A friend just gave me one of her houseplants during her move to another apartment. She doesn't know what the name of this plant is and she didn't give me any instructions on how to care for it. The way she cared for it was just watering when it seemed dry.

I love plants and really want to care for it so my question is, what kind of plant is this and what's the best way to care for it? How big will it grow and will I need to change the pot at some-time or another?


  • 1
    Seems perfectly happy - keep doing what your friend was doing, it does not seem to have gone wrong. If you like it, be wary of the urge to love it to death.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 27, 2015 at 1:40
  • @Ecnerwal: Ha! Thanks! Glad it looks healthy. Sep 27, 2015 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


It's a Fiddle-leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata). Here are some conditions to provide:

  • Pot/mix: These have large, invasive root systems and need large pots. They like a well drained, peaty mix with some mineral content (like grit). To keep them from growing too big (6' isn't uncommon), yearly root pruning and repotting can be necessary. Simply lift the plant from the pot, carefully remove the mix without damaging roots, and head them back to a length that they will fit in the pot without circling. You can head back the top at the same time (after the plant is back in the pot, of course). It's a small plant. So until it reaches a large size, I'd recommend simply moving it into a new, larger container whenever it becomes root bound, until you reach your maximum size.

  • Light: Bright filtered light is best. Direct sunlight can damage the leaves, especially in summer. Other than direct sunlight, the brighter the better. If you have a spot near a bright window, no supplemental lighting will be necessary.

  • Water: Wait until the soil is dry in the top inch, and then water very thoroughly, so that all the mix is wet. Always keep it in a container that drains freely, though, so that you don't drown it. Don't use chlorinated or city water on it. Distilled or rain water is ideal.

  • Pest Control: These figs are susceptible to some pests, especially mealybugs, whiteflies, mites, etc. Check under the leaves and along the stems regularly, and take note at any sign of pest damage.

  • Atmosphere: They are warm climate plants, and will be sensitive to any cold drafts. Don't place them anywhere that a draft can reach them (Especially not by a door to outdoors in winter). Also, vents (warm or cool air) from your heating system are extremely drying, so don't place this plant where there is air movement from these. They like a good level of humidity, so if you can provide that it would be awesome. They are adaptable to lower humidity though. In very low humidity, the leaf margins can burn.

  • Fertilizer: Slow release fertilizer (general application) with micronutrients is best. Use according to the product instructions.

  • Other Notes: Wash household dust off with tepid water whenever there is visible buildup on the leaves.

    These plants don't tend to branch naturally, and heading them off every foot or so can get you a bushier, more compact plant. Also, the plant bleeds white glue, and I sometimes put a light pad of cotton ball or something on fresh cuts so it doesn't run over stems and dry.

    These are really adaptable, resilient plants once you take care of the first vital conditions. They make a nice tall specimen plant to break an ugly corner, or to put in the back of an arrangement, for a backdrop.

  • 'Mineral Content' would be soil no need to add more. Please use a potting soil, don't make your own unless you sterilize it in the oven.
    – stormy
    Sep 27, 2015 at 20:14
  • 1
    @stormy Coir or peat based mixes, with grit, will be better in this application. If you disagree, feel free to add your own answer.
    – J. Musser
    Sep 29, 2015 at 0:56

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