Ficus Lyrata - Plant of the Month
It’s safe to say that the Ficus Lyrata (otherwise known as fiddle leaf fig) is probably one of the most popular plants around at the moment. With it’s elegant, large leaves and sculptural silhouette, it's certainly a statement plant that makes a great addition to any space.
Although a fairly slow growing plant, it can grow to great heights in an indoor space if regularly repotted - as tall as 10ft! Of course most London spaces don’t allow for such height, but the top branches can be easily looped once the plant has reached the ceiling and it will continue to spread in an outward direction.
Ficus Lyrata are native to the tropics, so like a warm and humid environment with as bright a light as possible without it directly hitting the leaves. It can tolerate direct light, but only for a short time during the day and preferably not mid afternoon sun. It can also tolerate fairly low temperatures, but never lower than 13 degrees.
One of the most common problems with Ficus Lyrata is dropping leaves - this is most likely due to overwatering or prolonged stretches of dry air. Although not what you might expect for a tropical plant, you want to let the top of the soil completely dry out between waterings and if possible, use filtered water at room temperature. In the growth seasons (spring/summer/early autumn) you can use a liquid fertiliser once a month but it’s not a necessity for this plant.
Ficus like a good air flow and regular misting - they don’t cope well with dry air, especially in the warmer months, so be sure to invest in a mister to see them flourish. It will also benefit your plant greatly to wipe their leaves clean with a damp cloth when they start to get dusty!
Repotting should be done yearly in spring when the roots become crowded. Make sure to only go for a pot a little bigger than the original, and once your plant has reached the maximum size for your space, stop repotting and simply scrape off the top layer of soil and replace with fresh potting mix.
Ficus Lyrata are notoriously difficult to propagate so we would recommend focusing on growing the one you have! However, if you would like to attempt propagation, we would suggest trying to propagate from a leaf cutting. Take a large, healthy leaf and place the cut end into water to see if it roots. If it does, wait for the roots to grow at least a third of the size of the leaf and then place into some potting mix with sufficient drainage.