting in a 1-gallon pot filled with potting soil and water until damp, and continue to keep the soil moist, but not soggy or overwatered.
Potting and Repotting Fiddle-Leaf Fig
Plan to repot a young fiddle-leaf fig annually every spring. Select a sturdy container that is roughly 2 inches larger in diameter than the existing one. Gently loosen the plant from its current pot, lift it out while supporting its base, and place it in the new pot. Fill in the spaces around the plant with potting mix.
Once the plant is mature, it likely will be too large to repot. In that case, remove the first few inches of soil each spring and replace it with fresh soil.
Moreover, if you will be doing the potting work outdoors, do so when the temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything colder can cause too much stress for the fiddle-leaf fig.
Pests and Plant Diseases
These plants don’t have serious pest or disease issues, but they can be prone to spider mites, scale, and bacterial or fungal diseases. With these issues, you might notice leaf damage, such as spots or dark patches, as well as small bugs on the leaves. Treat the issue as soon as possible with an appropriate fungicide, pesticide, or other remedy. And make sure your plant has adequate air circulation and isn’t sitting in overly damp conditions, which can help to prevent future problems.
Common Problems With Fiddle-Leaf Fig
A fiddle-leaf fig plant can be sensitive to its environment and watering schedule, so when something is off, you can tell by the behavior of its leaves. The plant can develop spots on leaves or drop leaves, sometimes at a fast rate. Be on the lookout for the first signs of leaf distress.
If you see light brown or bleached spots on the top of the leaves, the plant may be getting too much direct sunlight. This is called leaf sunburn or leaf scorch. In the case of a fiddle-leaf fig plant, you can prune the leaf with sharp shears and relocate your plant away from sitting near the direct and harsh rays of the sun.
Brown Spots on Leaves
If your green leaves develop dark brown spots or browning edges, the plant may be suffering from root rot from sitting in too much water. Check the roots to see if they are brown and mushy. Cut away the spotted leaves and gently cut mushy parts of the roots. Repot and monitor your watering to make sure the plant is not overwatered.
Brown spots can also mean the plant is experiencing extreme temperature swings, check around for drafty spots or heating/cooling units or vents, and move the plant away to a consistently warmer location.
If newer fiddle-leaf fig leaves are yellowing, it may indicate a bacterial problem. It may be too late to save the plant. But try cutting off the affected leaves and repotting the plant in fresh soil.
When a fiddle-leaf fig loses its leaves, it's generally a sign that the plant is getting too much or not enough water. In addition, the plant may be exposed to extreme temperature changes, which can also make the plant drop leaves. Move the plant away from any heating or air conditioning units, vents, or drafty areas. Pull back on watering a bit so the soil is never soggy and only slightly moist.
Benefits of Fiddle-Leaf Fig
Fiddle leaf fig fruit, root, and leaves can be used to treat gastrointestinal disorders (colic, indigestion, loss of appetite, and diarrhea).
It is also used to treat respiratory (sore throats, coughs, and bronchial problems), inflammatory and cardiovascular disorders. Some of its benefits are.
1. Air purifier
This is a big one. The fiddle leaf fig purifies air by removing toxic particles through natural gas exchange processes.
These exchanges take place in the leaves and roots of the plant during photosynthesis and are especially prevalent in the Fiddle due to the size of its foliage.
In other words, they don’t only provide oxygen – they also clean the air.
2. Benefits for allergy sufferers
Indoor fiddle leaf figs rarely, if ever, produce flowers (no pollen). This greatly reduces the chance of them having a harmful impact on allergy sufferers.
While they contain trace amounts of latex that can irritate those with latex sensitivities, the effect is likely to be minor to unnoticeable. This makes the Ficus an excellent choice for people who usually don’t fare well with plants.
3. Useful as a food preservative
The fruit and leaf of fiddle leaf fig are rich in bioactive compounds, especially phenolic compounds, flavonoids, triterpenoids, and tannins. Thus it acts as a natural preservative in meat and other food.
4. Protect liver and lower cholesterol level
Fiddle leaf fig is a rich source of antioxidants like flavonoids and phenols. These antioxidants treat liver fibrosis (accumulation of cells and collagen in the liver) and lower cholesterol levels.
5. Diuretic and treat central nervous system disorder
Chromone, flavonoids, and β-sitosterol found in fiddle leaf fig can slow brain activity. It is useful for treating anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.
Moreover, it also increases the output of excess fluid, mainly water and sodium, by urine. Thus this plant prevents kidney stone formation
6. Ease of care
The fiddle leaf fig is an excellent plant choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike. They are considered easy to look after, provided their environments are conducive to plenty of light and relative humidity.
With a regular watering schedule and occasional fertilization, you should have no problem getting your Fiddle Leaf to thrive.
7. Reduction of household or office odors
Fiddle leaf figs release oxygen into the air and purify it, making the environment smell fresher and cleaner overall. Together with this, plants in the Ficus genus remove toxins that cause unpleasant odors, like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene.
8. Antibacterial properties
Testing is ongoing, but recent studies have proven that the Ficus lyrata contains antibacterial compounds capable of combating certain bacteria. This is an exciting development for exploring the potential of this plant for better hygiene and better health.
9. Mood boosters
Studies have proven that there are benefits to having plants in the home. They improve your mood, create a calming atmosphere, and are thought to reduce anxiety and stress. It is inarguably cathartic to tend to your plants, as it allows you to switch off and relax.
It has also been posited that an environment filled with plants can be beneficial for those recovering from trauma or illness or for people suffering from neurological conditions like dementia.
10. Better acoustics
Fiddle leaf figs are not only beautiful, but they’re also helpful in improving the acoustics in a home or office. This is due to the unique size and shape of their leaves, which absorb sound waves.
Say goodbye to that unpleasant, echoing sound of emptiness, and hello to pleasant audio.
11. Better sleep
In today’s fast-paced world, sleep is more important than ever. So, if you’re having trouble getting good rest, consider investing in a fiddle leaf fig.
Ficus lyrata boosts the oxygen levels in a home environment by emitting O2 during the process of photosynthesis. While they don’t photosynthesize at night, they generally produce enough oxygen during the day to enrich your home and encourage neuron restoration.
Oxygen is beneficial for encouraging your brain to stay in a prolonged state of deep sleep, which is valuable for your overall health.
12. Tolerance to drought
While regular, consistent care is advisable, the fiddle leaf fig is perfect for owners with a penchant for forgetting watering day. Though these beauties can be picky, they’re pretty tolerant to a bit of dryness now and then and won’t suffer lasting damage if you forget to water them on occasion.
In fact, fiddle leaf figs are very prone to root rot, so a less-is-more approach works well, with hydration needed only once the top inch or two of soil is dry. Never let your Fiddle Leaf stand in pooled water, and ensure it’s planted in well-draining soil.
It is a popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical gardens, and is also grown as a houseplant in temperate areas, where it usually stays shorter and fails to flower or fruit. It requires indirect natural light. It is hardy down to 10 °C (50 °F), so specimens may be placed outside during warm periods.
A commonly tricky houseplant despite its popularity, the fiddle-leaf fig does not respond well to being moved, especially from a spot where it is thriving. Being a tropical plant, it does not tolerate cold temperatures well or survive prolonged freezes. Proper drainage, adequate sunlight (direct but not harsh), and misting with water will help keep your fiddle-leaf fig bright green with its signature glossy finish.