Ficus Lyrata, better known as the Fiddle leaf fig, is one of the most beloved houseplants and for a good reason. It’s beautiful and unique with its big fiddle like leaves. It’s finicky for some, while others consider it “a simple houseplant”. So, what’s the trick?
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Is there a difference between Ficus Lyrata and the Ficus Lyrata Bambino?
There are actually two common varieties of Ficus Lyrata. So, before we talk about the care, let’s compare the two varieties – the classic Fiddle leaf Fig and the Ficus Lyrata Bambino.
When it comes to care – there is no difference in what the plants need. The care tips I will cover apply to both varieties. However, there is a difference in the look of the plants.
The usual Fiddle leaf fig has much bigger leaves compared to the Bambino variety.
Bambino in Italian means child, and the Bambino Fiddle leaf fig probably got the name because it has smaller leaves compared to the normal Lyrata.
It’s important to know that they are two different types of Ficus Lyrata.
The Bambino variety is not just a younger, smaller Ficus Lyrata that will eventually grow big leaves.
The Bambino Fiddle leaf fig, even when it grows big in height, won’t ever get those extra big fiddle shaped leaves.
The other difference is the color of the foliage. The Bambino variety has darker leaves. New baby leaves are light green, but as they mature, they get a beautiful deep dark green color.
The last difference concerning the leaves is that the leaves on the Bambino variety grow more closer together so the plant appears to be more full. It has a more compact look.
Lastly, I’d say that the classic Lyrata is a bit more sensitive, making the Bambino version maybe easier to care for, but we take care of both varieties in the same way. So, whether you choose the classic or Bambino version, you can apply these care tips.
Now it’s up to you which appearance you prefer, or, if you are like me, you like both of them and need to have them both. 😉
Whether you have the regular Ficus Lyrata or the Bambino variety, this tips apply to both of them. So lets get started!
How much light does a fiddle leaf fig need?
Ficus Lyrata needs a lot of light. It’s known that it’s a slow grower and we need to provide it the right conditions so that it thrives.
When I say “a lot of light” – I mean lots of bright indirect light. Don’t place it where it will get direct sun rays on it’s leaves.
Direct sunlight can burn the beautiful Lyrata leaves and once they are gone – they are gone. The leaf wont regenerate from the burn and there won’t pop another leaf on the same place the older leaf fell off.
You can keep it in front of an east or west facing window, even without curtains because the sun is not that strong in the morning and late afternoon.
But if you place it in front of a south facing window (which would be my recommendation because it really likes the light) – be sure to have a sheer white curtain to protect it from direct sun during those hottest hours, especially during summer.
Lots of light is crucial to have a happy Ficus.
If you have a window that you open frequently – avoid putting your Ficus Lyrata where there’s draft.
I have mine in front of a south facing window (balcony doors actually) and, honestly, I can’t say it’s a slow grower for me! The Bambino variety got double in size since last August. It pushed out 6 new leaves, and I’m waiting for the next one to come.
Ficus trees like the Lyrata and Elastica (Rubber tree) have like mini dormancy periods throughout the year.
At least that’s what I noticed on my trees. They won’t push out new growth for 2-3 months and that – bam, 3-4 new leaves in a matter of weeks!
If you only have north facing windows, you can always give it a try, but you’ll need additional artificial light. Without it your Ficus will most probably have a stunted growth and will not be so happy.
FAQ – why are leaves on my Lyrata drooping?
It’s possible that the leaves on the Fiddle leaf fig start to droop when the plant is not getting enough light or it needs water. Think of it as a way your plant is telling you that’s not happy in a place you put it. Try moving it to another place that gets more sunlight during the day.
How often should you water a Fiddle leaf fig?
Water your Fiddle leaf fig when the soil is almost completely dry.
Stick your finger in soil as far down as you can and if the soil is dry by the length of it – give it a thorough soak.
Water it only when you feel the soil is starting to dry out.
After watering it thoroughly, throw away all excess water that drained out of the drainage holes. Don’t ever let your Ficus to sit in excess water!
You could also water it from the bottom. Place it in a bucket of water or pour water in a saucer/cachepot and leave it like that for 20-30 min so that it absorbs all the water it needs.
After that, throw out the excess water (maybe some excess water will even drain out of the pot) and place it back in its preferred spot.
Keep in mind that Ficus trees don’t like to sit in wet/moist soil for long periods of time. It’s crucial that you let the soil dry out for the first couple of inches before you water it again.
Does Ficus Lyrata like humidity?
The Ficus Lyrata loves humidity!
When you are choosing the perfect spot for it, keep in mind it likes the more humid areas of the house.
But what’s great is that it’s not finicky about it.
Mine is no where near heating and cooling devices that dry out the air, although it’s not even in a humid part of the apartment.
Remember to clean the leaves of your Lyrata. I use a wet microfiber cloth and I go through each leaf while gently supporting the leaf while I clean it.
Does Fiddle leaf fig need to be fertilised?
Like with most plants, the Fiddle leaf fig needs to be fertilized during the growing season.
This means that you can start to fertilize your Ficus Lyrata somewhere from March-April until October – and do it once a month. I fertilize mine with a diluted complete houseplant fertilizer.
When you are using a new fertilizer, it’s important to read the instructions. Follow the directions on the bottle because you don’t want to over fertilize your houseplants.
Is Fiddle lead fig poisonous to pets?
The fiddle leaf fig is considered to be poisonous to pets by the ASPCA.