A post by resident plant expert Claire Akin of the Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource.
What does your fiddle leaf fig need to thrive?
Caring for your fiddle leaf fig can be complex and overwhelming, especially if you are a first time plant owner. Good care makes your plant stronger and more resistant to disease. But poor care creates a downward spiral of sickness and problems. Luckily, there are ten critical components to successfully caring for your fiddle leaf fig plant. Follow these ten commandments of fiddle leaf fig care for a happy and healthy plant.
1. Provide Proper Drainage
Your plant’s root system is the basis of its health. Many people are not aware, but to work properly, roots need both water and oxygen. Proper drainage allows your plant’s root system to breathe and stay healthy. Without adequate drainage, root rot can set in and kill your plant.
2. Don’t Drown Them
In addition to providing proper drainage, it’s important to let your plant’s soil dry out a bit between waterings. Too much water is one of the most common mistakes fiddle leaf fig owners make. Be aware of your plant’s water requirements and make sure you aren’t drowning your plant.
3. Give Them a Rest in Winter
During the winter, your plant receives less sun and as a result, it has less energy to complete its metabolic functions. As a result, it uses less water and nutrients. Water less and suspend fertilization during the winter to give your plant a chance to rest.
4. Accept the Loss of Older Leaves
Plants are always growing and shedding older leaves in favor of new growth. Fiddle leaf fig plants will drop their lower leaves as they grow taller. Don’t worry if your plant regularly drops it’s lower leaves, so long as it has healthy new growth.
5. Give Them Humidity
The ideal humidity for a fiddle leaf fig is between 30 and 65 percent. If you live in a very dry climate, you may need to supplement your plant with extra humidity by misting it or providing a humidifier. Be sure not to put your fiddle leaf fig near a heater vent, which will dry out your plant.
6. Treat Problems Immediately
Fiddle leaf fig plants are relatively slow growers, since their large leaves require a lot of energy to build. This makes treating ailments quickly even more important, since it takes them so long to recover from problems. Be sure to act quickly if you see brown spots, leaf drop, or an insect infestation.
7. Repot When Needed
If your fiddle leaf fig is healthy, its root system will begin to outgrow its pot in a few years. If you see roots growing near the bottom or edges of the pot, it may be time to repot to give your plant more space to grow. If you’ve reached your maximum container size, top-dress instead of repotting, by removing the top four inches of soil and replacing with new soil.
8. Feed Them Properly
Fiddle leaf fig plants require a lot of nutrients to grow their large leaves. Feed them with a liquid fertilizer like Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food, which is specially formulated with a NPK ratio of 3-1-2.
9. Use the Proper Tools
To take proper care of your plant, it’s important to keep the proper tools including a watering can, moisture meter, sharp pruning shears, and even a rolling plant stand that allows you to move and rotate your fiddle leaf fig.
10. Check on Your Plant Every Week
The best way to take good care of your plant is to get to know it better. Take the time to check on your fiddle leaf fig every week. First, take a look a the soil to see if it’s wet or dry before you water. Look at the leaves for any signs of wilting or brown spots. Rotate your plant to make sure it gets even sunlight. Finally, take an overall assessment of your plant and make a note of any changes like new growth.