Ficus Pandurata: The Fiddleleaf Fig Tree

ficus pandurata tree

The fiddle leaf fig is the common name for Ficus Lyrata or Ficus Pandurata.

The plant gets its name from its large leaves which resemble the case of a fiddle or violin.

Indoors large, green leaves can grow to reach 12 inches long and capable of almost the same width.

Pandurata leaves which are rather thick and leathery always seem to have a luxuriant shine as if someone had shined it. This Ficus is generally considered easy to grow.

Like its relative the “weeping fig,” Ficus lyrata care requires plenty of light and room – in height and width.

Although, indoors I’ve seen some handsome fiddle leaf ficus grown as a column rather then cutting the tops back and allowing it to branch.

Give Ficus Lyrata Room

The Fiddle leaf Fig grows best when it is given plenty of space.

A sun-porch would provide some ideal conditions, where the plant can grow very rapidly. With lots of bright light, side shoots often develop allowing the pandurata almost as wide as it is tall.

As the plant grows, it will lose its lower leaves, which is normal. This leaf loss exposes the dark brown and unique trunk which has “cracks” in it.

leaf and fruit of dicus lyrata

Fiddle Leaf Pest and Problems

The larger, thicker leaves compared to Ficus benjamina does not transpire (lose as much water), therefore they require less water. Do not overwater.

When humidity is low or lyrata does not get enough water, leaves may droop and edges of leaves may dry and crispy in areas.

Remedy: Completely soak the soil. (I like to dunk the whole pot in a 5 gallon bucket of water).

If the plant gets watered too much the large “fiddle leaves” can turn yellow and drop off.

Remedy: Reduce water and move the plant to a brighter area. With such large leaves you cannot afford to lose too many leaves.

Mealy bug shows itself as fluffy spots around the base of leaves.

Remedy: Clean leaves regularly, remove mealybug by “wiping” them with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. Leaves have tiny, pale yellow dots and spots and there are webs are present. Look for spider mites!

Wipe down leaves with a homemade insecticidal soap, use neem oil for plants or other chemical control.

Buying Tips

When selecting a plant look for one that has dark leaves, which are shiny and “lush” or succulent. A small plant unless grown as a tree should have leaves top to bottom. If leaves have dropped off or started dropping the plant may have undergone some stress.

Plants bought at the garden-center are usually study and compact. After a few months indoors the plant will “open up” and leaves grow their “fiddles” much larger.


Most of the fiddle leaf ficus grown today are from tissue culture and should have a pot full of leaves.

Pandurata can be bought anytime of the year and with proper care provide years of enjoyment.

Once the plant is acclimated indoors it should stay indoors. Moving the plant out during the summer can easily burn the leaves which could take a while to replace.

Image: Leaf Botany Hawaii.edu

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