How To Grow a Fiddleleaf Fig
Where To Begin
Want a lush, tall, upright houseplant but afraid that you'll kill it? Breathe deeply, and then relax. This time will be different because you've chosen a fiddleleaf fig. Related to the trees that bear one of summer's favorite fruits, the fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is strictly an ornamental plant, grown for its glossy, dark green leaves shaped like—you guessed it—fiddles.
This evergreen tree is native to tropical Africa but will happily thrive in your home if you give it plenty of bright light and regular water. Let the soil dry to the touch between waterings; you'll realize that you're underwatering your plant if brown edges appear on the foliage.
What To Know
Don't worry if the leaves start to fall off. This is common. Much in the way that we experience jet lag, these sturdy plants will get a shock from a change in location; keep in mind that garden centers are more humid and usually brighter than the average home. Don't panic—the plant will adjust. Use a general-purpose liquid fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro, to feed every other week in spring and summer and once a month in fall.
What Size You Need
When planted outdoors in frost-free areas, fiddleleaf figs can grow up to 20 feet tall. Indoors, they will slowly reach about half that, but you can always prune them if they get too tall. If you don't have a lot of space but still want a fiddleleaf fig, try a more compact version, such as the aptly named "Bambino" and "Little Fiddle" selections, which will grow about 3 feet tall. No matter what type you choose, you'll love that this striking houseplant doesn't require much fiddling.