onmyway

So I got a fiddle leaf fig tree!

onmyway
5 years ago
So the question I have is how do you properly take care of it? I've seen photos on here showing it in pots with what appear to be a special kind of soil. I just got the plant and currently it's in this basket with the original pot it came in.

Comments (197)

  • thewatcheruatu
    4 years ago

    Useful thread. I'm reading it because I'm currently in the process of propagating my tree from leaf cuttings, and I've got one that has put out some pretty nice roots, and some others on the way. So I'm reading up on potting material to get these into more permanent pots.

    I've had my fiddle leaf fig tree for about three years and it has done well--especially since I put it in a NE facing window in our new home. I've probably done everything wrong with this tree at some time or another. I let it get rootbound, kept it too much in the shade, too much in the sun, underwatered it, neglected to rotate it for long periods of time, banged it up while moving it around, etc.

    Somehow it survived me. By now, I've got day-to-day care pretty much figured out to the extent that I'm using the most generic, off-the-shelf potting soil (which is at least a year old now) in a glazed ceramic pot with no drainage, never fertilized, and it's currently thriving. I don't deserve the kindness this plant has shown me.

    I mean, I don't doubt that a properly aerated potting medium would help, but at the same time, it does feel as though this forum gets a little alarmist about the type of mix you've got in your pot.

    I'll probably just grow my rooted cuttings in the peat-based potting mix I've got, though with that said, I'll be sure to bookmark this thread for when/if these plants get established by next spring. Who knows? Maybe I'll actually find all of the ingredients for one of Al's mixes!

  • Oksana
    4 years ago

    Your commentary is funny. Glad the tree is doing so well. How long it took you to propaginate leaves? What I found is that the trunk of the tree is thin for many trees I buy. It is possibly those were grown from leaves. I have four smaller trees and two very large ones in my home. I think the best way to do is to let your tree grow tall and healthy and then simply cut the top with several leaves and plant it directly into soil. You can see how to do it in posts. Look at all tapla (username) posts. He explains how to do it well and there are pictures of a lady who did it. You will need to do it to make your tree branch out and you can replant the top. This way it will have thick trunk from the start. The trunk at top branches of my store is 3x thinker than trunk on my small trees which are about 3 feet now. Re soil, I experimented with two (Al's soil "tapla" username above) and just a mix of 1/4-1/8" fur tree bark (I got it on eBay from orchard place, if you need me to send info, I would be happy to. I think it is in the post above too) AND organic planting soil with worm castings but any would work. 50/50, plus maybe 1/10th of perlite. I got a huge bag of it on eBay too. The planting soil I got at Walmart. Definitely need holes in your planter. 10-15% of water should come out. I found this soil to be lighter and easier to handle when you need to move the plant or tilt it to get excess water out from the bottom (I have nursing planters with side holes that sit inside fancy planters with no holes). Al's soil is: 1/3 of fur bark, 1/3 of chicken grit (crushed granit?) and 1/3 or clay looking thing starts on T (name escapes me but should be up above). I found it to be breathable but really heavy and hard to handle for larger plants.

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    Try this: https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/5185228/pruning-basics-q-and-a-format#n=70 Branches are numbered by order. The trunk/stem is a first order branch, a branch growing from the trunk is a second order branch, and a third order grows from the second order branch, etc. Auxin is the suppressor of lateral (side) branching. Generally, if you cut a branch in half, you get branching in the leaf axils (see last image in my post above yours) of only the leaves on that branch. The reason: you removed the (primary) source of auxin for that branch only. ALL the other branches, unless you pinch or prune them, are still intact, with an apical meristem to produce auxin that suppresses lateral growth. I just want to know how to eliminate the leafless branch parts of my weeping fig. Let's say you have a long branch or trunk with foliage concentrated near the branch/trunk end(s). If you prune a branch back so there is 1 healthy leaf left on it, then cut that leaf in half & wait, you'll get back-budding proximal to (toward the trunk from) the half leaf. Once those leaves start to mature, you can pinch/prune back to the most proximal (closest to the trunk) leaf, and the same back-budding will occur proximal to the leaf you left at the second pruning. Keep in mind that how enthusiastic the response is depends on how healthy the tree is and WHEN you do the work. The best time to prune hard is about 2 weeks before the summer solstice, for a number of reasons, the most important of which are A) The plant will be as healthy as it can be, within the confines of other culturally limiting factors (low light, poor soil, lack of fertility, over-watering, ....) B) it will be approaching the peak of it's ability to turn the sun's energy to food (the summer solstice on the northern hemisphere is June 21) C) You should always prune the lanky winter's growth from your trees every June, then regularly pinch until Sep or Oct, depending on geography, followed by letting the tree grow unimpeded by pruning for the winter. If your tree suffers from root congestion, it's habit is to lose interior leaves (those close to the trunk) and resist back-budding. While pinching and pruning will work whether the tree is root-bound or not, you won't get much of a bang unless there is room for roots to run in the pot. Proper nutrition is also important. Plants need an ample amount of N to facilitate enthusiastic back-budding. Al
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    wondering when I know it's time to repot? It came in a plastic container (inside the decorative one) that drains very quickly, which I've heard isn't good. OTOH, I've heard they don't like too much room and to wait for roots to stick out the bottom before repotting. 9 of 10 people that give advise on the internet are guessing or repeating advise they read somewhere else - whether it's appropriate or not. It's time to repot at the point in time where (when?) you can lift the root and soil mass from the pot intact. Root congestion probably starts to be somewhat limiting a little before that point, but not seriously, so the "when you can lift the root/soil mass from the pot intact' is simple to remember and simple to verify. I use that as my own reference point. No plant "prefers" to be grown tight. If it did, Mother nature would have arranged for roots to occupy a little pot-shaped root ball directly under the plant's stem. There are sometimes good reasons to allow or use the stress associated with root congestion to achieve an effect or bend the plant to your will, but it's inaccurate to simply announce any plant likes to be root bound. Repotting is different and more involved with potting op. The former includes bare-rooting the plant, pruning roots, and repotting it in a fresh batch of soil. Potting up is little more than putting the plant in a larger pot and filling in the void at the bottom and sides with fresh soil. The former ensures all limitations imposed by root congestion go away; the later ensures limitations imposed by root congestion remain until the time someone actually gets their hands in the root/soil mass to correct the root issues and congestion. This holds true even if the plant were to be planted out (in the landscape). When keeping the best interest of the plant in mind, that you discover it's time to repot isn't reason enough to repot the day after. Timing heavy work like hard pruning and repotting is best done in consideration of the plant's natural rhythms. If you repot a healthy tropical ficus in fall or winter, it might take several months to recover to the point top growth can resume. Repot it in very late spring (early spring is not a good choice), as in just before the summer solstice (I use Father's Day as a reference point) and the plant will be pushing new growth in 1-3 weeks. It's better to allow the plant to suffer some small amount of stress from root congestion and repot when the plant is about to be at its most robust state in the growth cycle than to repot when the plant is just trying to make it until next spring when it's at its best. I would only repot out of season if I knew or strongly suspected the plant would be down for the count before a more appropriate time to repot rolled around. I've been pruning back slowly so as not to shock, pruning in the early fall when I want to incentivize root growth over winter. Usually my ficus drops a lot of leaves over winter (we are in New England). I'm hesitant to do a major trim in the spring because that is when I want to full new growth. How far can I cut the leggy branches back? And how many of them at a time? Perhaps I'm being too incremental in my pruning and not giving it the fresh start it needs. You prune in early fall, then your tree puts on a lot of leggy growth over winter, growth you're reluctant to remove until fall. In fall, you cut off all the desirable short internodes, all the way back to the long internodes. Doesn't that sound backward? What if you pruned in late May? You'd be removing ALL the leggy growth from winter. Then, as new growth with short internodes follows the spring pruning, you pinch until Sep, then don't do any pruning until the following Memorial day. That approach guarantees ALL growth is the tightest the plant can produce within other cultural influences. You saw the growth explosion on the tree I pruned back to only a few leaves (above)? That's 2 months worth of summer growth. Thoughts? Al
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    Mega Builders
    4 years ago

    Very cool!

  • thewatcheruatu
    4 years ago

    @Oksana - Yeah, I'm definitely not a great FLF owner. Just trying to make the point that they seem like kind of resilient plants to me, though they're definitely kind of finicky. Mine dropped a lot of leaves over the years owing to me not really having any clue about how to take care of it. Seems okay these days, though admittedly, it is going to require some additional work to reshape it. Between the size and the shape, that's why I wanted to try propagating it--just to get a clean slate.

    To answer your question, it took less than a month for a leaf in a soilless mix to grow really good roots. I've got one in a jar of water that has about four healthy roots, but they're not real long yet. I probably need to move it to a mix to give them a reason to spread out. I also have a few leaves that have done nothing at all yet in the same time. So go figure.

    What I read is that the professionally grown plants are started from tissue cultures, and that you'll never be able to produce that quality of plant from a cutting. But that's fine--I'm doing it more as an experiment.

  • gentym
    4 years ago

    Fantastic thread- so informative - thanks all for your generous contributions. As I'm usually someone people come to for advice on houseplants I must say my Fiddle Leaf has stumped me. It's done brilliantly over the few years I've had it, trippling in size thanks to the suitabke light conditions in my apartment, despite them usually struggling in Melbourne, Australia. But there's a new issue that I can get a conclusive answer to and I'd love some help. I've attached pictures.

    Something appears to be eating / infecting the leaves. I had an overwatering issue which I believe has been rectified and while soil moisture may be an ongoing concern since repotting, the fact that these elongated 'tears' in the leaves have now appeared on a neighboring Spathiphyllum leads me to think it may be an insect or fungal issue.

    No sign of mealy bugs or serious scale but I thought perhaps thrips?

    *note- moisture on the leaves is Confidor that I'm trying


    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • gentym
    4 years ago

    More pics

  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    Hmmm... Do you have those rips on older leaves or new leaves? I have the same rips on my FLF but all those are from mechanical damage and they look identical to yours.
  • tapla
    4 years ago

    Low humidity tends to make leaves stick to themselves and tear when they are unfurling. My first suspicion would be victimization by air conditioning.

    Al

  • James Hu
    4 years ago

    So I've been working on my Fiddle Leaf by taking advice of repotting, only watering if soil is dry and moving the tree to an area with more light. I'm actually starting to see some new growth! The incoming leaves look much healthier and more like a Fiddle Leaf should. However, all the other leaves haven't changed and are still droopy. What is the recommendation here? Is there any hope for the droopy leaves (they've been like this for more than 6 months)? Should I prune them all and wait for new growth? Thanks!




  • tapla
    4 years ago

    Many species of ficus are unable to recover from wilting to occupy the same pre-wilting spatial position. IOW - once in a droop - always in a droop.

    Defoliation is a valuable tool that can stimulate a new flush of growth, but it shouldn't be used unless the plant is VERY healthy, has lots of extra food/energy reserves, and is at or approaching the part of the growth cycle when long days and intense light provide optimum food-making ability. These things usually come together in June.

    Al

  • James Hu
    4 years ago

    Thanks Tapla. I live in Southern California so we get quite a bit of sunshine all throughout the year. Should I still wait until June or does the plant somehow detect the seasons even when indoors?

  • tapla
    4 years ago

    I have 64 sq ft of growing area under lights in my basement, which has only 1 small window with about 2.5 sq ft of glass in it. Seasonal clothing blocks enough light that even at midday you cannot move around the basement w/o a light on because it's nearly completely dark. My lights are times 16 on and 8 off, but the minuscule amount of light that makes it past the clothing is more than enough to tell my plants when spring arrives (vernal equinox). That's when most of them start growing like they mean it. So yes - as long as the plant gets even the tiniest amount of natural light, it knows what time it is and what time of the year it is.

    When it's past the ideal time to repot, I usually tell people to base the decision on whether or not to repot out of season on their sense of how likely it is that the plant won't make it until spring. So, if you think it's an emergency and a repot is required to save the plant, then you should. If you don't think it's an emergency, it's probably not in the plant's best interest to repot before June.

    Al

  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    Al, I got two large trees and four small trees that came in doubles that I separated and reported. The large trees had a lot of growth and are now about 8 feet tall. I am at the point where I may need to think about pruning then and reporting the ends I cut. Would you be so kind to send me the link to your discussion on how to cut the branch off and pot it? One tree has there branches that grew so fast that there is a lot of space between the leaves. I am not sure if there is not enough sunlight? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    Sorry, autocorrect messed it up but I hope you read between the lines! ;)
  • gentym
    4 years ago

    Hi Oksana- the tears are on older leaves that had otherwise been healthy and there's been no mechanical damage. Same with the neigbouring spathiphyllum. It appears to be spreading and starts as an elongated tear either in the middle or on the side of a leaf. Beginning to appear on newer leaves as well. Terrified of it taking over but have read so much literature on the various issues and nothing seems to explain it. Thrips came closest in description I thought these insects were usually visible. I'm out of ideas so just trying the Confidor in the hope that it helps. But I'm really hoping for a better diagnosis!

  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    I hope Al can respond. I truly believe he is the most experienced one on these matters...
  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    Al, I have one additional question, the new leaves on my FLF trees are coming very elongated. See pictures. What could be causing it? The leaves just look too thing vs all prior leaves. Two first pictures are new leaves and the last picture is one of the older leaves. Al, do you know what might be causing it?
  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    second and third pictures
  • tapla
    4 years ago

    Oksana - the best cuttings would fit these criterion:

    They would cover the space of 4-5 leaf nodes and the proximal cut (bottom of the cutting) will be just below a node.

    The top 2 nodes would have healthy leaves firmly attached.

    The bottom 2-3 nodes would consist of old (leaf) bundle scars or will have leaves still attached. If the leaves are still attached, remove them by cutting through the leaf petiole close to the attachment point. I prefer cuttings with bare nodes as it reduces the likelihood of fungal trouble.

    You will have used a VERY sharp, sterile tool to take the cuttings and cut through leaf stems. Don't take cuttings with anvil pruners or anything that might crush tissue. Clean up the wound with a straight edge razor blade if there are any hanging threads of tissue visible. This is where fungal infections get their start and do most damage.

    Stick the cuttings into a very well-aerated medium you can keep damp/moist, never wet/soggy, so at least 2 nodes are deep enough that the soil won't dry out to the depth of the top node. First roots most often appear at nodes.

    Have a good idea how much perched water (if any) your soil holds (the ht of the PWT) and make sure the pot is deep enough that the proximal end is NOT submerged in the PWT when you stick it. If you suspect the bottom of the cutting is in saturated soil, use a deeper pot or shorten the cutting so only 2 nodes are below soil level.

    Cut the 2 leaves on the cutting in half across venation to reduce water loss. Your leaves do carry on photosynthesis, which is good, but that's not a plus when the leaves form an abscission layer as a drought response, triggered by the inability to move enough water to keep leaves adequately hydrated.

    Site the cuttings in light the leaves are conditioned to, or slightly brighter and out of wind. Tenting, a greenhouse, or artificially increasing humidity around the cutting is very helpful and can eliminate the need to cut leaves in half.


    Al

  • gentym
    4 years ago

    Hi Al!

    Any thoughts on my 'something' attack?!

    Would love some ideas!

  • tapla
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    As I noted upthread, leaves of Ficus often stick to themselves when unfurling during conditions of low humidity, which causes tears. Some of the injury appears that it might be from oedema, and I saw one malformed leaf that might be attributed to a nutritional deficiency, with reason to suspect a culturally induced Ca deficiency. Ca must be present in the nutrient stream at all times if organs (leaves) are to form normally. The same excessive water content that drives oedema can also inhibit Ca uptake.

    It's really very difficult to say what the exact cause is. In cases like this, it's often best to examine the cultural conditions under which the plant is growing for problems and adjust accordingly. That would include flushing the soil and fertilizing, making sure temps and light levels are favorable and your choice of soil and your watering habits are conducive to good root health, the later being a very important key to success.

    Al

  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    Al,

    Thanks, for the guidance on trimming my trees. I really appreciate it!

    Should I wait until Spring or can I do it anytime?

    Where I cut the tree, should I put something on the "wound"?

    I was wondering if you can give any thoughts on my elongated leaves issue above.

    Thanks again for all your guidance!
  • tapla
    4 years ago

    There are 2 ways to look at 'when you can prune'. One is, it's your tree and you can do what you want, so that's sort of the 'at will' perspective. When the plant's POV or it's best interest is the focus, timing and geography come into play. If you live very6 close to the equator, it doesn't matter much when you do heavy work on potted ficus, as long as they're healthy. The greater the latitudinal distance from the equator, the greater the effects of timing. If you live more than 25* either side of the equator, you should think about planning your heavy work so it's done around the summer solstice. Your plant will be in the most robust part of the growth cycle and at the peak of its food-making ability, so it will recover from heavy work faster than at any other part of the year. Fast recovery is a plus because it leaves the tree weakened in its ability to defend against insects and diseases for the shortest periods; this, because a plant's defensive ability is closely linked to its metabolic rate.

    In my 30 years of study and observations, I've learned there are big dividends paid for patience and synchronizing the heavy work (repotting and hard pruning) we do on trees with the plants growth cycle. IOW, I work WITH the plant's natural rhythms instead of against them. There is much truth in the verse found in Ecclesiastes that says, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" . For the record, you can repot any time, but repotting isd much more extensive and requires greater consideration of timing. I mentioned that because I'm a little off topic but still talking about 'heavy work' and I wouldn't want people to consider potting up on an equal footing with repotting or as 'heavy work'.

    "Where I cut the tree, should I put something on the wound?" First, let me say there will be folks quite willing to tell you that current convention inspired by the work of the late Dr A Shigo says that wound dressings are counterproductive because they can provide ideal conditions in which disease-causing organisms can multiply. That is true of trees in the landscape, and we should use proper pruning cuts (outside the branch collar) and forgo dressings. This is true because if the injury cannot be properly walled off by the organism. Future mechanical failure is likely. I know that I have never seen a mechanical failure in a potted tree leading to death, and I doubt anyone who might ever read this has, either. For potted trees, I'll assume you don't want a big eye-poking stub of a branch sticking out or a wound that never heals. Eliminating the visual impact of wounds is a high priority for the bonsai practitioner, and almost all accomplished bonsai practitioners use wound dressings, and believe it or not, some of the trees they use them on are valued in $ measured by the millions and fractions thereof. So, for potted trees, cut the branch off so it's almost flush to the lower order branch or trunk (sop a first order branch is flust to trunk, second order branch flush to first order, ......). The wound should be egg-shaped and narrower at the bottom than the top. It's common to actually carve a wound to that shape after the branch is removed so it heals faster. You can also significantly hasten the speed with which a wound heals by lightly covering it with sphagnum moss (not peat) and keeping it moist.

    See the large white wound ^^^ on this maple that's being started down the path to eventually become bonsai.

    It's wrapped with aluminum foil ^^^ and packed with sphagnum moss


    Calus after 1 year ^^^

    After 2 years ^^^

    This spring ^^^ By summer of '17, the wound will be closed, and by summer of '18 it will be very difficult to see the tree has been 'chopped' as a method to create rapid taper in the trunk diameter - so the tree appears much older - a very desirable trait in bonsai. Note in the first image above, how radical the change in taper is between the trunk and the branch that is destined to be an extension of the trunk; then, notice how the change in taper is becoming less jarring to the eye as the extension thickens, The wound will be healed at about the same time another chop of the extension will further the prebonsai's progress toward a very refined tree.

    Sorry about the diversion. I also cover all wounds larger than a pencil with waterproof wood glue immediately after they stop weeping sap subsequent to pruning. Sealing the wound this way prevents tissues from dying well back from the would. This creates a very ugly scare and unsightly healing as the callus rolls over dead tissues and creates an ugly bulge. It also significantly increases the amount of time it takes for wounds to close.

    "I was wondering if you can give any thoughts on my elongated leaves issue above." Given how photo load/photoperiod influence extension of longitudinal growth and suppression of lateral growth, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to find the same influences manifest in leafy organs as well. If your tree is growing indoors, it's almost a 100% certainty the light load is significantly lower than the nursery in which the plant got its start, so changes in growth patterns are the new norm as it relates to its current site.

    Al



  • gentym
    4 years ago

    Thanks Al, I'm looking into Ca and will flush the soil on the next spell of warmer days.

    A bit concerned though because I've come back from overseas to find the new season's leaves on my edible fig outside is showing the same symptoms!

    It did rain a lot while I was away so could be overwatered as it put on new growth but I wasn't here to see.


    Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

    G.

  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    I feel like it is something that is happening when the leaf is forming. It doesn't look like a damage that starts after the leaf is fully formed. You can see that the leaf cells get centered around this damage than then expands. A normal leave would have somewhat symmetrical cell pattern but here the pattern is around the central point, which is a black circle/damage. Wondering what it can be. Sorry that you are dealing with this. Hopefully, this is something that Al is familiar with.
  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    Are the very edges of leaves brown? They appear to be in the picture. That is root rot from overwatering.
  • gentym
    4 years ago

    Hi Al/ Oskana,

    The indoor Fiddle leaf is still getter by worse I'm afraid. What are the risks/ pros / cons to removing it from its pot and adding something in the bottom to assist drainage? Not sure if I'm likely to upset it more than help it. Too late for many of the leaves but I'm really worried about losing it all together if I don't try something else.

    Is the extra stress likely to be more of a problem than a cure?

    Many thanks for any thoughts you may have!

  • gentym
    4 years ago

  • Oksana
    4 years ago
    All your leaves look drooped. I see brown edges on the leaves. The leaves are turning yellow. I feel that the issue is: overwatering first resulting in root rot and then overcorrecting the issue by watering little resulting in shock and leaves turning yellow as the root rot issue is not fixed. Al says don't replant it in slow growth time. But do replant it if you think you may lose it. I would replant it. Where do you live again? You really need to go to Al's page and see all his posts and find those related to fiddle leaf. There was one post where he directed a woman how to repot. You basically need to take the plant out of the pot and wash away ALL dirt around the roots. You need to trim roots cutting off all rotten parts. Then you need to put the plant into a new soil. I used the soil mix Al recommended and also soil mix other recommended. I like Al's soil but it won't work for a large plant because most of it is crushed granite (grit) and it is extremely heavy to handle. I have two very large trees and I like to move them to a bigger dish when I water them and tilt then too to remove excess water so it won't be possible with that heavy soil. Do this:

    1. Make sure your pot has lots of drainage holes. If needs be, heat up nail and melt additional holes in the bottom. I keep all my plants in plastic nursing planters and then put them into more decorative planters.

    2. Mix 40-45% organic potting soil (I used organic one from Just Natural premium organic container and potting mix from Walmart with worm castings), 40-45% 1/8 to 1/4" bark fines (I used 1/4 inch pine bark fines 3.5 gallon bag from BonsaiJack.com and as a last resort cheaper alternative you can use ReptiBark reptile bedding, 24 dry quarts bag you can get at a pet store), and 10-20% of perlite. I got a huge bag from eBay called Plant!T super course perlite but it was overkill since I only used 5% of it so far. Just get a small bag from Home Depot or Lowes. Mix those well.

    3. Replant. Water well several times until you got about 15-20% of water come out. When it is watering time, I get my trees and put them in a bigger draining dish. I water them slowly. Like rain would. Let them drink it. I water them maybe 4-5 times over 30 mins until I got a LOT of water come out at the bottom. Then I lift a tree and tilt it to let additional water come out of the side holes. Then I place it in original drain dish.

    I was terrified that the roots will get dry because it looks like water was just going through the soil (soil was so loose and light) and soil looked dry the next day. I watered it maybe twice a week and it was a mistake as new leaves came up with water damage. Once a week is fine.

    Make sure you don't water with really cold water.

    I only water when I lift the pot and it feels very light like all soil is dry. Sometimes it looks dry but when I lift, it feels heavy, so I don't water.
  • gentym
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Thanks - that's great.

    Fingers crossed!!

    I'm in Melbourne, Australia, so I'll do a bit of research to find some similar products.

    Wish me luck!

  • tapla
    4 years ago

    For Turface MVP, try:
    Sage Horticultural
    2/104 Wedgewood Road
    Hallam Vic 3803

    Telephone: 03 9796 3100 Fax: 03 9796 3188



    Sage Hort.


    Al

  • gentym
    4 years ago

    Thanks! Getting onto it :)

  • Oksana
    3 years ago
    Any updates? Did you replant it?
  • lasweet92
    3 years ago

    Thank you Al and everyone so much for your comments. This is a fantastic forum. My FLFs are doing well as in growing but I picked up two orphans at the supermarket- maybe bad idea. My stumpy one and a new one has tiny black spots.

    I think it's bacteria?? I made up bicarbonate and neem soap spray and spritzed them. Am I on right track? Should I take the spotty leaves off?

    Will this lighting be suitable for winter? Photo at 3pm. North facing, quite warm even with no heating Sub tropical QLD Australia

  • Oksana
    3 years ago
    It's overwatering spots. Just water less. Water only when you pick up the plant container and it is very light because soil is dry through. Maybe every 1.5-2.5 weeks. Overwatering creates bursts in cells: cells explode. So you see little dark spots where it happens. :)
  • lasweet92
    3 years ago

    Wow. And yet I have been letting them dry out - dowel testing. They really don't like much water! Its very warm in there so a couple of times I gave them a little before the big weekly soak. Thank you. I'll monitor and water fortnightly now.

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  • tapla
    3 years ago

    I think it's bacteria?? I made up bicarbonate and neem soap spray and
    spritzed them. Am I on right track?
    No. Even though plants need SOME sodium (Na), the amount of Na in NaHCO3 (sodium bicarbonate) is highly toxic to plants at very low levels. Not only that, but neem oil is degraded very quickly by a process called alkaline hydrolysis when the water it's mixed in has a pH higher than 7.0. Since the pH of NaHCO3 is around 8.5, it has no place in a suspension containing neem oil. Should I take the spotty leaves off? If the plant is otherwise healthy and has lots of other leaves, there is little harm in removing spoiled foliage. If the plant is hanging on to the edge of the drain, it's wise not to remove anything green. Your plant has internal chemical messengers that 'tell' the plant whether or not it's in the plant's best interest to shed leaves that might be net users (rather than net producers) of energy.

    Al

  • mingleet
    2 years ago

    I love love love this thread and thank you Al for being so informative! I have learned so much from all of you! I hope it's not too late to jump on this FLF wagon but I do have some questions:


    I do have similar problems with browning tip on some leaves which after reading extensively through this thread, I believe it is due to overwatering? I just need some assurance to know that my poor FLF isnt dying! I water it once every 1.5 weeks :)


    Also, the leaves aren't 'perky'. They seem to be droopy and it hasn't grown a single leaf since I got it last Summer (July '17). I have repotted it once at the end of the year and nothing has changed besides a few 'cuts' on the leaves. What seems to be the problem with the growth and the cuts? :(


    Last but not least, does my FLF look healthy? I can't tell!


    Thank you all in advanced for your help!


    HT - Toronto, Canada

  • tapla
    2 years ago

    For the most part, plants decline and die in situations where the amount of food/energy they're able to create (with the help of the sun) is less than they are expending to drive their metabolic processes. It doesn't LOOK like your tree is in any immediate danger of expiring, but symptoms made manifest by ongoing limitations commonly lag the cause by weeks to months.

    Necrotic leaf tips and margins are far more often than not a symptom of over-watering and/or a high level of dissolved solids (salt) in the soil solution. Occasionally it can be traced entirely to growers watering with their own version of enhanced frequency; more often, it's the result of a poor soil that simply does not allow the grower to water correctly w/o the plant paying a tax in the form of diminished root health because the soil remains saturated long enough to have attained the age of majority. Curing the effects of too much water in the soil starts by using a soil that doesn't hold too much water, and by default, not enough air. Then, using a 'tell' as an indicator of when it's appropriate to water to put a polish on what you practice. I use soils that hold no (or nearly no) excess (perched) water. That means I'd have to work very hard at over-watering. That scenario makes things easy for the grower and easy on the plant. If you've been forever in battle with your chosen soil for control of your plants' vitality, the change that occurs when you switch to a good soil (one that allows you to water correctly [so you're flushing accumulating salts from the soil whenever you water w/o your plant paying 'the tax'], will make it seem like you have somehow done something magic. Too, where a poor soil makes fertilizing something of a helter skelter proposition, good soils make it monkey easy.

    Your job, as chief grower, is figuring out what is most limiting to your plant and fixing it. This represents the difference between a plant surviving at the outer limits of what it's programmed (genetically) to tolerate and one that's growing in its 'sweet spot'. understanding how soils work, followed by understanding how plants work, are representative of the largest steps forward you'll likely make as a container gardener. There are several links I can suggest if you have interest?

    Low light and cool temps can cause plants to stall in sort of a consequential dormancy, but nutritional issues and root congestion can do the same; as can the cyclic death and subsequent regeneration of roots as the root mass wobbles back and forth between just right and too wet. Soggy soils kill roots. Before the top can/will grow, the root system has to be able to support new growth, so dead roots have to be replaced. The energy it takes to regenerate roots might have been put toward an increase in the plant's mass. The difference between what a plant is and what it could be is described as lost potential. Even plants that LOOK good can be losing out on an extreme measure of potential; and in plants, lost potential can never be regained under ANY circumstances.

    If your plant has a droopy or hang-dog look, it's likely from a lack of turgidity (internal water pressure), brought about by too little water, too much water, and/or a high level of dissolved solids in the soil. Unfortunately, after wilting the leaves of F lyrata often don't recover to occupy their former spatial positions. IOW, once they wilt, their attitude usually changes at least partially so that droopy appearance becomes a permanent thing.

    Try reading this.

    Al

  • Oksana
    2 years ago
    Ok folks... I screwed up... I took two out of four of my baby fiddle leaf fig trees to my deck for a few hours to get some sun... I never expected the result. Wow... please be careful with your plants...
  • saumyashree_mishra1
    2 years ago

    Hi Everyone, This is a great forum to get valuable information on FLF.

    Being a first time owner of a beautiful FLF last week, Im constantly worried about its health.

    I brought Figgy from Ikea here on 7/13, watered one cup on 7/14 and cleaned its leaves with mild soap and water and a cloth to remove the dust. Placed it on a south side french window where I think its getting ample indirect sunlight. However to my worst nightmare it started loosing leaves everyday along with 2 new leaves. I checked the soil again and the top inch was dry so gave it one cup water again thinking the AC vent might be making it dry, which was my fault I know. Should have waited till 1 week before watering it.

    what is my best bet to make sure this plant thrives? Im guessing its getting acclimated to the new environment but loosing new leaves making me sad and worried. Please help me in my below queries. I appreciate your time and interest for reading my post. Thanking you in advance and waiting for some answers from all you experts.

    1- When should I water next? 1 week from the time I last watered it?

    2- Should I be worried about the brown spots it already has? shall i spray neem oil?

    3- Its placed slightly near the AC vent, but being in NJ we dont switch on the AC much these days, may be like 2-3 hrs max. shall I shift my Figgy to north facing window instead?

    4- I have leaves which are curled under and some are upright, I'm not sure if this is because its a bush not a full fledged tree yet.

    5-shall i consider misting it as its dry these day here? If yes how many times a week?

    6- Im not quite sure if it is getting enough sunlight per need, but its placed on a south side window and the room is the most brighter part of our house. I have attached pictures for reference and guidance.

  • Caroline M
    2 years ago
    I found this little baby FLF sprout in my big guy’s pot and decided to propagate. He’s got a decent root system growing in the water, and I think it’s time to put him in his own pot. What type of soil would be best for a little guy like this? Al’s gritty mix, or the 5-1-1 mix? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  • Elissa Norris
    2 years ago

    Misting is not recommended nor something your plant wants (despite many believing it increases humidity it’s been proven to have a negligible effect).

    Definitely keep it in the brightest window in your house if keeping indoors.

    People always talk about not putting these trees under AC drafts but I have Two that get direct drafts from my always on ac here in Houston and two FLF that don’t and their all very healthy/ never had a problem. So Best answer there is that it could cause more stress if your tree is not healthy as it is but if the tree is happy and healthy (healthy roots, good water habits, plenty of sunlight) then airflow directly onto the tree isn’t a problem. (Think about the fact these trees do perfectly fine outside in everyday wind) Heater air could induce a lot of local drying to top leaves though so watch that.


    No one can tell you how often to water your FLF ... (or if they do know that just because that is what’s right for them does not mean that’s what your tree needs) because that is dependent on so many things- with type of soil it’s in & local environments humidity being big ones as are size of pot & size & health of roots & tree. If your soil stays very soggy to the touch for 24 hrs you are correct in feeling worried about watering mistakes. Which brings us to why most repot these trees into al’s gritty mix... so that it almost becomes impossible to overwater even these picky trees because drainage and aeration becomes optimized. You’ll find more info than you’ll ever need on this gritty mix by searching these forums. Takes a lot of time but saves a lot of stress for you and your FLF in the end. Hope that helps!

  • Saumyashree Mishra
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much Elissa, My FLF have stopped dropping leaves since 4-5 days and I can see new leaves opening, however they have red dots. I'm still learning and hopeful it can thrive. Grateful for all the posts here on FLF.

  • Elissa Norris
    2 years ago
    @ Saumyashree Mishra... I have no intelligent explanation for those red dots on leaves that will soon become new “branches” but I can definitely confirm that the first 2 leaves a new “branch” pushes out on all my FLF trees are commonly a bit deformed ( yes the red dot stippling usually on a very light green leaf) / more tendency to be stuck together/ not unfold right/ or first leaves never grow to more than 3 inches in size.)

    Regardless of this finding, if the Branch does truly going to continue to develop ( and not stop/ go dormant right there which does rarely happen) then the leaves will begin to form better/ normal
    on their own. Truly, these FLF trees have taught me in many ways to relax and not jump to any negative conclusions/ “diagnoses” or start stressing too much after I do something I know causes short term stress to it ;)
  • saumyashree_mishra1
    2 years ago

    Thanks for taking time to reply me Elissa. The red dots have disappeared as the leaves grew. haven't dropped leaf yet but I'm still watchful.

  • tapla
    2 years ago

    It's not unusual for the red/purple pigment, anthocyanin, to express itself in juvenile foliage, then fade as the leaf matures. It happens in other ficus and a wide variety of other genera/species, too.

    Al

  • saumyashree_mishra1
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Thanks for the response Al, much appreciated. I hope you know your expert advise on many other threads gave me so much knowledge and confidence to buy a FLF in the first place.


    I think my FLF needed me to be more patient, it has grown at least 5-7 new leaves. I want to make this plant grow as a tree form but I'm scared to do so. My bush has 4 big and 4 small trunks which looks like that can be separated. Do you think I should wait till next spring to do this so there will be more time for the plant to recover? I'm attaching few images of the plant. Please advise.