How to Grow and Care for Fiddle-Leaf Fig

You’ve seen it in trendy hotel lobbies and on the Instagram pages of designers who know what’s cool. It is the dramatic fiddle-leaf fig, which is also called the banjo fig and the lyre leaf tree.

The architectural shape and shiny, prehistoric-looking leaves of these beautiful plants make them stand out indoors.

But unlike other trendy houseplants like air plants and monsters, these beautiful plants are very hard to care for. In fact, they’re so picky that I’m surprised they’ve become so popular.

Don’t get me wrong—I love fiddle-leaf figs and can see why they are popular. They just have very strong opinions about what they like and what they don’t like. But if you want a plant that makes a serious statement in your home or office, they’re hard to beat.

If you’re sure you want to add one to your space, think of it like getting a new puppy.

It will need your time and attention, but you won’t have to worry about getting up at 3 a.m. to feed it or take it to the bathroom.

Don’t be put off by how picky they are.

Fiddle-leaf figs are a bit harder to take care of than some other houseplants, but once you get to know them, they’ll feel like part of the family and taking care of them will be second nature.

Some people even name their plants and talk to them. When they leave town, they hire house sitters to take care of their plants.

Okay, I count as one of the “people.” But listen to me: it took me years to learn how to grow fiddle-leaf figs, and I’m not about to let my plants fail! If calling them by name and talking to them now and then will help, I’ll do it.

This guide tells you everything I’ve learned over the years and will help you get past any problems that might come up so that your fiddle-leaf fig stays healthy, happy, and beautiful. You don’t have to give your plant a name.

Here is what I’ll talk about:

My big nine-year-old tree, which I call Midori, is always praised by people who come to my house, even though we’ve been through some hard times together to get there.

Ready to learn how to take care of your own fiddle-leaf fig plant so that it thrives? Let’s get started!

Cultivation and History

Do you want to know more about how fiddle-leaf figs came to be? This species used to live in the lowland rainforests of western Africa before they started showing up on Pinterest boards and in trendy homes around the world.

In the wild, they grow to be 40 to 50 feet tall.

When grown outside as part of a landscape, which is possible in subtropical climates like USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 in the US, they are usually 15 to 25 feet tall.

Don’t worry that your new fiddle-leaf fig will grow so tall that you can’t move inside. If you grow them at home, they won’t be able to grow to such heights.

Normal plants probably won’t get taller than 10 feet, but I’ve seen them grow over 12 feet when the conditions were right. And if you want something a little bit smaller, you can also get dwarf varieties.

Fiddle-leaf figs can be pretty cruel for a plant that looks so delicate. In the wild, birds, bats, or monkeys drop seeds into the canopy of the forest. If the seeds germinate, they start their lives there.

As these epiphytes grow up, their roots grow down from the canopy and into the ground. As they do this, their roots slowly wrap around the host tree, which could kill it in the end.

Weeping figs (F. benjamina) and rubber plants (F. elastica), which both do the same thing, are related to the fiddle leaf. They are called “strangler figs” along with dozens of other kinds of figs.

The leaves of this evergreen tree look like violins or lyres, which is probably where they get their name. The leaves are dark green and look like leather. The tops of the leaves look like they are made of wax, while the bottoms are a little lighter and matte.

The leaves can get as long as 15 to 18 inches.

When you cut open the stems and branches of F. lyrata, you can find latex in the sap that can irritate the skin. Remember this when you prune or divide plants, and make sure to wear gloves.

You won’t see any edible fruits on this plant if you’re growing it indoors, even though they’re part of the mulberry or fig family, Moraceae. In their native habitat, however, they grow around one-inch fruits that look similar in shape to the common fig fruit.

These fruits, which are technically called syconiums, have small, off-white flowers inside. The flowers rely on a specific wasp, Agaon spatulatum, for pollination. After the wasp pollinates the flower inside, the fruit develops.

Even if you did happen to give your fiddle-leaf fig the right conditions to produce fruits (if you are growing one outdoors, for example), they don’t taste good like the ones from their cousin the common fig, F. carica, which produces those familiar delicious fruits that you find at the grocery store.

F. lyrata fruits are tart and astringent.

Propagation at Home

It is possible to grow a fiddle-leaf fig from seed, but it is very hard and not recommended.

Fiddle-leaf parents will be happy to know that these plants can be easily spread by air layering or by cutting stems.

By Air Layering

Air layering means taking off the outer layers of a mature plant’s stem to show the inside, which is where new roots will grow. Once roots grow, you cut off the new growth and put it in the ground.

Here’s a brief overview of how to make it happen:

With a clean pair of clippers, cut the leaves off a piece of the brown, woody stem. You should have about a six-inch section to work with, with at least a foot of stem above and below the area you are working on.

Use a sharp, clean knife to make a shallow cut horizontally all the way around the stem. Make another cut like this three inches below that. Then, connect the two horizontal cuts you made by making shallow vertical cuts about every half inch or so.

Each of these cuts should be made in the phloem of the stem and not in the cambium. That means you have to cut away the brown bark to get to the green inside. If you get to the white inside, you’ve cut too deep.

It’s not the end of the world if you cut too deeply by accident. Just make sure to go slowly so that if you cut too deep, you can fix it and make sure the rest of your cuts are the right depth.

Next, use the blade of your knife to scrape off the brown, woody outside between the two vertical cuts to reveal the green inside between the two horizontal cuts all the way around the stem.

Then, soak a few handfuls of sphagnum moss and wring it out so that it is moist but not wet. Wrap the moss around the part of the stem that is showing, and then wrap that part in thick, clear plastic to keep it in place.

Use zip ties or string to close the top and bottom of the bag.

As usual, water and feed the fiddle-leaf fig (more on that below). If the moss has started to dry out, open the package every few weeks and mist it with water to keep it moist.

In about two or three months, you’ll start to see roots filling the plastic bag. At that point, cut off the top of the plant just below the plastic bag, using a clean pair of clippers.

Take off the plastic and moss, and carefully pull the roots out. Like you would with a transplant.

Where you cut the original base, new branches will grow from it. Now you have two fiddle-leaf figs where you used to only have one!

By Stem Cuttings

Your fiddle-leaf fig can be spread by stem cuttings, which is a reliable method that is easier than the one described above.

Find a branch that looks healthy, with leaves that aren’t damaged and no signs of disease or pests. He used clippers to cut it off.

It doesn’t matter how long it is. The goal is to cut off a piece that has at least two leaves, but more is better.

Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem to show one or more nodes. The point where the leaf meets the stem is called the node.

The new roots will grow from the nodes, so the more nodes you have, the more likely it is that new roots will grow.

Make sure to keep at least one leaf attached to the top half of the stem.

Then, cut the branch’s base at an angle of about 45 degrees, just below the lowest leaf node. You cut at an angle so that the plant has more surface area to soak up water and nutrients.

Dip the end in a powder that causes roots to grow (see our recommendation above). Fill a 6-inch container with sterile potting soil, water it, and use a pencil or chopstick to make a hole in the middle.

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Put the cutting in the hole and pack the soil around it. You should bury a third of the stem in the ground.

Mist the cutting every day and keep a clear plastic bag over it to keep the moisture in. Make a tent with the plastic over the plant’s leaves so it doesn’t touch the plant. Thin sticks or dowels made of wood can be used to hold up the plastic.

Keep the soil damp, but not wet, and put the cutting where it will get at least six hours of indirect sunlight per day.

You could also put your cutting in a glass jar or small vase filled with water that doesn’t have chlorine in it.

Leave out the rooting hormone powder, soil, and plastic tent, and just make sure that a third of the stem is submerged. Keep it in a place that gets at least six hours of indirect sunlight and change the water every few days.

After four to six weeks, you should be able to see roots growing in the water, or you can gently pull on a cutting that was planted in soil to see if it will stay put. After that, it’s ready to be moved.

Transplanting

When you go to the store to buy a fiddle-leaf fig, look for one with leaves that aren’t turning brown or yellow.

Also, check how the soil smells. You won’t look weird if you sniff a plant at the store. It’s worth being looked at funny). If it smells bad, skip that one. This can be a sign of root rot or an infection from fungi.

Check the plant to see if there are any signs of mites or other bugs (more on that below). Then, if the weather is right, you can bring your plant home. Try your best to keep wind and direct sun off of it while you’re moving it.

So, what should the temperature be when you bring your plant inside? Don’t bother looking for a new fiddle-leaf fig tree for the holidays. I get it. In cold places in the middle of winter, it sounds great to bring home a bunch of plants to cheer things up. But if you can help it, don’t bring your new pet home when it’s cold.

Even though it might not seem like a big deal, bringing a plant from a warm store into your cold car could shock or even kill it.

You don’t want to do that after picking out the perfect plant and spending all that money on it. Wait until spring, summer, or fall, when the air temperature is above 55°F, and transport it then.

If you buy a fiddle-leaf fig online in the winter or summer, you should think about the same things. The risk isn’t worth the chance of temperature changes while in transit. It might still be alive when it gets to you, but in a few weeks, it might start dropping leaves like there’s no tomorrow.

As soon as you bring your new family member home, you should plant it. Choose a container that is two to three inches bigger than the one it is growing in. Make sure the container has holes for water to drain out and a saucer under it where the water can go.

Don’t make it too much bigger than the original one, or it will be hard to water it properly. That’s because you’ll need to put more water in the container to help it reach the roots, and you might give it too much, drowning the roots instead.

Put the plant in the new pot at about the same depth as it was in the old pot. You might need to put a little soil in the bottom of the pot to make sure it’s at the same height. Put potting soil around the root ball.

Don’t put rocks, pieces of broken pots, or other coarse things in the bottom of the container to help it drain. This advice is a gardening myth that could hurt your plants more than help them.

When you put a layer of gravel or other material in the base, water pools just above that layer. This is the opposite of what you want to happen, which is to move excess water away from the roots.

How to Grow

So, you’ve moved your plant to its new home and are ready to take on the exciting challenge of making your fiddle-leaf fig tree the happiest, healthiest one in your neighbourhood. What you need to do is listed below.

First, it helps to know what fiddle-leaf figs don’t like.

They don’t like too much direct sun, too much shade, too little water, too much water, draughts, big changes in temperature, too little humidity in the air, being moved, dust on their leaves, or your taste in throw pillows.

Well, maybe not that one. But I wasn’t joking when I said they can be picky.

Read on to learn how to keep the conditions that these plants like so that your new houseplant can grow and thrive.

Water

Growing F. lyrata might be hardest when it comes to watering.

Fiddle-leaf figs are very picky about how much water they need. In their natural environment, they can handle drought, so if you’re not sure, choose too dry over too wet.

Putting your finger in the soil is the best way to tell if your plant needs water. If it feels dry on top and damps two inches down, like a well-wrung sponge, you don’t need to add any water.

Between waterings, the roots need to dry out a little.

Don’t add more water until you can stick your finger in the soil and feel that the top two inches are dry and the soil below that is just starting to dry out.

If you want to know if you’re giving the plant enough water, look for dark spots on the edges of the older leaves. This is usually a sign of root rot, a disease caused by fungi and usually caused by too much water. I’ll talk more about this in the section below about diseases.

If you see dry, wrinkled spots on the edges of leaves or leaves that are falling over, that means the plant isn’t getting enough water.

You could also set a reminder on your phone or calendar to check the soil’s moisture since these plants are very sensitive to big changes in how much water they get (see, I told you caring for one of these is like having a puppy).

Even though the timer went off, you don’t have to add water just because the timer went off. This is just a reminder to check on your plant so that it doesn’t go too long without water.

When it’s time to water, it’s a good idea to water from the bottom to get water to the roots.

If your container is light enough to move, but the plant in a bathtub or sink with a few inches of room-temperature water and let it soak up the water for about an hour.

Then, empty the tub or sink and let the extra water drain out of the pot for about 15 minutes.

Not everyone, though, can move their plants. One of my fiddle leaves is more than nine feet tall and is in a big pot. Getting it into the bathtub isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

If you can’t or don’t want to move a plant, try to still water it with lukewarm or room temperature water, or you could shock the plant.

Water the plant evenly around its base, at the soil level. Don’t throw water on the plants.

If there is still water in the saucer after watering, pour it out or use a towel to soak it up. If you leave water in the saucers, soluble salts can build up, which can slow plant growth.

The same thing can happen if you water from the bottom, so make sure to water from the top every few times to wash away any salts.

During the winter, when the plant goes into dormancy and stops growing, you’ll probably need to water it less. That’s why you should always check the soil before you water. You’ll probably need to water more in the spring, summer, and fall, but you should check first.

You may have seen pretty cachepots on Instagram. These are decorative containers that are solid and don’t have a drainage hole or saucer. You can plant in these if you want a pot with no holes that goes well with the rest of your furniture. But you shouldn’t plant directly in a cachepot.

Even though it’s not impossible, it’s going to be hard to give your fiddle-leaf fig just the right amount of water. If you don’t, the plant could end up with wet feet and root rot.

Roots need both water and air, and the best way to give them both is to plant them in porous soil in a pot with good drainage.

A good compromise is to put your plant in a plastic nursery pot with drainage holes and then put that in the decorative container cachepot.

This method, called “double potting,” lets you show off that pretty container without making it more likely that the plant will get too much water or get a fungal disease.

Humidity

During the winter, when the air inside is much drier, mist the leaves with a spray bottle every few days. When fiddle leaves grow in places that are too dry, their leaves get wrinkled and crumpled.

Mist in the morning so that the leaves can dry out before nightfall.

Buying a humidifier might be a good idea if you live in a dry area. Your skin and fig will both be grateful. Any humidity level below 20% is too low for houseplants.

Instead of a humidifier, you can put small plants on top of a tray with pebbles and water.

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The water in the tray evaporates, making the air around your plants moister.

Putting plants together can also help to bring up the humidity.

Light and Heat

Place your fiddle-leaf fig where it will get a lot of indirect sunlight and just a little bit of direct sunlight in the morning.

If you can, put it near a window that faces east so it can get indirect light all day without getting direct sun in the afternoon when it’s hot. When the leaves get too much direct sunlight, they can burn, turn brown, and fall off.

On the other hand, a dark corner in a basement just won’t do. If it doesn’t get enough light, the leaves may fall off and the leaves will turn yellow.

Don’t put your plant in a place where the temperature changes too much. Your plant shouldn’t be in a place where the temperature drops below 55°F or rises above 85°F.

This means you should keep pots away from draughty windows or windows with only one pane of glass if you live in a very cold or very hot area.

Stay away from radiators, fireplaces, air vents, and doors that lead outside. Fans and air filters should also be kept away from plants.

Fertilizing

To feed your plants, I recommend two different kinds of products: slow-release granular fertiliser and liquid fertiliser.

Both work well, so you can choose whichever one fits your schedule better. During the growing season, you need to apply liquid fertiliser every other time you water, but you only need to apply granular fertiliser once or twice a year, depending on what the manufacturer says.

On the label, plant fertilisers are described by how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium they contain. This is called the NPK ratio.

The best mix of these nutrients for fiddle-leaf figs is 3-1-2. This helps the plant grow big, healthy leaves and a lot of new leaves.

If you want to go the granular route, I really like Insect Frass by Down to Earth. Just be aware that some people don’t like the smell of it. For my fiddle-leaf figs, I add one tablespoon per gallon of soil once in the spring and once in the late summer.

Measure the length, width, and depth of your pot in inches to find out how many gallons it can hold. Add the length and width together and then add that number to the depth. If you divide that number by 231, you’ll know how many gallons can fit in your container.

You don’t have to fertilise for the first few months after planting, and most of the time you don’t have to fertilise in the winter, either.

Dormant plants aren’t making new growth, so they don’t need any extra food.

Repotting

Your plant will need a new pot every few years. What tells you it’s time? You’ll usually see roots coming out of the drainage holes or going around the edge of the pot, either above or below the soil line.

I like to run my finger gently down the side of the pot to see if I can feel the roots bumping up against it.

F. lyrata can make aerial roots, which are roots that grow from the plant’s stem above the ground and go down into the ground. That doesn’t mean you need to report your plant.

This project is best done in the spring. Choose a container that is a few inches bigger than the one you are using now.

Help the plant out of the pot it is in. To loosen the soil, you might need to run a gardening knife around the edge of the pot.

Once the plant is out of its pot, gently remove the soil from the roots. Part of the reason for repotting is to give the soil a new start, so you want to get rid of as much of the old potting mix as you can.

Then, cut away any roots that are dead. Roots that are dead can be dry and brittle or soft and smell musty.

Then you plant it like a transplant (discussed above).

How to Grow

  • Between watering, let the top inch of soil dry out.
  • Give plants at least six hours a day of indirect, bright sunlight.
  • Don’t let the temperature change quickly around plants.

Pruning and Maintenance

You’ve already done the hard parts by figuring out how often to water your plant and where it will do best. You just need to know a few more things to take care of your fiddle-leaf tree.

It might seem strange to dust a plant, but you have to dust those big leaves that look like fiddles. They gather a lot of dust because they are so big and often grow in a horizontal way.

At least once a month, take a damp cloth and gently wipe the leaves. If you don’t, dust can block the plant from getting sunlight and clog the “pores” in the leaves, called stomata. This slows photosynthesis and makes it hard for the plant to stay alive.

Figs with fiddle-leaf leaves grow quickly. In a year, it’s not unusual for them to grow a foot or two. If you leave your plant in a corner and don’t move it, the leaves will grow in different directions as the plant tries to reach the light.

You can handle this in two ways. First, move it around often. And second, if it starts to look uneven, prune it every so often to make it even.

Turn the plant a few inches every month or so. So I don’t forget which way we’re going, I always turn Midori in the same direction (clockwise).

If your plant starts to grow unevenly, cut off some of the leaves on the side with the most growth. This will make the plant look more even.

There are many other reasons to prune besides keeping things even.

If they’re happy, these plants will keep growing until they reach the ceiling. Trim the plant’s highest branches so that at least a foot of the plant is below the ceiling. This is for looks, airflow, and to make sure that the plant gets enough light.

You should also take off any leaves that are damaged or sick. These aren’t good for your plant and won’t get better. Also, disease-causing organisms could spread to the rest of your fiddle-leaf fig and kill it.

You might also want to prune your plant to make it look like a tree. But some gardeners leave the leaves on the bottom part of the stem so that the plant looks bushier.

In the wild, fiddle leaf figs grow in the familiar shape of a trunk and a branch-like top. But at home, the lower leaves usually stay on the plant.

If you want your tree to look more like a traditional one, you can cut off the lower leaves and branches.

You may also want to thin your fig once a year to make sure it gets enough air. Cut off any branches that cross each other.

To prune, wear gloves because the sap that comes out of these plants when they are cut can irritate the skin. Then get a pair of clean pruners. This job can be done at any time of the year, but if you do it in the winter, you won’t see any new growth for a few months.

Stems should be cut an inch from a leaf or stem node. When you cut the plant, it will grow new branches where you cut it. Keep this in mind as you try to get it to grow in the shape you want. If plants are trimmed during the growing season, new growth should start within a few weeks.

You can also cut off any stems or leaves that don’t fit the shape you want. Just don’t take more than a third of the plant at a time.

Lastly, if some of the leaves have brown spots on the edges because you watered them too much or not enough, you can cut off the brown parts with scissors or cut them off completely. They can’t get their colour back, so there’s no reason to keep them.

If you don’t like the shape of your plant or its leaves start falling off or it grows too tall, you can cut the whole trunk down to about a foot tall and start over. From where you cut the plant, new branches will grow, and you can start shaping it again.

Before you cut your plant back hard, you might want to try air layering. If you do what was said above, you might be able to get two plants out of your work.

Cultivars to Select

The most common plant in stores is the original species, but keep an eye out for the few different cultivars.

If you want something a little different, they can be a cute addition to your indoor jungle.

Bambino

If you like fiddle-leaf figs but want something a little bit smaller, try ‘Bambino.’

It only gets about 24 inches tall, and its leaves are about the same size. And the leaves on this plant don’t get as long as 18 inches, but about eight inches.

The leaves are also a little bit rounder than those of a typical plant and don’t have a fiddle-like shape.

Sounds like what you want, right?

Compacta

It’s easy to see how ‘Compacta’ got its name: its leaves grow to be about half as big as those of a typical fiddle-leaf fig, and it only gets as tall as about five feet.

It grows more slowly than most plants, so you won’t have to move it as often.

Variegated

This cultivar stands out from the others because its leaves are of different colours. They are dark green in the middle and creamy yellowish-gold around the edges.

Like many plants with different colours, it does better with a little less light than the true species.

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Put it somewhere where it will get strong, indirect light. To keep the leaves from getting burned, don’t put them in direct sunlight.

Managing Pests and Disease

Once you nail the water, light, and temperature requirements, your fig will probably be growing along happily. Keep it fit as a fiddle by watching out for the following pests and diseases.

Insects

All of your houseplants, but especially fiddle-leaf figs, need close attention. By the time they start showing signs of being infested with bugs, you probably already have a big problem.

It’s not all bad news, though. All of these pests are pretty easy to address as long as you spot the pests themselves early before they have a chance to cause lasting damage.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.) are about the size of a fruit fly and they can damage plants when the larvae start to feed on their roots. You probably won’t see the larvae, which are about 1/8 inch long with blackheads and white bodies, so keep an eye out for the adults instead.

Check your plants frequently, by examining the leaves and branches.

You probably won’t notice single gnats, but if you walk past your plant and a little puff of fruit-fly-like bugs take flight, particularly if they emerge from the soil, you probably have fungus gnats. That means it’s time to act.

If you wait to see symptoms on the plant, you’re in trouble. Plants may wilt or stop growing, and leaves may turn yellow. Under the soil, the roots may be damaged so severely that the plant can’t sustain itself.

Yellow sticky traps placed on top of the soil or suspended just above the soil on stakes are effective for capturing the adults.

You can also trap them the same way you would fruit flies, by filling a shallow container with three parts apple cider vinegar and one part water. Mix everything together and add a drop or two of liquid dish soap.

Place the container on top of the soil.

With both sticky traps and vinegar traps, you need to check frequently to see if they’ve gotten too full of dead insects and need to be refreshed.

Also, be sure to let the soil dry out in between watering. Fungus gnats like soil that is moist.

If you’ve struggled with fungus gnats in the past, it’s a good idea to keep a yellow sticky trap in the container at all times, so you can monitor for the pest and act before an infestation becomes severe.

Mealybugs

These tiny insects (Pseudococcidae) look more like evidence of an illness than pests, and they can be found in many places. A white waxy coating frequently covers their fragile bodies. This fluffy white fluff, which looks like mould, surrounds the eggs, which are the yolk sacs.

While sucking on plants, they leave behind sticky honeydew. Leaf colour will fade and fall off as time goes on; new leaves may also fail to form.

Ants and sooty mould can be attracted by honeydew, which is also a food source for flies.

An effective counterattack is necessary if you want to avoid an invasion of these odd pests. This involves ensuring that your plant receives the correct quantity of water, light, and fertiliser.

Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and apply it to each of these bugs if you find only a few. To avoid damaging the plants, avoid wiping any alcohol on them.

In order to get rid of any persistent mealybugs on your indoor plants, you can use this product.

Spider Mites

Tetranychidae spider mites belong to the family. The mouthparts of these tiny arachnids are used for puncturing leaves and stems in order to feed on plants.

Growing houseplants (or any plants) for an extended period of time would almost certainly expose you to these pests, which are extremely common.

A common first impression is that the plant has fine webs with what appears to be detritus in the webs. Small reddish spider-like bugs are seen creeping about on webs and plants when you look closely. You’ll have to get up close and personal to see them, as they’re only a millimetre in diameter.

Tiny rust-coloured spots stippling the leaves might also be a good indicator of a spider web.

If you’re dealing with an infestation of these pests, you can go from a “no big deal” to a “red alert” situation in a matter of minutes. Plants that have been contaminated to the point where they are stunted in growth may lose their leaves.

Insects prefer dry plants that aren’t getting enough water or that have dusty leaves, so be sure to keep up with your plant care!

Spray your fiddle-leaf fig’s leaves and stems with a strong stream of water to kill spider mites, and don’t neglect the undersides of the leaves!

Use lukewarm water instead of cold from a hose in your bathtub to avoid wasting energy and money. Do this once a week for a month or so until you’re confident that they’re in charge.

You may have to resort to insecticide soap if that doesn’t work (check out the section on mealybugs above for our recommendations).

Disease

These are the most prevalent diseases in houseplants that you should be on the lookout for.

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis, which is also known as grey mould, can be caused by a variety of fungi in the Botrytis family.

Spots of grey or tan on the leaves of an infected plant are often followed by grey spores.

Do not overfeed or water your plant excessively, as this might lead to root rot. It’s better to spritz your plant’s foliage in the morning rather than at night when it’s cooler and darker, as the moisture will evaporate during the day.

For the most part, this illness cannot spread rapidly inside as long as you do not overwater the plants on a regular basis. To thrive, the fungal requires high humidity and damp leaves, as well as low temperatures.

When you discover unhealthy leaves or branches, remove them immediately and toss them in the garbage.

Root Rot

Let me describe the scene for you.

Tonight is a stormy one. Outside, lightning and thunder wreak havoc on the windows and their frames.

An unexpected sound fills your ears with terror: the deafening clang of a leaf falling from your prized fig tree! Nooooo!

I don’t think I’m exaggerating. Fear hits me in my heart as the leaves begin to fall from my plants because of all the work I put into caring for them.

The root rot disease, caused by Phytophthora water moulds or specific fungi, is the most prevalent cause of leaf loss, however, there are many other causes of leaf drop (Fusarium spp. or Rhizoctonia spp.).

In order to accurately diagnose this ailment, it is best to look at the roots. You can tell they’re damp or squishy and mushy by their appearance and fragrance. There is a chance that the soil will drip if you pull up your plant in its pot.

For me, removing my nearly 10-foot fig out of its container was out of the question because it’s so big. As deep as my finger could go into the soil (approximately six inches), I found moist dirt despite the fact that the top layer was completely dry.

Most commonly, brown spots appear on a plant’s leaves, but they can also appear on its inside.

It is normal for these brown spots to appear at the base of plants first if you don’t remedy the problem. On the leaf surfaces, you may also notice white fungus spores.

These plants don’t like to have their feet wet, and they also require to have their roots exposed to the available oxygen. Your tree will die if the roots are unable to take up water and nutrients, which leaves them vulnerable to disease and finally spells their demise.

Leaves that have been exposed to the disease will begin to fall if it is allowed to progress. However, this might also be the result of other issues.

Observe the fallen leaves to distinguish them from those that have fallen due to waterlogged soil. Dark patches on the roots indicate the presence of root rot, but the plant retains healthy leaves.

If you notice signs of rot, immediately repot plants in excessively saturated soil or dirt that has been around for three years. As the organic content in old soil decomposes, it loses its capacity to properly hold and drain water.

Using a garden hose, remove the roots and soil from the fiddle-leaf fig. Make sure to remove any damp or dead roots before replanting.

Stop watering for a week or two if you find that the soil isn’t completely saturated. Water less frequently in the future, provide the plant with more light and think about adding drainage holes to your container – or moving the plant to a different pot altogether to avoid further issues.

Quick Reference Growing Guide

Plant Type:Ornamental shrub/treeFoliage Color:Variegated, dark green
Native to:Western AfricaSoil Type:Rich, loose, water-retentive
Hardiness (USDA Zone):9-11 (outdoors)Soil pH:6.0-7.0
Exposure:Bright, indirect sunlight with limited morning direct sunSoil Drainage:Well-draining
Height:Up to 12 feet (indoors)Uses:Landscaping plant in Zones 9-11; ornamental houseplant
Spread:4 feetFamily:Moraceae
Water Needs:ModerateGenus:Ficus
Maintenance:HighSpecies:lyrata
Common Pests:Fungus gnats, mealybugs, spider mitesCommon Diseases:Botrytis blight, root rot

You’re Ready to Help Your Fabulous Fiddle-Leaf Tree Flourish

I know it seems like a lot. Giving your fiddle-leaf fig tree what it needs to thrive becomes second nature once you learn how.

You won’t have to stress about anything but admiring your magnificent plant’s architectural beauty any longer.

The experience is really similar to that of owning a puppy, right? At first, you’re stressed out, trying to do everything right. But after a while, you discover you’ve become a pro plant parent.

I can’t wait to hear about your success, and you absolutely have to come back and tell me what you named your new family member. Let me know in the comments section below – and feel free to share a picture!

If you don’t like naming your plants, that’s fine. But trust me – it’s easy to get attached to fiddle-leaf fig trees.

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