Fiddle Leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata: “Fiddler Under the Roof”
The Fiddle leaf fig tree is a West African lowland rain forest native tree. Unlike their cousins in the fig, or ficus, family, fiddle leaf figs do not produce fruit. The Fiddle leaf fig trees are not so easy to take care of. We would describe them as very moody and jealous (bring a new tree in the house and the elder will partly die) As for care here some information we gathered throughout our discussion with different nurseries.
Light: Give it bright consistent light, indirect sunlight, preferably by a sunny window. Turn the plant every few months once it begins to lean toward the light.
Drafts: Figs are used to the still, warm conditions of the rainforest. Cold drafts from windows, doors and air-conditioning units may cause its leaves to dry out and drop.
Soil: Rich, well-drained peaty soil. Plan on re-potting about once a year in Spring because once roots become crowded they will start growing through the container’s drainage hole, causing circulation problems and even root rot.
Water: Water only when soil is dry to the touch. Then water thoroughly (until the water drains into the saucer) and allow to dry out again. If plants don’t get enough water, new leaves (at the top) will turn brown and drop; on the other hand, if they are overwatered, the oldest leaves (toward the base of the plant) will turn brown and fall off.
Fertilizer: Feed with a water-soluble plant food throughout the growing season according to directions.
Pests: Figs are vulnerable to aphids, mealy bugs, scale, mites and whiteflies, causing leaves to turn yellow and drop. Inspect the foliage regularly, and if signs of infestation occur, wipe down the leaves with a solution of ½ teaspoon dishwashing detergent and one gallon of water.
- Don't prune the brown, bare branches unless they look moldy. I you see any brown husks, leave them alone too. The hard covers may be protecting new growth. Come Spring new leaves will sprout.
- Be patient. The fiddle leaf fig tree is a slow grower, in winter it goes dormant. Don't expect to see improvement before April and warmer temperatures or immediate miracles. It could be a year before a recovering tree starts to look really good again.
- If the stalk is shriveled, it's too far gone to save. But if it's still hard and strong it will recover. Again give time.
- Don't pull off leaves.
- Identify the areas on the stalk where there are damaged buds; don't pull of the hurt tips. This is where you can expect to see new growth.
- Don't let an ailing tree dry out completely. Water it once a week or so and make sure excess water drains out the bottom of the pot
- Don't transplant it until you see new growth even if the pot is so tight that roots are visible at the surface.
In summary, the best thing you can do to help your fiddle leaf fig tree survive is to leave it be to recover, slowly on its own. Give it indirect sunlight, water once a week and warm temperatures between 60 and 90 F.