Why are you FLF’ing yourselves? Fiddle Leaf Figs and WHY They Look So Sad

January 24, 2024

Struggling With Your Fiddle Leaf Fig? Here's Why

Why are you FLF’ing yourself?

I hereby absolve you of any responsibility for growing a beautiful fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) indoors, and any green guilt you may be carrying around because you keep killing them (or they constantly look so sad in your house that you feel like a bad plant parent).

See, here’s where knowing a little botany and understanding some light science comes in handy. Folks, FLFs are BIG ASS trees, and not only that they are what we consider fruit bearing trees (you know, figs?). They are in the FIG and MULBERRY family, which should tell you something about the kind of light (ENERGY) these beasts really need.

Not only are these trees getting exponentially more light outdoors (even in a dense rainforest type situation, and many FLFs will grow quite happily out in full sun) but they are also semi(hemi)epiphytic (which is why the root zone needs some drying between waterings ) and like warm humid environments to sustain that form of growth.

We stick them in our dark, cold, dry homes and then wonder why they always look so sickly.

NEWSFLASH: you don’t have what an FLF needs in your house.

I guarantee you, 99% of you that have a happy FLF have an FLF that lives OUTSIDE on your patio, at least for a good part of the year! OR you have several grow lights, or one more powerful grow light, that is keeping your FLF from the edge of death.

While FLFs might not like super hot direct sun coming through a window and hitting it’s leaves (very high PPFD), that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a substantial DLI (daily light integral) - meaning the overall quantity of light it receives through the day - to thrive, rather than just barely survive.

1. You never have as much light in your house as you think you do.

2. It’s ok to get rid of plants that constantly frustrate you.

3. Your compost pile is your friend.

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