When you think of fiddle leaf figs, you probably imagine the famous look of the tropical houseplant with its large, showy leaves in the shape of a fiddle. However, you may be surprised to hear that there are actually different types of fiddle leaf figs out there that can really help you mix up your houseplant collection.
That is, while some fiddle leaf fig plants are pruned to form a short bushy plant, others are grown as tall trees with a bare trunk and leafy canopy. While these fiddle leaf fig plants aren’t different types of fiddle leaf figs and are just a result of pruning and shaping, there are some fiddle leaf fig varieties worth exploring.
So keep reading to find the next Ficus to add to your home!
Table of Contents
Different types of fiddle leaf figs
1. Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)
The most popular type of fiddle leaf fig plant is the fiddle leaf fig tree that produces large, showy leaves shaped like a fiddle. These plants grow to heights of ten feet inside the home and can be pruned to create a bushy appearance or with one tall trunk topped with a canopy of foliage.
Many plant enthusiasts refer to towering fiddle leaf fig plants with one main trunk topped with a canopy of foliage as fiddle leaf fig trees. On the other hand, others call those that have been pruned to produce lateral branches and dense foliage fiddle leaf fig plants or fiddle leaf fig bushes.
However your plant looks, what you may not know is that both types of fiddle leaf fig plants are Ficus lyrata and so they require the same care.
2. Dwarf fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata ‘bambino’)
This fiddle leaf fig may be labeled as a dwarf fiddle leaf fig, as the terms ‘bambino’ and dwarf are used interchangeably when referring to miniature fiddle leaf fig plants. But do not make the mistake of thinking the fiddle leaf fig ‘bambino’ is simply a baby fiddle leaf fig.
The fiddle leaf fig variety grows to a mere two to three feet at maturity, while a regular fiddle leaf fig grows to heights of 10 feet. It has smaller, more rounded leaves that are held more upright than regular fiddle leaf fig plants.
Find out more about the dwarf fiddle leaf fig here.
How do you tell if your fiddle leaf fig is a Bambino?
The easiest way to tell if your fiddle leaf plant is a true Ficus lyrata ‘bambino’ is to examine the foliage. Bambino produces more rounded leaves that lack the traditional fiddle shape. In addition, the leaves are thicker and held nearly upright.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your young fiddle leaf fig plant is genuinely a ‘bambino’ or not. To further the confusion, sellers often label small fiddle leaf fig plants as dwarf plants, which may apply to either Ficus lyrata ‘bambino’ or Ficus lyrata ‘compacta.’
However, it is easy to tell the difference once the plant matures as ‘bambino’ will remain small with a height of between two and three feet, while ‘compacta’ will reach a height of closer to four feet.
The overall shape of a Bambino is bushier and more compact than other fiddle leaf figs. Bambino looks like a lush bush with shorter distances between the leaves.
Do Bambino fiddle leaf figs branch?
The Bambino fiddle leaf fig will grow straight up if you leave it to its own devices, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t form branches. It simply means that if you want your Bambino fiddle leaf fig to grow branches and dense foliage, you need to give it a little help.
It’s absolutely not hard to do though and I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot. With just a few simple steps, you can get your dwarf fiddle leaf fig looking much thicker and healthier.
How do I branch Bambino fiddle leaf fig?
To branch a Bambino fiddle leaf fig, prune the top off your plant, cutting half an inch above a leaf node to force it to form lateral branches. How much you trim off the top doesn’t matter, but it does reduce the height of the fiddle leaf plant.
Like all plants in the Ficus family, this type of fiddle leaf fig needs a bit of help to get it looking its best, otherwise you could be left with a fiddle leaf fig that’s tall and skinny rather than the bushy effect you’re probably going for.
How can you tell the difference between a Ficus lyrata and a Bambino?
The main difference between a Ficus lyrata and a Bambino is its height at maturity. Traditional fiddle leaf fig trees grow to heights of 10 feet while Bambino grows to a height of only two to three feet. In addition, the Bambino has a much smaller leaf compared to the traditional fiddle shape of the Ficus lyrata.
That said, keep in mind that the Ficus lyrata includes both full-size fiddle leaf fig trees and dwarf fiddle leaf fig bushes like ‘compacta’ and ‘bambino.’ The only differences in the plants are their size and appearance.
For instance, in addition to the heights of the fiddle leaf fig varieties just mentioned, you can also take the example of Compacta, which reaches heights of four feet.
This means that, with the exception of Ficus lyrata ‘Variegata’ (which has slightly different light needs for a fiddle leaf fig, in that it requires more sunlight to maintain the striking foliage), all Ficus lyrata fiddle leaf fig plants require the same growing conditions and plant care.
3. Ficus lyrata ‘compacta’
Ficus lyrata ‘compacta’ is a mid-sized type of fiddle leaf fig. It grows to heights of 3 to 4 feet at maturity. The fiddle leaf fig cultivar’s appearance more closely resembles the traditional fiddle leaf fig plant than ‘bambino.’ It has a natural tendency to become bushy with dense foliage.
Ficus lyrata ‘compacta’ is a good choice if you don’t have a lot of room in your home but want to enjoy the beauty and exotic foliage of a fiddle leaf fig.
4. Variegated fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata ‘variegata’)
Ficus lyrata ‘Variegata,’ also known as the variegated fiddle leaf fig, is characterized by its striking variegated foliage. Leaves on the variegated fiddle leaf fig are green down the center with striking white, cream, or yellow margins. Its growing habits and height are the same as a traditional fiddle leaf fig with the exception of its lighting needs.
The green sections need to do all the work because the variegated areas on the leaves lack chlorophyll and cannot perform photosynthesis and produce energy for the plant. That means you need to give a variegated fiddle leaf fig more light than the standard green version requires.
It should also be noted that variegated plants that are grown in too low light will begin to produce solid green leaves to enable them to process and use the light they receive. To maintain the beautiful variegation on the leaves, make sure your variegated fiddle leaf fig gets at least 6 hours of bright light a day.
Take a look at our ultimate guide on the variegated fiddle leaf fig here.
Where can I buy different fiddle leaf fig varieties?
You can buy different fiddle leaf fig varieties at your local garden center, especially Ficus lyrata and Bambino. Other types, however, especially the variegated fiddle leaf fig, are harder to find and are usually only sold by private sellers online. Sites like Etsy and eBay do have these for sale though from time to time.
For example, you can check the latest price of a Bambino fiddle leaf fig here.
Similarly, take a look at the most recent price of the more standard Ficus lyrata at this link.
Are there different types of fiddle leaf figs?
All types of fiddle leaf fig plants are Ficus lyrata. Sometimes they appear to be different varieties because of the way they have been pruned. Smaller varieties of Ficus lyrata, like ‘compacta’ and ‘bambino,’ don’t grow as large as the traditional fiddle leaf fig tree, but they are all the same plant and require the same care.
This means that the different types of fiddle leaf figs aren’t actually different in terms of the type of plant they are. However, it is true that there is a range of fiddle leaf fig varieties out there. The outcome of is that if you’re a real Ficus fan, you can definitely get a few different ones to liven up your collection.