Ficus Lyrata: A Trending Tropical Plant

The ficus lyrata or fiddle-leaf fig is a large tropical plant that's rapidly growing in popularity. Discover its characteristics and care.
Ficus Lyrata: A Trending Tropical Plant

Last update: 20 April, 2023

Also known as the fiddle-leaf fig, the ficus lyrata is a tropical plant that’s currently trending. This is partly due to its beauty, size, and how easy it is to care for. It gets its name because the leaves are shaped like a lyre, a stringed musical instrument.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know surrounding how to take care of it and how to keep it beautiful and shiny. Keep reading to discover more!

Characteristics of the ficus lyrata

Ficus lyrata has other names too, including fiddle-leaf fig and lyre tree. It’s native to Africa and belongs to the Moraceae family. Being a tropical species, it has simple but particular requirements, which must be respected to ensure its well-being.

Today, despite its size, it’s commonly grown indoors. It can reach up to 20 meters in height in open spaces, and depending on pruning, it can reach seven or ten meters indoors. When it reaches maturity, the ficus lyrata flowers and produces a kind of fruit, which is the syconium.

Its leaves are its greatest feature and each one can measure up to 25 centimeters long. They’re rigid and durable, dark green on the upper side and a lighter, matte shade on the reverse.

The biggest attraction of this plant is the size, color and appearance of its leaves.
The biggest feature of this plant is the size, color, and appearance of its leaves.

How to care for your ficus lyrata

If you’ve seen this tropical beauty in the flesh and are thinking about growing one at home, then continue reading as we explain more. We’ll cover how to care for it, including irrigation, substrate conditions, and cultivation.

Substrate

The ficus lyrata requires a light substrate that facilitates water drainage so as not to drown its roots. To ensure that you have the right composition of substrate, buy it at a specialty store or prepare it yourself at home.

For the second option, you only need to add one-third of peat to the soil, another of coconut fiber, and another of worm fumes. This composition guarantees a high porosity that maintains humidity, without stagnation. This is the ideal soil for this tropical plant.

Ficus lyrata: irrigation

The plant requires frequent watering, especially during the summer. During winter, watering must be infrequent, approximately once a week. It’s recommendable to use decalcified water.

You can collect water from the faucet, and wait 24 hours for it to rest before using it. You can also take advantage of rainfall, by collecting and using it directly from your garden. Keep in mind that rainwater should always be at room temperature before you use it on indoor plants.

Additionally, you can collect rainwater and pour it in a sprayer which is ideal for spraying the leaves.

Lighting

As a tropical plant, the ficus lyrata needs a bright space to flourish, avoiding direct sunlight. Likewise, it’s necessary to protect the plant from continuous air currents.

This is because it’s sensitive to cold and doesn’t tolerate low temperatures. The recommended temperature is between 59 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ficus lyrata enjoys a lot of warm environments, but not direct light.
The ficus lyrata enjoys a warm environment but doesn’t tolerate direct sunlight.

Pruning

Being indoors, pruning should be done according to your space requirements. As we mentioned, this plant is quite large, which may become a problem if you’re growing it indoors. As such, some people prefer to plant it or transfer it to the garden when it reaches maturity

Now, if you do want to grow it indoors, you should prune it once a year. During this process, you’ll need to remove any leaves and branches as you see appropriate, in order to maintain the size you want. Although this sounds drastic, it’s better to prune everything in one go, rather than subject the plant to multiple prunings.

Pests

The ficus lyrata is susceptible to pests such as red mites, aphids, and mealybugs. To combat them, you can use specific store-bought products, although it’s always better to opt for homemade pesticides.

Caring for your ficus lyrata is easy!

As you’ve read, taking care of your ficus lyrata is easy. However, any change within your care ritual can affect the plant. Never ignore falling leaves, as this can suggest that the plant needs more light.

Moreover, if the leaves change color and turn black, brown, or yellow, then you can assume that the environment is too cold or that there’s an issue with excess waterlogging.