How to Care for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
If you follow my Instagram, you're very familiar with my mirror pics from my previous apartment, and the famous fiddle leaf fig that was always in the background of these particular photos.
I have had a love hate relationship with this plant since I got it a few years ago. I spent the first two years of it's life just fighting to keep it from dying, it came close more than a couple times I'm sad to say (sorry tree)! When I moved to my apartment in said Instagram pictures, of course my little fiddle came with me, it had been going through a phase of extremely slow growth (but any growth at this point was a win in my book). We moved in the winter and I had already decided that first thing in the spring that I would re-pot it from the nursery planter that it came in to a more decorative looking and functional container (yeah, it took me two years to do this, oops?) since I had been decorating the new place from scratch.
Fast forward to spring, I re-potted my tree, and it was like a sudden explosion of growth occurred! It was insane to see this sad little tree with four leaves start producing multiple buds followed by leaves over and over, and RAPIDLY at that! It got me so excited, , I didn't want my tree to lose momentum so I started to research how to care for these plants. I know they can be finicky and particular, so I wanted to make sure I was doing everything correctly to maintain this consistent growth. There is a lot I've picked up along the way, from friends and family and snippets of online articles. Here is what I've personally tried and what has worked well for my fiddle leaf fig tree!
The big difference between the new apartment and my old place was definitely the amount of light we were getting in the living space where my tree was kept. I think this made a HUGE difference and played a big part in the massive growth I had seen in such a short period of time. fiddle leaf fig trees love a good amount of light. Bright, indirect light is what I've heard they like best, and as long as they aren't getting any kind of extreme sun-rays for an extended period of time they should be happy by a window that get's good light for a majority of the day. With windows wrapping around three of the four sides of our unit, this little tree was one happy guy!
RE-POTTING and PLANT GROWTH
So, like I said, I re-potted my tree in the spring which was perfect timing as it was the beginning of it's growth season. I transferred it into a larger pot since I wanted it to be taller, I added some fertilized soil to the pot as well. I made sure to break up the root ball when I re-planted it but I did not remove any of the roots as this can be detrimental to growth. You can use this method if you'd like to keep you're tree from growing too large if you have a small space, just make sure to never remove more than 10% of the root or you risk your plant dying. This is when I noticed my plant really take off. I think the large pot in conjunction with the fertilizer and sun was the magic combo during its growth season for it to really take off, which brings me to my next topic.
So, my tree, as many others that I have seen purchased cheaply like mine (I got mine from Ikea for $20) are usually only one stalk to begin with, no branches. Me being un-familiar with plants, and never having grown a tree before I had no idea that it was up to me to make sure it branched if that was the look I preferred for it. My tree was exploding in growth so I was sure it would grow some branches soon... HAHA, was I wrong! Finally I hit up Google to see what the heck was wrong with my tree... it was growing almost a full leaf a day but it never branched! Google told me I needed to take matters into my own hands. It was time to prune my tree to create branches! A friend told me that this may temporarily stunt the growth of my tree, but it was the end of the summer at this point and I was prepared for my tree to slow down on the growth anyway as we headed into colder (and darker) months. I cut the top of my tree about an inch below the last new growth, expecting it to be stagnant until the next spring. Well.... about a week later there were 5 new buds which then grew more buds and then more and then leaves started sprouting and suddenly my one stalk skinny plant became a full bushy tree! It was an amazing transformation! Moral of the story, make sure to prune your tree if it doesn't have branches and you want it to! I should have done this earlier, and I would have had I known! Side note, the shorter your tree is when you prune it, the bushier it will be as it grows. Prune it higher up for a leaner more slender tree, like mine!
TREATS FOR TREES
I try to fertilize my tree about once a month, sometimes less since the soil I added already has fertilizer in it. I only fertilize in the spring and summer when my tree is actively growing.
CLEANING YOUR PLANT
One of the most distinguishing and beautiful details of this plant is the magnificent, rich green leaves. They are shiny and a little bit waxy, and because of this they collect dirt and dust like a magnet. It is super important to clean this layer off consistently as it will inhibit the absorption of sunlight which makes it harder for photosynthesis to occur, aka it will make it harder for your tree to grow and be healthy. I took this for granted for a long time but when my little tree started growing quickly I became obsessed with making it look perfect, so I trimmed all of the sad brown parts and started regularly cleaning the leaves. I just use a microfiber cloth and a little water to softly remove any dust from the leaves. I've also heard you can use coconut oil to enhance their shininess, although I find this unnecessary since they are super shiny by nature and the oil can tend to attract more dust, but I think this is just a preference thing!
TO SUM IT ALL UP:
I am definitely no expert and most of this I've just picked up along the way, trial and error style. If you have any tips that I haven't tried, leave them in the comments below! I'd love to hear what has worked (or not worked) for you and your fiddle leaf fig tree!
Thank you all for reading!