Fiddle leaf fig leaves curling


How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Dry and Over Watered Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant?

You will also notice that with root rot, the plant will drop its lowest leaves first. A plant’s instinct is to protect the newest growth (which has more access to sunlight in the wild) and drop the older leaves that it doesn’t need as much. You can see in this image a plant with root rot that has lost many of its lower leaves.

At first glance, it may be tough to determine whether you are giving your plant too much or too little water, but the things to look out for to diagnose root rot are yellowing leaves, brown spots in the middle of the leaf, and dropping the lowest leaves.

If you’re still not sure, try using a moisture meter to check the water in your plant. Read how to use a moisture meter with your fiddle leaf fig here.

Could it Be Erratic Watering?

Does your plant have symptoms of both over and underwatering? There’s a chance it could be both, or a condition called erratic watering.

The trick to solving this problem is to remove all of the leaves damaged by root rot (you can leave mildly damaged dry leaves), then setting a schedule and watering your plant only once a week. Water until 10% to 15% of the water comes out your pot’s drainage holes. Wait a full week and check to make sure the top inch of soil is dry before you water again.

For more information on how to water your fiddle leaf fig, read the ultimate watering guide for fiddle leaf figs here. Best of luck in solving your plant’s problems!



Fiddle leaf figs like to be watered well, but they also love to dry out slightly in between waterings. Avoid just putting on a cup here and there however. “We like to take ours outside and give them a good drenching, this allows them to really take up lots of water into the potting mix. A shower is ideal. Water more in the spring and summer months, less in winter” Richard Unsworth, Director at iconic Sydney plant emporium, Garden Life told Home Beautiful.

11 likes – View Post on Instagram Shower time and leaf washing for my fiddle leaf fig! #fiddleleaffig #plantlove #plantcare


Keep the leaves dry when watering your plant and remove any leaves that are rusty or discoloured with a simple snip of the secateurs.

You can always prune the stem with clean sharp secateurs, but beware of cutting off new buds from the stem – small brown swellings that could be future leaves. “New growth will come back if the conditions are right and your fig is happy in its spot,” says Richard.


In spring fertilise them with a slow release fertiliser, and it should last for 6 months. Or you could alternatively use a monthly liquid feed like ‘nitrosol’ to encourage the green fresh growth.

Leaf Care

Make your fiddle leaf figs leaves green and shiny by dusting the leaves regularly and wiping off any excess dust will help them absorb light better and “breathe.” Use an old cloth and some lukewarm water every couple of weeks to help keep them happy. The condition of the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig are a big indicator on its health.

Brown Spots

If brown spots start to appear on the leaves this is your fig tree’s call for help. It could mean a magnitude of things but generally, it is a sign that you have overwatered your botanical friend so cut back on the love for a little while.

9 likes – View Post on Instagram More brown spots! This fiddle leaf fig is such a pain…way harder to raise than my children. #fiddleleaffig #blackthumb #fiddleleaffighelp

Drooping Leaves

The most common cause of drooping leaves is shock, drooping leaves can occur after you’ve moved your plant or if it is severely dehydrated.

Yellow Leaves

Yellowing leaves are a sign of stress. This generally indicates that your FLF is either under or overwatered but it can also occur when you have moved it to a new spot or repotted it.


Position it in a well-lit spot indoors but avoid direct sunlight as it will burn the leaves. Every couple of week rotate your pot to make sure each side is getting enough light, this will also help it to grow tall and straight.

Angie Thomas Horticulture Consultant to Yates gave us a couple of pointers on moving your FLF around. “If your fiddle-leaf fig is not liking its current spot and is not looking happy, then move it to a better location (such as with brighter light or away from a draft). Otherwise, try to avoid moving your fig or if you do have to move it, do it gradually and hope it doesn’t notice.”

RELATED: How moving your fiddle leaf fig is the worst thing you can do

Keep your fiddle leaf fig away from drafts and air conditions as they love a humid environment. If you are worried about the pot damaging your floors, stick felt pads to the underside just to be safe.

How to repot

During winter fiddle leaf figs growth slows down completely, but during the warmer months, it will grow quite quickly (around 2-3 ft a year!). Make sure your pot has proper drainage holes and pot in fast-draining soil otherwise the root system will get too soggy.

If you start to see roots coming out of the bottom of your pot it is time to consider finding your friend a new home. This will help your plant grow faster and will also help with water retention.

  • Choose the next size up in pot (eg from a 20cm dia to a 30cm dia pot)
  • Use a general potting mix to fill the new pot to one-third full
  • Loosen the plant out of it’s current pot, tease out the roots and place into the new pot
  • Top up to just below the pot rim with fresh potting mix and water well

How to propagate

It is relatively simple to propagate a fiddle leaf fig. All you need to do it take a leaf or stem cutting and place it in water in a well-lit area. Keep the stem upright and change the water every week and within a month you should start to see roots developing. Once you have a couple of roots you can plant your rooted cutting in moist soil.

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From your photo, it looks like there are several small- to medium- sized black spots on the leaf, many of these very close to the outer edges.

If the fig’s roots are soggy from overwatering or poor drainage, root rot (a fungal disease) could be the culprit. Check this by examining the roots – take the plant out of the pot and rinse the root ball with water so you can clearly see the roots. If the roots are mushy and brown, it’s got root rot. If this is the case, use clean shears to cut off the damaged roots and also cut off the brown-spotted leaves, then repot the plant using fresh well-draining potting soil. Make sure you wash the pot out well before repotting the plant.

There are a couple of other ways to help you differentiate root rot from other possible causes of the spots. With root rot, leaves usually remain green. It usually affects older leaves first – these are generally close to the bottom of the plant, while newer growth is closer to the top. Also, if leaves are dropping (you do not mention this) – it’s likely root rot. Although root-rot is a fungal disorder, spraying the fig leaves with an anti-fungal agent will not treat the underlying cause of the spots.

Another cause of brown spots that could be your plant’s problem is bacterial infection, which mainly attacks new leaves and also can result in many brown spots that appear anywhere on the leaves. Usually the leaves would also yellow. These infections are difficult to treat successfully. Treatment includes cutting off all leaves that have brown spots and repotting the plant in fresh, sterile well-draining potting soil. Make sure the plant gets lots of sunlight and water sparingly until it starts to recover.

Other causes of brown spots that do not appear to be the problem with your plant (but are worth a mention to alert you of future issues) include where the plant is too dry – this will cause the leaves to yellow, turn brown and curl starting at the leaf edges. One way to check for this is to see if the soil is so dry it has shrunk away from the side of the pot. Dry air is an issue during our winter (it’s now late November) and placing the plant on a saucer filled with pebbles that are kept moist, and misting the leaves every few days, would help provide the plant with enough moisture. Insects can cause small dark spots on the leaves that become holes, especially on the new (tasty) leaves. Watch for insect webs on the undersides of leaves and where the leaf and stem meet. If your plant is infested, treat with insecticidal soap available from your local nursery.

Finally, taking proper care of the fig is critical to its health. Make sure the plant is located near a sunny window, away from drafts and is not over-watered. Allow the roots and soil to dry out a bit between waterings. When you water, water deeply when the top inch or so of soil feels dry (once or twice a week), and just water the soil, don’t get the leaves wet. Keep the soil under the plant clean of debris. If you fertilize the plant, flush the potting soil with water every couple of months to avoid build-up of mineral salts (these appear as small white crystals on the surface of the soil and sides of the pot).

See The Spruce’s Growing Fiddle-Leaf Fig Plants Indoors for additional information on caring for these plants.

All the best with your fig!

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Dry and Over-Watered Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant?

The two most common problems for fiddle leaf fig plants are ironically the opposite of each other: too much water and too little water. But what’s worse is that it’s actually tough to tell which is which. Over-watering leads to root rot, a fungal condition that kills the plant’s roots and leaves. Under-watering leads to a dry plant with leaf damage.

First, one clarification. Over-watering and lack of sunlight work together to produce root rot, so if your fiddle leaf fig doesn’t get enough sun (and they like lots of light), the symptoms may mimic those of too much water. Under-watering and too much sun work together to dry out and burn your plant, so you’ll want to treat those issues together.

But how do you know for sure if your plant is too wet or too dry? First look; brown spots, dropping leaves, and curled edges can be a symptom of both conditions. Here are the subtle differences between an over-watered and under-watered fiddle leaf fig plant.

Symptoms of a Dry Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

There are a few ways you can discern a dry plant from an over-watered plant. First, chronically dry plants will always have brown spots and curled leaves. You can see this extreme example of leaf curling for a plant that was completely dried beyond repair.

Click image for The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

But what’s different about the brown spots of a dry plant is that they’ll typically start at the edge of the leaf, not in the middle. They’ll also affect leaves all over the plant, from top to bottom, where root rot will usually affect the lower leaves more than the top leaves.

Finally, the leaves of your dry fiddle leaf fig may look otherwise healthy, whereas the leaves of a plant with root rot will begin to look sickly, yellow, or have tiny brown spots. Both cases will drop leaves, but dry plants will drop leaves throughout the plant, not just the bottom leaves.

Click image for The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Symptoms of Root Rot in a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

The telltale sign of too much water and not enough sunlight is that your plant will start to get brown spots in the middle of the leaf as well as at the edges. You may also see a yellowing of the leaves before they fall off. Yellow almost always means too much water and not enough sun or fertilizer.

Over-watered plants will get tiny brown spots or brown shaded areas on their leaves before they turn to brown spots, like you can see in this example.

Click image for The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

You will also notice that with root rot, the plant will drop its lowest leaves first. A plant’s instinct is to protect the newest growth (which has more access to sunlight in the wild) and drop the older leaves that it doesn’t need as much. In this image, you see a plant with root rot that has lost many of its lower leaves.

Click image for The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

At first glance, it may be tough to determine whether you are giving your plant too much or too little water, but the things to look out for to diagnose root rot are yellowing leaves, brown spots in the middle of the leaf, and dropping the lowest leaves.

If you’re still not sure, try using a moisture meter to check the water in your plant. Read how to use a moisture meter with your fiddle leaf fig here. For more information, read Diagnosing and Treating Root Rot in Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants, and get your Root Rot Treatment here.

Next Steps:

  • For more information on how to water your fiddle leaf fig, read The Ultimate Watering Guide for Fiddle Leaf Figs here.
  • If you want to find out when to water your fiddle leaf fig, read How Dry Is Too Dry? When to Water Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.
  • Sign up for our Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter.
  • Order your Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food and your Root Rot Treatment here.
  • Purchase The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now.

Click to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.

Plant Symptom:

– Dropping leaves like crazy

Potential Cause: Improper Watering and/or Improper Temperature

Leaf drop is generally caused by getting too much or too little water. But exposure to temperature extremes—either hot or cold—can also cause Fiddle Leaf Figs to drop their leaves.

How to fix it:

First, check its location to see if too close to an A/C vent, heater, or draft and move it if necessary. Remember, that Fiddle Leaf Figs are native to warm, humid, tropical places where they get consistent moisture and even temperatures. Therefore, your tree will be happiest when kept in similar conditions. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Water only when the top 3-4 inches of soil is dry. You can also mist your Fiddle Leaf Fig regularly to boost its humidity.

– Brown spots on leaves

Potential Cause 1: Root Rot

Brown spots due to fungal infection from the roots sitting in too much moisture. Overwatering and poor drainage cause root rot, which spread to the leaves of your plant.

How To Fix It:

The only way to be certain that your plant has root rot is to remove the pot and inspect the roots. If the roots are brown and mushy, root rot is the culprit. If there are just a few brown spots on the leaves, let your plant dry out for two weeks or so until the roots have adequate time to recover.

Remove the affected leaves and make sure your plant has adequate light. If there are multiple brown spots, you’ll need to cut away any brown, mushy roots and the leaves with brown spots then repot your plant, taking care not to over water in the future.

Potential Cause 2: Bacterial Infection

The telltale sign of bacterial leaf spot in your Fiddle Leaf Fig is yellowing of the leaves in addition to the brown spots. With root rot, the leaves will typically remain dark green with brown spots, but with bacterial leaf spot, the leaf will turn yellow as the brown spot spreads. Both root rot and bacterial leaf spot will cause the leaves of your Fiddle Leaf Fig to eventually fall off. Bacterial leaf spot prefers feeding on new growth, so if your newer leaves are worse off than your older leaves, bacterial leaf spot is likely to blame.

Unfortunately, this is the hardest condition to treat in a Fiddle Leaf Fig. Even with proper care and watering, it may be too late for your plant. If the damage is not severe, cut off all of the leaves with brown spots and repot your plant with fresh, sterile soil. Give it plenty of light and go easy on watering until it recovers.

Photo Credit: Houzz

Potential Cause 3: Insect Damage

Insect infections are rare, but leave obvious clues. Use a magnifying glass to look for webs or insects on your plant. The giveaway to diagnose insect damage is small spots on the leaves that turn into holes.

Insect infestations are easy to treat. Use a neem oil product designed for houseplants. Or, the homemade remedy of putting a tablespoon or two of baking soda and a teaspoon or two of mineral oil in a spray bottle of water. Shake the solution well and then spray all areas of the plant that are infected. Keep infected plants away from your other houseplants. Take your plant outside if possible, as the neem oil has an unpleasant smell that lingers. Spray all of the leaves of your Fiddle Leaf Fig thoroughly. Be sure to turn each leaf to spray the underside and don’t forget where the leaf meets the stem. Wait two weeks, inspect again, then repeat the spraying process if needed.

Potential Cause 4: Your Plant is Too Dry

Dry plant brown spots are somewhat easier to diagnose, as they will have dry tan or brown areas that start at the edge of the leaf and cause the leaf to curl. Your plant will overall look wilted or dry at times and the soil may have receded from the pot (shrinkage). This can cause the water to run between the pot and the soil and never reach the root ball.

If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is in a very dry environment or near a heater, consider moving it to another location where the temperature is less extreme. Water regularly (try once a week) and monitor your plant to make sure it’s getting enough moisture.
You can try misting every one to three days or using a humidifier near your plant as well. Give your plant a good long drink, making sure the root ball is thoroughly wet—make sure water flows freely from the bottom of the pot. Let the plant rest and expel excess water before placing it back on its saucer.

Plant Symptom:

– Tan, almost white spots, on the top of leaves

Potential Cause: Sunburn

If your plant gets too much direct sunlight, it can get a sunburn, which presents as light brown spots that may look bleached. The spots will be predominantly on the top leaves and sometimes can show some red/yellow coloring.

How To Fix It:

Remove the sunburned leaves with sharp scissors or a pruning shears and relocate your plant to an area that is protected from the direct rays of the sun.

Plant Mom Note:

I suggest always removing the damaged area of a leaf or the complete leaf if entirely brown. Removal of the dead leaf or damaged areas helps the plant recover and look its best. You will need very sharp scissors or pruning shears.

Instructions for proper removal of damaged or dead leaves:

1. Trim off brown leaf tips or spots with clean shears. Cut off only the damaged tips or spots leaving a tiny margin of brown so not to damage the remaining healthy foliage on the plant.
2. If the entire leaf has turned brown, remove individual leaves at their base. Pull the leaf gently; it may come off on its own. If the leaf doesn’t separate with gentle pulling, snip through the stem with clean shears.

Do you have a plant question or concern? Don’t worry Plant Mom is here to help! No matter what your question is or what kind of plant you have, I am here to answer your questions and give you the encouragement you need to be the best plant parent you can be. I want to share my love and knowledge of plants with you.

The fiddleleaf fig is the latest houseplant wonder, used by interior designers and houseplant owners across the country. Its popularity is well deserved as it’s a striking, large leaved plant, often trained into a tree form and seen on the pages of magazines everywhere.

Maybe you’ve succumbed to the “Everyone has a fiddle leaf fig, I need one too.” pressure but now aren’t sure how to care for it? Well, first things first – It’s always smart to look at where a plant originated, then try your best to duplicate that in your home.

Ficus lyrata are native to western Africa, from Cameroon west to Sierra Leone, where it grows in lowland tropical rainforest. Their large leaves enable them to catch as much light as possible, and in this environment they can grow up to 100 feet in height.

Creating this environment in your home can be daunting. Light is the first challenge. Ficus lyrata will prefer an extremely bright room, but bear in mind too much direct sun may burn its leaves.

The ideal placement would be in a spot that is in very bright light most of the day. If there’s direct light through southern or western windows, don’t place your fiddleleaf fig directly in them but back it off so it receives the light but not the hot sun.

Fiddleleaf fig leaves are very big and they can be dust collectors. It’s important to keep these large leaves clean so they can absorb as much light as possible to aid in photosynthesis. To do this, carefully cradle each leaf in your palm and gently wipe them with either a damp sponge or a microfiber cloth. Do this at least once a month.

Water is the next consideration. In its native habitat, the fiddleleaf fig stays uniformly moist all the time. The trick is to keep it watered just enough, but not to let it stay too wet which can cause root rot and bacterial diseases. Root rot will manifest itself in older leaves developing brown spots, then dropping off, a very common problem with ficus lyrata in the home. Leaves typically remain dark green with one brown spot that gets larger and larger.

If you suspect this is the case, take your plant out of its pot and inspect the roots. If any are soft and mushy, root rot is the problem and is affecting the leaves and health of your plant. Remove the bad roots and repot with fresh potting soil. Groom the plant, removing any affected leaves.

Try to let your ficus go just dry. Push your finger into the soil 2”-3”. If it comes out dry, it’s time to water. When you water, water thoroughly, then let it go for however long it takes until your finger comes out dry again when you test the soil. Never let your plant sit in water.

If your fiddleleaf fig doesn’t receive enough water, it will be easy to tell as you’ll notice the edges of the leaves begin to turn brown, dry, and begin to curl. The overall look of the plant may appear wilted as well. Remove the brown leaves and try to be more aware of how much and how often you’re watering.

If the soil is coming away from the edge of the pot, that’s a sure sign you’ve not been watering enough. Check to see if your plant is near a heat vent that’s drying out the air and try misting your fiddleleaf fig to raise the humidity around it.

A serious problem, and another that also shows itself by brown spots on the leaves, is bacterial leaf spot. The difference between this and root rot is that bacterial disease affects all growth but especially attacks new leaves. You’ll notice small leaves and stunted growth, yellowing, and many brown spots on each leaf rather than one large brown area.

With bacterial leaf spot, the leaf will also turn yellow as the bacteria spreads. Eventually leaves will fall off. If less than 50% of the plant is affected, the best course of action is to remove all the diseased leaves and repot with new soil. Do not overwater as it’s recovering and place it in the maximum amount of light possible.

If your plant continues to decline or if more than half your plant has diseased leaves, it’s better to discard it and start over with a new plant.

Fertilize once a month through the growing season as they are very light feeders and let it rest through the winter. It also responds well to light pruning if necessary.

Finally, ficus lyrata prefer to be a bit potbound, but, if you see roots coming out the bottom of the pot and it needs to be moved up, repot using quality potting soil (We use Fafard.) into a pot no more than 2″ larger. The best time to repot is spring as your fiddleleaf fig is resuming more active growth.

Once you’ve found the right spot and have a handle on the proper care of your Ficus lyrata, you’ll find it to be a very durable and tough plant that should give you many years of enjoyment.

We offer Ficus lyrata at Oak Street Garden Shop when they are available. Please stop in and browse – you might find some other plants too!

~ We’re sorry, but we don’t offer online sales or ship plants at this time ~

Fiddle-leaf fig trees are the “it” houseplant that refuses to go away. More than five years after our first post about the trend, #fiddleleaffig is still dominating social media (with 125,272 snapshots on Instagram as of yesterday).

By now you may think you know everything there is to know about this finicky tropical rainforest plant—which, contrary to Instagram, doesn’t love life as a houseplant. But there’s more than meets the eye with fiddle-leaf fig trees. You could say they have strong opinions about the world; read on to learn their likes and dislikes and to debunk a few myths you may have heard along the way.

Here are 10 things nobody tells you about the world’s most popular houseplant, the fiddle-leaf fig tree:

1. You cannot grow a new fiddle-leaf fig tree from a leaf.

Above: Photograph via @ohiotropics.

To successfully propagate a fiddle-leaf fig tree, you will need to start with a tip cutting—a stem that is preferably 6 inches or more long—attached to a leaf. (Without a stem, any roots that leaves may sprout are for decorative purposes only—a rooted leaf will not grow into a new tree.)

Air layering is another technique for propagating fiddle-leaf fig trees or other woody tropical plants. With this method, you will need to make a slanted cut on a stem to encourage new root development.

2. You can buy a fiddle-leaf fig tree for $12.99 from Ikea.

Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

How far we’ve come in a few years, from the days it cost $150 or more to buy a fiddle-leaf fig tree at a plant shop (if you could even find one).

From a baby Ficus Lyrata Bambino (12 inches tall) to a Ficus Lyrata (26 inches tall), you can buy a live fiddle-leaf fig tree online for from $12.99 to $19,99 from Ikea.

3. A tiny fiddle-leaf fig might suit your lifestyle better than a tree.

Above: Ikea’s Ficus Lyrata Bambino, at 12 inches high, is happy to live on a windowsill (if you have bright, indirect light); $12.99.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Propagation in 6 Easy Steps

If you’re a fiddle leaf fig aficionado trying to grow your herd, you may start to consider fiddle leaf fig propagation. Why would you want to propagate your plant? So that you can grow many plants from one original plant. This saves you money and allows you to clone your favorite fiddle leaf fig plant!

You may be intimidated by propagation, but it’s actually easy. You should be pruning your existing fiddle leaf fig tree anyway, so why not try to root a few cuttings in water? It only takes 3-4 weeks for the roots to get started. If they don’t take off, you can try again. Done right, propagating your plant allows you the ultimate joy: to grow a brand-new plant of your very own from the beginning!

What Is Fiddle Leaf Fig Propagation?

Propagating a fiddle leaf fig plant means taking a stem or leaf cutting and allowing it to root in water or soil to create a new self-sustaining plant. You can propagate most houseplants, with varying degrees of difficulty. Fiddle leaf figs are actually relatively easy to propagate.

What Time of Year Should You Propagate Your Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The best time of the year to propagate is in the spring. This is when your plant is naturally prone to new growth and investing in its root system. The easiest way to be successful is by cutting from a branch that is already producing new growth, which is more likely during the spring. Propagation in the spring will also allow plenty of time for your new cutting to thrive before winter sets in.

How to Propagate a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

The first step to propagating a fiddle leaf fig plant is to take a leaf or stem cutting. Then you’ll “root” the cutting, which means you’ll place it in water or very moist soil to allow it to grow new roots. Here are the steps to propagating your plant.

Step One: Prepare Your Propagation Container

You’ll want to have a container ready for your cutting with clean, chlorine-free water. Allow normal tap water to sit overnight to let the chlorine evaporate, or use distilled water. Make sure the container is a good size and shape to support your cutting and keep it upright.

Step Two: Take Your Stem Cutting

I recommend cutting a stem with two or three leaves (no more than that or they’ll require too much energy to grow). Cut about 3 inches below the first leaf. This will give your new plant a short stem and enough leaves to sustain it. Choose a few of the healthiest leaves on your plant to take for your cutting. Don’t worry, they will grow back after you cut them. Use a clean, sharp tool to take your cutting and immediately place it into water.

Photo Credit: Jean Baik Shin

Step Three: Use a Rooting Hormone

Purchase a rooting hormone like this one to help your plant grow new roots more quickly. Follow the directions on the bottle and dip your stem in once before placing in water or soil.

Step Four: Place in a Bright Place

Place your rooting system in a bright place without direct sunlight, and check it every few days to make sure it has enough water and light. Replace the water with clean, chlorine-free water at room temperature if it looks dirty or cloudy.

Step Five: Wait One Month

It usually takes about one month for your cutting to develop roots. You can see the roots forming at the bottom of the plant after about three weeks. Allow them to grow for another week or so until you’re ready to replant.

Photo from Jewels at Home Blog:

Step Six: Plant Your New Rooted Cutting

Plant your new rooted cutting in moist soil, and be sure to keep it evenly moist for the first two months of growing to allow the roots to take hold. After three months, begin fertilizing regularly with Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food.

Photo Credit: Jean Baik Shin

It may take a year or so for your new plant to really get going, but with time, patience, and pruning, you’ll have a brand-new fiddle leaf fig plant to enjoy! Propagation may seem technical or complex, but it’s actually easy. And the joy of cultivating your own plant from a cutting exceeds any love you’ll feel for a store-bought fiddle leaf fig plant!

Be sure to check out The Ultimate Fiddle Leaf Fig Propagation Success Story with photos showing every step of the process and how to properly prune and shape your fiddle leaf fig.

To learn more, sign up for our Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar, make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter, and get your Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food here.

Read The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now!

Click to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.

The Ultimate History of the Ficus Lyrata

Haven’t you heard the latest plant news?

The Ficus lyrata is having a moment in the spotlight. You might know the Ficus lyrata better by its other name – the fiddle leaf fig plant.

The plant is the must-have plant of every plant lover’s home. If you don’t already have one, you must be reading the wrong fashion mags and interior design blogs.

The fiddle leaf has featured in the New York Times and the House Beautiful magazine.

Everyone’s talking about the fiddle leaf fig plant. And yet, people know surprisingly little about this trendy fig tree. That’s why we thought we’d take this opportunity to shed some light on the plant.

For our ultimate history fo the Ficus lyrata, keep reading below!

1. The Root of the Matter

The story of the fiddle leaf fig plant starts along the West African coast. It’s been growing for the millions of years in the wild of several West African countries. A native species of Sierra Leone and Cameroon, the plant flourishes in the lowland tropical rainforest.

It’s part of the Moraceae family of plants. The Moraceae family also includes the mulberry and fig tree species, along with over 1000 other plant species. Therefore, the ficus lyrata has a lot of cousins (850 to be exact!).

2. Wild Thing?

Nowadays, we associate the fiddle leaf fig with a trendy houseplant for urban apartments. But behind the fashionista appearance lies a dark past in the wild.

The Ficus lyrata is what is known as a banyan fig tree (Ficus subgenus Urostigima). Instead of growing by itself, it grows from the top of the crown of another tree. Talk about invading personal space.

The seeds of the fiddle leaf fig tree land as right at the top of another tree competing for sunlight in the rainforest. By picking a spot so high up, the fiddle leaf fig tree gains access to high levels of sunlight.

After this, as the seed of the plant germinates, the roots of the fiddle leaf fig begin to wrap around the trunk of the other tree. This kind of plant is known as an epiphyte.

Then, over time the host tree is strangled by the roots of the fiddle leaf fig tree. Who said nature wasn’t violent?

But its growth of the fiddle leaf fig plant can also be peaceful. It doesn’t have to grow like this, but it’s also possible to grow free-standing. But in the competitive environment of the rainforest, it’s a plant-eat-plant world.

3. Why it’s the Fiddle?

Have you ever wondered why the Ficus lyrata is called the fiddle leaf fig plant? It’s obvious really. The plant gets its name from the violin-like shaped leaves that remind you of a fiddle.

The leaves can grow to be huge too. They measure up to 12 inches wide. And an impressive 30 inches in length.

Anyone who has a fiddle leaf fig plant in your living room will know the thickness of the leaves. Those large and leathery leaves have a distinctive dark green appearance.

As for the tree as a whole, there are numerous examples of the tree growing as tall as 60 feet high. To put that in perspective, 60 feet is approximately the entire length of a bowling lane standing upwards.

And right at the top, you’ll find the bright green fruit of the fig tree.

4. From Zero to Hero

But how do the fiddle leaf fig rise to become one of the most popular houseplants around?

According to one theory, the popularity of the fiddle leaf fig coincided with the launch of the social media platform, Pinterest in 2010.

Pinterest has become the go-to place for beautiful home design. And the fiddle leaf fig tree represents a beautiful photographing opportunity.

Nowadays, Pinterest has over 200 million regular monthly users. That’s thousands and thousands of people posting, sharing and looking at pictures of the ficus lyrata.

5. Jumping on the Bandwagon

Retailers spot a market for the fiddle leaf fig plant. Most notably, the Swedish furniture store, IKEA started stocking the plant in 2013.

While the IKEA version was only small. For a bargain at $13.99, you could have your very own fiddle leaf fig tree.

Since then, the price of fiddle leaf figs has shot up. You can now pay up to $100 for a larger tree.

It’s not easy to transport the larger versions of the plant. Which is why an increasing number of retailers are delivering the fiddle leaf figs to doorsteps.

6. No Longer Playing Second Fiddle

Every era has a houseplant that’s making waves. As we already established, the fiddle leaf fig tree wasn’t popular until the 21st century.

The African violet was certainly the houseplant of homes in the 1950s and 60s. By the 1970s, spider plants were spreading across the country. And, who doesn’t remember your mother’s ficus in the 1980s and 90s?

The award-winning TV show Mad Men, which told the story of the 1960s through the marketing, has gained a reputation for incredible accuracy in every respect.

None more so, when it comes with its depiction of houseplants. You’ll see monsteras, pothos and parlor palms, but you won’t spot a Ficus lyrata.

You can’t turn on your TV without seeing fiddle leaf fig plants on your screen.

Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration. But the plant has definitely received plenty of attention of late. It even featured on a number of Super Bowl commercials.

7. A Moment in the Sun

The history of Ficus lyrata goes back millions of years. But it’s moment in the sun has only just arrived.

It’s not hard to see why it’s been called the “The ‘It’ Plant of the Design World” but none other than the New York Times.

The fiddle leaf fig plant perfectly transforms a boring and dull room into a vibrant and stylish place. And yet, it nicely reflects the minimalist aesthetic by not overpowering its surroundings.

As one designer puts it, “you can plop it in a dead corner and suddenly everything comes to life”.

But for many people, the plant also evokes a science fiction or alien world with its glossy green leaves. According to the interior designer, Brad Sherman, the fiddle leaf fig plant has a “pre-historic, Dr. Seuss feel” to it.

Brad Sherman, an interior designer in New York, thinks they have a “prehistoric, Dr. Seuss feel.”

8. Growing Pains

The reason for the rise of this trendy tree is because it looks great. The popularity of the fiddle leaf fig tree is down to designers rather than gardeners. Therefore, the challenges of growing the fig plant are largely overlooked.

And yet, the fiddle leaf fig plant is notoriously really difficult to grow and maintain. Many plant lovers have discovered that the fiddle leaf fig plant dies in only a matter of weeks.

While many people have claimed that the plant is especially delicate and fragile. Sometimes, just moving it from one side of the room to the other can cause it damage.

As one fiddle leaf fig plant owner puts it, “they’re very emotional plants”.

This explains why the Gardenista blogger, Michelle Slatalla has referred to the fiddle leaf fig plant as “the houseplant equivalent of a newborn”.

That partly explains why there are probably more pictures on Instagram and Pinterest of the plant than there are actual fiddle leaf figs in people’s homes. People are scared of the challenge.

And yet, this might be exactly what attracts some people to the plant. As Slatalla adds, “people tend to anthropomorphize this plant in ways they don’t with others”.

As with any other trend and craze, millennials are usually the demographic group driving it. It’s the same with the ficus lyrata.

We’re also told that millennials are not having kids. Maybe the younger generations are fulfilling the need to care for someone else by buying a fiddle leaf fig plant.

9. How to Keep it Alive?

The fiddle leaf fig plant is a challenge for even the most experienced and committed gardeners.

The most effective way of making a success of your fiddle leaf fig tree is by replicating the conditions in which it’s familiar. Yes, the lowland rainforest of West Africa.

Only, most people’s apartments and houses represent starkly different conditions to this. The fiddle leaf fig may flourish in the dark, warm and wet, but modern-day human beings certainly don’t.

But you don’t have to give up. Many people have sought out tips and tricks to keep it strong and healthy.

A landscape designer in New Jersey, Hadley Peterson has a fiddle leaf fig tree that’s growing strong after more than 10 years.

She claims it’s all about the atmosphere and air. She says, “I keep my house at 68 degrees”. But the fiddle leaf fig plant also needs lots of sunlight to stay healthy.

Even though the fiddle leaf fig might be difficult to maintain for much more than a year. If it lasts up to a year, it’s a relatively affordable way of keeping your home bright and green.

10. Avoid Killing Your Fiddle Leaf Friend

There’s no easy solution to making sure your fiddle leaf friend lives a long and healthy life in your living room. But there are certain mistakes you need to make sure you avoid.

1. Watering the Fiddle Leaf

It’s difficult to balance to achieve. Both overwatering and underwatering the fiddle leaf fig tree can cause damage.

You have to replicate the rainforest conditions, in which the fiddle leaf fig gets plenty of water.

But the best way to do this is to concentrate on ensuring the soil is always moist without soaking the soil in water. You can even place the fiddle leaf fig in draining pot.

If you notice the top layer of the soil is becoming dry, it’s time to water. Keep watering until the water flows out of the bottom. When it gets dry again, repeat.

2. The Right Amount of Sunlight

What makes the fiddle leaf fig plant an ideal houseplant is that the natural light provided by the majority of homes is perfect. It’s often just the right amount.

You need to make sure the tree gets plenty of indirect light. And also, some direct sunlight also benefits the growth of the tree.

The most suitable place to position your fiddle leaf fig tree is at an east-facing window in your apartment. This allows it to avoid the strong afternoon sun from the south and west.

3. Eat it Right

Even though many members of the ficus family flourish in high levels of fertilizer, that’s not the case with the fiddle leaf fig plant.

You only need to fertilize the fiddle leaf a few times per year. Most importantly, in spring and summer months. You can also kill the fiddle leaf by overfeeding it.

4. Far Too Cold

What’s the temperature in the jungle of West Africa? Yes, it’s pretty warm. That’s the conditions you want to replicate in your apartment.

While your bank balance won’t thank you for the increase in energy bills, your fiddle leaf fig tree definitely will. However, even room temperature is usually warm enough for the tree. But make sure it’s out of the way of cold drafts during the colder months.

The Ficus Lyrata History

Now you know everything there is to know about the Ficus lyrata. You need to catch up with everyone else by buying your own fiddle leaf friend.

Are you interested in buying a fiddle leaf fig tree for your home? Check out our online store for more houseplants that would look great in your home. Or in get in touch with us today to find out more.

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