A prime specimen of the Ficus Lyrata, more commonly known as the fiddle leaf fig, ranges in cost from around $40 to over $300 for a mature plant.
However, if you have the patience to cultivate a new plant from the one you currently have, you can fill your home with these interesting tropical plants, and they will cost you little more than time.
The fiddle leaf fig is a slow-growing plant and a bit finicky to keep with a root system reminiscent of an orchid or banyan.
However, large shiny green leaves adorn their slim stalks that are eye-catching and add to any décor.
Various methods of propagation for this tropical beauty include air layering, stem cuttings, and leaf cuttings. As with every plant, propagating in certain ways is more successful than the other ones.
In the following, we will look at the different methods and reveal which seems to work best.
How To Propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig
To propagate a fiddle leaf fig use a stem cutting, leaf-cutting, or the air layering method. When using the stem cutting method, take clean and sharp shears to make a slanting cut on a stem that is 6 inches (15 cm) long from the top. Just leave two leaves at the top and remove the rest. Use light potting soil or water for leaf or stem cuttings. Air layering will require sphagnum moss and plastic wrap. The final ingredient for a succesful propagation is patience. The FLF cuttings will root in 3-4 weeks.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Propagation Essentials
Before you start the action, there are a few critical things you must bear in mind. First of all, consider the right time to propagate this plant.
Tropical plants such as the Fiddle Leaf Fig enter winter dormancy as soon as fall ensues, and they remain dormant right until spring.
The best time to take cuttings and root them in soil or water is spring because this is when the plant is getting active and starting new growth.
Secondly, you must ensure the plant you’re taking the cuttings from is healthy and growing well.
Because the resultant plant is going to be identical to the plant, you’re taking the cutting from, you will want to choose a healthy FLF to propagate.
Using the right tools is also essential. You will need sharp and sterilized pruners to make clean stems cuts and keep the plant safe from foreign pathogens.
Other than that, you must have all the other materials required for propagation ready before you take the cuttings.
You don’t want to leave the cuttings to dry in the open air for too long as your hassle to gather the rest of the things you need.
Taking Fiddle Leaf Cuttings
Take a good look at the mother plant to identify the stems you want to cut first. You should ideally look for stems that are about 6 inches long and only have 2-3 leaves on the tip.
When you identify the stem or stems you want to cut, ensure that the stems have 2-3 nodes on their lower ends.
Nodes are places that the roots emerge from during propagation. The areas are identified by a brown-black paper-like covering on the stem in the shape of a triangle.
Make a slanting cut so the cutting you obtain has a sharp and pointy edge on one side.
Making a slanting cut will ensure that the cutting absorbs maximum moisture from the propagation medium and doesn’t dry up.
If the cutting you obtain has more than 2 leaves, remove the rest by quickly snapping them off. Do this, so the stem does not lose a lot of water because of leaf transpiration.
Propagation From A Stem Cutting
Propagation from stem cutting is likely the most effective method of starting a fiddle leaf fig. The technique is straightforward and requires no extra equipment.
However, I suggest you use rooting hormone to help your cutting grow new roots faster.
To grow a specimen from a stem cutting, your plant needs to be big enough that you can cut a section of the plant that has at least two nodes.
This is because the node area of a plant stem is where the roots form.
Therefore, a stem section with more nodes will give you a better chance of growing roots.
Prepare a pot for your plant by filling it with prepared soil, watering the soil, and boring a hole in the middle of it large enough to accommodate the stem of your plant.
To cut the plant, use a very sharp knife or pruning clippers sanitized with alcohol. Cut three nodes below the leaves below.
Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, and then stick it into the hole that you pre-bored in your potting soil.
Place the cutting deep enough to be stable in an area exposed to warm yet indirect sunlight.
Growing A New Fiddle Leaf Fig Using Air Layering
Another method of propagation is air layering. This method starts your plant on a stem that is still attached to your plant.
When using air layering as a propagation method, doing it in the fall or spring of the year will yield better results.
To use air layering for your fiddle leaf fig, you will need to make slight cuts through the outer skin of the stem that you choose.
The stem you select needs to be an older offshoot, which is healthy.
To start your plant, you coat the incisions with rooting hormone, wrap them with damp sphagnum moss, wrap them with plastic, and secure them.
Next, place your plant in an area receiving indirect sunlight.
After roots have formed at the sight, you have wrapped, cut the rooted section away from the parent plant, and pot it in the same manner that you would a plant started from a cutting, without the addition of rooting hormone.
Growing A Fiddle Leaf Fig From A Leaf Cutting
Air layering is the most challenging propagation mode because it requires a little more finesse than sticking a cutting in soil. However, it is effective.
Growing a cutting from a leaf, on the other hand, can be the most challenging way to get a new plant started.
There are two schools of thought on whether to cut the leaf straight across or diagonally when propagating a leaf.
The diagonal cut offers more area from which roots can grow. However, it also provides a larger space for pathogens to enter, too.
Either way, you slice it, the leaf edge needs to be coated with rooting hormone before being placed in the soil that has been prepared for it.
Again, you wait, and you will know in time if it has rooted or not.
Propagating a Fiddle Leaf Fig in Water
One of the easiest and most fun ways to propagate Fiddle Leaf Figs is just popping the stems in water and wait for them to root. It’s as simple as that.
Take a tall glass container with a narrow neck or any plastic bottle that will allow you to see the root development clearly. It is recommended to use clean drinking water for propagation purposes.
However, if you need to use tap water, make sure it has been sitting for at least a day, so all the chlorine evaporates from it.
Put the cuttings in the water so that only the leaves and the top part of the stem stick out of the water.
Also, make sure you put the cuttings in an area with bright indirect light. The brighter the light, the faster they will root. But make sure they don’t receive any direct sunlight.
The roots will start appearing at the end of the first week as pop-corn-like little spots on the stem. By the end of the third or fourth week, each stem will have a developed root system.
When the roots are at least 1-2 inches long, you can take them out of the water and place them in potting mix, keeping the soil evenly moist at all times.
Propagating a Fiddle Leaf Fig in Soil
Propagating in the soil is pretty much the same as propagating FLF in water. It might be a little less fun, but it is practical as the roots grow directly into the soil and don’t need to be transplanted.
When using soil to grow Fiddle Leaf Cuttings, you can use a rooting hormone to boost the rooting speed and success rate of your cuttings.
Use a well-draining potting mix and just stick the cuttings deep, leaving the leaves on the top.
It is recommended to cover the top of the propagating pot with a plastic bag so it holds humidity inside and prevents the leaves from drying out.
Water the cuttings lightly so the soil is just moist and not wet.
Let the pot sit in bright indirect light, keeping it safe from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can build up dangerously high levels of heat inside the plastic bag and will kill the cuttings.
Aftercare of Propagated Fiddle Leaf Figs
Once your cuttings have successfully rooted, they can be transplanted to their permanent home, but only if the weather allows it. If it’s still early summer, you can transplant the baby FLFs.
If it’s too hot, you should let the baby plants stay in a protected environment. If you have propagated in water, plant the cuttings in a potting mix that is moist.
Dab the soil, so air pockets are eliminated.
If you’ve propagated in soil, let the plants stay there if the propagation pot allows the roots to grow and can support the plant for the summer.
Once the heat gets low or the rainy season begins, you can take the opportunity to transplant them to their bigger pots.
A Note About Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants
Air layering for propagation keeps the wounded part of the plant wrapped tightly and sealed, which facilities root growth.
Propagation using stem or leaf sections will need the same assistance when you start them.
Once you have planted your stem or leaf section, you will need to wrap the container with clear plastic to keep the humidity up.
This action will help retain moisture around it that is more like the atmosphere of the jungle from whence this plant originates.
Spritz the cutting a couple of times during the week, being careful not to overwater your plant as it can cause your stem or leaf cuttings to rot before it is ever able to set roots.
Use a pot that is big enough to hold the weight of your plant as it grows, and use good quality potting soil that is light and airy.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig
Should I remove the leaves of a stem cutting I have planted?
You can, or you can try leaving them and see what happens. As long as you keep your plant hydrated, in a warm place, and out of the direct sun, you might try leaving the lower leaves on. However, if you see your plant is struggling, cut a leaf or two at the bottom.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.