Ficus lyrata: care

Ficus lyrata, also called Ficus pandurata , ficus lira or fiddle-leaf fig , among others, is a unique plant in its appearance, especially when grown indoors. And it is that, although outdoors it can reach heights of up to 20 meters, even in a pot its size is markedly arboreal, being possible to have a plant inside the house that practically looks like a tree.

If you want to learn how to grow this beautiful plant and what kind of care it needs, join us in this article where you will see a complete guide to the care of Ficus lyrata .

Ficus lyrata characteristics

To begin with, let’s get to know the characteristics of the ficus lyrata better .

  • Scientific name: Ficus lyrata Warb or Ficus pandurata Hort. Sander.
  • Perennial.
  • Native to tropical Africa.
  • Usually used as a houseplant.
  • Large lyre-shaped and very shiny leaves.

Ficus lyrata: care - Characteristics of Ficus lyrata

Light and temperature

Due to its origin, this plant needs high or warm temperatures to develop properly. Ideally, the temperature should be around 20ºC for this ficus, as exposing it to temperatures below 15ºC will kill the plant. It can withstand fairly high temperatures for short periods of time, but they are not good for you either.

Lighting is one of the great requirements of this plant and, probably, the most important. The ficus lira needs to receive a large amount of light , but yes, indirectly. The direct incidence of the strong sun tends to burn its leaves, so it is convenient to place it in a very bright area but away from the windows or, behind the curtains indoors or in semi-shade outdoors. It is especially important that the plant collects light in its upper part.

Ficus lyrata: care - Light and temperature

Pot and substrate

Any pot with drainage holes and size sufficient suitable for this ficus, although hidrojardineras help maintain a good level of moisture without excessive watering. Simply, when you see too much of the roots of the plant it will mean that it has grown a lot and needs a transplant to a larger pot , or to the outside to be directly in the ground.

As for the substrate for Ficus lyrata , a universal substrate for indoor plants will usually suffice. If you want to make sure you give it a good base, you can always make your own universal substrate with a third of peat, a third of coconut fiber and a third of worm castings . This is a light, oxygenated mixture, with good drainage and very rich in nutrients, which will improve even more if you add a little vermiculite and perlite.

Irrigation and compost

Watering a Ficus lyrata is not complicated, it is simply necessary to keep the substrate humid most of the time, thus providing it with a humid environment similar to the tropical one. Of course, it is very important that you never water until it floods or let the soil dry out completely, preventing the plant from suffering from water stress. In the cold months, space out the waterings a bit until about once a week.

As with most plants, fertilizing Ficus lyrata during the warm months will help its growth to be more energetic and the plant is at its best. You can use universal fertilizer for green plants, or make an organic compost yourself. 

Pruning of Ficus lyrata

How do you prune a Ficus lyrata? In principle, it is not necessary to prune this plant indoors. Outdoors, on the other hand, if we let it grow naturally, it will acquire a tree-like appearance, so if we want to keep it shrub-like, it will be necessary to carry out a more aggressive annual pruning. As a tree, it will be enough to blunt the main stem once the desired height is reached.

How to transplant a Ficus Lyrata

Another care for the ficus lira is knowing when to transplant it. When it comes to when to transplant Ficus lyrata , there are two main possibilities: transplanting it to another pot or outside. If it is the first case, transplant it when the roots are visible in the ground, which will happen every one or two years. The second case will simply occur when the plant has grown too large to be kept indoors. These are the steps for your transplant:

  1. Sterilize the tools you are going to use, both for pruning and to help you transplant.
  2. Maintain the plant by removing dry leaves or parts in poor condition.
  3. Loosen the soil at the edges of the pot, moving the plant a little so that the root ball loosens.
  4. Extract the plant trying not to damage it. You can loosen the roots that are too compacted.
  5. Put the plant in its new location, cover the root ball with substrate and water.

Ficus lyrata: care - How to transplant a Ficus Lyrata

My Ficus lyrata is sick: what do I do?

It may be that over the time you have this type of plant at home you will see that it has a problem. For example, you may spot Ficus lyrata with weak leaves or you may see your ficus with yellow or brown leaves . Here are some tips for spotting problems and caring for a sick Ficus lyrata :

  • If you see that the edges of the leaves of your plant are dry, they have probably been burned either by an excess of direct sun, or by being exposed to dry air currents, such as those from air conditioning or heating. In this case, move the plant away from that area and remove the leaves in bad condition.
  • An excess of humidity will attract pests and fungi: do not exceed the amount of waterings. It is preferable to water more frequently and in less quantity.
  • If the leaves are curled or too limp, you are not watering the plant enough.
  • If the leaves turn yellow , it is probably just the opposite and we recommend watering less.
  • If the leaves are falling too much, you probably need more light.

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