Fiddle Leaf Fig

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

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Ficus lyrata

How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular variety. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all Indoor Plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

Fiddle leaf figs are wonderful large, bold, impact plants. They provide a stunning focal point and give drama and flair to an indoor space.

Watering

Your Ficus lyrata has two stages – a growth stage (hard to miss – giant leaves are appearing) and a dormant stage (nothing is happening). During the growth stage, it needs a bit more water, but still do not overwater it, allow the potting mix partially to dry out in between watering. Water even less in the dormant stage, we let ours dry out almost completely in between watering. It is ESSENTIAL that the pot does not sit in water, have it on feet or empty the saucer of excess water.

Drooping yellow lower leaves = overwatering. Brown lower leaves = underwatering.

Light

Bright indirect light all year round. Helps to regularly turn the plant around to allow even light and even upright growth. Avoid direct afternoon sunlight – it can scorch leaves.

Temperature and humidity

Likes temperatures above 16C, however, at BAAG our shop drops to below 10C and they seem to cope OK. Some humidity is preferable, if grown in a group of houseplants, that environment usually creates its own humid microclimate. Otherwise you can mist frequently.

Fertilising

Only needed during the growth stage, a liquid fertiliser every two weeks is fine.

Maintenance

The huge leaves get dusty, so an occasional gentle wipe down with damp sponge doesn’t go astray.

Pruning

To encourage branching, prune out the top of the central/dominant stem. Note – the sap is mildly irritating and may stain.

Repotting

It doesn’t hurt them to be slightly pot bound, so don’t rush into re-potting. Tight root conditions are generally not a problem for Ficus lyrata. Use a free draining good quality potting mix, but avoid those ones with water saving crystals in them (Usually tagged for terracotta pots). Repot in spring.

Problems

Sudden leaf drop

Too dry, not humid enough, too much direct sun.

Leaf spotting

Often caused by rough handling – be gentle with the leaves. Any sap dropping onto the leaves will also cause spotting. Also fungal problems can result in spotting – these can be a result of lack of good ventilation and air movement.

Scale

Smooth brown oval shapes appearing to strongly adhere to stems and leaves. Use natrasoap, or try to gently pry them off.

Mealy Bug

White fuzzy looking patches. Treat as for scale.

Red Spider Mite

These tend to appear when humidity levels are low and are sucking insects, they create webs within the plant. Treat with natrasoap, and raise humidity levels. Keep a close eye on the situation and repeat treatments as necessary.