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Ficus lyrata aka the Fiddle Leaf fig is a tropical plant indigenous to western Africa’s lowland rainforests. It’s found across the coastline between Cameroon and Sierra Leone. It’s especially popular as a magnificent indoor statement piece that’s easy to propagate.
However, fiddle leaf fig care is known to be a bit tricky. I’m here to tell you, from personal experience, that this plant is not as finicky as you might expect.
This Goldilocks plant enjoys a particular environment. This includes its bed of soil with just the right amount of moisture, drainage, and aeration.
Here are my top tips for acquiring the best soil for a fiddle leaf fig.
Growing A Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Indoors
Indoor growing allows you to mirror their naturally humid habitat. Good soil is key to maximize root health in any potted plant, especially if you want your Ficus lyrata to grow into an impressive fiddle tree.
There are four primary functions of any plant’s soil:
● Cover the root system and secure the plant firmly in place.
● Deliver nourishing vitamins and minerals to the roots and encourage healthy growth.
● Allow the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the pot.
● Distribute water to the entire root network.
Despite their finicky reputation, fiddle leaf figs can be easy to maintain. These plants know exactly what they want; you just need to respectfully oblige. By providing the right foundation for their roots, you’ll be rewarded with a relatively low-maintenance, highly fashionable, living indoor statue.
Best Soil For Fiddle Leaf Fig
Sensitive to root rot, the fiddle leaf requires a fast and well-draining bed of soil. Fiddle figs enjoy a potting mixture that retains moisture with a substantial amount of organic matter above an arid, sandy setting. The soil must also be loose enough for proper air circulation and unrestricted root growth.
Finding the balance between well-draining and moisture-retaining soil requires a little bit of knowledge.
You can simply buy a ready-mixed soil specifically for fiddle leaf figs. Available online and in nurseries everywhere, these pre-mixed soils are suitable for someone with fewer plants or limited storage.
Purchasing quality soil from a reputable supplier ensures you’re receiving the goodness you paid for. The quintessential elements of a fiddle leaf potting mix are:
● Disease prevention
Should You Make Your Own Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Mix?
If you’re struggling to find a soil mix that meets both your standards and budget, try making your own fiddle leaf potting mix.
I’m a huge advocate of this. You can tweak your mixture as necessary and repot any type of plant you have at home. It’s an easy skill to acquire with patience and careful attention.
Once you master the art of a homemade potting medium, you’ll finally have a reason to experiment with plant propagation. You can add several types of natural elements to enrich the soil’s nutrients, increase aeration and drainage and protect the root system from disease. You can make your concoction by combining different kinds of indoor potting mixes together.
DIY Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Soil
I use two ingredients on days I’m short of ingredients: high-quality indoor substrate and cactus/succulent potting mix. These also prefer a fast-draining and aerated growing medium and are easy to find.
Simply add 1 part of the substrate to 2 parts of the cactus mixture. This gives you most of your fiddle leaf potting mix without having to buy all the ingredients separately.
Several ingredients are required to provide the best foundation for your fig leaf plant’s long-term well-being.
Remember that fiddle leaf figs prefer a pH-neutral soil ( which is a pH of 5.5 – 6 range), so your plant won’t appreciate any ingredients that will drastically change your soil’s pH level. With this in mind, here is my fiddle leaf soil recipe for a happy and healthy plant:
● 1 part high-quality potting mix
● 2 parts drainage agent
● 1 part moisture-retaining aid
● ½ part horticultural charcoal
High-Quality Potting Mix
Regular garden soil isn’t suitable for pot plants as it is easily compacted in a container. This squashes, emerging roots and leaves them susceptible to insects and disease.
A high-quality potting mix doesn’t contain soil, although it may look like the same material compared side by side.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that a potting mixture is lighter and finer. These are usually combinations of fine compost and fluffy substrates like peat moss and nutrient-rich humus.
Drainage is the most essential factor for a fiddle leaf fig’s houseplant mix. You can improve a soil’s ability to release water by adding larger pieces of material to your substrate mixture. This creates space which allows for water to pass through easily.
My favourite draining-agents are bark pieces and perlite. These are light enough to allow root growth while still being able to break up the soil. Perlite is mildly alkaline, and decomposed bark is slightly acidic.
So, I like to combine 1 part of each to make my drainage agent. Depending on what other ingredients I have available, I’ll alter the ratio as necessary to improve optimum pH balance.
As a humidity-loving plant, your homemade potting mix should contain an ingredient that soaks up moisture and keeps the surrounding soil slightly damp.
I prefer compost as it’s more pH neutral. (Just remember that these added nutrients stay in the soil, so don’t add fertilizer for a month after repotting your fiddle leaf fig.
You can also use bark mulch, vermiculite, or peat moss instead. Vermiculite is excellent in fiddle leaf fig soil, as it functions as both a drainage and moisture-retention aid. However, it is more alkaline than perlite, so you’ll need to adjust your soil ingredients accordingly.
Horticultural charcoal is personally non-negotiable, as it has many benefits. Not only does it optimize the soil’s pH, but it also increases the number of beneficial microbes, absorbs excess moisture and prevents common fiddle leaf fig diseases.
It may be a bit difficult to find this depending on your location, but you can also get it online. Contacting suppliers is a great way to avoid hiked-up prices and acquire these ingredients in bulk.
Soil For A Happy Fiddle Leaf Fig
Whether you have a Home Depot fiddle fig or one you’ve cultivated yourself, there’s nothing more nerve-wracking than depositing your precious plant into a precarious soil.
Getting your soil mix right the first time will prevent these creatures of habit from having to be disturbed by unnecessary soil changes.
Fast-draining, moisture-retaining soil makes for a happy and healthy fiddle. Just remember not to fertilize your fiddle leaf fig for at least one month after repotting, and your plant baby should be adjusted in no time.
Take a look at some of my other posts for more insight on the fiddle leaf figs:
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