Grow, Baby, Grow!

7 ways to increase the size of your fiddle leaf fig

Anyone that has been infected with Fiddle Leaf Mania has seen the incredible potential of these trees to create a lush, outsized indoor plant. At Plantify, we often get asked how to increase the size of a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree (Ficus lyrata), or how to promote its growth. These are the 7 aspects we check in on. Follow these to support your Lyrata on its long term growth journey.

Step 1: Get the Planter Size right
Plant size is strongly correlated to pot size. The more space there is for roots, the larger the plant can get. Aim to give your plant the largest pot possible, without making the current pot-plant combo look out of proportion. Or compromising drainage – if there is too much soil in relation to roots, then this can cause relative overwatering.

A good approach is to ‘graduate’ your indoor tree to incrementally larger pots over its lifetime.

Step 2: Check for Good Drainage
When choosing the planter for your Fiddle Leaf Fig, make sure that it supports the watering and drainage of your plant. Pots should have the following 3 characteristics:

  • The planter should be a pot, as opposed to a large tapering urn or vase. Make sure there’s an open surface at the top, where the soil is exposed.
  • There is sufficient drainage holes to let water out
  • You’ve placed some gravel or stone chips at the bottom of the pot to prevent the soil from clogging up the drainage holes

Step 3: Full, Regular Watering

Water is the vehicle that brings nutrients to the roots. When you water your Lyrata, do your best to ensure that all parts of its soil get moisture. You want to avoid dry, dusty patches from forming inside the planter, which will cause the roots to die off.

For plants that are small enough to be moved:

  • Place your plant in a tight container or sink – you’re looking to give your plant a soak.
  • Introduce enough water up to approximately 75% of the planter height. Water the top to ensure that the water from the top and bottom meet inside the planter.
  • Leave for 10 minutes.

For plants that are too big to be moved:

  • Water in a way that allows excess water to flow out of the drainage holes. Do so generously.
  • Collect this excess water and pour it into the pot again.
  • Repeat.
  • A drip tray underneath the planter is the best way to prevent a watering mess.

TOP TIP: Use a Moisture Meter to measure your soil moisture level.

Step 4: Check the Soil Aeration
Indoor plant soil can sometimes compact, which slows down the natural growth functioning of your plant. You’ll notice this if a hard crust forms at the top, or if, when gently digging into the soil with your fingers, you find that it is difficult to move the soil. 

Follow these easy steps if you notice this occurring:

  • Use some chopsticks to create small holes in the soil medium around the plant.
  • Push the chopsticks in as deeply as you can and then gently rotate them, left-right, to create some loosening.

Try to be guided by what you feel – if you encounter resistance – this may be a larger root, try for a different location.

Step 5: Do an Annual Soil Treatment
Leaf Figs like well-aerated soil that holds water but still drains quickly. Change your soil medium once a year, preferably in early spring, at the beginning of the growth season. Fresh soil with increasing daylight hours is like rocket fuel for your indoor plant. 

Don’t go to extremes by removing all soil from the roots. Simply change the soil that lets itself be removed easily and freely.

Step 6: Fertilize Less, More Often
To give your Lyrata the nutrients that it needs, choose a good balanced organic fertilizer for your feeding regime.

We found that feeding less, more often, especially in Spring through Summer, works really well. Dilute the recommended proportion in half or a quarter, and feed it to your Fiddle Leaf with every watering, approximately once a week.

Step 7: Give it Light and Warmth!
Take a moment to consider whether your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree has the most optimal light. You may have chosen a corner where your indoor tree looks good aesthetically, but could it get more light elsewhere?

Here are some top tips:

  • Maximize light brightness and duration, but avoid harsh direct light.
  • Some softer direct sunlight in the early mornings or late afternoon should be fine, just watch for leaf burn – dry brown patches.
  • Rotate your houseplant, it wants to get light from all directions.

With these Tips, your Fiddle Leaf should virtually grow in front of your eyes! No doubt, these indoor plants require some care to make them flourish. But the results will be endlessly rewarding. Good luck! 

by Andreas Keller, Owner of Plantify

Instagram: @plantify_