Ficus lyrata, also known as the fiddle leaf fig, is a popular species of flowering plants that falls in the fig family. The plant is native to parts of Western Africa, and can be found in places such as Sierra Leone and Cameroon. It is generally found in tropical rainforests, usually ones that lie in lower areas.
It’s a relatively tall plant, going as high as 15 meters when cared for properly. The fiddle leaf fig is a quite popular ornamental tree, and is found in many tropical and subtropical gardens.
The plant is incredibly popular and if you live in an area where the climate is suitable, you should also consider growing the fiddle leaf fig. The unique shape of the leaves gives it a very ornamental outlook, and makes the plant stand out.
But, you should know that if you do not care for the fiddle leaf fig properly, the plant is going to suffer over the passage of time. There are a series of problems that might rear their ugly heads, and some of these could prove to be quite serious for the plant as well.
One of the issues that might arise in every fiddle leaf fig plant over the passage of time is stunted growth.
Why has your plant just stopped growing? Either you just got a fiddle leaf fig plant at home and it hasn’t grown even a little bit, or the plant did register a bit of growth before it stopped completely.
You should know that there can be a plethora of reasons why this might occur. But, the best thing that you should know is that all of these problems are generally quite easy to treat, so it’s not like you will have to worry too much about the plant.
If the fiddle leaf fig is not growing properly, here are a few things you can do to ensure that it starts growing again.
1 – Water Requirements
One of the first things you need to check is whether the plant is thirsty or not. You have to make sure that your plant isn’t thirsty.
All plants require water to maintain their metabolic functionality as well as growth. A thirsty plant will stop growing and will try to use whatever little water stores it has to survive.
Simply put, dry plants just don’t have the resources that they need to grow properly. Therefore, one of the first things that you need to check is the soil to determine if it’s dry or not. Before you water the plant, it is highly recommended that you check whether the soil is dry.
If the soil feels wet up to the first knuckle of your finger, you should wait a day or two. If the plant hasn’t been watered in a while, it’s going to affect the growth of the plant.
When you touch the soil and it feels dry, you need to add water quickly. Watering is probably the most basic problem to fix, and yet, it’s so common.
You might want to consider purchasing a moisture meter, which is a handy tool to use to determine the level of water in the soil. You should know that excessive amounts of water in the soil can lead to a series of problems, such as fungal gnat or root rot.
You have to avoid these problems, and the best way to do that is by making sure that the water requirements of the plant are met.
2 – Fertilize the Plant
All plants need nutrients to grow properly. Fertilizing your fiddle leaf fig is of the utmost importance if you want your plant to grow properly. Plants receive most of their energy from sunlight, but you should know that they also require certain amounts of nutrients from the soil.
In their wild habitat, these nutrients are readily available in the soil. However, when you keep the plants indoors, their access to such nutrients is reduced, and as a result, the plant might begin to die if it’s potted.
Considering the fact that this is a pretty big plant, you should know that it requires a considerable amount of fertilizer to grow properly.
Most of the potting soils that are sold in the market usually come with nutrients in them, but you should know that the plant doesn’t take very long to absorb all of these. Before you know it, the plant will be wanting more, and if it doesn’t get an adequate amount of nutrients to maintain its growth, the plant will simply stop growing.
Think of fertilizer as a supplement to maintain the growth of the plant and to keep it healthy. There are plenty of different kinds of fertilizers that are designed primarily for use with the fiddle leaf fig, so it’s recommended that you choose one accordingly.
One of the best things that you can do is visit a local nursery in your area, and find out from the gardeners which kind of fertilizer works best with the fiddle leaf fig.
It’s also quite important for you to understand that the plant will take its time to adjust to the new fertilizer. If you are expecting the plant to adjust almost immediately and register growth right away, you are not going to see anything.
Once you add the fertilizer, give it at least a couple of weeks.
You are going to notice a bit of growth with the passage of time, and once you do, just make sure you provide adequate amounts of water to the plant and ensure that its lighting needs are met.
3 – Repotting the Plant
There’s also another common reason why the growth of the plant might stop: the fiddle leaf fig outgrows the pot.
Potted fiddle leaf figs are quite common and many people usually keep them in their house or in their garden. If you own a fiddle leaf fig and it’s kept in a pot, you will have to check whether the plant has outgrown its pot or not.
The most common way to figure this out is to check if roots are popping from the drainage hole or not. When that happens, it’s a clear sign that you need to remove the plant and repot it.
When the plant outgrows its pot, the roots will spread to all corners, and are going to wrap themselves around so tightly that the plant won’t be able to support itself or the water won’t be able to reach the roots properly.
Ultimately, this is going to affect the growth of the plant as well. If there are several roots popping from the top of the soil, it’s also a clear indication that the plant is suffering and you need to repot it. Repotting might sound like a slightly difficult or intimidating task, but it’s actually not too difficult.
If you feel that you will not be able to repot the plant properly on your own, you should consider calling a gardener. There are plenty of local companies that offer repotting services, or you can just take the plant to a gardener. They will do the job for you with relative ease.
However, repotting isn’t really a problem. The first thing that you need to do is purchase a bigger pot for your plant. Then, line it up properly and use well-draining soil along with it. Finally, you just have to remove the plant from its smaller pot and place it in the larger one.
It doesn’t require a lot of effort and once you have repotted the plant, all you have to do is give it a few days.
The plant will take a bit of time to adjust to its new surroundings; just make sure that you properly water the fiddle leaf fig and add fertilizer. This is going to improve the time that it takes for the plant to adjust comfortably.
Also, you should know that the fiddle leaf fig requires a considerable amount of light, so you have to make sure that your plant receives an appropriate amount. You must select its position carefully in the house, especially if you are going to keep it indoors and not out in the garden.
These are just a few simple ways to fix issues with the fiddle leaf fig. Like most other tall plants, you should know that the fiddle leaf fig registers around 12 to 18 inches of growth per year, so you might want to check it from time to time. If the plant isn’t growing as much as it should, or not growing at all, you might have to take action.
Try changing the fertilizer first, and if that doesn’t work, call an arborist to your place to check the plant. They will be able to guide you in a better way about what’s wrong with the plant and what you can do about it.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.