The thick, violin-shaped leaves inspire its name – the Fiddle Leaf Ficus.
Joanna Gaines includes one in every “reveal” on Fixer Upper. Erin Napier of Home Town adds the Fiddle Leaf to every home she and her husband Ben rehab.
It’s easy to see why the Fiddle Leaf Ficus has risen to stardom in the houseplant world.
Before it became one of the most highly-prized indoor floor plants, the Fiddle Leaf Ficus grew wild in the tropical forests of Cameroon and Sierra Leone in West Africa.
Ficus Lyrata (pronounced FY-kus ly-RAY-tuh) or Ficus Pandurata belongs to the Moraceae family of figs and mulberry trees. Yes, it does grow figs – but this indoor plant is unlikely to bear fruit.
Other names for the Ficus Lyrata include:
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
- Fiddlehead Ficus
- Banjo Fig
Fiddle Leaf Ficus Care
Below are the basics and best practices for keeping the fiddlehead happy.
Size & Growth
If you’re looking for a statement house plant, the Fiddlehead Ficus can grow quite large in your space. Technically, a Fiddleleaf Fig is a tree.
In the wild and south Florida, specimens measure up to 40′ feet tall with a spread of 35′ feet. Each mature leaf is 8″ to 12″ inches long.
Excellent Fiddle Leaf Fig care will encourage an indoor plant to grow up to 10′ feet tall. The growth rate is slow.
It takes the plant 10-15 years to go from seedling (tissue culture these days) to full maturity. A happy house Ficus can gain 2′ to 3′ feet in height each year.
Flowering and Fragrance
A plant in favorable outdoor conditions will produce tiny flowers, separate or in clusters hidden in green receptacles. The Fiddle Leaf Ficus tree then grows inedible figs from the blooms.
Indoor, potted varieties are not able to flower or fruit.
The Fiddleleaf Ficus does not have a fragrance. If your plant does, it could be a sign you’re dealing with root rot or infection.
Avoid this by following the best practices for watering and draining the soil.
Light Exposure & Temperature
The best lighting for a Fiddle Leaf Fig is bright, indirect sun.
Exposing the plant to direct sunlight without a shade can burn its leaves. It’s particularly sensitive to changes in light conditions. It tends to have leaf drop when moved from a spot where it was thriving.
The Bango Ficus comes from a hot, humid tropical climate. But, it can tolerate temperatures as low as 60° degrees Fahrenheit.
Some Ficus owners keep their plants outside for the summer and bring them in for colder months. We don’t like the approach. Keep the plant inside or outside.
Watering and Feeding
The key to Fiddle Leaf Ficus care is keeping its soil evenly moist. It should never sit in water, which could lead to root rot. Give it a pot with plenty of drainage.
The plant appreciates misting on its leaves to simulate jungle humidity. During the growing season, add all-purpose houseplant fertilizer to room temperature water every two weeks.
Potting Soil & Transplanting
It’s essential to pot this plant in well-draining soil with plenty of peat and bark. Allow excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot to keep the roots and soil evenly moist.
If you can see roots poking through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, it’s time for repotting.
Generally, the Fiddleleaf Ficus will be ready for a new pot every 1-2 years. Moving to a new container 2″ inches wider will encourage the plant to grow.
If you want your Fiddle Leaf Ficus tree to stay its current size, you should still change the soil in its pot.
When you remove the plant from the pot, to repot. Remove and trim away up to 20% of the roots and soil to promote a healthy plant. Replace with new fresh soil.
NOTE: When trimming and removing the root ball we always recommend you remove 20% of the foliage as well. We call this root to shoots.
Grooming And Maintenance
Wiping the leaves is an integral part of Fiddlehead Ficus care. A damp cloth will remove dust to allow the most sunlight to penetrate the plant.
You can add humidity with a misting spray bottle or by placing the pot on a tray of pebbles and water.
If you’d like to adjust the plant’s shape, rotate it away from the window 1/4 turn every week. It will grow toward the light and stay symmetrical.
Pruning the upper leaves of the plant will encourage it to expand and become bush-like.
How To Propagate Fiddle Leaf Ficus
Woody plants like the Fiddlehead Fig can be difficult to root. For best results, take a cutting from the plant with at least three nodes and plant it in well-draining soil or water. Roots can take up to six weeks to appear.
You may also propagate this plant by air layering:
- Make small cuts in a branch
- Wrap the cuts with moist sphagnum moss
- Wrap the moss in foil or plastic
- Wait 4-6 weeks
- Remove and plant the branch once roots start to grow
Fiddle Leaf Ficus Pests or Diseases
Aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites are common pests that attack the Fiddle Leaf Ficus tree. If you see tiny holes or cobwebs on the plant, you likely have bugs.
Remedies for these pests include neem oil, baking soda, and mineral oil sprays.
Overwatering and poor drainage can lead to root rot. A fungal infection shows up as brown-spotted leaves.
Curb damage to the plant by removing the brown and mushy roots and allowing the soil to dry out.
Yellow leaves with brown spots are a sign of bacterial infection. If caught early enough, the plant can survive.
Cut off the damaged leaves and repot it in sterile soil.
The Fiddlehead Ficus is notorious for its sensitive temperament. But, there are a few rules of thumb for keeping your plant happy and healthy.
Bright, indirect light and well-draining soil are the main ingredients to a thriving Fiddle Leaf Fig.
Whether grown indoors or outdoors, the plant’s glossy leaves and impressive size will bring plenty of beauty to your home.