How to Care for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
So you’ve bought a fiddle leaf fig tree because it’s the hottest houseplant on the plant right now.
It was shipped to you; you’ve unpacked it, stood it up now what?
How to Grow Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees
First things first let’s talk about what we do to grow fiddle leaf figs. Fiddle leaf figs can be grown as either a bush form (multi stemmed) or standard form (aka tree form, single stem). Fiddle leaf figs are grown mainly in Florida in the full sun for at least 2 years. The full sun plants are then moved into the shade for a minimum of 30 days to acclimate them to the low light levels they will be grown in at your home. We then move them to our shipping facility in Maryland via truck where they are kept under shade to further acclimate them.
During the acclimation process it’s quite common for the trees to lose some leaves as they have developed leaves for the full sun. New leaves are produced by the plants that are better suited to produce energy under low light situations. This process can continue for months even after they are shipped to you. Those that know the family of plants known as Ficus know that they can drop their leaves after a simple movement in the home from one side of the room to another. There is no need to be alarmed when this happens it is a normal process the plant goes through just as we do when our surroundings change. This is a good thing and clean dark green leaves will soon adorn your specimen.
How to Care for Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees
The plant is shipped in the container it was grown in a boring black nursery pot either a 10” three gallon pot or a 14” 5 gallon pot. We do strongly suggest re-potting the plant into a more permanent pot either plastic or ceramic will do just be sure there are drain holes at the bottom. Figs and most plants for that matter will not tolerate wet, soggy, un-drained soil. Its recommended that the pot be at least 2 to 4 inches bigger than the current pot. Any good peat/pinebark potting soil will do for re-potting just make sure it has a course texture. Do not use straight peat moss as a potting soil. Finally do not pot the plant deeper than the original soil line that we grew it at i.e. never cover the trunk with soil.
Leaves can become damaged during the growing process and especially during shipping. Have no fear though, we recommend pruning damaged leaves at the base. Another trick is to cut individual leaves just above the damaged area leaving the base of the leaf. This can be done with sharp scissors or pruners if available. Most of you have heard me say that upon receipt of your plant it is recommended to reduce the foliage by 1/3rd. This is basically to help the plant further acclimate to your home and reduce the shock caused by shipping and hopefully your re-potting of the plant.
Watering is best done when the top 1“ of soil is dry. The worst thing you can do for your fiddle leaf fig is over water it. As far as figs go it’s better to under water than to over water. During spring summer and early fall figs will need to be watered once per week at most. In the winter figs will naturally be using less water however most of us will be running heat which dries the air and pulls moisture from the soil. So be aware of the soil moisture during the winter months.
Feeding the plant can be done with any quality houseplant fertilizer such as osmocote plus timed release fertilizer or Jacks classic houseplant fertilizer. A once per month application of the low to medium rate described on the label will more than suffice if using liquid fertilizer and once every 90 days if using timed release fertilizer. We do not recommend feeding the plants after September until March in most areas. Even though it’s a houseplant it does take a break from growing during the winter months and will not be using much in the way of nutrients.
Figs prefer bright indirect light but even by a window is fine. If bright light tends to shine through the window all day we might suggest a sheer type curtain to dissipate the brightest light during the mid afternoon. Try to put your tree where it will be grown permanently and don’t move it around after it gets comfortable.
Finally, keep your plant clean. Dust from the indoor environment can clog the pores on the leaf surfaces and affect the plants ability to regulate its moisture. It can also reduce the ability of the plant to absorb carbon dioxide and the toxins in our home and release the oxygen that we need to breathe. After all plants not only look pretty and brighten our homes they also keep us alive. We recommend leafshine be used when cleaning your leaves. It will shine the leaves but not create a wax-like buildup.
Contact Garden Goods Direct for All Your Houseplant Needs
There you have it, taking care of your fiddle leaf fig is not that hard, We are always here to help and you can contact us with any questions you may have that I didn’t cover here.
Until next time,