How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)

 

So you want to test your luck with a Fiddle Leaf Fig? If you’re like me, then you probably became super interested in plants once you started coming across Fiddle Leaf Figs everywhere. They add so much style to any room and every aesthetic shop has one. When I first began my interested in plants about a year ago, I was ready to go all out and purchase a Fiddle Leaf Fig. It’s definitely not the best starter plant by any means, but I felt comfortable enough considering I was taking good care of easier houseplants. I was up for the challenge so I visited one of my local nurseries and purchased my first Fiddle Leaf Fig for $30. It was not large at all, it was a nice average size and I figured the price was more than fair at the time.

Once I got my first FLF, I named him Mr. Fiddle and I was so excited to add him to our home because I had the cutest spot for him. Once I had him set up, I did my research on plant care tips because I wanted to make sure he would last forever.

Plant tips include:

Light/Climate: Give it bright light, best to have by a South facing window. Keep direct windows closed. Since FLFs are native in forests, they like humid and warm climates so any cold conditions can harm them.

Soil: Rich, well-drained soil. It is also recommended to repot your FLF about once a year or when you see roots coming out of drainage holes. This will prevent root rot from occurring and help your plant keep growing nice and healthy.

Water: Wait to water your FLF when the soil is completely dry. When watering, make sure the water drains well through drainage holes. Not having good drainage can cause root rot, and believe me no one wants that. You will know if you are over watering or under watering if you begin to notice any browning or yellowing on your leaves, or worse, leaves can fall off!

Fertilizer: Plant fertilizer is your friend, and there are plenty that are specific for just FLFs that will help them thrive.

Pests: Fiddle Leaf Figs can have pest problems such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale, mites and whiteflies. Make sure to inspect the plant before purchasing, and also regularly once it is in your home.

So yes I did my research, but did I listen?

So what I did wrong with my first Fiddle Leaf Fig Mr. Fiddle was that I had a perfect spot for him in my home, or so I thought. Sure, it would make my room aesthetically pleasing, but little did I know that it was going to be killing him softly. I had him in this specific spot in my living room which was so far away from a window for about two months at most I believe. I also was watering him once a week on a schedule because that was what the nursery owner who sold me the plant told me. He was doing so well in the beginning, he even grew a pair of leaves and I thought I had officially become a new plant lady.

Boy was I wrong.

I still remember the morning I woke up to see Mr. Fiddle looking droopy and depressed. I rushed over to google to see what it was that I had done wrong that made him get droopy leaves. From the research it looked like he needed more water, so I watered him. That fixed the problem for a few days and then I began to notice browning on the tips of the leaves. Back to google I went to research what the problem could be. After a few articles and YouTube videos later, I realized I was over watering my FLF. What I thought was dry soil, was probably just a little dry and was only about the top inch. With time, I realized my FLFs do best when the soil is completely dry before watering. What I also realized with some helpful research was that my poor Mr. Fiddle was not getting enough sunlight, and of course I always knew it but didn’t want to admit it.

So I had to make some changes in order to save him. Aesthetic thoughts set aside, I found out that South facing windows bring in the best lighting. So Step 1, was to move him to the south side of our house near a window, and Step 2 was to get the watering schedule under control. I did something life changing which was purchase a moisture meter. It literally cost me less than $10 off Amazon Prime and to this day I think it has been my greatest plant care purchase. Once I started using the moisture meter, I realized I was watering my FLF way too often. Sometimes I can go weeks without having to water my FLFs, because I like to wait until my moisture meter shows that the soil is completely dry and not just the top inch of soil.

Finally, Mr. Fiddle was doing much better and was looking a lot healthier, but then so many weeks would go by and I stopped seeing any new growth. This worried me but then I learned that fertilizer was going to be the thing that did the trick. I first tried fertilizer pellets from Amazon Prime that are meant for FLFs and instantly I began to see new growth! Finally, I had figured it out and brought my plant back to life. It wasn’t long until I got two more Fiddle Leaf Figs, plus I propagated a leaf that has now been potted in soil.

Follow these easy steps for maintaining a healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig:

Step 1: Give your FLF bright light. (Preferably near a south facing window)

Step 2: Use a moisture meter and wait to water until the soil is completely dry.

Step 3: Use fertilizer to keep it thriving.

I also recently began to use a new liquid fertilizer by Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource. This fertilizer if organic and gentle enough to use during every single watering session, just follow the instructions. It’s also a good idea to purchase from a brand that is dedicated and just as obsessed with FLFs as you are. Their website offers lots of tips, products, and even webinars that help you learn about your FLF friend and how to care the best for them. Most recently I snagged their Fiddle Leaf Fig expert book, because let’s face it, there is always something you could learn in order to be the best plant parent.

Let’s summarize…

So this right here is Mr. Fiddle. We have been through a lot together. He was my very first Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig) I spent many nights wondering how I could possibly be killing him because I could’ve sworn I was doing everything right. It took research, a moisture meter, a south facing window, and fertilizer to get him back in good shape. All old leaves had brown tips so I removed those and basically started over. Now all of his new leaves have been huge and healthy and lush. Love and patience is key.

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