Fiddle leaf figs have large fiddle-like leaves that collect dust easily, making the plant look dull. In addition, the accumulation of dust cuts the ability of the leaves to absorb sunlight.
As a result, the plant cannot photosynthesize, due to which there is a gradual decline in its health. Therefore, cleaning the leaves becomes essential. In this article, we will discuss how you should clean the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig.
Wiping the leaves with a cloth, spray cleaning the leaves, and using a hose to shower the plant are the three best ways of cleaning the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig. Avoid using harsh detergents or soaps to cleanse the leaves, as those contain harmful chemicals that are not good for the plant.
Fiddle leaf figs are sensitive plants. Any strenuous activity while cleaning the leaves will prove to be damaging and can shock the plant.
Keep reading the article to find out the best cleaning methods of the fiddle leaf leaves, along with the dos and don’ts.
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Why should you clean fiddle leaf fig leaves?
Just like any other plant, fiddle leaf figs photosynthesize with the help of their leaves. Photosynthesis allows the plants to use chlorophyll, carbon dioxide, and water to create nutrition and release oxygen.
When dust accumulates on the leaves, the layer blocks the plant’s ability to absorb sunlight and photosynthesize.
Lack of photosynthesis weakens the plant. You might not see any drastic change, but there will be gradual problems of slow growth in the plant.
The dust on the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig makes it dull by reducing its natural shine.
These are the reasons that make cleaning of your fiddle leaf fig leaves necessary.
What do you use to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves?
There are a lot of different ingredients available for cleaning the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig. However, choosing an organic material is better than the chemical-based options available in the market.
If you want to opt for a chemical option, read the label to ensure that it will not be harmful to the plant.
Here are some of the options that I prefer, and most of them are readily available.
- Cloth and water
- The diluted neem oil solution
- Dishwashing liquid mixed in water
- Diluted lemon water mix
- Natural baby wipes
These are organic solutions that will go easy on your sensitive fiddle leaf fig and clean the leaves with care. Apart from these, you can also use some commercial products like Miracle-Gro Leaf Shine and Schultz Plant Shine Leaf Polish to clean the leaves.
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How often to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves?
If you keep an eye on your fiddle leaf fig, you will be able to tell if the leaves are dusty. The amount of dust the leaves collect depends on the location and some other external factors.
You don’t need to clean the fiddle leaf fig every week. Instead, the idea is to clean the leaves at regular intervals so that it doesn’t get suffocated with the dust or dirt.
Spring is the best time to clean your fiddle leaf fig, as it can grow during the rest of the year without any blockage.
Best way to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves
You can use three methods to clean the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig.
Choose the method that suits the size and placement of your plant.
Wipe the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig
It can be challenging to move the fiddle leaf fig outside or to the bathroom for a shower if it is big. So, if you have a large fiddle leaf fig, then wiping the leaves is the most convenient option for you.
You can soak a piece of cloth in water and get the excess water out of it and gently wipe the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig with it. Or, you use a spray bottle to spray water on the leaves and then wipe it off with the cloth.
Support the leaf by placing your palm under the leaf and wipe it with the other hand. Then, start wiping from the center and move towards the end of the leaf.
Don’t put too much pressure and be gentle while wiping the leaves, or else you might cause stress or shock to your fiddle leaf fig.
Cons: Wiping each leaf can be time-consuming, and you might not be able to clean all the parts of the leaves or the plant if you are using this method. It can also get dirty if water starts dripping from the leaves.
Clean the fiddle leaf fig with a hose
If you can take your fiddle leaf fig outdoors, then this might be the best method of cleaning your fiddle leaf fig.
Take a hose and spray water all over the fiddle leaf fig to get the entire plant cleaned.
You can then leave the plant outside for one to two hours and let it get dry. However, direct sunlight can scorch the leaves of the fiddle leaf fig, so don’t place the plant under direct sunlight.
Hosing the fiddle leaf fig down cleans all the dust and dirt off the plant and rectifies all the problems related to soil shrinkage.
Cons: This method is not ideal during the cold months as the fiddle leaf figs don’t like the cold temperatures. If you have a large fiddle leaf fig, it can be challenging to move the plant outside.
Shower the fiddle leaf fig
You can take your fiddle leaf fig to the bathroom and put it under the shower. Turn the shower on and let the plant get a good soak.
You can bend the plant sideways so that the water can reach the undersides of the leaves.
Make sure that the temperature of the water is neither too hot nor too cold.
After showering the plant, let the water drain. It can take a lot of time for the water to drain completely.
Cons: You might not be able to move your plant after showering it as it will become heavy, and it can take a lot of time to get dry. You will need a towel to soak the excess water after showering the plant.
Is leaf shine bad for fiddle leaf fig?
Most leaf shine products contain harmful chemicals that block the pores of the leaves and cause more damage than mere dust.
However, if you can get your hands on a product that doesn’t have harmful chemicals and manages to add shine to the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig, you can opt for that product.
Make sure to do your research and check the label before using the product on the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig.
However, there are many natural ingredients that you can use instead of buying a leaf shine, such as neem oil.
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Clean the pot of your fiddle leaf fig
When you are cleaning the leaves or showering the entire plant, you might also want to consider cleaning the pot.
You can repot your fiddle leaf fig every 2-3 years, but if the plant has not outgrown the pot, cleaning the pot once a while can go a long way.
Cleaning the pot prevents the buildup of fungus or bacteria in the pot or soil and keeps the pests away. It also helps to get rid of the excess salt on the edges of the pot.
Gently take the fiddle leaf fig out of the current pot and place it in a different container.
Scrub the pot with diluted bleach thoroughly, and if there is any salt buildup, you need to rub it using a brush to clean it.
Once you have cleaned the pot, rinse it properly and then place the fiddle leaf fig into it.
Do’s and Don’ts of cleaning fiddle leaf fig leaves
We have already discussed the methods with which you can clean the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig.
Here are some do’s and don’ts that can help you take care of the leaves to keep them shiny and healthy.
- Keep a check on the leaves and clean whenever you notice dust buildup on them.
- Avoid using hard water to clean the leaves, as that will make the leaves dull and white.
- Fiddle leaf figs love humidity, and humidity helps to keep the leaves shiny and bright green. Whenever there is a fall in the humidity level, use a humidifier or pebble tray to increase the humidity.
- 6-8 hours of indirect light is a must for your fiddle leaf figs.
- Provide sufficient water and fertilizers as, without water and nutrition, the leaves will become dull and lose their luster.
- When you are wiping and cleaning the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig, don’t be too harsh as that will stress the plant or damage the leaves.
- Using chemical cleaners and detergents can damage your leaves and even burn them.
- Products such as wax, mayonnaise, milk, or coconut oil block the pores of the leaves. So avoid using these products.
- Don’t use cold or hot water while cleaning the leaves. The water you use should be of room temperature.
- While cleaning the fiddle leaf fig under the shower, too much pressure from the water will damage the plant.
Sources: CABI.ORG, New York Botanical garden, University of Florida.
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