The way to a fiddle leaf fig’s heart is through its stomach. Or rather, a sure-fire way to keep your Ficus lyrata happy is with regular doses of nutrient-rich fertilizer. The benefits of consistent feeding cannot be overstated. Not only does it boost your plants’ growth, but it also makes them hardier and more resistant to health ailments and general listlessness.
That being said, choosing the right fiddle leaf fig fertilizer can definitely be daunting. There are so many options available on the market, and making the right choice can feel impossible.
Together with this, we are also presented with the challenge of figuring out the right fiddle leaf fig fertilizer ratios for dosing. The last thing any green thumb wants is to cause their beloved houseplants accidental harm.
To make the feeding process slightly easier, I’ll show you how and when to fertilize fiddle leaf figs and which products work best. As a bonus, I’ll also show the benefits of homemade fertilizers, just in case you’re not up for a trip to the garden center.
So read on to find out everything you need to know about fiddle leaf fig fertilizers!
Do fiddle leaf figs need fertilizer?
Fiddle leaf figs should be regularly treated with fertilizer, particularly indoors. It boosts their cell production and makes up for any nutrient deficiencies they may experience. Given the size and density of their leaves, it follows that fiddles require support to achieve consistent growth.
Fiddle leaf figs are endemic to West Africa and are therefore best suited to warm, balmy climates with plenty of moisture and humidity. When fiddle leaf figs grow in the wild, their root systems reach deep into the soil, where they can benefit from naturally decaying plant and animal matter, bolstering the growth of their luscious green leaves.
However, without proper access to nutrients, your fiddle leaf will not only experience stunted growth but will also be more vulnerable to disease and pest infestations.
This is because their natural environment is hard to replicate in an indoor setting. Even top-quality potting soil does not contain the rich nutrients and minerals that occur in natural environments. Regular watering, plenty of light, and consistent pruning can only do so much for the health of your plant.
Of course, acclimated fiddle leaf figs living outside may have better access to naturally-occurring nutrients. However, it is still recommended that you fertilize your fiddle leaf fig’s soil or treat it with compost. Plant and animal matter break down at different rates in different climates and seasons. The soil in your garden may not be sufficient to help your plant thrive.
How do you fertilize a fiddle leaf tree?
You can fertilize a fiddle leaf using a liquid or granular fertilizer purchased at your nursery or garden center. Alternatively, you can use a natural fertilizer developed at home. While it is generally recommended to feed a fiddle once a month, this differs slightly from treatment to treatment.
When it comes to feeding a treasured fiddle leaf fig, you’ll want to do some research beforehand. Overfertilizing can have devastating effects on plants, so as much as guidelines exist, what it boils down to is your plant itself and the particular instructions of the fertilizer you’ve selected.
As a general rule of thumb, liquid fertilizers and fiddle leaf fig food can be diluted in water and given every month during the growing season.
Granular fertilizers are, however, slightly trickier, and you need to follow their measurements and instructions to the tee.
Chemical burn and root shock are the consequences of too much feeding, which is something to be aware of. Different fertilizers also release nutrients at different rates.
In terms of fertilizing in general, it’s also important to remember that you don’t need to feed your plant outside of its growing season (when it is dormant). It won’t require as many nutrients. Together with this, one shouldn’t feed a plant that has recently been repotted, as it first needs time for its roots to settle.
If you’ve accidentally overfertilized your plant, you’ll notice signs of distress, in particular, yellowing leaves and wilting, and in some cases residue on the top layer of its soil. In this case, you may need to repot your fiddle leaf fig to save it, after which it is advisable to hold off fertilizing for four to six weeks. Damaged leaves should also be removed to preserve its energy.
What kind of fertilizer do fiddle leaf fig trees need?
The type of fertilizer you use on your fiddle leaf fig is just as important as the consistency with which you apply it. The best fiddle leaf fig fertilizer ratio is 3-1-2 N-P-K. This means a ratio of 3% nitrogen to 1% phosphorous and 2% potassium. Alternatively, a balanced 1-1-1 will suffice.
For optimal health, fiddle leaf figs need support via three crucial minerals, namely nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, as indicated above. Each of these supports their growth and overall wellness, as well as their very necessary biological functions.
In particular, fiddle leaf figs function best with a 3-1-2 fertilizer ratio, especially in the long haul. If you’re in a pickle, you can use a well-balanced fertilizer with a 1-1-1 ratio, but the preference is always towards more nitrogen.
This is because nitrogen is crucial to a plant’s growth. With their big, lyre-shaped leaves, fiddle leaf figs expend a fair amount of energy just to keep going. Nitrogen is a key component of the amino acids that help fiddles make the necessary proteins they need to grow.
Let’s look at different types of fertilizers and how suited they are to fiddle leaf figs.
Can you use Miracle-Gro on a fiddle leaf fig?
Yes, you can use Miracle-Gro on a fiddle leaf fig. It is one of the most popular fertilizers available on the market, and for a good reason. That said, while there are plenty of options in their product range, you’ll want to purchase one clearly labeled 3-1-2.
Any seasoned gardener is likely well aware of the Miracle-Gro product line. It works like a bomb.
Using a liquid version will make it easy to control how much food your fiddle leaf fig receives, so opt for this option if available. You can easily make this with a water soluble fertilizer that you mix yourself, like the Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food. This has a ratio of 24-8-16, which is the same as 3-1-2.
If you cannot find 3-1-2, an all-purpose liquid plant food like Miracle-Gro Liquafeed is a good alternative.
In any event, always fertilize lightly initially to give your plants time to adjust to new products.
Can you use Osmocote on fiddle leaf figs?
Osmocote is a good option for fiddle leaf figs because of its controlled release formula. The Ficus can be vulnerable to chemical burn and shock, and a product with a controlled release system lowers this risk. Osmocote is also formulated to release higher doses of nutrients as temperatures drop, perfect for fiddle leaf figs with less access to the sun.
Osmocote Slow Release Outdoor and Indoor is a great option for your Ficus lyrata. It comes in pellets that need to be incorporated into your soil, so as with any new product, err on the side of using slightly less than recommended while your fiddle leaf fig adjusts.
Are banana peels good for fiddle leaf figs?
Opinions vary on whether banana peels are beneficial for fiddle leaf figs or not. They are a rich source of potassium, which is a mineral crucial to a Ficus’s health, and may well provide nutrients as they start to decompose. However, this can be excessive if used alongside a fertilizer, and decaying peels can also attract unwanted pests and bacteria.
In brief, banana peels probably won’t hurt your plant, but the risk of it leading to unwanted bugs or your fiddle leaf fig having a bacterial infection isn’t worth it in my books. I’d recommend sticking to other forms of fiddle leaf fig fertilizer rather than burying any leftover banana peels in your fiddle leaf fig’s soil.
What’s the best homemade fiddle leaf fig fertilizer?
To make homemade fiddle leaf fig fertilizer, you can develop your own plant food by combining 1 and a half tablespoons of Epsom salts with 1 and a half teaspoons of baking soda, and just less than a teaspoon of ammonia. This should be diluted in a gallon of water before application.
Alternatively, you can make a compost tea by fermenting food scraps in a sealed container with water over a couple of weeks. You would add this to your plant’s soil as part of your regular watering regime. Manure, in turn, is a great option for outdoor fiddle leaf figs.
Adding coffee grounds to your fiddle leaf fig or even banana peels are also viable (in some people’s opinions) but should be used sparingly, including for the reasons mentioned a bit earlier on. They tend to attract issues like insects and mold, respectively, so make sure you conduct proper research before adding either of these to your fiddle leaf’s soil.
Is the Aquatic Arts fiddle leaf fig fertilizer recommended?
Aquatic Arts actually offers fertilizer that’s specifically for fiddle leaf figs. The fertilizer ratio is 16-5-11 N-P-K, which is very close to the 3-1-2 fiddle leaf fig fertilizer ratio that’s normally recommended. With very high reviews, this is a great option for feeding your Ficus.
In fact, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with many people saying that this is the fiddle leaf fig fertilizer that finally got their plant thriving after trying many others. Many of the comments mention how their Ficus started growing new leaves within days of using this and that the existing leaves started to look thicker and healthier from this.
It’s also very good value given the price compared to the size of this bag. Unless you have a massive collection of plants, this fiddle leaf fig fertilizer will last you well over a year, if not longer.
Find out more and check out the latest price of Aquatic Arts’ Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Fertilizer here.
How often should I feed my fiddle leaf fig?
Fiddle leaf figs can be fertilized up to once a month during their growing seasons, which are generally in the spring and early summer. Once they enter dormancy, there is no need to feed them until they start showing signs of new growth. This guideline is, however, dependent on your chosen fertilizer.
As mentioned, how often you fertilize your fiddle leaf fig differs vastly depending on the formula you’re using. Fortunately, fertilizers will always come with instructions. For example, most granular fertilizers require less frequent applications than liquid ones, which you may need to use up to twice a month.
With any form of plant feeding, always opt for less rather than more. This is to ensure the safety of your plant, as you cannot be entirely sure of its soil’s pH level and nutrient content until you see how your fiddle reacts to feeding. If you’re confident that the formula you’ve selected is not causing your plant any harm, you can increase your doses slowly until you reach the recommended allowance.
In terms of when to fertilize a fiddle leaf fig that’s just been purchased or recently repotted, wait a month to six weeks before giving them their first feed. They need time to adjust to their environments, and fertilizer may just be too much of a shock to their delicate systems.