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As with all plants, Fiddle-leaf Figs need plant food (fertilizer). It helps them grow by providing some much-needed minerals: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). So, in short: yes, Fiddle-leaf Figs need fertilizer, but they can survive without it.
When we talk about fertilizer, we might often think it is just food for plants. This is not the case, as fertilizer is a composite of valuable minerals and nutrients that plants thrive on, thus garnering the nickname “plant food”. Choosing the best fertilizer will ensure your plants flourish
Known as NPK, these are the three main nutrients that a plant needs to grow and thrive (and all fertilizers consist of).
They are the macronutrients that are absolutely essential for any healthy plant, as without them, a plant may wither and die.
So as mentioned, NPK is the ratio in which the three main nutrients are combined in a specific fertilizer.
Nitrogen (N) is super helpful for plants, as it is the foundation for proteins, enzymes, chlorophyll, and other growth modifiers. It is an essential nutrient in creating happy, healthy greens that are vibrant and full of life.
Phosphorus (P) is used by plants in regulating their metabolism, respiration, and photosynthesis. Especially plants that bear fruit will benefit greatly from high phosphate counts.
Potassium (K) is all about root growth. Helping your plant’s roots blossom, in turn, helps them absorb more other nutrients and grow stronger and bigger. It also helps in water regulation and disease resistance, so it is all around a great nutrient for plants.
Pro Tip: When buying fertilizer, ask for a 3-1-2 NPK fertilizer. This is the ideal ratio for Fiddle-leaf Figs and will ensure their healthy growth. It helps them sustain existing leaves, while also growing new ones.
When adding fertilizer to your plants, it is best to follow the instructions on the packaging. Generally speaking, with liquid fertilizers, you will want 10ml per gallon (almost 4 liters).
This allows you to adequately water your plant while diluting the fertilizer enough to avoid any issues.
You will water the plant until it starts draining out the bottom, as this ensures full dispersion of the nutrients throughout the soil. You have to make sure the soil is saturated, as it allows all the roots to receive nutrients in an equal ratio.
Fertilize your plants with organic fertilizer by mixing a bit of the topsoil with the components.
You can also add in a whole fresh layer of soil and mix in the fertilizer there, ensuring a whole collection of fresh nutrients and minerals for your plants.
Tip: It is very important that your pot or container has a big enough drainage hole or holes. This will allow the soil to get rid of excess water, which in turn helps prevent root rot and other issues.
Primarily, you will always want to fertilize these plants in their growing season, which is normally spring and summer.
This is the best time to help things along, as they are growing new leaves and expanding their roots.
To make it easy, you can add it into your watering routine (every second week will do). The type of fertilizer to use depends on the availability in your area, as you can get liquid fertilizer or powdery types.
In general, the liquid is easier to use, as long as you follow the guidelines closely to avoid over-fertilizing and giving your plants fertilizer burn.
You’ll notice issues from over-fertilization by looking at the plant as a whole.
Wilting and yellowing of the lower leaves, as well as slow to zero growth and browned or blackened roots, can all be signs that your green friend might not be fit as a fiddle.
To fix over-fertilizing, you can try to scoop out as much fertilizer as you can and flush the soil with as much water as it can hold over a span of a few days.
And when the season changes over to autumn, you will want to slowly dial back by fertilizing every three to four weeks. This helps the plants get ready for the winter when it goes into a dormant stage.
Note: If your fig is suffering, but there are no obvious reasons, like root rot, yellowing leaves, or have zero growth, there might be an issue with the PH of the soil itself. For optimal growth, Fiddle-leaf Figs need to have a balanced PH level. The best PH for Fiddle-leaf Figs should be around 6 or 7.
The actual fertilizer itself can come in a variety of forms, strengths, concentrations, and even mediums.
As stated before, liquid fertilizer is your best bet, as it is much easier to control the exact amount you give your plants.
To ensure optimal growth and nourishment, you can even get the best plant food, specifically for Fiddle-leaf Figs, that is precisely made for them. You can also look into some organic fig fertilizers, like fish emulsion, bone meal, blood meal, grass clippings, etc.
These are also a great choice, and they provide some added benefits to the soil as well, promoting and improving soil structure and helping to maintain the nutrients in the soil itself.
They also help beneficial bacterias and fungi to grow, further boosting your plant health.
Pro tip: A slow-release fertilizer is also a good way to prevent any leaf burn from happening, as it gradually releases the nutrients over a period of time. Not only can your plant absorb it more effectively, but nothing will go to waste.
So, just to bring things back into focus, Fiddle-leaf Figs love nutrients. You can fertilize them to their hearts’ content, as long as you do so in moderation and consider when their growth season starts and ends.
When in doubt, always remember your fig tree fertilizer should be in the 3-1-2 NPK ratio, and you should observe it carefully to avoid any issues that might arise.
Armed with the knowledge of growth and success, you should be able to have your Fiddles growing abundantly in no time.