How to Care for Ficus Lyrata

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How to Care for Ficus Lyrata, Ficus Lyrata Care Guide

Ficus Lyrata or Fiddle-leaf Fig is a very popular and photogenic houseplant from the Moraceae family that regularly pops up in design magazines and diligently trends on social media. This impressive plant has large violin-shaped glossy leaves with prominent veins growing on an upright trunk. Fiddle-leaf Fig can reach up to 10 feet in height, making it a perfect specimen plant for floor-standing planters.

If you do not have enough space or if you prefer a smaller version of this gorgeous plant, Fiddle-leaf Fig Little Sunshine is Ficus Lyrata’s dwarf variety. Little Sunshine grows smaller, and its lyrate-shaped leaves have a brighter green color. Both varieties are natural air purifiers that absorb and remove airborne toxins like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. 

Ficus Lyrata has been rising to the top of plant stardom and becoming a statement design houseplant for many homes and offices. Native to tropical areas in western Africa, Ficus Lyrata can be a little tricky to care for as it is sensitive to environmental changes. Check out this care guide to keep your Ficus happy and healthy!


All ficus varieties contain toxic sap, which can cause skin irritation and rashes. If eaten, your pets may experience Ficus poisoning. Symptoms include drooling, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Contact poison control and a vet immediately if you think your pet or child has eaten any part of your Ficus. 

General Care

Ficus Lyrata grows best in warm and humid environments, but this robust plant can also thrive in most indoor spaces, as long as it has the right growing conditions. 


Ficus Lyrata needs lots of bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can burn its leaves. Place your plant near an east or south-facing window, or any place where it can get plenty of filtered light. Ficus can tolerate short periods of medium or low light conditions but putting your plant in a low-light spot can stunt its growth and damage its foliage. If your room does not have enough light, we recommend that you use a full-spectrum grow lamp to help your Ficus thrive.

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Ficus Lyrata thrives well in bright light condition.


Ficus Lyrata has a medium watering need, and it should only be watered once the top two inches of soil is dry. How often you should water your Ficus depends on your climate and environment, so check the soil moisture regularly using your finger or a moisture meter. After watering, make sure all excess water drains completely from your pot to avoid root rot.

Temperature and Humidity 

Ficus Lyrata grows well at normal room temperature (65°F-80°F) and it prefers a high humidity level (at least 40-60%). A bit more humidity and your Ficus grows a lot faster! Use a humidifier and mist your plant when the weather is dry, especially during winter. You can also bring your plant to the bathroom or place its pot over a bed of pebbles and water. 

Ficus plants don’t like cold weather and cannot tolerate temperatures below 60 °F. Do not place your Ficus near a drafty window or vent for air conditioning. Outdoors, Ficus Lyrata only thrives in USDA agricultural zones 9-11. 


Your Ficus Lyrata needs well-draining, aerated, and nutritious soils that can retain some moisture. The best soil for this plant should be rich in organic matter and has a pH of 5.5 to 7. You can mix your own soil using potting soil, coconut coir, peat moss, and perlite. You can also add some bark chips and charcoal to increase aeration and drainage. 


Ficus Lyrata needs nutritious soil, so it is recommended that you fertilize your plant during its growing season (Spring-Summer). You can dilute a liquid fertilizer and use it according to the instructions. Alternatively, you can use slow-release pellets or give it some compost once per month. Do not fertilize during fall and winter and do not use fertilizers that will increase soil acidity.

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Ficus Lyrata Little Sunshine is one the most popular indoor plants.

Foliage Cleaning

Ficus Lyrata has huge, glossy leaves that attract all kinds of dust. That dirty layer blocks light and slows down photosynthesis. A routine leaf cleaning is very important to keep your Ficus happy. At least once per week, spray the leaves with warm water and use a soft cloth to wipe off the dust. 

Potting and Repotting

All Ficus plants don’t like change, and any disruption in their living environment may cause droopiness and leaf drop. Only repot when your plant has outgrown its pot or if a soil change is necessary (for example, in case of bad root rot or fungal infection). When you repot, always do so during the growing season to avoid transplant shock, and be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid any skin contact with the Ficus’ sap. The new pot should be at least 10% larger than the previous one. Make sure you choose a pot with drainage holes, preferably made from porous materials like concrete, terracotta, or unglazed ceramic to increase drainage and aeration. 

Blooming & Fruits

In their natural habitat and outdoors, Ficus Lyrata may produce flowers and fruits (figs). Indoor Ficus trees rarely bloom or fruit though, mostly because they do not have as much light and humidity as outdoor plants do. Lyrata’s figs are not toxic, but they don’t taste good and can cause a mouth-drying effect. If you would like to encourage your Ficus to bloom or produce figs, you can try to increase the lighting and humidity conditions. 

Pruning and Propagation


Pruning can be very helpful for your Ficus. Removing dead or diseased leaves makes your plant healthier, and light trimming can increase airflow between the foliage. Lyrata usually grows on one slim trunk but pruning the top can promote this plant to develop branches and make it look bushier. Trimming dead leaves can be done anytime but pruning branches should only be done during the growing season. Use a sharp, clean pair of pruners to make a diagonal cut right in between two growth nodes. The cuttings can be used for propagation later. 


The best time to propagate Ficus is during the spring when your plant is growing fast and developing new growth and roots easily. Propagating during spring also gives new plants plenty of time to grow before dormancy in the winter. Ficus Lyrata propagation is fairly easy using stem cuttings with at least a node and a couple of leaves. Dip the cutting in some rooting hormone before putting them in soil or water. Place the cutting in an airy, bright spot without direct sunlight. Keep the soil slightly moist all the time if you propagate with soil, or change the water regularly if you use the water propagation method. After about one month, you can expect to see new roots forming. Wait until the roots are at least a few inches and move your baby Lyrata plants to their own pots. Do not fertilize them during the first couple of months to protect their young fragile roots. 

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Ficus Lyrata Water Propagation 
Photo by Fascinadora

Common Pests and Complications

Like all Ficus, Lyrata is vulnerable to common houseplant pests like aphids, mealy bugs, mites, scale, and whitefly, and fungal gnats. Identifying the problems and treating them as soon as possible is important. 

Ficus Lyrata may have lots of leaf problems with different underlying issues. For example, yellowing, crispy leaves may mean your plant is underwatered; brown edges or brown spots on the leaves indicate that your Ficus doesn’t have enough light or humidity. Discolored, dark leaves can either come from pests, bacterial and fungal infections, or sunburn. Make sure you check your plants often to prevent those complications from developing further and cause your Ficus severe damage. 

You can also watch this video to see some of the tips in action:


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