The Fiddle Leaf is a hardy plant native to the African tropical rainforests. As a result, this plant is accustomed to growing in warm, humid conditions and is sensitive to cold weather.
This is a popular houseplant option in the United States. It can easily be kept in pots indoors, given the right conditions. It can also be planted outdoors but only in states that resemble its native growing climate. This includes regions like southern California and Florida.
The Fiddle has large violin-shaped leaves that are dark green. These plants also become pretty significant in size, even when grown indoors. When grown in pots, they can grow up to ten feet. When planted outdoors, they can grow as high as fifty feet. It’s also possible to grow the Fiddle in containers outdoors in the form of shrubs.
Fiddle Leaf Fig roots showing is common when grown in pots. If the plant shows aerial roots, it’s not a cause for concern. However, the plant might be root bound if roots protrude from the soil surface and the drainage hole below.
You can tend to this plant being rootbound in several ways.
Fiddles and Exposed Roots
Fiddles can often become root-bound. This is when it starts showing its roots over the soil. The roots can start poking out from the pot’s top or under the drainage space. This may occur if the plant is in the same container for a year or two.
When roots jut out from the top surface of the soil, they need to be buried back in. If left exposed, they risk drying out and getting damaged. If you see roots popping out from drainage space, the roots need to be tended to and trimmed. Trimming will help them absorb nutrients from the soil once again rather than getting soaked in draining water.
These plants don’t appreciate being root bound as they cannot receive the hydration and nutrition they need. If not tended to, the roots can die from suffocation.
Several succulent plant species don’t mind being root bound, but this does not include the Fiddle Leaf. As its a tropical jungle plant, it requires more space so the roots can expand effectively.
But at times, it’s not uncommon for the Fiddle to show some surface roots. This is because branches can often grow out roots known as aerial roots. If these areal roots are showing, it’s not a problem. Ficus species usually grow areal roots, and the Ficus Lyrata is no exception.
The growth of these roots may imply that the soil is too moist. Altering your watering routine can sometimes solve the problem of exposed areal roots.
However, your plant has become root bound if its roots are visible from the soil surface and the drainage hole below.
Another sign of being root bound is if it has stunted growth. If you are caring for the plant like you regularly do, but there is no change in size, it may be an indication.
A great way to deal with this is to repot the plant so it has more room to grow.
Steps to Fix a Root-Bound Fiddle
There are several steps you can take to fix a root-bound Ficus Lyrata.
You can trim back roots growing out from drainage holes. This will enable the plant to re-absorb moisture from the soil and prevent root rot. Make sure to trim the roots using sharp, sterilized shears. Clip the roots until they are an inch from the pot.
Once root-bound, the Fiddle cannot retain enough moisture from the soil. Therefore, another way to deal with this condition is to regularly water the plant. Ensure to water the plant until the water begins seeping out from the drainage holes. Wait until the soil has completely dried out before watering again.
You can also hydrate the plant’s roots by soaking them in water for around thirty minutes. Please don’t leave the plant in after for more than this duration as it can cause root rot.
Another method is to sprinkle more soil over the exposed roots. But this is only possible if there is enough space in the pot. Even though this is not a long-term solution, this will give your plant some time until you can put it in a bigger pot.
Transferring your Fiddle to a larger pot can help this condition significantly.
Repotting Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
Repotting your Fiddle is also an excellent solution for this problem. A bigger pot gives your plant more room for its roots to grow. This also helps the plant absorb nutrients more effectively.
It’s ideal to repot your plant every two to three years. You can also report it earlier if you notice signs of becoming rootbound. But sometimes the Fiddle can also go into shock if it is repotted. Therefore, only repot it if it is essential.
You need to follow several steps when repotting this plant. Let’s look at these in detail below.
Choose a Larger Pot
Pick a pot two or three inches wider than the current pot. Please don’t get a very large pot, as the Ficus Lyrata like to fit snugly in their pots. A pot that is too large will force the plant to expand its root system, thus spending too much energy.
Also, pots that are too large don’t allow adequate drainage and can cause conditions like root rot.
Make sure the pot you choose also has adequate drainage and is clean. Cleanliness is vital so the plant does not catch any diseases or infections.
Get the Right Soil Mixture
Next, you need to create the right soil combination. Either use a generic blend for tropical plants or potting soil created for the Fiddle specifically.
Place approximately four inches of this soil inside your new container. You can also place small-sized pebbles or rocks on the base of the container to encourage draining before you do so.
Place the Plant
When extracting the plant from the old container, tip the pot on its side and gently ease the plant outward. To do this, you will have to take out most of the soil inside. Make sure never to pull the plant out upward directly with force. You can also hold the pot over the sink or a plastic sheet so the soil does not spill on the floor.
Pulling the plant out softly helps prevent root damage. Some smaller roots may break, but that is normal. They will grow back eventually.
After you take the plant out, gently loosen the roots with your fingertips. This will push the roots to spread when placed in the new container.
You can also rinse the roots slightly in lukewarm water. This will clean away the old soil. If you come across damaged or dead roots, you can trim them. However, make sure not to trim more than one or two inches. It’s also advised only to trim the roots that have grown too long.
If you notice roots holding on to the container very tight in some areas, you can also cut those with scissors.
When placing the plant inside the pot, spread its roots around evenly. Add more soil over the plant until the pot is almost filled. Next, pat the soil, so it sits in place.
Watering and Fertilizing
Next, water sufficiently until the soil is nice and moist. Watering also helps elevate shock and encourages root growth. Watering also provides the plant with the necessary nutrients it needs.
Also, ensure the water drains from the drainage holes below so there is no chance of root rot.
The water you give the Fiddle should pool on the soil’s surface and drain. The water should not remain on the surface. Also, make sure not to water the plant with cold water. You can also mist the Fiddle’s leaves to help the plant recover from repotting.
It’s best to fertilize your plant at least a month after repotting. A fertilizer specially made for tropical plants should be sufficient. It’s also a good idea to dilute the fertilizing mixture with water.
Fertilizing your Ficus Lyrata once a month, in the summer or spring, should be adequate.
Fiddle Leaf Fig roots showing can happen due to several reasons. Roots jutting out from the plant’s surface may also be aerial roots and can be tended to quickly. However, your plant can be root bound if roots are exposed on the surface and protruding from the drainage hole.
You can fix the root-bound plant in several ways, but the most common method is to repot it into a larger pot. Once the plant has more room to grow, this condition can be rectified
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.