Fiddle-leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata, Houseplant

In Albums: plants houseplants

A small pot containing a small fiddle-leaf fig plant with three stems, on a windowsill

Jul 17th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

I recently bought this fiddle-leaf fig tree as a houseplant. I purchased it at Lowe's. I have named this plant Jerome, after the town of Jerome, Arizona. While this looks at glance like one plant, it actually consists of three separate stems coming out of the same pot. I do not know if these stems come from separate sprouts, or if they are clones of the same genetic stock. Looking at the plants, they appear to have been rooted by cutting in this pot, which increases the likelihood that they are clones.

The fiddle-leaf fig is of the species Ficus lyrata. It is native to tropical rainforests of West Africa, and while it grows naturally as an epiphyte, much like the strangler fig, it can also grow as a free-standing tree.

I have never grown this plant before, but I have seen it in a number of locations and it always seems to look good, which makes me suspect that it may be easy to grow. There is one specimen in the Cleveland museum of art, in the atrium area, that is about two stories tall. I sought this plant out because I was looking for a shade-tolerant woody plant that would be a robust houseplant and grow to considerable size.

Since buying this plant I have placed it it bright indirect light, giving it no direct light. It has grown extremely vigorously, much more quickly than any of my other plants. See the small new leaf pictured in the upper right? This leaf, as of June 26th, is now full-size, and the same stalk has grown a second full-size leaf, and the other two stalks have each grown two new leaves as well. The plant uses up water very quickly as well, also much quicker than any of my other plants, which makes sense when considering its very broad leaves with a very large surface area, and the fact that it is native to an area with a very high humidity and rainfall. I wonder if it has been growing quickly due to the fact that my apartment has gotten very hot and humid lately in the recent heat wave that much of the U.S. has been experiencing.