Ficus Iyrata

Lee Rouse  |  9/11/2017 7:14:28 PM

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Like fashion, houseplants also tend to come in and out of vogue. In the ‘70s and ‘80s the snake plant was king of the hill. It was pushed to the side by the ZZ plant. The new houseplant on the scene that has fought its way to the top and has no intention of being replaced any time soon is the fiddle leaf fig, also commonly called the Fiddle Leaf Ficus.

The fiddle leaf fig, known scientifically as Ficus lyrata has begun to make its way into the American home. As the name implies, the foliage of the fiddle leaf fig is indeed shaped like a fiddle or lyre, hence origin of the species name, lyrata.

The fiddle leaf fig is a native to the tropical jungles of the West African region near Sierra Leone. Growing in its natural habitat, the fig can reach 40 feet tall with foliage growing to 15 inches long. Taking such a massive plant that grows in the hot and humid conditions can seem to pose a challenge when growing indoors.

Here are a few ways to help successfully grow fiddle leaf fig indoors:

Of course, we don’t want our homes to feel like the tropics, so there are ways to mimic the aspects of the tropics in your home to help ensure the success of the tree. Place the fiddle leaf fig next to a window to provide ample natural light. It is important to give the tree as much natural bright light coming through the window as you can. Be sure the tree is in an area of the house that does not receive air flow from the A/C vents. This constant cool, dry air blowing on the tree will dry out the foliage and soil more rapidly than normal and will keep the plant in an unhappy state. It is important that once you find a spot in the house that has ample light and low air flow to leave the fiddle leaf fig in place as much as you can, only rotating every few months as the tree begins to lean toward the window. Many people like to bring houseplants outside to water or allow them to receive warmer air, but consistency of conditions is key when growing this fig.

As with most potted indoor plants, watering is crucial., but more importantly it is how you water that makes all the difference. Before adding watering to the fiddle leaf fig, be sure to let the soil dry out to the point that it is dry to the touch. Once the plant is in need of water, water thoroughly until the water begins to trickle out of the bottom of the pot.

Because you are leaving the fiddle leaf fig in place, make sure that the pot has a saucer underneath the plant to catch the excess water that will run out when watering. One trick to ensure you don’t add so much water that it runs out the bottom of the pot, filling the saucer and flowing on to your home’s floor, is to gradually add water with a measuring cup. Add one cup at a time, keeping count until the water begins to trickle out of the bottom. The next time you need to water, you will be able to fill up a single container with the appropriate amount to water thoroughly.

Following these few simple tips will help to ensure the success of your fiddle leaf fig and other houseplants. The fiddle leaf fig didn’t become the “it” plant because it was difficult to grow. Developing a base understanding of the plant and plan of action will help you triumphantly bring the topics indoors.

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