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Plants of any kind, colour, and creed require specialised conditions to stay alive. Think of fertilizer as multivitamins for plants.
If you want your plants to thrive, they’re going to need a regular dose of nutrients to help maintain their vitality.
Too much fertilizing, or even using the wrong kind of product, can quickly undo any painstaking progress made after months of adoringly caring for your fiddle leaf fig. I want first-time plant parents to learn from my past mistakes (and there have been many).
So, I’m sharing my top tips for choosing the best fiddle leaf fig fertilizer.
The Fantastic Function of Fertilizer
All plants need light, water, and nutrients to grow. But the level of each of these factors varies depending on plant species.
Fertilizer, or plant food, is the substitute for all the nutrients and beneficial minerals that encourage new growth and sustain long-term plant health.
Regular feeding also encourages plants to grow a thicker stem, combat leaning, and encourages dense clusters of foliage, and increase their height.
Even the best soil for a fiddle leaf fig is useless without enough nutrient-rich organic material. Without proper sustenance, your plant isn’t going to live up to the ones you see on Instagram.
Fiddle leaf figs are hungry plants that quickly drain the soil of its beneficial compounds. With this in mind, be careful not to over-fertilize.
Many plant parents (myself included) have done this out of good intentions. However, it actually inhibits growth, weakens the plant and causes wrinkly, shrivelled leaves and nutrient-burn.
At the time, I had not realized this. So, take it from me and my dearly departed ficus lyrata – it’s important to understand when and how the fiddle leaf fig enjoys its feedings.
The Best Fertilizer For Fiddle Leaf Figs
I’ll be honest, and these plants are a bit particular in terms of their care routine. However, once you’re used to their requirements and can meet their needs, they really are an easy-going and low-maintenance houseplant.
When it comes to fertilizer, you need to know that one size does not fit all. Fiddle leaf figs thrive in a slightly acidic environment and won’t appreciate a fertilizer that lowers the soil pH to below 6.
In addition to soil pH, they require a specific combination of minerals in their fertilizers. This is represented by an NPK ratio.
The Correct NPK Ratio For Fiddle Leaf Fig Fertilizers
The NPK ratio describes the relative amounts of certain minerals present in a ficus fertilizer mixture, specifically:
● Growth-boosting Nitrogen (N),
● Development-supporting Phosphorus (P),
● and Potassium (K) for healthy root growth.
Fiddle leaf figs require high-levels of nitrogen to support lush leafy growth. Therefore, you need to choose fertilizer, especially for a fiddle leaf with an NPK Ratio equal to 3:1:2. You’ll find this information on the product label. These values reflect the amount of each mineral by weight.
The 9:3:6 ratio is the same ratio as above but with a different concentration. When I’m out of my favourite fiddle leaf food, I use an all-purpose fig tree fertilizer with a 10:10:10 ratio.
I generally only use this in desperate times, making sure to use a lower concentration of fertilizer in more water.
Best Fiddle Leaf Fig Fertilizer – When To Fertilize Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
Generally, fiddle leaf figs should be given fertilizer every four weeks. However, It’s important to know that your fertilizing schedule should vary slightly according to the seasons.
The best growing conditions include warm temperatures and enough light for fiddle leaf figs to develop properly.
Since the 3:1:2 NPK ratio primes your plant for a surge of growth, hold off on the fertilizer in winter (I overfeed and watered my first Fiddle leaf in winter, which overstimulated it and caused its poor leaves to droop).
Now, I feed my plants every three weeks in Autumn. This prepares them with enough nutrients for their winter hibernation.
Plants growing more rapidly, such as younger fiddle figs, consume their food more quickly and require more nutrients.
During periods of rapid growth, particularly in peak Summer temperatures, your plant may require a bit more nutrients to support all the emerging foliage.
You can use a lower concentration of fertilizer for fiddle leaf fig trees that are more established. It’s still important to feed them.
Otherwise, they won’t be able to support their existing leaves and height. Simply reducing the concentration of fertilizer that you would give a growing plant, you’ll prevent them from getting too big.
If you’re living in a colder area, you’ll notice that your fiddle leaf doesn’t grow very quickly, regardless of the time of year. In this case, many people have reported success with year-round fertilizing.
An additional grow light during Summer can also give your plant the extra push it needs to trigger new development.
Types of Indoor Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food
These plants are creatures of habit and require regular feeding. But before we dive into how to fertilize fiddle leaf fig trees and plants, let’s talk about the two types of plant food: liquid and solid.
Your choice between two will depend on your lifestyle, spare time, and how involved you like to be with your plants.
Whatever type of product you decide is best for you, make sure to always familiarise yourself with the product label.
These, my dear plant parent, are your greatest allies against over-fertilizing a plant you’ve worked so hard to keep alive. And yes, I am sadly speaking from personal experience.
How To Use Liquid Plant Food For A Fiddle Leaf Fig
Liquid plant food comes in a concentrated mixture which is diluted into water and poured into your plant’s pot.
I personally prefer liquid fertilizer because it’s simple, effective, and can save you money. It gives me more control of the nutrient concentration, which, as discussed above, will vary throughout the year.
When adding a liquid fertilizer to your plant, make sure there is enough liquid to fully saturate its roots. Fiddle leaf figs like a thorough watering, but there must be enough time in between for the soil to dry out a little bit. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for a messy root rot situation.
After watering, you should also see liquid quickly draining out of the bottom of your container. This is the best way to tell that you’ve chosen the right pot for your fiddle leaf, with enough drainage to prevent water from over-saturating your plant’s roots.
I usually do my fertilizing in my bathtub and leave my Fiddle leaf fig in the tub for a few hours or even over-night to allow any excess water to drain off.
I live in a small apartment, so this is the easiest way for me to water and fertilize my Fiddle leaf fig.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Plant Food for Ficus Lyrata
This liquid plant food is made especially for fiddle leaf figs – as well as other ficus plants. It’s rich in other nutrients such as calcium, in addition to the perfect NPK ratio.
This is my current favourite liquid fertilizer because its high concentration lasts me ages, and it leaves my plants looking luscious and radiant.
So, if you’re the proud parent of multiple species of ficus, then you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money with this product.
How To Use Solid Fiddle Leaf Fig Fertilizer
The most common form of solid fig tree fertilizers are water-soluble pellets that can be added to the soil when you’re repotting your fiddle leaf fig. The great thing about this option is that they can sustain your plant for months, depending on the product.
I’d recommend choosing solid plant food if you have an abundance of plants to maintain or are generally limited for time. Slow-release fertilizer granules are incredibly convenient and can supply your plant with nutrients for up to six months.
After that, you can simply add more granules to the top layers of soil and gently cover them before watering. Just make sure to time it with your plant’s watering routine and to thoroughly drench the soil as per usual.
Also, if you have a cat that likes to dig up your plant pots soil, using fertilizer granules might get a little messy.
Miracle-Gro Slow-releasing Granules
Miracle-gro has a wide range of products, and I’ve personally learned to carefully read the ingredients list to make sure I’m buying the product with the right NPK ratio. This all-purpose product has 11 different nutrients in addition to a fiddle-approved balance of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.
It can be used on other types of plants with similar nutrient requirements, which help support overall health for up to three months.
Choosing a Fertilizer For Your Fiddle Leaf Tree
Now that you know a bit more about the fiddle leaf’s specific nutrient needs, you’re on track to making the best choice of ficus fertilizer for you and your plant. I wish I could give you a one-size-fits-all solution. The truth is that different indoor environments will affect what kind of product you need.
As I’ve experimented, I’ve found that my sick fiddle leaf figs certainly do better with a more specific NPK ratio.
Ultimately, however, it came down to plain old trial and error. Hopefully, sharing my favourite tips and products will save you time, money, and frustration. Mostly, I hope I can save you some plants.
Share your favourite fertilizers for your fiddle leaf fig, if I missed them! I’d love to hear your success stories and learning experiences.
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