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Ficus lyrata

Fiddle Leaf Tree

About Ficus Lyrata

My botanical name is Ficus lyrata but I am more commonly known as Fiddle Leaf Tree and I’m 3 to 4 years old. I have large, dark green leaves (that can grow to be 18” long) which resemble the shape of a violin or fiddle. I am native to western and central Africa but I was born in a nursery in Florida and am so happy to be going to my new home.  Here are some care instructions and tips that will be useful as I get acclimated to my new home and grow with you for many years to come.

Choosing the right location

Indoors

I can live indoors anywhere in the world as long as the temperature is  60 – 78°F (15 – 24°C). I also love being outdoors in tropical climate regions.

The best place to put me is in front of a window or glass door in a well-lit spot. In most cases, south facing windows have the brightest light so I can be situated farther into the room and still receive bright light. If direct light is an issue, you can put a sheer curtain during the day. East and west facing windows will have moderate light so it’s best not to situate me too far away from the window. North facing windows will have low light so I will probably not be too happy there. IT IS CRITICAL THAT I BE PLACED IN A LOCATION WITH A LOT OF LIGHT OTHERWISE I WILL NOT BE HAPPY.

Please do not place me in a spot where I will get direct sunlight all day, unless it is a little bit in the morning or the afternoon. Also, watch out that I’m NOT standing under an AC vent as I really do not like cold air hitting on me. I’m a little claustrophobic, so please make sure you don’t put me in a place where I’m slammed against walls or ceilings.  Please do not move me once I get situated as it takes me some time to get acclimated.

 

Outdoors

​Place me in a shaded or covered area where I can get bright natural light but not direct full sunlight. If the area is not covered and has possibility of rain water coming through, make sure the planter has drainage holes so that rain water drains through the planter.

I will probably go through an acclimation period (1-2 weeks) where some of my leafs may turn brown and fall, particularly the lower leaves close to the stem. This is normal as I get adjusted to my new home so do not worry.

How and When to Water

When it comes to watering me, below are some helpful suggestions for you to follow. However, I must admit that each of us is slightly different than the other and our needs differ too. Depending on where you end up placing me (sunny location would be best!), I may get more or less thirsty and would require watering differently. The humidity in the room, the time of the year, and the amount of AC/Heating, among other factors will all affect my watering needs. Fortunately, it’s easy to figure out what to do as I will show you how I feel; you just need to check up on me once in a while.

Start by watering me once per week. Use a spray bottle, watering can, or measuring cup to water me with approximately 25 oz. (750 ml) of water per session. Pour water directly on the gravel and rocks very slowly all around the base so that it filters down. Watering is no good to me if the water runs down the outside of the root ball, leaving my central roots dry. This can happen if you water too quickly or apply too much water at once. Slower watering is usually more effective. The key is to ensure that water gets to my root zone. Sometimes it is helpful to prick little holes into the gravel and soil with a knife/pencil and pour water inside to assure it goes down well.

Check up on me after about a week by inserting your finger into the soil about two inches and feel the moisture level. If it feels moist, try again in a couple of days. If the soil feels dry, you need to water me as instructed above. Once we do this for a few weeks, you will get the hang of it and you can work out a consistent watering schedule.

Feeding

I do not have a great need for food like other plants but I do like to be fed once per month during the spring and summer. I love liquid fertilizer which you can purchase at the Plant The Future store or at any garden center. I like the 20-20-20 formula the best. Follow the instructions on the label for best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most symptoms that I may show can be due to a number of different causes, so we will need to identify the disorder by a process of elimination.

What can I do if the plants are losing their leaves?

If it is only my lower leaves that drop (one by one) over a period of time and all the top leaves are fine, it is usually due to me having an initial shock of relocation and my natural tendency to drop leaves in order to channel my energy to the new growth. In this case, continue watering me as instructed and hopefully the shedding will diminish over time.

If many leaves fall all of the sudden, then it must be something in the environment that is not making me feel very good. It can be an AC vent that is blowing hot/cold air on me; I may be getting burned by direct sun, or experienced some sudden change in temperature. In this case, move me to a better location and monitor me over the next few days/weeks.

Why are the leaves turning brown on the tips and edges?

This too is probably an environmental problem due to dry indoor air from heating or air-conditioning that blows on my leaves or from ​erratic watering that allows soil to stay too dry for long periods. You can counteract the dry air’s effect on me by relocating me to a more humid location and/or watering me more often.

Why are there brown patches on my leaves?

​This could be due to a number of problems including fungal disorders, bacteria, or insect damage.

Fungal & Bacterial Disorders

Root rot is a common fungal disorder that develops when my soil is constantly wet.
My leaves may turn brown-to-black and curl up, eventually falling off. Root rot can be corrected by withholding water for a while until the soil is dry and then continue watering again. Another fungal disorder may be Anthracnose Leaf Spot that spreads on leaves in moist, wet air. Brown spots would appear on my leaves that may be sprinkled with black pepper-like dots and tend to grow gradually in size.

Leaf spots caused by bacteria are easily identified by a yellow halo surrounding the spot.

If it looks like leaf spot, remove all of my infected leaves and avoid wetting the foliage when you water. I should be able to eventually recover if damage isn’t too severe.

Insect Damage

Tiny brown spots may also result from insects feeding on my leaves, causing injured
portions to brown and eventually die. Mites, which are microscopic pests, may cause
this problem. Although they’re almost invisible, their webs are usually obvious,
especially on the younger leaves. Mealybugs can also cause leaf browning that
sometimes appears as spots, especially where leaves join stems. These insects resemble
tiny puffs of cotton along the stems or on leaves. You can destroy both pests by
spraying me periodically with insecticidal soap that you can find at the Plant The Future store or at a garden center. Follow the instructions on the label.

More Tips

  • Use a damp paper towel to wipe off my leaves, cleaning out dust and adding some humidity to me from time to time.
  • If you overwater me for some reason, hold watering for at least 7 days to let the soil dry out before watering again.
  • Please DO NOT apply leaf shine which only seals the openings on my leaves and sometimes causes damage that is irreparable