One of the most popular indoor plants recently has been the Fiddle Leaf Fig, named after the violin or fiddle shaped leaves that grace this substantial houseplant that is actually a type of tree. A recent rise in the popularity of fake Fiddles begs the question of why anyone would opt for a plastic version of such a gorgeous plant that comes with all of the amazing physical and mental health benefits that come with keeping indoor plants. The answer lies in the care of the Fiddle plant. Not a typical houseplant, this majestic vegetation requires a little know-how to keep it healthy and happy in your home. Our team at MARPHYL want to show you some tips for Fiddle Leaf Fig care so you can enjoy the company of this unique and beautiful houseplant.
Origins of the Fiddle Leaf Fig
The Fiddle, or Ficus Lyrata, has its origins in the tropical regions of western and central Africa. From a rainforest, this plant loves and does best in a moisture-rich environment that mimics its origins. In the wild, the Fiddle, as it is affectionately called, can grow up to a stunning 12m (40 ft) in height and up to 3m (10ft) or more as an indoor plant. The leaves are a wide, glossy, dark green, and shaped like its namesake stringed instrument. Leaves can be up to 12 inches in length and are deeply veined through the center and from the center outwards.
One unique characteristic of the Fiddle is that when young and pliable, the trunks of the plant are often bent and shaped for aesthetic purposes. Often the plant trunk is braided or woven together, creating an unusual and memorable look for this already remarkable plant. Fiddles that occur in nature do not have this appearance, but the flexibility of the trunk while young and its propensity to bend towards its light source show the Fiddle’s natural inclination towards shapeliness.
With a little attention to the needs of this interesting and beautiful plant, even a new but confident grower can successfully tend a Fiddle. Here are a few tips to keep your Fiddle growing strong.
1. Location matters.
When first bringing home your Fiddle, make sure that its location is considered carefully. Fiddles love bright light, so put them nearby a reliable light source like a large window that is southern or western facing. A few hours of direct sunlight make the Fiddle happy, as well. The brightness of the location is key to fiddle fig care. However, make sure that your plant is not inadvertently next to a cold or hot air vents, as this will make it harder to control the environment around the plant.
2. Water the Fiddle only when dry.
This is key, as overwatering Fiddle Leaf Figs can lead to the dreaded root rot. To avoid this, only water when the top 1 inch of soil is dry to the touch. A cup of water is sufficient, once a week, for plants up to about 60cm (2 ft) in height (measure from the soil to the top of the foliage.) Too much water can make the leaves spot or their edges turn dark, or even create a musty smell to the Fiddle.
Don't forget to add MARPHYL Organic Soil Enhancer every other watering
Plants rely on potassium to facilitate the circulation of nutrients and on nitrogen as the essential element in photosynthesis, while the roots need phosphorus to thrive. MARPHYL® Organic Soil Enhancer is high in potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and also contains trace amounts of other nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium for optimum plant health and growth.
Add MARPHYL® Organic Soil Enhancer to the water every other time you water your aloe plant. Recommended ratio is 1:20.
3. Make sure the soil drains well.
Fiddle plants will rot in their roots if they sit in water, so planting or repotting the Fiddle in a well-draining potting soil is crucial to their survival. Soil that doesn’t drain well will stay damp an inch below the surface for up to a week after watering.
4. Watch the humidity of the Fiddle’s home.
During most of the year, the inside of a home has a perfectly balanced humidity for the Fiddle. In the colder months, however, indoor heating can create a drier air that is not ideal for your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant. During these times, add in moisture by lightly misting the leaves with water once a week to combat the dry environment.
5. Keep it clean.
An often-overlooked part of Fiddle Leaf Fig care is cleaning the leaves. These oversized leaves are the crown jewels of this indoor plant, so wiping them down with a clean, damp rag will enhance their shine.
6. Prune the Fiddle.
As the Fiddle can grow to be quite large, pruning this plant is vital to its health but also so it can grow to be a plant you love.
- Remove leaves from the trunk to create a vertical plant that blossoms upward instead of horizontally.
- Use shears to lop off growth that is lopsided, as Fiddles love to lean into their light source.
- Shear off top growth that is too tall, to maintain an indoor-sized Fiddle.
- Don’t shear off more than 10% of your Fiddle in one go to avoid shocking the tender plant.
- Protect you and your floor when pruning. Wear gloves to avoid getting the sap on you and protect indoor flooring with a tarp or towel.
7. Repot the Fiddle
Since the Fiddle can grow to such a large size, having a fast grower means your plant is loving its home! But that means that you may need to repot the Fiddle into a larger pot when you notice the roots growing near the edges of the pot. Or, if your Fiddle has suffered from overwatering or soil that does not drain well, repot to give the Fiddle a new life.
8. Keep the Fiddle away from pets.
While not fatal, the toxicity of the sap from the Fiddle plant is harmful to dogs and cats and humans. Keep pets away from fallen leaves and protect yourself when pruning the plant to avoid the sap.
Not your average houseplant, the Fiddle is a beautiful addition to any home that can provide a bright sunny corner to encourage the Fiddle’s growth. With attention to moisture and pruning, a Fiddle can provide a gorgeously leafed plant you can enjoy for many years to come. Whether you braid the trunk into an eye-catching twist or simply let the Fiddle grow to its hearts-desire, this plant is a stunner to include in any home. Our team at MARPHYL loves the Fiddle and we know you will, too.
This is a very helpful post. I just purchased my first beautiful Fiddle tree and am hoping to keep it looking beautiful for a long while.
We are very excited for you Fiddle tree!