Minimum Temperature: 55oF
Big and bold is the fashionable style in houseplants right now, and the Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush is both of those things. Large leaves cluster up several stems, making a broad, bushy plant that really stands out, and fills large-volume spaces. If you have more space than furniture in your home, then this plant will bring your rooms to life. If you have awkward spaces in corners or alcoves, then this is the plant you need.
In warmer areas it will grow for most or for all of the year outdoors, in the ground or in a container. There it will grow more vigorously, and it can, in a surprisingly short time, become a large bush, 10 or 20 feet tall or wide. But for most people it is going to be in a pot indoors, where 6 feet is the height you can expect in two or three years. This tough and easy plant certainly deserves its popularity, both for its looks and for just how easy it is to grow indoors.
Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig Bushes
The Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush has multiple stems sprouting from the ground in a broad bush. The large leaves have an unusual shape, with a broad, rounded end and a narrower blade closer to the stem. This does indeed make each leaf look like the ‘fiddle’ or violin in its name, and this is a very unusual, if not unique, shape for plant leaves. Each leaf is 12 to 18 inches long, and about 5 inches wide in the narrower part. They are dark, rich green, leathery, and the surface is smooth and glossy, creating a very attractive look. This plant will look dramatic in a corner of your living room, or in an entrance hall. It will thrive in a large bathroom, and of course if you have a great-room or atrium it will fill it beautifully. As it grows taller it will become wider, taking on the shape of an upside-down pyramid.
Grow the Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush in bright light. Some morning sun would be great, but not the hot afternoon sun, especially through glass, which can easily scorch the end and edges of the leaves. An east-facing window is ideal. Don’t place this plant in a dark corner, as the leaves will fall, and the plant will stop growing. In bright light your bush will sprout more branches, from the base and as side branches on the stems, becoming more tree-like in time.
It is natural, as new leaves grow, for older ones to yellow, and in lower light you might lose more lower leaves at first than are replaced by upper ones. Plants adapt to the light levels they live in, mainly by reducing the number of leaves, and increasing the spacing between them, so in the first few months your plant will adapt. Over a longer period, the leaves eventually yellow and fall, at about the rate new ones grow, so that it becomes more tree-like. If you do want to control the height, cut off the upper part of the stem, just above a leaf. In a while one or more new stems will develop, making a shorter, even bushier plant.
Care and Maintenance
Over-watering is the biggest enemy of the Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush, which means it is low-maintenance, and needs only limited attention. Grow it in a pot with drainage holes, and empty surplus water from any saucers or containers you may be using. Only water once the top few inches of the soil is dry. If the soil feels moist – don’t water. Especially in winter, when light levels are at their lowest, or in a cold room, wait until the soil is completely dry before you water. It is always better to let the soil dry, than to water too soon. When you do water, do it thoroughly, so that some water escapes from the bottom of the pot – remember to empty that saucer once it has finished draining.
Use regular houseplant fertilizer for foliage plants to feed your Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush, and it will greatly benefit from regular feeding – most people don’t feed their plants enough. Feed from spring to early fall, about once a month, and time it to fit with the watering cycle – in other words, don’t do an extra watering just because you want to feed your plant. Again, make sure water flows out when you feed, and also for the next watering, because build-up of salts from fertilizer in the soil can cause the leaf edges to brown and die.
When to Bring Outdoors
During the warmer months, your plant will enjoy a holiday on the balcony, patio, or out in the garden. Place it in light shade and try to give it about the same amount of light it gets indoors. If you expose it to too much light outdoors it will need to re-adjust when you bring it indoors in fall, and this could cause leaves to fall. Keep it outdoors when night temperatures are above 60 degrees and watch for a forecast of cold nights at the beginning and end of the outdoor season.
History and Origins of the Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush
The Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush (Ficus lyrata) is a relative of the fig tree grown indoors, and of the outdoor tree that produces edible figs. It is sometimes called Ficus pandurata, but that is in fact a different plant, not grown as a houseplant. In the jungles of west Africa this tree can grow to 40 feet, making a big bush with many stems. It is found mainly in Sierra Leone and the Cameroons.
Top-rated growers produce our trees, and these plants are quite different from the usual plants sold, which have just one or two thin stems. In contrast, the bush you will receive has several sturdy stems, covered in leaves, and makes a great addition to your home. The demand for this fashionable plant is high, so order now, as our stock will soon be gone.