Plant care for dummies – Fiddle leaf fig
How to grow and care for fiddle leaf fig plant in India?
The fiddle leaf fig has been enjoying its place in the spotlight for a while now and given the love it is getting from both gardeners and interior designers for their beautiful foliage and looks. A single fiddle leaf fig has the presence and looks to turn your home into an insta famous frame.
Native to the rainforests of Western and Central Africa, the fiddle leaf fig, or the Ficus lyrata, boasts of large floppy green leaves with delicate vein network that commands immediate attention. Their tree like structure stands in beautiful contrast to the interiors of your home and has an immense visual impact to give your décor an edge.
The fiddle leaf fig is infamous for being a tricky plant, but we believe it to be not so accurate. The plant has a few specific requirements, which when met results in a happy and good looking plant. With proper care, the fiddle leaf fig can grow up to a couple of feet every year and reach over six feet in your indoor space.
Let’s take a look at its care tips and learn how to make show love to your Fiddle leaf fig plant
Common name: Fiddle leaf fig, Banjo fig
Botanical name: Ficus lyrata
Famous plant members: Fiddle leaf fig compacta
Sunlight: Partial or filtered sunlight
Air: Warm and Well ventilated
Soil: Very well-draining soil with organic matter. A mix of equal parts Ugaoo Pot-o-mix and garden soil, or a part of perlite should work well.
Water: When the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil is dry to touch
Fertilisers: Once every two to three weeks
Issues: Rot due to overwatering, browning leaves due to irregular watering, mealy bugs
The fiddle leaf fig is native to the tropical forests and thrives in a well-lit warm environment. It thrives in at least 3-4 hours of sun in a day and bright indirect light for the rest of the day. If you want to keep your fiddle leaf fig indoors, make sure that it gets either morning or evening light and extremely bright light through the day.
Fiddle leaf figs do extremely well in south and west-facing corners of your home where they get ample sun through the day. Keep it close to natural sources of light such as windows and balconies. If the corner you are placing it in does not get the required light use lighter wall colours and mirrors to increase reflected light.
The fiddle leaf fig likes it when the soil dries out slightly in between watering cycles. Water your fiddle leaf fig when the top two to three inches of the soil dries out. Water the plant till the excess water drains out of the planter and always empty the baseplate, as the plant hates being waterlogged.
When watering an extremely dried out soil (visible cracks and soil leaving the planter walls) water in batches. Watering all at once allows the water to simply pass through the soil without getting absorbed.
Every time a plant is watered, water it thoroughly till you see some draining out of the drainage hole and always empty the under plate.
The fiddle leaf fig loves a rich but well-draining soil as the plant hates being waterlogged. It is a tropical plant that loves a moist growing medium that can dry out in between waterings. Use an equal mix of Ugaoo garden soil, Ugaoo Vermicompost, and Ugaoo Pot-o-mix. Another alternate is using equal parts red soil, compost, and perlite, with half part cocopeat.
The fiddle plants are big rooters plants and easily get root bound. Though they love being root bound, they need to be repotted when roots start coming out of the drainage hole. Repot your fiddle plant once a year in a loose well-draining potting mix in a planter that is not more than three inches bigger than the previous planter. Repot your plants in late winter (January) so that it gets time to settle in before the growing season of spring rolls in.
Feed your Fiddle lea fig plant with a generic houseplant fertiliser every three weeks, diluted as instructed on the packaging. Fertilising during the growing period of spring and summer is especially important.
Ensure that the fertilisers have the three major nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Ugaoo’s Plant Tonic and NPK are great options for both root and foliar applications.
Pruning back a couple of leaves from the top every few months not only promotes branching to make your fiddle leaf fig bushier but also allows it to divert the nutrients to older leaves and make them healthier.
Fiddle leaf fig can be propagated by stem cuttings. Every time you prune your plant, take cuttings with at least 3-4 leaves, and remove the lowermost leaves and retain the top two leaves and propagate the cuttings in water. Make sure to submerge the lower exposed leaf nodes in water. The cutting will start growing roots in a couple of weeks, post which it can be transplanted in soil.
- Yellow and floppy leaves mean that your Fiddle could be overwatered. Water only when the soil is dry to touch.
- Brownish and dehydrated leaves indicate excessive heat and lack of humidity.
- Etiolated or leggy plants with extra-large spaces in between leaves is a sign of lack of light.
- Stalled growth can be either due to lack of light, no nutrients, or hibernation in winters.
- Brown edges can mean your tree is overwatered, while brown spots can mean it is underwatered. Adjust your watering schedule if you notice its soil is overly-dry or overly-moist.
- Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to drafts, keep them out of direct cold drafts from ACs and windows and doors in winters.
- Fiddle leaf figs are prone to mealy bugs, aphids, mites, and scales. Check the foliage regularly, and if signs of pests are seen, wipe them down with a cloth and soapy water. Follow it up with thorough spraying with neem oil solution.
To conclude, keep your fiddle leaf figs warm, well lit, let them dry out between waterings, and well-ventilated, and clean leaves once a month to help the plants breathe better.
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