How to Care for Fiddle leaf fig in India?

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

Native to the rainforests of western and central Africa, the Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is a stunning plant with huge waxy dark green foliage. Indoors, it gives a perfect contrast with your light, neutral walls and furnishings. And that is the reason this plant, for last several years, has been gracing the covers of magazines across the world.

Light: Fiddle leaf fig prefers bright consistent sun light.

You can place it in a warm place beside a sunny window, southern or western facing windows are ideal.

Eastern exposure also works well.

  • It loves a full-sun location, where it may get around 6hours of sun light like any other tropical plant.

  • A sunny spot must be accompanied with humid environment. It hates dryness in the air.

  • You can also consider investing in a humidifier.

  • It will be wise to avoid northern exposure as this plant will not thrive in low-light locations.

It appreciates a warm, humid environment, with fair amount of water and plenty of light. Once adapted, it can grow to 6 feet or taller indoors as well as outdoors.

Drafts: Figs are used to still, warm and humid conditions of the rainforest. Cold drafts from windows, doors and cooling machines such as air conditioners may cause its leaves to dry. You can use a humidifier to avoid such conditions.

Re-potting: The fig family are big rooters.

  • It easily gets root-bound, meaning there isn't enough space for the roots to go further deep in a pot. This can stunt the plant's growth and even cause root rot. A good time to repot is when you start seeing 1cm or thicker roots coming from the base of the pot. You can re-pot it once every year. For repotting choose a slightly larger pot, somewhere around 2" larger than the current pot or you can also trim the root ball(not more than 20 percent of all the roots).

  • Late Winter is a good time to re-pot your Fiddle Leaf Fig. While repotting be gentle and ensure that you don't disturb the main roots which are visibly thicker in size.

AC or air conditioners can hurt fiddle leaf fig. Figs are used to the still, warm conditions of the rainforest. Cold drafts from windows, doors and cooling machines may cause its leaves to dry.

Soil: This plant requires well-drained soil, like cactus/palm potting mix. Also, add some sand to make the potting mix loose which will help in good drainage.

Water: Wait for the top inch of the soil to dry before you water again. Always water thoroughly and allow soil to dry between waterings. It hates water-logging, so avoid water-filled saucers. Wipe the leaves once a week with a wet cloth, this will make them look glossy.

Water the fiddle leaf fig only when the soil feels dry on touch. Constant over watering can cause root rot, ultimately killing the plant.

Fertilizer: Feed the plant with a water-soluble plant food throughout the growing season, that is at Spring/Summer. You can also use a nitrogen-based fertiliser or any kind of good quality compost used for general houseplants.

Pests: Figs are prone to mealy bugs, aphids, mites and scales. Inspect the foliage regularly, and if signs of infestation occur, wipe them off with a warm and soapy cloth or with a mild insecticide.

Inspect the fiddle leaf fig foliage regularly, and if signs of infestation occur, wipe them off with a warm-soapy cloth or with a mild insecticide.

Key takeaways: keep the fiddle leaf fig in a sunny spot and water every alternate day (suggested for Indian metro cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Pune to name a few). If you are staying in a drier place like Delhi or Rajasthan you can also invest in a humidifier for this plant.

- By Kaushiki Sinharoy, Team Garden Up

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