Misting provides the easiest solution to keep your tropical plants thriving. Fiddle leaf figs, in particular, will appreciate this extra moisture, especially if your indoor climate tends to be drier than usual.
However, growers’ opinions are divided when it comes to misting houseplants. That is because misting can be both beneficial and harmful to your indoor plants. While some swear that misting can promote plant growth, others insist that this method offers no benefits and can even kill your plants!
So, with the plethora of information available on the internet, you might have landed on this page in search of an answer – should you mist your fiddle leaf fig?
This article will break down the good and the bad of misting your fiddle leaf fig. We will also reveal other alternatives to keep your plant hydrated, no matter the season!
Should you mist your fiddle leaf fig?
Correct humidity is an essential ingredient when it comes to growing your fiddle leaf fig. Unfortunately, temperatures and humidity levels change with the season, and if you live in an area with cold winters, you will likely experience dry air at that time. As you might already know, cold air tends to carry very little moisture compared to the warmer air during summer, and such low humidity levels can suck the moisture from your plants.
Due to the damaging effects of dry air, some gardeners resort to misting in the hope of keeping their fiddle leaf figs well-hydrated. After all, these tropical rainforest plants love warm and humid environments.
So – how does misting work? Simply fill a garden spray bottle with clean water and mist the leaves once or twice a week. It is advised to mist your fiddle leaf fig in the morning so that the leaves will have enough time to dry before nightfall. Spraying the foliage at night can encourage bacterial and fungal growth.
While misting can temporarily make your fiddle leaf fig happy, it might not be the best solution long-term. Regular misting carries some disadvantages which can put your plant at risk of disease and pest infestations.
Some disadvantages of misting
1. Mineral buildup
You have probably heard that regular tap water can mess with your plants. Tap water contains toxic minerals like chlorine, fluoride, magnesium, and calcium that can accumulate on the plant’s leaves. This limits the absorption of moisture and causes the leaves to become dry and brown. Hard water deposits can also interfere with photosynthesis, which will weaken your fiddle leaf fig and leave it looking dull and sick.
Although you can manually remove the hard water spots, this is a tedious job – especially if you have several plants at home.
Thus, if you must mist your fiddle leaf fig, make sure to use filtered water. Otherwise, you should find other alternatives to hydrate your plants.
2. Fiddle leaf fig diseases
Moist, warm environments are favorable for bacterial and fungal growth. This means that, if you are not careful, regular misting can put your fiddle leaf fig at risk of bacterial and fungal diseases. Examples are root rot, leaf spots, and powdery mildew.
Most pathogens are naturally occurring in soil. Under the right conditions, these microorganisms can easily take over your houseplants and cause severe damage to the leaves and stems. Symptoms might include dark spots, rusts, lesions, molds, and white, powdery growth on the foliage. Without early intervention, these diseases can become difficult to treat and may cause the untimely demise of your plants.
3. Pest infestations
Misting can keep the plant’s leaves moist for longer than ideal, and this can attract several types of bugs.
Pests exploit a plant’s weaknesses. If your fiddle leaf fig is sick, these tiny, sap-sucking creatures like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites will take the opportunity to attack your plant and feast on the available leaf nutrients. Eventually, the invaders will cause great damage to the leaves and may even kill your houseplant.
What to do instead of misting your fiddle leaf fig
If misting is not the best way to go, then what are the possible alternatives?
If your fiddle leaf fig looks sick due to a lack of humidity and you have decided that misting is not for you, then you can consider these tips instead:
1. Install a humidifier
Humidifiers are a great option to boost humidity in your home, especially during cold seasons when the air tends to be drier. These devices will keep your tropical plants lush through the additional moisture they add to the air. You also do not need to worry about manually maintaining your indoor climate, since the humidifier automatically adjusts the humidity level according to your liking.
Fiddle leaf figs thrive in a humid environment, as they are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. If you want to see these plants reach their full potential, it is important to mimic the conditions of their natural habitat which is a bit warm, dense, and wet. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to achieve in a typical home, but a humidifier will definitely help.
Keep in mind that these exotic tropical trees require around 40 to 60 percent humidity to grow happily. If you want to monitor the humidity level while growing a fiddle leaf fig indoors, you might want to consider a hygrometer like Geevon. This device is relatively cheap and convenient for keeping your indoor humidity levels in check, especially if you want more accuracy.
2. Add more plants
Grouping your houseplants together in one location can help boost the humidity around them, thanks to the transpiration process. All plants naturally sweat or release moisture into the air as they carry on their metabolic processes like photosynthesis. When the weather is too hot, transpiration also helps your plant cool down a bit. Hence, keeping your plants together will be beneficial not only to your fiddle leaf fig, but to all of your houseplants.
3. Use a pebble tray
This method is probably not new to you. A lot of gardeners like to use pebble trays to keep their humidity-loving plants happy and thriving. Note that using pebble trays alone might not be enough to maintain the desired level of humidity indoors – humidifiers are still your best bet. However, this option can be a cheaper and quicker alternative if you want to provide a bit of moisture to your fiddle leaf fig.
Simply get an empty tray and add some pebbles and water. Remember that the water level should only fill half of the tray; the pebbles must not be fully submerged in the water. Place your planter on top of the tray, and keep adding water as the water level drops.
4. Place plants near an aquarium
Placing an aquarium or fish tank indoors naturally increases humidity. This is because the water in the fish tank evaporates, increasing the moisture in the air. Hence, keeping your fiddle leaf fig near an aquarium would be beneficial for it.
Additionally, the water from the fish tank is rich in nitrogen. So, when it is time to change the tank water, do not throw the old water away. Instead, you can use this water as a natural fertilizer for your plants.
Should you mist your fiddle leaf fig? In general, misting your tropical plants is not a bad idea, as long as you do it correctly. Light misting once or twice a week, in the morning, will generally do just fine. You should also make sure that your plant is not sitting in waterlogged soil.
However, nothing beats a humidifier if you want the best results – this will save you a lot of time and effort. Installing a humidifier is also a safer option to protect your houseplants from problematic pest infestations and diseases.
So, if your main purpose of misting is to boost humidity for your plant, it is probably better to consider the alternatives mentioned in this guide. This way, you can get your fiddle leaf fig to thrive in an otherwise dry climate without the risk of harming your plant!
Image: istockphoto.com / sKrisda