Tropicals forum: Fiddle Leaf Fig

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Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Sep 1, 2014 8:13 PM CST
Hi, I am a new indoor plant grower in the central valley of CA (hot and dry). Ordered one Ficus - Fiddle Leaf Fig from an Ohio nursery. It was shipped (together with other 8 plants) on July 31 (Thur) and suppose to arrive on Sat. Unfortunately the big box was not delivered instead it was hold and put in the post office storeroom (hot and dry) over the weekend! Finally it arrived on Mon and I scrambled to set it (and all other plants) up, but all in bad shape. Few days after I repot it and took a picture on Aug 18 (see 1st pic). I believe it suffered too much heat and dryness during the transportation and the weekend saga. First it had two leaves at top darkened and three at bottom having brown spot. I often watered as I saw the soil always looked dry (not for other plants). And now after about one month, it still remain kind of saggy shape and on Aug 29 it lost a leaf from bottom (dried and fell off) and another from top. Aug 30 another leaf at bottom is falling off the same way. This fig is only about 12" tall and it came with 11 leaves. Now 8 leaves with one partially darkened on top and two with brown spot at bottom (see 2nd pic I took on Sept 1). Initially it was placed in living room with angled sky light (1st pic) and then moved to a room with big window facing south (have blind shade though, 2nd pic). I feel it's sick and need something to cure. But I don't know what? Please help. (so far I don't see anything growing, not taller, no new green or anything... )

Thumb of 2014-09-02/fiat/91e73f



Thumb of 2014-09-02/fiat/bdfb3b

If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 1, 2014 8:35 PM CST
That type of fig loves heat, but also humidity. It's definitely not a desert plant. Have you tried spraying the leaves directly with water? It actually doesn't look like it is dying - leaves have good color and at least one is shiny. But I'll bet it will look better if you increase the humidity around it. Tropical plants transpire a lot of moisture through the leaves, and that plant for sure did not grow to where it is in a desert atmosphere. Greenhouses - and tropical climates - grow lovely plants because they are very humid.

Keep it in the kitchen or, the best place is the bathroom where there is more water in the air, but ONLY if you have a window with good direct light. Otherwise you'll need to help the plant with humidity - a metal or plastic tray of water with pebbles in it, that the pot then sits on top of is the best way to humidify a small area for a plant - probably your other house plants will do better there as well. Group the plants together, and they will help keep their surroundings more humid. When we get some dry times here, in the winter I hang wet towels on chair backs around my plants to help humidify their surroundings.

Here in FL those fiddle leaf figs grow into 20ft. tall trees, so this is not a house plant that you should expect to grow very fast. It also needs lots of good light. Be careful of overwatering it while it is still recovering from its shipping experience. Be sure the pot you have it in is draining well. The soil should be slightly moist at most, and water sitting in the bottom of the pot, or in a saucer is not good.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 1, 2014 8:59 PM CST
Oh, those brown spots? If you could give us a closer picture of those, that may help but they don't look like something that is a result of shipping trauma. The folded, torn and bruised leaves, yes. The brown spots look like insect or fungal damage that may have happened a while ago, and it is just cosmetic damage. Keep an eye on the backs of the leaves for any insect activity or little spots.

Wiping the leaves with a wet cloth or paper towel is always a good thing, too. Look closely at the cloth after you do this, to see what comes off. Just use water, don't use any soap or anything.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Sep 1, 2014 11:04 PM CST
Hi Elaine, Many thanks for your detailed direction/tip on caring fig. After reading your response, I went to water my fig a bit (always worry watering too much) and spread (mist) its leaves. I'll do wet wiping the leaves tomorrow (is using alcohol acceptable?). I do have some metal trays good for the humidifying purpose, but no idea of getting which kind of pebbles and where?

The bathrooms in my house have no window, no light at all. It's a BIG NO there: I almost killed a nice 10" pot of Boston fern in there! (saved by moving it to a lighter room) So, now I can open up window blind more and let in more light, right?

I was hoping the fig would grow indoor at least half as outdoor. Is that even possible?
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Sep 2, 2014 9:12 AM CST
I agree

Since I sort of specialize in fiddle leaf ficus plants, having grown and propagated them for almost four decades, I have seen exactly the damage from prolonged heating/lack of moisture/lack of air circulation. A couple of years ago I had four large plants, all over 3' tall, shipped to me and I lost them all. I pretty much knew when I opened the box that they were "goners".

I would not use alcohol on those leaves. They have been traumatized enough. Just use water to gently clean them, bottom and top. But doing this right now is not a big thing. The last thing you need to worry about is some imperfections in the leaves. Mist the leaves twice a day. I would maintain the potting soil at slightly-moist but because the roots are probably not taking up much moisture, I would ere on the dry-side a bit. Certainly don't allow your plant to sit in a saucer of water! These plants like moisture but not "wet-feet". Don't fertilize UNTIL you see new leaf growth. Again, the roots just can't utilize the fertilizer. Use 1/2 strength, 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 when you do start fertilizing. This plant needs bright, indirect light and if it can go outside, under a large tree for example, that will be a definite plus. Just be sure the plant does not get direct sunlight between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Sep 2, 2014 11:44 AM CST
Hi Ken, Thanks for the tips and advice. I'll follow suit to give a try for revival. __ Fiat
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Oct 1, 2014 11:00 AM CST
The following conversations have been moved from my T-Mail since I think it would have interest from others that grow fiddle leaf ficus plants:

Thanks for the information, Fiat. I don't ship any of my plants out until they are well-rooted in 1 gal. pots. That really gives them a jump-start when they are potted up. Also, generally speaking, even the seedling plants will have full or nearly full-size leaves. It still amazes me when I get emails (all the time) saying: "I have looked for weeks/months wanting to purchase a fiddle leaf ficus plant(s), and you are the only site I can find them on".

You certainly get more bang-for-the-buck with my plants. Mine are larger by far, and though the seedlings might be $9.95 ($17.95 for two plants), my shipping averages $7.95 for one of these large plants and only $1.50 for each additional plant.

Hi Ken again, Since last time I received your advice on caring my 'sick' fig, it's been almost one month passing. I have been treating my fig with 3 major cares: twice daily misting, pebble tray for humidity, and careful watch on watering. So far, nothing worse or improving; no more leaf fall (still keep the old 8). Yet, no new green (leaf) growing either. Now the season is turning (to cool) and it just hanging there seemingly going into 'dormancy'. Should I start to stop my 3 cares for it? Especially the daily misting thing? Or anything I need to do for the coming winter? Please advise and I appreciate your help. Thanks

Fiat, I don't know. All my fiddle leaf plans are still outside, all under large oak trees. The seedlings grow (at least) an inch each month and the more mature (larger) ones grow at least that if not twice that rate. They all put on new leaves months. I will bring them all in by the end of October when our weather begins to dip into the low 40's. I never treat them like they go dormant, so while they are inside for 5 months, I will mist them occasionally, water when the top 1" of soil is dry, and fertilize every other month with 1/2 strength 10-10-10.

I am shipping out three fiddle seedlings today or tomorrow to ta guy in MN. I will try to remember to take a picture or two so that you can see what those particular plants look like. I have had them since March, 2014, and they all were about 3" tall, growing as plugs (about 1"x1"x3" deep) with 1"x2" leaves. The largest leaves are now a whopping 10"x16". None of my plants have dropped a single leaf as far as I know (other than when something knocks one off, like a falling branch).

Ok, I'll try what you do when indoor for the winter. Will be interesting to see the pic of your fiddle seedlings (and sad to compare with my probably dying one?) Thanks

Hopefully yours will recover. I cannot tell you when the last time was that I lost a fiddle leaf. They are extremely hardy plants. I just hope one you got is not diseased.

Here are two pictures of what I just shipped out, one picture of what your root-ball should look like, and a final picture showing a bunch of fiddle leaf seedlings from a picture taken on 9-1-14. The three that I just shipped cost the guy (in MN) a total of $40.00, including shipping.

(Click on the pictures to see the entire frame)

Thumb of 2014-09-29/drdawg/a76aba Thumb of 2014-09-29/drdawg/f324e9 Thumb of 2014-09-29/drdawg/206c66 Thumb of 2014-09-29/drdawg/23b540

Wow! Those fiddle leaves are big, healthy, in perfect color & shape and they are gorgeous. I assume they are in 4" pots? For 4" tall figs, the 10" plus leaves are huge! So wonderful your figs are... I won't forget you if I ever want fiddle leaf again.

I read some article and there are 7 secrets for reviving a dying fiddle. I am hopeful for mine now because: "If the stalk is shriveled, it's too far gone to save. But if it's still hard and strong, it will recover. Give it time." I just hope mine's stalk can keep hard and strong till next spring. Wish me luck and patience. Thanks

My seedlings are all in 1 gal. pots. The picture you see of the root ball was just removed from that 1 gal. pot, before I removed the majority of potting soil to bag it for shipping. I think the statement about the stalk shriveling relates only to the growing end of the stalk. That terminal end will be green and pliable. The rest of the stalk/stem/trunk will get woody fairly fast and even dead, it will be solid like wood.

As I said, when I got those fiddle leaf seedlings they were growing as plugs and were tiny plants. They were immediately potted into 4" pots. After about 2 months, these were then re-potted into 6" pots and after another 2 months they went into these 1 gal. pots. Each time I re-potted, the entire pot was filled with roots. Your plant, regardless of pot size, should also have roots like that.

Since I am a rookie houseplant grower, your words made me a bit lost: "..the statement about the stalk shriveling relates only to the growing end of the stalk. That terminal end will be green and pliable. The rest of the stalk/stem/trunk will get woody fairly fast and even dead, it will be solid like wood." Are you saying my fig's hard and strong stalk (the main stem) is a sign of death?

The 7 secrets of reviving dying fig:
1. Don't prune the brown, bare branches unless they look moldy. If you see any brown husks, leave them alone too—the hard covers could be protecting new growth. Come spring, leaves will sprout.
2. Be patient. The fiddle leaf fig tree is a slow grower; in winter it goes dormant. Don't expect to see any improvement before April (and warmer temperatures). And don't expect immediate miracles even then. It could be a year before a recovering fiddle leaf fig tree starts to look really good again.
3. If the stalk is shriveled, it's too far gone to save. But if it's still hard and strong, it will recover. Again, give it time.
4. Don't pull off leaves. But you can trim away brown outer edges without harming the plant.
5. Identify the areas on the stalk where there are damaged buds; don't pull off the hurt tips, but keep an eye on these areas. This is where you can expect to see new growth.
6. Don't let an ailing fiddle leaf fig tree dry out completely.
7. Don't transplant it until you see new growth even if the pot is so tight that roots are visible at the surface.

Yes, it's even better if you can edit and put our conversation on to forum thread. I have thought about which way to go for my question and asking help (by tree-mail or posting in forum). I thought it would be much safer to ask you in Tree-mail as my requests could be dumb and ignorant. Any way, thank you so much.

No, no. I am sorry I have confused you. I am bad about that........ Whistling

As the stem/stalk/trunk (take your pick of words) ages, it simply turns woody. That should not be anything out of the ordinary. These are, after all, trees. I'm just saying that a woody-stem will never shrivel, I don't care how long it has been dead. If the terminal end, the end where new leaves grow, goes limp or just won't grow leaves, that's not a good sign. That leaf-growing end should be firm, straight, but pliable and green. That's the nature of the fiddle leaf.

No question is a dumb question. Believe me, many people out there have or will have the same problems you are having. You just keep asking, and ask again if you don't understand my or someone else's answer. That's the way we all learn. I consider it a good day when I learn something new!!!!!!!

Sick plants MIGHT grow slowly, but a healthy fiddle leaf, growing in good conditions, will grow 1-2' each and every year. I have grown several hundred of them over the last 30 years. They are super-growers because they are trees.

drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Mar 5, 2015 6:01 PM CST
Update on good news: my fiddle leaf seemingly dying last year has shown a reviving sign: a new leaf growth! (only not know if the light green color is healthy?)

Thumb of 2015-03-06/fiat/54ea50

If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Mar 5, 2015 6:44 PM CST
Fiat, what light green coloration are you referring to?
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Mar 5, 2015 10:12 PM CST
The light green color of the new leaf, not any bad coloration. (I am pondering what color of a new fig leaf should be considered healthy?)
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Mar 6, 2015 7:05 AM CST
That is absolutely normal, Fiat. All new leaves will look just like that, light green and crinkly. Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Mar 6, 2015 10:39 AM CST
Thanks, Ken. That is a real relief to negate my too much concern/worry.
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Mar 6, 2015 10:54 AM CST
I tip my hat to you.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Apr 2, 2015 6:42 PM CST
Another new good development: after 3 weeks, the new leaf has overgrown the old ones (pic 1), and another new leaf is coming up when the first one has grown to, I think, normal matured size (pic 2):
Thumb of 2015-04-03/fiat/70cbd1
Thumb of 2015-04-03/fiat/a0fd28

According to my observation, it seems all new growths would come from the plant tip (top) and they would go one after one in order instead of multi-growth at same time. Is this normal for the fiddle leaf? How many new growths (leaves) it may produce in one season? Thanks
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Apr 2, 2015 8:25 PM CST
That all looks normal to me, Fiat. Your plant is doing fine. Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Apr 2, 2015 10:19 PM CST
Good to know. Thanks, Ken.
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Apr 3, 2015 5:46 AM CST
I tip my hat to you.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

MilkySpittal
Aug 6, 2016 9:39 AM CST
Hello!

I had a ficus lyrata cutting sent to me by a friend. It is just a leaf, not a stem cutting. I dipped the end in a rooting hormone and put it in water by a window. Finally after 2 months a tap root appeared! The tap root is growing rapidly, but I just want to know how long I should wait to pot it in soil? The root is about 2.5 inches and growing about a quarter of an inch every day! Do I need special soil or sand? How often do i water a new baby? How small should the pot be? SO many questions!

Thank you for your help!

Molly Thank You!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Aug 6, 2016 10:46 AM CST
Hi, Molly, and welcome to NGA. Asking questions is how we learn and you are asking the right ones. Thumbs up

You are very lucky this cutting rooted. They are very finicky plants to root and I don't even bother to try to root their cuttings. I air-layer my "Mother" plant, and that's way more predictable.

I would go ahead and pot it up, perhaps starting in a 4" pot. Use regular (commercial) potting soil but for every quart of soil, add a small handful of coarse perlite. You want that soil to be well-draining. Put the potted plant in bright light, but no direct sunlight between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Fiddles can be adapted to full sun, but if this is going to be a houseplant, you only want to give it early morning or very late afternoon sun.

As much as possible, keep that potting soil constantly moist. Not sopping wet, mind you. Because of these large leaves and quick growth, you may need to water every day. It just depends on the heat, light, and air-movement. If the soil dries out a bit between waterings, the plant will still do fine. It will simply grow more quickly and be healthier with constant moisture. This is a tropical tree. In 6-8 weeks, move that plant into a 1 gal. pot, using the same potting soil/perlite ratio.

drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Aug 6, 2016 12:08 PM CST
Good job at rooting, @MilkySpittal Molly! Thumbs up Welcome! Welcome!
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