The Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is commonly used as an indoor potted plant. It is relatively easy to care for, has large beautiful leaves and has a slow rate of growth. In this post I will list seven tips for caring for this tree species in an indoor environment as well as links to sites with more information.
Make sure your plant has right amount of light. Abundant but not direct light is recommended. Too little light will cause the plant to loose leaves and thin out. It also tends to grow towards the light giving the impression that it is leaning. Rotate the plant every so often to keep it growing straight and to ensure bushiness.
Don´t over water the plant. The Fiddle leaf fig does well with short dry periods between waterings. The frequency of watering depends on the amount of light the plant gets. One good way to determine how often you should water is to let the pot dry out until the new growth at the top begins to wilt slightly. Calculate the time that elapsed from the last watering and subtract a day or two to determine the ideal frequency of watering. This way you will be watering the plant just before it starts to wilt the next time.
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Prune to encourage branching and bushiness. The Fiddle leaf fig tends to grow a tall single stem when indoors. This long stem will normally not be able to keep itself upright and will require some sort of support. To encourage a more "tree like" form prune the plant at a desirable hight while the plant is still fairly young. It is recommended to do this in early spring before the new growth forms.
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Be careful not to expose the plant to dry heat or drafts. Like other Ficus tree plants the Fiddle leaf fig has a tendency to drop its leaves when exposed to too much dry heat or drafts and go into a sort of dormant recovery mode for a period of time. Some figs such as the Sacred Fig will do this as part of their normal growth cycle just prior to the growth of new leaves.
Tip # Five
Clean the dust of the leaves once in a while to allow the plant to absorb as much light as possible. Often in indoor settings a layer of dust builds up on the leaves without our being aware of it and reduces the effective light that the plant gets. Every so often gently clean the leaves of with a soft cloth. Don´t try to do this with your hands as rubbing the leaves can damage them slightly and cause them to bleed little drops of white milky sap. Use latex gloves if you are allergic to this plant.
Move your plant to an outdoor setting during the summer so that it can get more light. If you do this however transition it back indoors gradually at the end of the summer to avoid shocking the plant.
Trim the roots every year or two. The Fiddle Leaf Fig is a tree capable of growing to 40-50 feet tall with a normal root system for a tree that size. When roots grow in a small container they have little room to grow in and end up wrapping around the base of the container or growing out the bottom of the pot. Trimming the root system back during the dormant season will help keep the plant growth slow and will help maintain healthy roots.