Add Some Green to Your Home with the Fiddle Leaf Fig

Create a relaxing environment with this adaptable houseplant.
Photo: Olivier Koning

Plants are a key component to consider when decorating your home — they purify the air and help bring the beauty of the outdoors in. Lighten up your space with the fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata). The fiddle leaf fig’s huge light-catching leaves and its ability to easily adapt to the environment make it one of the most desired houseplants today. “This tree will instantly make any room feel more inviting,” says Katie Hachmeister of City Mill, which carries these houseplants. “Having plants around, in general, is also known to greatly reduce stress and this beautiful tree can’t help but make you feel a little happier every time you look at those giant leaves.”

Cleaning Tip: Keep your fiddle leaf fig’s large leaves free of dust.
Gently dust the leaves monthly or bi-monthly using a soft sponge
or microfiber cloth. 

One of the things that make the fiddle leaf fig so unique is that it can be shaped into different styles. In its natural environment, the fiddle leaf fig can grow up to 40 feet tall; it’s capable of growing up to 6 feet tall in indoor spaces. It can be pruned and shaped to look like a tree or a bush. And, Hachmeister shares that with enough care and patience, you can groom your tree in other ways — there are even varieties that have braided trunks and compact varieties with leaves that are half the size of normal fiddle leaf figs.

When deciding how you would like your tree to look, it’s important to keep in mind where it will be placed. “If you have a very narrow and tall area then it might be best to let your lyrata grow tall and slim with little to no pruning. If you are looking to fill out a larger area with your tree then more pruning will be needed to get the desired effect,” says Hachmeister.

There are things you must avoid doing to keep your fiddle leaf fig happy. “This tree does not like to have its leaves constantly touched or bumped into,” says Hachmeister. “Try to keep this plant out of narrow walkways and resist the temptation to touch its leaves.” Hachmeister also suggests refraining from moving the plant around too much. “Let it stay in one place, and let it adjust to its new home.”

Survival Tips

Although this plant thrives in moist, warm rainforests, it can easily adapt to a Hawaii home environment. Caring for your fiddle leaf fig is pretty simple with Hachmeister’s guidance.

Light: Bright indirect lighting

Temperature: A slightly humid environment

Soil: Any potting soil that drains well; a heavy soil-based mix with peat moss is ideal

Fertilizer: Nutricote 13-13-13

Watering: If indoors, every 5-10 days; if outdoors, every day or every other day

Longevity: If indoors, 10 years or more

Categories: Gardening, Interior Design, Sustainability