University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #ENH413

Ficus lyrata: Fiddleleaf Fig1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2

Introduction

A 40 to 50-foot-tall, evergreen tree of upright-spreading, irregular growth, Fiddleleaf Fig produces 8 to 15-inch-long and 10-inch-wide, dull green, thick, fiddle-shaped leaves which are quite attractive. The trunk can grow to several feet thick. Most trees in the landscape are 15 to 25 feet tall. Larger ones sometimes break apart in strong winds due to tight branch crotches and embedded bark. Corrective pruning early in the life of the tree can help prevent this from occurring. Plant them in a place protected from the wind, such as a courtyard to increase longevity in the landscape.

Figure 1. 

Young Ficus lyrata: Fiddleleaf Fig


Credit:

Ed Gilman


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Ficus lyrata
Pronunciation: FYE-kuss lye-RAY-tuh
Common name(s): Fiddleleaf Fig
Family: Moraceae
USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: has been evaluated using the IFAS Assessment of the Status of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas (Fox et al. 2005). This species is not documented in any undisturbed natural areas in Florida. Thus, it is not considered a problem species and may be used in Florida.
Uses: indoors; deck or patio; specimen; container or planter; espalier; highway median; street without sidewalk; shade
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 

Range


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 25 to 40 feet
Spread: 25 to 35 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: vase, round, spreading
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: undulate, entire
Leaf shape: obovate
Leaf venation: pinnate, brachidodrome
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen, broadleaf evergreen
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches, 8 to 12 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. 

Foliage


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Flower

Flower color: unknown
Flower characteristics: not showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: green
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: brown
Current year twig thickness: thick
Wood specific gravity: unknown

Culture

Light requirement: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; occasionally wet; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate

Other

Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

Fiddleleaf Fig can be used in containers when young or can be planted to make a striking specimen tree. They create quite an accent by a patio or in shrub bed because of the coarse leaf texture. Due to their large size, the leaves can be a nuisance to some people when they fall but there are never too many of them.

Fiddleleaf Fig will grow moderately fast in full sun or partial shade on any well-drained soil and should receive regular watering. Be sure to cut roots circling the container before planting since these can cause the tree to become unstable as it grows older. There are some aerial roots produced from the branches but not as many as on some other Ficus, such as Ficus benjamina .

Propagation is by layering and cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern but occasionally scales are a problem.

Literature Cited

Fox, A.M., D.R. Gordon, J.A. Dusky, L. Tyson, and R.K. Stocker (2005) IFAS Assessment of the Status of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas. Cited from the Internet (November 3, 2006), http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment.html

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH413, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised March 2007. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.