Your Fiddle Leaf Fig is the star of your living room; bringing life and greenery to any corner you place it in. But to really bring out its full potential, having the proper lighting for your beloved plant is essential.
Whether finding a better spot or introducing more light into the room, these marvelous greens thrive best when they get enough light from a window or artificial sources throughout the day.
Here are several handy tips on how to get just enough light onto your Fiddle Leaf Fig so that it stays healthy and happy all year round!
Understanding the Fiddle Leaf Fig: An Overview
Origin and Popularity
The Fiddle Leaf Fig is a tropical plant, native to lowland tropical rainforests.
Its official scientific name is Ficus Lyrata, and it is a member of the fig family. This plant comes from West Africa, where it grows naturally in forest undergrowth.
While they started gaining popularity in the United States over a decade ago, Fiddle Leaf Figs have been a common houseplant in Europe for much longer.
Their popularity in America started to rise after a few high-profile designers and celebrities started featuring them in their décor.
Features of the Fiddle Leaf Fig
The most distinctive feature of this plant is its large, violin-shaped leaves. The leaves can be up to 1 foot long and have a leathery texture that is coated in a waxy coating, giving off that bright, shiny look.
The leaves sit atop a long, thin stem and the tree can grow up to 10 feet in height or sometimes even taller in ideal conditions. With skillful pruning and pinching, this dramatic houseplant can also be grown to have a more bushy-like appearance with multiple stems.
Why People Love Fiddle Leaf Figs
While they can be high maintenance, the reason people love Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants so much is that they add a touch of natural beauty, height, and drama to any room.
They make excellent focal points and can easily become a statement accent in any space. Not to mention, they also help purify the air.
Decoding Fiddle Leaf Fig Light Requirements
Why Light Matters
Photosynthesis is a process where plants convert light energy into chemical energy, leading to the growth and development of green leaves and stems. It is this process that makes light so critical for your Fiddle Leaf Fig.
Growth and Vibrancy
To encourage your Fiddle Leaf Fig to grow tall, it is crucial to provide optimal conditions for photosynthesis. The more light they receive, the more energy they produce, leading to new leaf and stem growth!
To ensure the well-being of a Fiddle Leaf Fig, it is crucial to provide it with the ideal amounts of light, temperature, soil conditions, and humidity that mimic its natural habitat - the tropical forest. This entails maintaining a balance between bright light and shade.
Ideal Light Conditions
Fiddle Leaf Fig plants thrive when they receive as much light as possible. But what does this mean in terms of the optimal light exposure and their tolerance for direct sunlight? And how much light exactly should it get? Let's delve into this topic below and explore it in detail.
A Fiddle Leaf Fig plant can grow very well under the direct sun as they originate from Africa, where they grow as tall trees exposed to the sun. However, your Fiddle Leaf Fig tree needs to slowly acclimate to direct sunlight conditions. If you expose it to the direct sun right away, it will likely sunburn and lose leaves.
So, it needs to be introduced to intense full sun exposure gradually. Too much direct sunlight for a Fiddle Leaf Fig right away might be damaging if it came from a nursery or another growing facility with milder lightning conditions.
But what does it mean in terms of the window placement? If you live in the northern hemisphere, you can get more sunlight at a south facing window. A west facing window placement will also receive strong afternoon sun.
Alternatively, if you don't want to adjust your Fiddle Leaf Fig to the full sun, you can hang a sheer curtain or move it 2-3 feet into the room from the sunny window.
Bright Indirect Light
As a rule of thumb, it's best to place your Fiddle Leef Fig Tree, where it will get enough natural light. In practice, probably, the best spot for your Fiddle Leaf Fig is where it can get bright indirect light for at least six hours a day.
You can achieve it by placing your Fiddle Leaf Fig near east facing windows or west facing window. When you place your Fiddle Leaf Fig near the east facing window, it will receive a few hours of a gentle morning sun, which is ideal for overall plant growth. If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is positioned near a west facing window and is not accustomed to direct sunlight, consider using a sheer curtain as recommended above to shield it from the intense afternoon sun, particularly during the hours of peak exposure during the summer months.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees can survive low light conditions. In the northern hemisphere, it means placing it next to a north facing window or a few feet away from the light source of an east facing window. Please note that while it can possibly stay alive in the low light conditions, your Fiddle Leaf Fig will not thrive and will exhibit a significantly slow growth rate, typically producing only a few leaves per year.
How to Find the Best Placement in Your Place
To ensure the well-being of your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, you can experiment with different locations in your home to find the one where it thrives best. It is recommended to make such adjustments during the spring and summer months when the tree is in its active growth phase. In any other periods moving the plant around the house can cause distress.
If the Fiddle Leaf Fig is unhappy with its placement, you'll notice it through the absence of new leaves or even leaf loss. While some leaf drop is natural and part of the plant's lifecycle, other factors like improper lighting, inadequate humidity, or incorrect watering can also contribute to leaf drop.
Another thing to consider is to put your Fiddle leaf fig tree in an area that is free of drafts and away from vents that may blow hot or cold air.
Common Mistakes and Solutions
Overexposure to Light
Recognizing Sunburn in Fiddle Leaf Figs
As mentioned above, Fiddle Leaf Fig will thrive in direct sunlight, but they need time to adjust. One of the most common mistakes is placing the unacclimated plant too close to a sunny window or leaving it exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods.
Sunburn in Fiddle Leaf Figs can be difficult to spot, particularly for new plant parents. If you notice any dry brown patches on your plant's leaves, that might be a sign of sunburn. The patches may also appear white at first, but eventually, they turn brown and crisp.
In severe cases, the leaves may also die. If you've already noticed these symptoms, act quickly by moving the plant to a shaded area and trimming the damaged leaves.
How to Protect from Direct Sunlight
The best way to protect your Fiddle Leaf Fig from direct sunlight is to find a spot where it can receive bright, indirect light. You could also use sheer curtains or blinds to filter the light.
It is important to be aware that when your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree is exposed to intense sunlight, it will require more water than usual to maintain a balance with the heat. Therefore, it is crucial to adjust the watering schedule accordingly.
Learn more about proper watering for Fiddle Leaf Figs by reading this informative guide.
Signs and Symptoms
If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is not receiving enough light, you may notice some signs and symptoms, such as yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a lack of new leaves. The plant may also start bending towards the light source, which could distort its shape. If you've already noticed these symptoms, don't panic, as you can still save your plant by providing it with more light.
Similar to excessive light, insufficient light for your Fiddle Leaf Fig will result in changing its water requirements. In this case, Fiddle Leaf Fig requires less watering, so be careful and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
Enhancing Light Conditions for your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Using Artificial Lighting
Fiddle Leaf Fig trees thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. However, it may not always be possible to provide them with adequate light, especially in rooms with low light conditions.
This is where artificial lighting comes in handy. One of the options is to use LED lights as they are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and have the ability to mimic the natural spectrum of sunlight.
You can also use specialized grow lights to give your Fiddle Leaf Fig more light.
When using artificial lighting or grow lights, ensure that the lights are placed at the right distance from the plant. Too close, and the light could scorch the leaves, too far, and the plant will not get enough light.
A general rule of thumb is to have the grow lights at a distance of 6-12 inches above the plant. It is also recommended to use a timer to regulate the lighting, providing your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree with a consistent light cycle for 10-16 hours a day.
Using a Light Meter to measure the right amount of light
A light meter is a device that measures the level of light present in a particular area. While there are many different types of it, in essence, it can help you determine the amount of light your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree is receiving, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments.
To use a light meter, place it at noon time in the same spot as your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, where you want to measure the level of light. The meter will display the level of light in lux or foot-candles. You can then use this information to determine if your plant is receiving the right amount of light.
For Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree 4,000 lux or 400 foot-candles will mean low light and therefore slow growth and potential issues. Try to aim at 8,000 lux or 800 foot-candles or more to achieve the best Fiddle Leaf Fig care conditions.
When it comes to lighting for the Fiddle Leaf Fig, experience, patience and a keen eye for observation can go a long way. The overall success of the plant depends on the proper amount of light, and understanding its amount and sources is essential to ensure that these plants will grow healthy and will bring joy to their owners for years to come.
By understanding the needs of this magnificent plant and being open-minded when it comes to proper placement in different parts of your home, you'll be set up for success.
Keep an eye out for the right balance between direct sunlight and bright light, use a light meter if needed, and invest in some quality grow light if you don't have enough natural light. With some diligence, planning, and patience you’ll soon find yourself admiring your very own lush and healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree!