There are so many different potting soils to choose from! And finding the best potting soils for Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) can be challenging. Different plants have different requirements when it comes to soil acidity, and how well the soil drains and hold moisture. So it’s helpful to get this right if you want your fiddle leaf fig to thrive. We’ll take a look at some different types of potting soil, help you make your own Fiddle Leaf Fig potting mix, and give you a few repotting tips along the way.
- What kind of soil does a Fiddle Leaf Fig prefer?
- Orchid soil for Fiddle Leaf Figs
- Cactus soil for Fiddle Leaf Figs
- Make your own potting soil
- When to repot a Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Tips for repotting your fig tree
- Potting soils for Fiddle Leaf Figs – Summary
What is the Fiddle Leaf Fig’s natural habitat
Fiddle leaf fig’s are popular houseplants all over the world, but the origins of this plant lie in West Africa.
In fact the Fiddle Leaf Fig is actually a tree and, within its native tropical rainforests, may reach heights of forty feet or more.
Keeping the tree indoors in a relatively small pot is what helps to keep your fig at a manageable houseplant size.
What kind of soil does the Fiddle Leaf Fig like best?
The soil in these tropical forests is generally poor and low in nutrients, due to the constant drainage of water through it.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig has a special relationship with a wasp. Only this species of wasp – Agaon spatulatum – can fertilize the fig’s flowers and this wasp can only lay her eggs in the Fiddle Leaf Fig. No other type of fig tree will do!
Rainforest soils also tend to be acidic, and contains lots of decaying organic matter in the upper layers
Taking these natural conditions into consideration helps us to understand the kind of soil that will help our Fiddle Leaf Figs grow and thrive. The best potting soil would be:
- Slightly acidic
- Loosely packed
- Well drained
- High in organic matter
However, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is quite tolerant of some of these criteria. It will usually cope, for example, if the soil is not as acid as it would like.
If you are buying potting soil in a plastic bag from a garden center or mall, it isn’t always easy to figure out which is the one you need. Sometimes soils are labelled as good for specific plants or groups of plants such as orchids, succulents, or cacti
Can I use orchid soil for a Fiddle Leaf Fig?
You could use orchid soil for a Fiddle Leaf Fig. Orchid soil is well drained which is important.
It may not be perfect in terms of ph, but Fiddle Leaf Figs tend to be quite tolerant of variations in acidity.
What about cactus or succulent soil?
Cactus and succulent soild can work well for Fiddle Leaf Figs too. Again, they are very well drained which is more important than acidity.
Another option is to make your own Fiddle Leaf Fig potting soil.
Making your own potting soil
With a few tweaks you can use a standard potting soil, to repot your fig.
Add some perlite, about one cupful to every two cups of potting soil, to improve drainage. Together with a cupful of organic matter such as peat or coir.
So now you have your potting soil recipe and are ready to repot your tree. But, is your tree ready to be repotted?
When to repot your Fiddle Leaf Fig
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to repot your fig. Like many houseplants, Fiddle Leaf Figs are happy to fit snuggly into their pots.
They don’t need acres of space around their roots. And the repotting process can be stressful for a plant.
A good sign that your Fiddle Leaf Fig needs repotting is when its roots start to poke out of the holes in the bottom of the pot. Sometimes you’ll see roots on the surface too, but its more likely that they’ll appear underneath first.
In the tropical rainforest Fiddle Leaf Figs have an unusual start in life. The fig seedlings grow high above ground, in little cracks and pockets in the bark of other trees. Once the Fiddle Leaf Fig is established in its high rise home, they send their roots down to the ground to grow like a normal tree.
Lift the pot up carefully and look underneath. If you can’t see any roots, and your plant seems to be thriving, don’t take chances. Leave it in the same pot for a month or two longer, then check again.
If possible, time your repotting session for when the plant is actively growing during spring or early summer
Tips for repotting your Fiddle Leaf Fig
It’s important not to pick a pot that is too much bigger than your plant’s old home. Remember, roots like to be quite snug. Half an inch of extra space all the way around is often all you need.
Have everything ready before you start. Potting soil for your Fiddle Leaf Fig and the new pot. Together with some small stones for the bottom.
A few stones or pebbles in the base of the pot help prevent the pot’s drainage holes getting blocked with soil.
Potting Soil For Fiddle Leaf Fig – Summary
Fiddle Leaf Figs can be challenging to keep happy. Which isn’t really surprising when you consider that you are actually bringing a tropical tree into your home.
When it comes to soil drainage is key. And although Ficus Lyrata does prefer a soil that’s a little bit acidic, this isn’t critical. This is a plant that is able to tolerate quite a range of sun and soil conditions provided it is warm and well drained.
Enjoy your beautiful Fiddle Leaf Fig and share your tips for making a DIY potting soil below!
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