With summer in full swing, it is time to get your fiddle leaf fig plants in good shape to dazzle whatever company may be visiting soon. Fiddle leaf fig plants are among some of the most popular houseplants on the market. How do we take care of them though? What kind of fertilizer will give them the most healthy look?
For fiddle leaf fig plants it is best to use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. The best NPK ratio for a fertilizer that you should use is about 3-1-2. It is also best to use a liquid fertilizer rather than a pellet fertilizer that is commonly used for most other plants.
Now that you know what type of fertilizer is best for your fiddle leaf fig plants, I would love to share with you some other important details about how to pick the right fertilizer, how to use it, when to use it, and what exactly an NPK ratio represents.
What Kind of Fertilizer is Best?
So, you are at the garden store and you’re looking for fertilizer and there are about a million options when it comes to plant fertilizer. You probably feel lost and very confused. That’s alright! There is no need to panic. In this section, I want to highlight exactly what type of fertilizer you should be looking for.
The first thing we need to figure out is exactly how you want to use your fiddle leaf fig tree. Fiddle leaf fig plants have become a very popular houseplant, however, did you know that they can also produce fruit?
Now, generally, they will not produce fruit when used as a houseplant, but if you want to place them outside there is a possibility that you will see certain types of figs growing from the stem. The fruit that grows however is not necessarily the kind of fruit you’re going to be rushing to make a pie with.
In general, the fruit has leathery skin and can be a little bit bitter and bland. Some people will use these figs that grow in their compost, but otherwise, you probably won’t have much use for them. (source)
No matter what you decide is best for your situation, I have spoken to the experts at the Cal Ranch store and they have given me the best types of fertilizer to use in either of these situations.
If you decide to use your fiddle leaf fig tree as a stunning home decoration then it is best to use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. This is the best type of fertilizer to support growth. This type of fertilizer can be especially beneficial if you’re starting fresh and trying to grow your own fiddle leaf fig trees.
If you decide that you want your fiddle leaf fig tree to produce fruit then it is best to use a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus. This will help your tree have the nutrients it needs to reproduce and create fruit.
It is also best that you use a liquid fertilizer rather than the more common pellet fertilizer. This will give you more control over exactly how much fertilizer your fiddle leaf fig tree is getting. It is also more easily absorbed into the soil of your fiddle leaf fig tree.
You can choose to use pellet fertilizer for your fiddle leaf fig tree, but if given the option, opt for liquid fertilizer. (source) In some places, you may also be able to find a fertilizer that is made specifically for fiddle leaf fig trees.
What is an NPK ratio?
I mentioned previously that it is best to use a fertilizer that has a 3-1-2 NPK ratio, and you probably thought to yourself “What does that mean?” Please allow me to explain.
The NPK ratio is a way that has been developed to measure the contents of fertilizer. It stands for the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (uses its chemical symbol “K” to help us distinguish). As an example, if you were to have a fertilizer that is labeled as 8-8-8 then that means there is 8% Nitrogen, 8% Phosphorus, and 8% potassium. (source)
In our case, we need to find a fertilizer that has a higher amount of nitrogen than other chemicals. Thus, the 3-1-2 fertilizer is the perfect choice for your fiddle leaf fig tree.
How To Use It
We talked previously about different types of fertilizers and I want to talk about how exactly you want to apply the fertilizer to your fiddle leaf fig tree for the best results.
A major benefit of using liquid fertilizer for your fiddle leaf fig tree is that it is extremely easy and simple to use. Liquid fertilizer is mixed with water and then you can simply water your plants like you normally would and the fertilizer will be applied to your tree.
Another way this can be done is through a drip system. If you have ever seen how an IV works then this is very similar to how the drip system works. This may be a little more difficult than just adding it to your water, but this will allow your fiddle leaf fig tree to receive consistent fertilizer and now just receive it all at once.
Setting up a drip system means that you hang the bottle of fertilizer above your plant and open it in a way that allows the fertilizer to slowly drip onto the plant. (source)
No matter what system you use to apply your liquid fertilizer to your fiddle leaf fig tree it is important that you first shake your liquid fertilizer to make sure that the chemicals are evenly mixed. This will make sure that you get the best out of your fertilizer.
If you do decide to use a pellet fertilizer then the application is as simple as applying a small amount across the top of your soil and then slowly tilling and mixing the fertilizer into the soil to allow the fertilizer to reach the actual plant and its roots.
But be careful not to damage any of the plant’s roots. Although fertilizer is going to help your plant thrive, it is important that you do not put too much fertilizer as it can essentially poison your fiddle leaf fig tree. (source)
When is the Best Time to Fertilize?
So now we know what type of fertilizer to use and we also know how to use it, but then the question becomes how often should I use it? This is a great question and can be a little bit more complicated to answer but I will do my best.
The climate in different places plays a big role in determining the best time to start fertilizing. If you live in a region of the world where you get a lot of colder weather then this can be especially difficult to determine. It is generally best to fertilize in early spring, however, you want to be sure that there will not be another freeze.
It would be a shame if you started fertilizing and then lost all of your progress because there was a freeze. My advice on that would be to use your judgment based on past experience. You probably want to fertilize as early as you can, but think about when your home region generally starts warming up for good.
It is best to continue fertilizing through the spring, summer, and even early fall. During the wintertime, however, fertilizing is not going to do you much good.
The best way for you to determine what time of day to fertilize is going to be looking at when you generally water your plants. I don’t think that there are very many people out there at 10 pm at night watering their plants.
Generally, we water our plants during the day when the sun is out. This is a good rule of thumb for when we should fertilize. Just do it during the time you are watering. Not only will this help the fertilizer be absorbed, but it also allows your fiddle leaf fig tree to benefit from the sunlight while it gets nutrients from the fertilizer. (source)
As for how often you should fertilize the answer is that you should really fertilize your plant every single time that you water. This won’t be too difficult if you use the liquid fertilizer and mix it with your water anyway. (source)
In this video below, this creator gives us some great advice about when and how often we should water our fiddle leaf fig trees.
What Other Things Can I Use To Fertilize?
While there are many fertilizers that can be found at your local garden store, there are also many organic fertilizers that you can use to give your fiddle leaf fig tree that healthy look.
While you should never stick to just one type of fertilizer, it is important that you use both organic and non-organic fertilizers to help your fiddle leaf fig tree. There are a couple of things that you may have that can be used as an organic fertilizer for your fiddle leaf fig tree: (source)
Compost – This is a very common method of getting natural and organic fertilizer, but unfortunately this does not provide us with exactly the chemical composition we are looking for. Because compost is a mixture of many different things it can be difficult to determine what exactly is being put on your plants.
This method is a great way however to recycle your and your family’s waste. When making compost, it is important that you remember to protect your mixture from the elements and to constantly be providing water as that will bring all your items together to make great fertilizer.
Fish Tank – If you have a fish tank at your house, did you know that you can use the water from your fish tank as a natural fertilizer for your fiddle leaf fig tree? Well, it’s true! Next time you clean out your fish tank, save some of the water and use it when you irrigate your plants. The water from your fish tank has a natural chemical that contains plenty of nitrogen which is very good for fiddle leaf fig trees. This can be a really easy way to get natural chemicals from household items.
Manure – Well, if you have farm animals it’s likely that you already knew that manure makes good fertilizer. Animals act like a natural composters. As they eat they digest their food and turn it into a natural fertilizer for your plants. The nutrients of manure are greatly determined by the diet of the animal. Rabbits, for instance, have a diet that causes them to produce manure that is high in nitrogen. Manure is a great source of natural fertilizer but it may not be the best option for you if you mainly own fiddle leaf fig trees as houseplants, as you will have to deal with the smell.
Milk – Surprisingly enough milk actually makes a great natural fertilizer. Who doesn’t have a gallon of that in their fridge? Milk is jam-packed full of all the right chemicals that can help plants grow and be strong. Now, don’t go pouring a gallon of milk on your fiddle leaf fig, you really do not need that much for your plant to receive the nutrients that it needs. If you make a mixture with about 90% water and 10% percent milk that is all you need to make a great fertilizer. This is a very common type of organic fertilizer for those who have indoor plants.
There are many more things that can be used as fertilizer, but this will give you a great start to growing stunning and beautiful fiddle leaf fig trees. It’s important to remember that you should use a healthy mixture of organic and nonorganic fertilizer to make sure that your plant gets exactly the chemicals that it needs.