Fiddle leaf fig: Expert tips on growing, caring for and maintaining Ficus lyrata

Here's how to keep this beautiful plant in tip top condition.
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It’s some time now since we began bringing these big-leafed beauties into our home. How’s yours holding up?

The fiddle leaf fig has almost single-handedly changed the way we think about indoor plants with it’s sculptural, lush leaves and glossy glow. Here’s how to grow, care for and maintain this beautiful plant to keep it in tip top condition.

Richard Unsworth, Director at iconic Sydney plant emporium, Garden Life has come to our rescue with expert advice on keeping your fiddle leaf fig looking its best.

1. Position

Figs do love being in a light filled room, but avoid positioning close to hot sunny windows where leaves may burn, says Richard. “Keep out of strong draughts of either hot or cold air – therefore also steer clear of heaters and air conditioners,” he suggests.

“We like to take ours outside and give them a good drenching, this allows them to really take up lots of water into the potting mix” Richard Unsworth

Photographer: Rebecca Lu

2. Care

“Figs do like to be watered well,” says Richard, but they also love to dry out slightly in between waterings. Avoid just putting on a cup here and there however. “We like to take ours outside and give them a good drenching, this allows them to really take up lots of water into the potting mix. A shower is ideal. Water more in the spring and summer months, less in winter.

Fertilise them with ‘osmocote’ slow release fertiliser in spring, and it should last for 6 months. Alternatively use a monthly liquid feed like ‘nitrosol‘ to encourage the green fresh growth.”

For extra shiny leaves use leaf shine, or “The old school way of wiping with a little diluted full fat milk is ideal,” says Richard.

3. Leaf life

Try to keep the leaves dry when watering the plant and remove any that are rusty or discoloured with a simple snip of the secateurs.

You can always prune the stem with clean sharp secateurs, but beware of cutting off new buds from the stem – small brown swellings that could be future leaves. “New growth will come back if the conditions are right and your fig is happy in its spot,” says Richard.

Photo: Chris Warnes

4. Consider repotting

Figs are slow to grow, particularly in winter but if yours seems stagnant, it may be pot-bound. Re-potting allows for better water retention and faster growth and is pretty straight forward to do:

  • Choose the next size up in pot (eg from a 20cm dia to a 30cm dia pot)

  • Use a general potting mix to fill the new pot to one third full

  • Loosen the plant out of it’s current pot, tease out the roots and place into the new pot

  • Top up to just below the pot rim with fresh potting mix and water well

“If in doubt just improve the conditions of the fig, give it the best spot and care that you can – and it will come back and shine for you!” Richard Unsworth

Visit Garden Life if all is lost and you need a replacement: 158 Princes Hwy, St Peters, NSW, 2044

Try using…

FELCO 5 Pruning Shears, $69.60, Catch

These Swiss made secateurs are some of the best on the market and will make pruning your fiddle leaf fig an effortless task. Sturdy steel handles and an anvil blade made of high-quality hardened steel ensure a clean, precise cut every time.

VATTENKRASSE watering can, $12.99, Ikea

Sleek and easy-to-use, IKEA’s VATTENKRASSE watering can is ideal for ensuring each and every plant both in and outside the house receives the perfect amount of water.

Lifestyle Traders Large White Lime Concrete Plant Pot, $119, Temple & Webster

Give your fiddle leaf fig a beautiful home with this contemporary plant pot. The beautifully curved concrete design makes for a delightful foundation for your plant friend and is sure to let it shine. This design features drainage holes and can measures 37cm H x 42cm W x 42cm D. Afterpay available.

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