Here’s How We Can Assist You in Keeping It Alive
The fiddle-leaf fig is notoriously the hardest indoor plant to take care of. Many plant enthusiasts have brought home a tiny fiddle-leaf plant in hopes of growing a lush, big tree, only to discover leaves dropping and the plant dying a few weeks later.
If that happened to you, don’t worry — you’re not a bad plant parent. These are just needy plants we are talking about. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to maintain and grow them. You just need to know the right tricks. That’s why today, we’re answering the question of how to maintain a fiddle-leaf plant.
Getting to Know the Fiddle-Leaf Fig
The fiddle-leaf plant is the top choice of plant enthusiasts who don’t have pets. Since the Ficus Lyrata is sadly toxic to most common furry pets, many pet owners opt against having it in the house. Others enjoy its luscious leaves that grow in the shape of a violin.
The veiny pattern on each leaf catches the eye even before the sleek, upright trunk of the tree. Considering that this plant can grow up to 10 feet, it’s definitely not subtle. For many plant parents, this is the crown jewel of their collection. It’s also their most needy plant child.
Native to African jungles, fiddle-leaf requires constant care. Considering that it’s challenging to maintain a jungle-like environment that the fiddle-leaf plant loves so much (not to mention thrives in), it comes as no surprise that many people find their gorgeous fiddle-leaf plants with fallen leaves and overall droopy appearance more often than not.
That is what turns off most plant enthusiasts and why they opt against having a fiddle-leaf plant in the house. Considering that you can’t propagate the fiddle-leaf plant as you do most others (by putting a leaf in water until it sprouts and grows roots), which means it’s more difficult to turn your one plant into multiple sprouts, many people don’t even bother growing it.
But it actually isn’t that hard to maintain. All you really have to do is learn what it loves and be prepared to give it.
Why Is It Hard to Keep Alive?
Did you know that this isn’t really an indoor plant? When grown outside, it can reach up to 50 feet in height. Indoors, it can only grow as big as ten feet. Therefore, it’s kind of obvious why it’s difficult to keep alive indoors.
But that’s not all. The fiddle-leaf plant is also native to African jungles. The humidity, light, and soil in the African wilderness are pretty different from those you can provide in your home.
This plant is much like Goldilocks. You knot the story — one bed is too hard, the other is too soft, etc. Well, for this plant, too much water or too little water can mean a dead plant in your corner. The same goes for drafts and dry air. And, if you like to enjoy your music a bit on the louder side, think again — this plant is also sensitive to loud sounds (which, of course, includes music).
In other words, a lot of things can disturb your fiddle-leaf fig. It’s not just water and sunlight that you have to provide (and worry about).
Expose Them to Adequate Sunlight
The first thing that most people will tell you about this plant is that it needs a lot of light. Naturally, just like any other plant, it needs sunlight and water to sustain itself.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should find the brightest, most sun-exposed spot in your house and place your newly planted (or bought) fiddle-leaf plant there. If you do, the harsh direct sunlight will burn the plant’s leaves, and the plant will die before you even notice something is wrong.
The fiddle-leaf plant loves a lot of light, but it also doesn’t really do well in direct sunlight. What does that mean? It means that you need to place it near a window, preferably an east-facing one. That way, it will have plenty of light in the morning and still be in a bright environment in the afternoon. West and south-facing windows aren’t really a good choice for this plant. The afternoon sunshine will be too harsh on the delicate leaves and will burn them.
If you notice that your fiddle-leaf plant has pale leaves or some spots on it, move it to a place with more light. A fiddle-leaf plant doesn’t do well in the dark.
Use the Right Mixture of Soil
If you have some fiddle-leaf fig’s cousins (other Ficus plants), you might be inclined to feed the fiddle-leaf plant as much as you do them. Don’t — overfeeding the plant is one of the most common mistakes new fiddle-leaf fig owners make.
000A potting mix for indoor plants and a pot with excellent drainage will do just fine. When it comes to fertilizing, try to mimic the fiddle-leaf plant’s native environment. That means fertilizing the plant only a few times during the year.
Ideally, you’ll want to fertilize the soil once during spring and once a month during summer.
Water Them Moderately
Do you remember how we mentioned that the fiddle-leaf fig is like Goldilocks? Well, that’s especially true when it comes to watering.
Overwatering and underwatering are common mistakes many owners make.
Because the fiddle-leaf plant is native to West African jungles, it’s used to getting plenty of water throughout the year. After all, there’s usually heavy rainfall in the jungle, right? So, do your best to emulate that.
However, keep in mind that doesn’t mean you should soak your plant in water all the time. Instead, ensure that the soil is wet (but never soaked or overflowing with water).
Because you’ll want to water the plant frequently, it’s vital that the pot you plant it in has good drainage. That will ensure that the excess water doesn’t stay in the soil.
Underwatering is another common mistake. Some people wait until the soil is dry to water their plants. While that’s fine for some species, the fiddle-leaf fig won’t appreciate it. Make sure the roots are always moist (but not soaked). If you notice the leaves of the plant are getting droopy or limp, it’s high time to water your fiddle-leaf plant.
Monitor Room Temperature
Again, we can’t stress this enough — the fiddle-leaf plant is native to African jungles. That means it loves hot, humid environments. If your house gets too cold, the plant will wither and die.
That’s especially true if you keep it in a drafty area. Fiddle-leaf figs don’t react well to drafts. So, if you were thinking to yourself how that porch door you have is the perfect spot for your fiddle-leaf plant — think again. The draft not only lowers the temperature but also dries the air. None of those will help your plant grow.
Do Some Research on How to Cure Diseases
Although fiddle-leaf figs don’t get sick a lot, it’s important that you do some research on how to deal with the most common pests and diseases. Even the most resistant plants have issues from time to time.
Bacterial and fungal diseases, as well as scale and spider mice, are pretty much all you’ll have to worry about with a fiddle-leaf fig. If there are spots on the leaves or dark patches as well as noticeable bugs, you’ll have to treat the issue as soon as possible.
Quickly resolving the issue is of the utmost importance, which is why it’s good to do research and get familiar with potential threats to your gorgeous new fiddle-leaf fig.