My first plant--help please! (ficus lyarta)
I've been reading through the forums for the past few weeks trying to learn how to take care of my new fiddle leaf fig. I've read Al's very helpful posts on soil/aeration and container size. But the more I read, the more confused I've become as to my situation and hope you guys can help sort me out :)
I fell in love with the FLF in home decor photos and though it'd be a great companion for my little San Francisco bedroom (I recently moved from Chi). Finding a large tree has proven nearly impossible in my area, so I ordered my little guy on Amazon. (photos below)
The plant arrived looking a bit sad with dull leaves, brown spots, and a few torn dried up areas. I even removed one of the leaves because it looked terrible.
I've been watering once soil is dry, probably once every 10 days or so, by flushing the soil completely with water under a slow stream in the sink. Then I let it drain on a few paper towels so there is no puddle in the plastic tray.
About a month ago, I noticed a bud on the top, so I think the plant is liking the watering/lighting conditions.Within a few days the bud turned into this gorgeous shiny leaf! I was so surprised at how quickly it happened. The experience made me really love my little fig and I want it to thrive.
Onto my confusion:
I planned on placing the fig in the Gritty Mix after reading all the great experiences. I was going to order a pre-mixed version available at repotme.com because I don't have the room to store all ingredients and this is the only plant I have right now.
Is the gritty mix appropriate for such a small plant? It's about 11-12in tall from soil up. The roots look very thin and fine.
And how do I adjust the watering schedule? It was easy to see the soil go dry and figure out the 10 day watering schedule, but how do I do this with the Gritty Mix?
And if it does need to be watered much more frequently (2-3days), is there an alternative soil mix I can use since I travel for days at a time.
Also, does it need fertilizer with each watering in a Gritty Mix? And what should I use?
I'd like to have the fig grow to a significant size, with a tree shape. I'm not sure how long that will take and how large of a pot I should place it in now.
It's also hard to find small ceramic pots with drain holes. Can I plant it in a plastic pot and then place the plastic pot in a ceramic one. taking it out to water? or is it best to plant directly in pot with a drain hole and saucer?
Clearly, I'm a novice. Any and all help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!