Ficus Iyrata - Fiddle Leaf Fig

The fiddle ­leaf fig tree, or ficus lyrata, is a species of plant within the fig genus native to the lowland tropical rainforests of Western Africa. It has a broad canopy with large, rigid leaves and prefers a high light space. When cared for properly, fiddle leafs grow quickly, and a small tree can double in size in as few as six months.

The fiddle leaf fig from the ficus genus of trees is an exciting species to grow with larger leaves than the others from the genus.

This native to west Africa is grown indoors for it's attractive semi-lobed and oval shaped leaves, which all seem to grow to different sizes. The name fiddle given to this plant comes from its kind of fiddle (violin) shaped leaves).

This ficus is a slow growing plant that may take up to 10 -15 years to reach full maturity, but after 3 or 4 years of growth it starts to become an attractive tree like ornamental house plant.

Leaves and trunk: The plant leaves have a glossy appearance and grow up to 12 inches long and 5 inches or more wide. The trunk (although it's strong) is quite an odd one that grows very thin but long, which makes the plant a bushy type tree and full at the top without lower leaves.

Displaying: These grow well in greenhouses and conservatories because they enjoy high lighting conditions. They're the type of plant that looks great near doorways, hallways, fireplaces and other featured parts of a room, although enough light will need to be provided - wherever they are seated.

Flowering: In their natural habitat and outdoors fiddle leaf plants will produce flowers and then fruits, however, indoors it rarely happens.

Care level: I would say this ficus seems to be a little harder to care for than the F. elastica (rubber plant) which is mainly due to it's need for light and it' sensitivity to losing leaves. Worst thing to do is over water. Also, allowing the soil to dry too much with low humidity levels will cause leaves to turn brown and unattractive. It's not quite a beginner plant and in no need of an expert - so most growers will be fine.

This indoor tree type plant grows over 15 metres tall in it's natural habitat and up to 3 metres indoors, although they can be topped to prevent them growing taller. When these plants mature in age and size they make a great focal point within living rooms, hallways, offices or hotels.

Fiddle Leaf Plant Care

Temperature: Temperature:Temperatures between 60 - 75°F (15 - 24°C are suitable. Avoid lower than 55°F (12°C).
Light: A brightly lit spot is needed without direct sunlight, although a small amount of daily sun is good (not mid afternoon sun).
Watering: Water when the top soil becomes slightly dry and reduce watering in the winter. The worst thing to do is to over water (not underwater) because lack of water is easily fixed, unlike the damage from over-watering.
Soil: A good draining potting soil is needed which could include part bark and perlite.
Fertilizer: The ficus lyata does not have a strong need for fertilizer like some other ficus trees have. During the spring and summer I would provide the plant with a feed of diluted liquid fertilizer once a month.
Re-Potting: When the plant is young and growing re-pot it every spring. Once it matures you'll only need to replace the top soil each year.
Humidity: Normal room humidity is fine, but increase the humidity during the winter if artificial heating is used within the room.
Propagation: It's advisable for the average indoor grower to not propagate these because they're difficult, although it's worth trying. If you try you will need to take stem tip cuttings, add rooting hormone to the cut and replant them. Once planted use bottom heat to improve your chance of success. Air layering is also a method used to propagate these, which is more successful but difficult for most indoor growers.
Pruning: Remove leaves that have seen better days as soon as they start deteriorating (check there is no plant problems). Pruning the top is advised to keep the fiddle leaf at the desired height. You wont need to cut back any branches or leaves unless some begin growing quite straggly and the plant is becoming leggy.
Misting and cleaning: To improve humidity mist the leaves. Also clean the leaves with a soft sponge and water to remove dust and improve the glossy appearance.

Potential Problems

Loss of leaves: Well- the problem could be one of any of these reasons. Some of the lower leaves will naturally drop when the plant is seeing new growth to encourage new leaves to grow. One cause can be lack of water (although leaf discoloration and becoming dry should be noticeable first) or low humidity (dry air). Also, if you have recently bought the plant or moved it to a new spot then this may have shocked the plant, which it will adjust to. Cold drafts can also cause leaf drop. You will need to go through a process of elimination to find the cause and eliminate the care conditions you are providing correctly first to find the reason leaves are dropping.

Brown edges on leaves and dry: Humidity is probably too low which is causing the air to be dry, or maybe not enough water or both. This is quite easy to put right by improving the humidity or by watering the plant thoroughly. It's best to remove the dry and brown edged leaves.

Leaves softening and brownish patches: The problem here is more than likely over-watering - cold temperatures or both, which could eventually kill the plant. Check if the soil is too wet from the top and through the holes at the bottom of the pot. If its fairly damp or soggy it might be worth removing the old soil and replacing it. You will need to increase heat and maybe lower the humidity in the room to see if this resolves the problem.