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. We think it’s time to come clean however and ask the tough question: Have you loved your fiddle leaf fig to death?
You’re not alone. Richard Unsworth, Director at iconic Sydney plant emporium, Garden Life has come to our rescue with tips on care and for how to restore your fecund friend to its former glory.
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
“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.
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
For how to decorate with plants in your home, click here.