It’s hard not to fall in love with the unique beauty of the fiddle-leaf fig (ficus lyrata), which can be the crowning jewel to any style space. The large, elegant leaves add a pop of color and, over time, the rain forest native can add height to a room, growing upwards of six feet in an indoor setting. Not to mention, its reaching branches make this hearty plant the perfect accessory to fill out an empty corner. While care is easy, it’s important to follow these simple steps to ensure your tree flourishes for years to come.
Light: Your fiddle-leaf fig likes bright, indirect, filtered sunlight. Be sure to keep your plant away from direct sunbeams and occasionally turn the plant to distribute the light evenly to each side of the tree.
Water: Go ahead and stick your finger in the soil. Once the soil feels dry to the touch about an inch through, it’s time to water. Water with lukewarm water regularly, keeping steady moisture during the spring and summer growing months and easing up on the frequency during winter. Never let the soil dry out too much but also never let it stand in water. Make sure you plant the roots in a fast draining potting soil.
Fertilizer: Fertilize with a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season, and avoid doing so in the winter months.
Climate Control: The fiddle-leaf fig enjoys the humidity of its native tropical climate. Avoid too much artificial heat in the winter and window drafts with cold air passing through. Occasionally spritz the leaves with water to increase humidity.
Clean: Keep the leaves clean and free of dust so that the plant can absorb sunlight evenly. Cleaning also improves the appearance of the leaves, leaving a glossy finish.
Prune: Cut any dead or diseased branches from the tree, before the leaves fall to the soil and cause root rot. When you see the roots coming out of the top or bottom of the pot, it’s time to root prune. Remove the plant from its container and take a sharp knife to scrape the outside of the roots. As a rule of thumb, do not remove more than 20% of the root ball. You may need to complete this process about once a year.
Repot: Once you’ve root pruned, transfer the fiddle-leaf fig to a slightly larger potting container, adding fresh soil around the sides and on top of the root ball to fill the new container.