Fiddle Leaf Fig - Grow Light?

Outatime80February 24, 2012

Hello All

Hope someone can please give me a little assistance, I want to keep a Fiddle Leaf Fig in the corner of my living area, its such a perfect spot for a FLF and I love these plants so much but the corner does not get direct sunlight and could be a little too shady for the fig.

So my question to you is it possible to hang a light pendant or something similar above the fig to run during the day to help boost up the light in the area for it to grow successfully? My other house plants do well but I don't have any other areas to place the FLF for good lighting.

If the above is possible can someone please tell me what sort of light/bulb I should buy and how long it should run for?

Thank you


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Stuart..which direction and how far from the window would the Fig be?

Figs need light..the brighter the better. 10 hours, direct south/west summer sun isn't needed, but very bright sunlight, not too far from a window, plus artificial should be sufficient.

There might be some type of artificial light suitable for a fig, 'hope someone who knows about light jumps in.'
Bulbs should be kept on about 14 hours, but if a window is nearby, amount of time can be reduced.

In low light conditions, your Fig would thrive, but most likely spindly.

Your definition and my definition of 'too shady,' might differ. I've come across this subject working at different nurseries.

Will the Fig be summered outdoors? Toni

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Hi Toni

Thank you very much for the reply. OK think its best to tell you the whole story as maybe you or others can chip in and tell me what I have done wrong.

I have bought two fiddle leaf figs for this location before, after purchase I re-potted them straight away and put them in position behind the corner sofa sitting on a pot. After a short period the leaves start to turn brown and then drop off...this has happened to both plants and I didn't over water as I understand they don't like over watering and like to dry a little between water so I used to give it water once a week.

The only thing I can see now is that either I shouldn't have re-potted and or the light is an issue, its not a corner that gets direct sunlight and it doesn't have any A/C vents pointing at it, we have a fan in the living room but its not on very often.

I have uploaded two photos one of the corner I would like to keep the fig in and the other of the location of fig to window, its really not far maybe 10ft and we have a large window above although it is tinted.

To be honest I don't really have any plans of moving it outside during the summer once its inplace but I will do whatever it takes to keep it happy.

Not sure what I am doing wrong but would appreciate the help.

Thank you


    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 2:50PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Stuart - it's kind of difficult to provide adequate light if the plant is tall unless you use very intense lighting like HPS or metal halide. These lights produce enough light that you can keep them at a distance from the plant and 'bathe' the plant in their light. The problem is, they're expensive, expensive to operate, give off a lot of heat, and are noisy.

Photo intensity (brightness) diminishes by the square of the distance from the light source. This means that light measured 3 ft away from the bulb is only 1/9 as bright as it is at 1 ft. That's why it's hard to light a tall plant with CFLs or other types of lights. Usually, you'll end up with the top of the plant fairly well lit, and the lower part of the plant getting very little help.

There is a saying, 'The right plant for the right spot ....' that is used frequently and carries a lot of weight with experienced gardeners. It's often used in praise when a plant is doing exceptionally well, or as a gentle reminder that the spot chosen for a particular plant is what is causing it to struggle. The right spot has a lot of influence on how well the plant does, and by that your degree of success.

If you decide to try it, maybe one of those spring loaded light trees (someone help me out with what they're called?) with multiple CFL bulbs would be the ticket if you can find them. You might try the 'Growing Under Lights' forum. There have been a lot of advancements in using LED lighting that I'm not up on, and you may get some help there.

I have 64 sq ft under fluorescent lights, but the bulbs are very close to the foliage. I cycle them on timers at very close to what Toni mentioned - 16 on/8 off.

Best luck, no matter your decision. ;-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Growing under lights

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 3:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Looks like we were at the keyboard simultaneously, or I would have added:

Ficus has a strong propensity to shed foliage when exposed to any significant decrease in either light intensity or duration. So I would consider that a strong likelihood as causal.

Keep in mind, that a plant 10 feet from a window gets 1/100 the amount of light it would if it was 1 ft inside of the window. When you start to consider that the amount of light passing through your window is probably minimally 30-50% less than the window is exposed to, and outdoors, light exposure would be from every direction, you can see how much reduction in light there is where you have the plant sited.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Hi Guys

Guess my dream of having a fiddle leaf fig in my living room is over :( Thanks for the replies, it does sound like I am pushing it trying to grow it in that corner.

Can anyone else suggest a nice sized plant for that corner, I was thinking about a rubber plant but not sure how it would fair there either, was after a plant with large leaves if I could find one.



    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 5:29PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If 'rubber plant' means another ficus, elastica, it wants even more light than F. lyrata, the fiddle leaf ficus. There are other plants commonly known as 'rubber plant', so I wasn't sure you meant the tree.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 7:17PM
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