Ficus lyrata

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Ficus lyrata
Group: Angiosperms
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus
Species: F. lyrata
Classified: Warb, 1894
Propagation: From From cutting, layering, seeds
Adult size: 12-15m
Lighting: High
Watering: Let the soil partially dry before watering
Fertilization: Monthly during active growth
Soil: Well drained
Humidity: High humidity preferred, low humidity tolerated
Other information
Toxicity: Toxic sap
Rarity: Common
See more Ficus

Common names:

Fiddle-leaf fig

Ficus lyrata is a woody flowering plant of the mulberry and fig family Moraceae. Native to West Africa, it makes an excellent houseplant and will tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.


Ficus means 'fig' in Latin.

Lyrata is because the leaves are lyrate, meaning that they resemble a lyre



F. lyrata has huge, glossy, fiddle-shaped leaves with prominent veins.



Ficus lyrata 'Bambino' is a dwarf cultivar with smaller leaves than the regular species and has smaller internode lengths.


F. lyrata requires bright light to do well in the home, as close to a window as possible. When moving a plant into a window for the first time make sure to acclimate it to the direct light (see sun damage).

Use a well draining soil mix (see aroid soil). The soil surface should dry within a week even when the plant is dormant in winter. Water thoroughly until the water drains through the bottom of the pot, never allowing the plant to stand in water.

Ficus are 'creatures of habit' and like consistency - never allow the soil to dry out completely for long periods of time and never keep the plant's roots so wet that they don't mostly dry through. Finding a routine which keeps the soil slightly moist most of the time is key to healthy growth and the plant retaining its leaves.

Ficus dislike draughts or dry air being blown across them. Site your plant away from fans, air conditioning units and move it away from draughty windows in winter. They will tolerate dry air but if you live somewhere extremely arid, consider adding a humidifier to bring ambient humidity up slightly or it may develop brown leaf edges.

Common issues

Yellowing/dropping leaves

Yellowing leaves are a sign of too much water. Ensure the pot has good drainage and allow the surface of the soil to dry between watering. Older leaves will naturally yellow and die eventually.

If the soil is staying moist for more than two weeks between watering, or the soil feels soggy or very wet after a week then consider repotting the plant into a smaller container: the roots staying wet for too long will lead to root rot and a quick decline in the plant's health. When repotting use a well drained mix (see aroid soil)

Sun damage

F. lyrata can take direct sun without damage but first requires acclimatisation or leaves will bleach, brown and eventually die. When moving your plant into an area which gets lots of direct sunlight build up the plant's tolerance first. Limit the amount of direct sun to an hour a day for a few days, then two hours, then three and continue to slowly increase the plant's light exposure until it is fully acclimated.

When moving the plant outdoors, choose a spot in shade or that gets dappled or screened sunlight. Let the plant slowly acclimate to being outdoors and never move the plant into direct sun without slowly building up a tolerance first. Some direct morning or evening sun is fine but hot midday light will scorch the leaves.

Red spots on the backs of leaves


The technical term for this is edema (Oedema). Some of the cells within the plants leaf have burst from receiving too much water at once. This is extremely common with F. lyrata and very easy to cause especially while the plant is small with only a few leaves. Slightly increase the length of time you allow the plant to dry in between waterings and ensure it's not standing in any water.

Mild edema will not threaten the overall health of your plant and will likely become less of an issue as the plant grows and matures.

The marking will never fully go away but as the leaf matures the spotting will fade.


F. lyrata is relatively resistant to pests, however it can be affected by spider mites, mealybugs, scale, thrips and whitefly.