Ficus lyrata Care
Tall, green and handsome….what’s not to love? Over the last few years these large-leafed beauties have taken the design world by storm! One of the most popular houseplants out there & one of the fussiest to care for. Here are a few tips we have found over the years to keep ficus happy, healthy and beautiful!
Ficus lyrata are native to Western Africa where they receive long days of full sun. When caring for any plant in your space always try to think of its natural habitat and reproduce that environment.
Light: Contrary to some information out there, Ficus love their light! In their natural habitat they are getting 10-12 hours of light a day all year round. In Canada this means that you cannot give your plant too much! We recommend a bright South or West facing window. Keep your plant close to and in front of the window (no more than 2-3 feet away). No dark corners or walls beside windows please. Signs of lack of light are leaf drop and yellowing leaves.
Water: Ficus love a good drink but not too often. If you have a 10” pot (no drainage) we recommend about 1.5-2 litres when the top 4-5 inches of soil is dry, approximately every 10-20 days depending on how much light and humidity the plant has. For pots with drainage, run about 4-6 litres of water through; you want to make sure that the whole root ball gets water before you leave it alone again. Signs of under-watering limp leaves, yellow, brown & crsipy leaves. Over-watering yellow, brown, & mushy leaves.
Please don’t give your ficus a cup of water here and there—it will start to get brown leaves and slowly die.
Humidity: So you brought your new ficus home and the edges of the leaves started turning brown and crispy. Living in the Northern hemisphere where we use artificial heat can be hard on some plants (not to mention our own skin!). Getting a humidifier for your plant will make a world of difference! Ficus are particularly sensitive to dry environments and need humidity levels of over 50% . Also remember to keep them away from heat & a/c vents and drafty windows and doors.
Food: Plants’ main source of food is light, however some important compounds found in soil are essential for growth. Starting in spring (active growth period) give your ficus some diluted fertilizer to give it a boost every 1-2 months. Transplant every 3-5 years or alternatively root prune and add new soil.
Clean: Keep the leaves dust-free. Give your leaves a wipe with a damp cloth once a week to allow for maximum photosynthesis and air exchange.
Leaves are dropping: This can mean general stress (my ficus dropped all its leaves after I brought it home and then they all grew back!) or lack of light. Find a nice bright spot for your plant and try not to move it around too much.
Browning/crispy leaf edges: Lack of humidity in the air is usually the cause of this. Add a humidifier to the room or mist your plant daily through the winter months.
Leaves develop brown crispy spots: Under-watering.
Leaves are turning yellow: This can be a sign of a number of issues. Too much or too little water. Lack of light. Or your plant may be in need of re-potting or additional nutrients.
Ficus are a more fussy variety, but with a little (healthy) neglect and lots of sunshine you too can master growing these spectacular plants!