The Ficus Lyrata Care Guide (Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree)

Are you looking for a captivating botanical vocal point for your office, living room, hallway, reception, or hotel? Meet Ficus Lyrata, the sensational tall-growing indoor star, also known as Fiddle Leaf Fig. It gives your room a simplistic yet modern interior décor with its dark green violin-shaped waxy leaves that will capture your attention immediately when you get near its vicinity. What’s more, the bigger the plant gets, the more beautiful it appears.

To grow and take care of the graceful Ficus Lyrata, here are the basics that you must observe.

  • Watering: water the plant approximately 2-3 times a week to maintain even moisture at all times. Avoid soggy soil to protect the roots.
  • Light: provide bright to moderate light exposure.
  • Soil: use part bark and perlite to ensure that the soil drains well while retaining the necessary nutrients.
  • Temperature: the Fiddle Leaf Fig loves temperatures between 600F and 750F. The lowest you can go is 550F.

With a plant this beautiful, it is the exceptional daily care that will reveal its full potential and avoid a botanical disaster. However, its origin in the tropics makes it challenging for home and office owners to duplicate such steamy conditions.

No worries, though: we have all the tips you need to create a perfect interior design spot for your Ficus Lyrata. Use this gorgeous and extravagant splash of greenery plants having violin-shaped leaves.

This guide is not only meant for first-time plant owners but also gurus who have owned indoor plants for years. You will learn cool stuff about the Fiddle Leaf Fig, especially how to get a bushy top with a long graceful trunk to be a dominant feature in your indoors and much more!

Ficus Lyrata Basic Caring Guidelines

With 10 to 15 years to achieve maturity, the final look of this indoor plant will depend on each care action you take. Here are the basics that will give you a beautiful natural décor from day one.

Watering: how much water does the Fiddle Leaf Fig plant need and when should I water it?

Being a tropical West African plant, Ficus Lyrata requires a substantial amount of water to survive. However, it will die if you submerge the roots in water—so be sure to only water when a few inches of the topsoil becomes dry.

To determine the dryness, poke the soil with your finger to determine how deep the dry layer of soil goes. This poking technique only applies between spring and fall. During winter, reduce the amount of water because the soil and leaves are holding back most of the water, and it is also cold.

poking finger on fiddle-leaf fig tree

Beyond testing the soil, the plant does send signals that it either needs more water or it has more than is necessary. Here is how:

  • If the leaves dry and begin to drop, the soil could be waterlogged or too dry.
  • Ugly brown spots on leaves are a sign that you should stop watering the leaves.

Proper drainage is as important as regular watering.

fiddle-leaf fig watering

Since the plant requires a pot placed on the floor, experts recommend adding a plate that collects the water draining from the pot. It is better to deny adequate plant water than pour more than it needs.

Humidity: does the Fiddle Leaf Fig plant require misting?

Fiddle-leaf will appreciate slightly above average humidity to imitate the tropical rain forest where it thrives. The natural moisture in most homes and offices is sufficient for the plant. However, humidity needs change depending on the season.

The indoor environment also changes because people want warm houses and offices. Such warm interiors will result in dry air that could cause the leaves to wither. Thus, invest in a humidifier near the plant to create the right atmosphere. Alternatively, mist the leaves regularly to keep the leaves moist.

However, do not over-water the leaves; else, they will get large brown spots and later wilt.

Credits: Photo by Mike Marquez on Unsplash

Soil: what type of soil do I need for Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Ficus Lyrata loves well-aerated soil that will drain fast. This aeration is achieved during potting, especially at the mixing phase. Since the plant is not too sensitive, perlite and part bark are recommended.

Remember, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is highly sensitive to chemicals, especially the fluoride found in water. Other sources of chemicals that may be trapped in the soil include fertilizers. Use non-fluoridated water to avoid altering the composition of the soil. Dilute manure or natural compost could be your best bet to dodge damaging chemicals in the soil.

Lighting and location: Where should I place my Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Like every plant, Ficus Lyrata requires adequate light to thrive. The tropics where this plant is king are bright areas, leaving plant owners with the responsibility of imitating such conditions.

However, you have to be wary of the quality of direct sunshine on the potted plant: it could cause your plant to stunt and eventually die. Therefore, provide bright to moderate light to your Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Fiddle-leaf fig light care

Location near the window is perfect for the tree, especially at a young age. It allows the leaves to enjoy the mild morning light while catching a little shine at dusk.

Ficus Lyrata usually searches for light in its young days by bending towards the source. To avoid a crooked trunk, rotate the plant from time to time. When it comes to age, you will need adequate ceiling space so that the showy flowers can find space.

Temperature: Can Ficus Lyrata thrive in my area?

A warm room where people live is the ideal environment for Fiddle Leaf Fig. The temperature should be anything between 55°F and 85°F. If the temperature goes below 55°F, the leaves and roots will send a sign of protest by forming black spots and eventual wilting.

Keep it away from drafts, air conditioning vents, and heating appliances because they cause rapid fluctuation of temperature. You might also need to reconsider buying the plants in winter because the change of environment and exposure during transit could still cause frost issues. Extreme temperature variations will also injure your plants.

Credits: Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

It is clear that despite Fiddle Leaf Fig being tolerant to a considerable level of negligence, it is highly sensitive to temperature changes and chemicals in the soil. Nevertheless, the plant will give a smooth orientation to first-time indoor plant owners and a rewarding approval to the experienced ones when taken care of well.

But is that all about the Ficus Lyrata?

Ficus Lyrata Advanced Caring Guidelines

Fiddle Leaf Fig requires a little bit more attention than your ordinary indoor plant if it is to live up to its superstar billing in interior décor. There are small aspects of care that will transform a regular indoor plant into a spectacle.

Here are advanced care protocols to observe when you are hosting the Ficus Lyrata. Let’s get down to them, shall we?


Unlike other Ficus species, Lyrata does not need frequent fertilizer applications. Manure can be applied once or twice a year, depending on the age and growth habit of the plant. If you do not want a robust growing plant, you can deny it some fertilizer for some time without adverse consequences. Timing is also essential when applying your fertilizer because it gives you visible outcomes.

The most active growing season is between Spring and Fall, a season where you should add high nitrogen foliar fertilizer. Ask your arborist for a fertilizer that is formulated specifically for fiddle leaf figs.

Do not apply fertilizer during winter because the plant is dormant. To avoid excessive application, use weak liquid fertilizers or naturally prepared compost.

Once you achieve the right balance during fertilizer application, the roots will quickly fill the pot as the leaves display robust growth.


Pruning allows you to control the height and shape of your Ficus Lyrata plant. It will determine whether the plant fits on your table or will be a bushy feature in the hallway. Pruning must also be timely to avoid stunted growth and even withering.

To achieve a bushy and short stature, prune by cutting the main stem at the tip. Fresh, young, and vibrant leaves will reappear at the point you have cut. Should the tree become spindly, pinch new growth areas at the end of the branch sections just above the leaf nodes.

If you are looking for a treelike Fiddle Leaf Fig, allow it to grow tall. Prune by removing the lower leaves and branches to achieve the treelike structure. It will become a woody trunk with a crown of thick green leaves at the top.

Trimming the roots is also one of the recommended ways to limit the size of the tree. Remove the tree with its soil mould and reduce the size of roots from outside. The best time for root trimming is during winter and fall to encourage a bushy tree during winter.

Repotting and Propagation

Ficus roots are aggressive and can quickly fill the pot. At a young age, it is recommended that you repot your plant every spring, ensuring that the container is two inches larger in diameter than that of the previous year. It is also a chance to enrich the soil and eliminate soil that could be contaminated by fertilizers and fluoridated water.

As the tree grows, repotting will be a considerable challenge because the plant is unwieldy. To rejuvenate the plant, scoop 2 to 3 inches of soil from the pot and fill the space with a fresh potting mix. Henceforth, you must watch the quality of water and fertilizer you add to the vase so that chemicals do not extensively damage the soil.

Propagation is easy using moist soil and rooting hormones. Cut the stem at the tip and replant it in the moist soil with the hormones. Heating the bottom will also increase propagation success. If you are even more well-verse in plant caring, you can use air layering.

Pest Prevention and Hygiene

The biggest challenge you are likely to face from pests comes in the form of scale insects and spider mites. Watch out for the pests to help you take action before the damage is extensive. A home remedy for the parasites is spraying every two weeks using soapy water.

Common diseases affecting the plant include Leaf Spot Disease, root rot, and powdery mildew. Keeping your leaves clean and using recommended prevention chemicals will keep the plant free from diseases. Whether you are using soapy water or pesticides, remember to dry the leaves to remove chemical residue and prevent bacterial infections.

The large Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves make it easy to both spot dirt and clean them easily. Since the leaves are waxy, cleaning should not be a big problem. Spraying the leaves with water will get rid of dust and tiny pests on the surface, giving you shiny foliage.

Clean leaves are not just essential for aesthetics. They help the broadleaf to absorb more light and nutrients for photosynthesis purposes. Use a damp cloth to wipe the leaves once a month: it will guarantee their beauty and the health of the tree.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do fiddle leaf figs like coffee grounds?

Yes. The coffee grounds provide essential nutrients that boost the growth of leaves, giving you a green bushy plant. They also encourage soil aeration and drainage, improving the overall health of the plant.

Is Fiddle Leaf fig safe for cats?

No. The sap is irritating and poisonous to cats and horses. Experts recommend the use of gloves when handling the plant extensively.

Is Ficus Lyrata poisonous to dogs?

Yes. It causes watery eyes, vomiting, and irritation. The plant has level #1 toxicity and should be kept away from pets and animals.

Why is my Ficus Lyrata dropping leaves?

Several reasons could be responsible. Tick the one that you think applies to your plant.

  • Shedding the lower leaves naturally because they are old and need to pave way for new ones
  • Lack of water and low humidity- by start by turning brown
  • Environmental changes like a cold draft and during transit

What to do when Ficus Lyrata burns leaves?

Check whether you have exposed the plant to direct sun and change its location. If that is not the case, the problem could be leaf spot disease. Remove the affected leaves and treat the others with a fungicide.

How big is a planter for Ficus Lyrata?

Ficus Lyrata can grow up to six feet indoors. To provide sufficient nutrients for robust growth, change the size of your planter each year until it can accommodate a six feet tree without toppling.

How do you know if Ficus Lyrata is dying?

It begins with brown and black spots on leaves. The leaves then drop without producing new ones.

Luckily, you have a chance to revive your plant before it dies off completely. Begin by checking diseases, pests, soil composition, and watering.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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