Ficus lyrata 14" Bush

Alternate Name: 

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Ficus Lyrata Bush 14 in.

Requirements and Care: 

Light

This may be the most important part of the care information. Lyratas need a bright environment to look acceptable. Large brown, necrotic spots developing on the leaves are a sign of light stress. This is usually seen on the older foliage first especially on the interior of the plant or that part that faces away from the light source. The standard form may survive a slightly darker environment than the bush form since it allows more light around the plant. See the Lyrata article list below for some pictures of what low light stress looks like.

Water

For a ficus the Lyrata is surprisingly resilient in the event of water stress. When a Lyrata needs water the growing ends of the stems will start to droop, but will recover once water is restored. This usually occurs before leaf drop allowing the condition to be corrected before damage to the plant. Over-watering will damage the roots just like any other plant. Try to avoid over-watering while letting the plant dry to just prior to drooping. A heavy plant could indicate over-watering. A Lyrata ready to be watered will be very light from 10" through 17" sizes. An alternate concern is that once the soil dries excessively, it may be hard to re-wet. Add a soil wetting agent to the irrigation water every once in a while to avoid this condition.

Fertilizer

A water soluble general purpose foliage plant fertilizer will work well on Lyratas. These fertilizers will have an NPK ratio of 3:1:2 or 2:1:2 with minor nutrients included. A proper fertilizer schedule and dose must be determined for each location. Lyratas are not heavy feeders, so start low and increase if necessary. The results of fertilizer trials may take months to notice, so don't rush a judgment. A good nutrient maintenance program would include adding 1-3 tablespoons of dolomite, depending on the pot size, to the top of the soil annually and a minor nutrient drench twice per year. Farm Life Lyratas are grown on a drip fertigation system which allows them to transition to a new fertilizer program immediately upon installation. New growth on Lyratas may have an interveinal chlorosis when small. The leaf usually gains color as it grows. If the rest of the plant looks correct don't worry about the new growth.

Insects and Mites

The only insect that seems to shun the Lyrata is scale, but this observation could just be coincidence. Mites will typically only affect the newest of growth since the older leaves become too tough for mites to feed successfully. Look for many small red dots on new foliage to indicate the presence of mites. Mealybugs will live under leaves, but also in the small protected area where leaves join the stems. There is often a small leftover sheath that remains attached to the plant at this point and it makes a perfect spot for mealybugs to breed. These sheaths can be removed to inspect for mealybugs. Mealybugs should be treated with a systemic insecticide and of course hand removal to really make a dent in the population. Aphids and thrips are more of a nursery problem, but both of these will attack only the newest of the growing points. If you see problems in this area inspect with a hand magnifying lens to determine the problem. Systemic insecticides will protect against aphids, thrips, mealybug and scale. Predator mites or hand cleaning should be tried for mites.

Related Links

All of these articles and more can be found on our resources page.
Trimming a Ficus Lyrata
Lyrata Standards - A Cut Above
Ficus Lyrata - Light Requirements