The violin fig is a species of the fig genus. It bears the Latin name Ficus lyrata and originally comes from tropical areas. Violin figs grow in the rainforests. Their distribution area extends from western to central Africa. It is considered a popular houseplant not only in Europe but also in topical and subtropical regions. As a result, it has spread in many places. In Hawaii there are overgrown plants that come from cultivated stands.
- The violin fig can be propagated in three ways
- Attention! The milky juice of the violin fig is slightly toxic!
- Why does the violin fig lose its leaves?
Violin figs develop cup-shaped flowers that are small and inconspicuous. Flowers will only form when the conditions are perfect. The specimens cultivated as houseplants rarely bloom.
The foliage of these plants was the inspiration for the name. They look like they've unfolded again after being crumpled up. The leaf margin is wavy and entire. The shape of the leaves is reminiscent of the shape of the well-known stringed instrument. At the base of the blades, the leaves are heart-shaped. Violin figs develop leaves in an alternating or spiral arrangement.
Raised leaf veins are clearly visible on the dark green colored leaves. The entire leaf blade is coarse and leathery. Your surface appears shiny. The leaf blade can be between 20 and 45 centimeters long. In width, the leaves reach dimensions between twelve and 28 centimeters.
This species grows in a shrub or tree shape. It is evergreen and does not shed its leaves in autumn. Violin figs grow between ten and 16 meters high. With a bucket cultivation, the plants remain significantly smaller. In the pot, the wood reaches heights of between two and four meters. In their natural range, the plants grow on the ground, as epiphytes on other trees, or as strangler figs that form aerial roots and wrap around other trees with them.
Violin figs develop a stately size, which is why they are particularly suitable for embellishing high rooms. As a houseplant, they decorate offices or large entrance areas. The attractive green plant has several functions in the workplace. It sets visual accents and improves the room climate, because its huge leaves have an air-purifying effect.
You can successfully reproduce your violin fig with mossing. To do this, you have to cut a half-lignified shoot diagonally up to half, so that the branch is still supplied with nutrients by the plant. So that the gap that has arisen does not close, you should clamp a stone between them. Wrap the roots with a moistened moss. Finally, wrap some cling film around the moss to stabilize it. It takes about four to six weeks for new roots to form at the interface. Then you can remove foil and moss and completely cut off the shoot.
Is the violin fig poisonous?
All parts of the violin fig's plant have a milky sap that leaks out when damaged. The liquid can cause skin irritation in sensitive people after contact. If you eat leaves, you may feel unwell. The plant is also poisonous to cats and horses.
Which location is suitable?
Violin figs prefer a bright location that is sunbathing in the morning and evening. The lighter the place, the more compact and dense the trees grow. You can't stand the blazing midday sun. A curtain protects the plants from direct sunlight at noon. The plant likes to spend the summer outside in a sun-protected place. Make sure you are in a location that is free from drafts. Avoid frequent changes of location as this will damage the plants.
Temperatures shouldn't drop below 15 degrees Celsius. The plant also thrives under artificial light. However, it should not be exclusively under artificial light. Since the plants don't like cold feet, underfloor heating is ideal. Alternatively, you can place the bucket on wooden pallets to isolate the roots from the cold of the ground. So that the plants can spread unhindered, they should not be placed directly in the corner of the room. It is not good for the trees if the leaves press against a wall.
What soil does the plant need?
The trees do not have great demands on the plant substrate. Young plants thrive optimally in conventional potting soil. Adult plants prefer potted soil. Mix in perlite (32.90 € at Amazon *) or sand into the substrate. This ensures good permeability so that no waterlogging can build up.
The ideal substrate mixture:
- two parts of garden soil
- part of compost
- a part of Kokohum
In the greenhouse
Violin figs originally grow in regions with high humidity. This makes them ideal plants for cultivation in greenhouses, provided they offer enough space. If you plan to grow your violin fig in the greenhouse, consider lighting conditions. If the sun shines unhindered on the greenhouse at noon, the plant can be damaged.
Propagate the violin fig
The trees can be grown from seeds. You can get these from specialist dealers. Since violin figs rarely bloom in indoor cultivation, seed formation is also a rarity. The seeds are sprinkled on potting soil and moistened. Make sure that the seeds are not covered by the substrate. They are light germs and need a lot of brightness and warmth. If you cannot provide a bright location, the use of a plant lamp is recommended. (€ 28.43 at Amazon *)
Cover the planter with cling film to ensure high humidity. As soon as the seeds germinate, you should remove the foil.
Another method is the propagation by leaf cuttings. To do this, cut a healthy leaf from the mother plant and stick it with the stem a maximum of two centimeters deep in a moist substrate. Make sure the soil is neither too damp nor too dry. It takes about five to eight weeks for new roots to develop. A new trunk develops from the roots and the leaf slowly dies over time.
Violin figs can be propagated using head cuttings. Cut off shoot tips from your plant that are at least six inches long. As the milky juice leaks from the interface, you should briefly hold the end of the cut in a bowl of warm water. After the shoot has bled out, let the wound dry a little.
Then put the cuttings in a planter filled with potting soil. Put a glass or a transparent bag over the pot so that the humidity remains constant. Place the nursery pot in a bright and warm place and provide ventilation every day so that no mold develops.
The best time to cut cuttings is in early spring, before the growing season begins. This prevents the mother plant from weakening too much and the cuttings have enough time to develop healthy roots by winter.
Violin fig in the pot
The plants are cultivated in central European latitudes as potted plants. If there is enough space, they grow into small trees in the tub. If you want a bushy habit, put two to three plants in a pot. Alternatively, you can remove the shoot tips to encourage branching.
Pour the violin fig
Violin figs have a moderate need for water. Keep the substrate evenly moist and prevent waterlogging and drought. While the plant dies due to a lack of water, the roots will rot if the conditions are too wet. Before you water the plant again, the substrate should be a little bit dry.
How to pour properly:
- The substrate is wet after six days: reduce the amount of water
- The earth is dry after two days: slightly increase the amount of water
- The top layer is dry after three to five days: the amount of water is ideal
Fertilize the violin fig properly
In the first year the plants do not need any fertilizer. Usually the substrate mixes in the pots are lightly fertilized. From the second year onwards, the trees enjoy a regular supply of nutrients. Give your violin fig some liquid fertilizer over the irrigation water every 14 days. Alternatively, a long-term fertilizer in the form of sticks, pellets or granules is recommended. Only fertilize the plant during the growing season between April and September. In winter the growth stagnates, so that fertilization is superfluous.
Cut the violin fig correctly
A pruning is only necessary if you want to reduce the growth height or encourage branching. In this case, you can shorten the shoot tips. Cut the plant in spring before the new growth spurt sets in. During this time the plant regenerates quickly. The wood does not tolerate pruning measures shortly before winter.
Here are some things to watch out for when cutting:
- Thoroughly clean the cutting tool
- Use secateurs or a knife with a sharp blade
- wear gloves
How do I transplant properly?
As soon as the bucket is deeply rooted, the violin fig needs a larger vessel. For older plants, repotting is recommended every two to three years. The best time for this measure is spring. Violin figs can also be repotted in summer. Choose a bucket that is about two fingers larger than the old one.
Mix some sand into the substrate. You can also use perlite or styromull. For a better nitrogen supply, you can mix some horn shavings (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) under the ground. Before you pour the mixture into the bucket, you should spread pottery shards on the floor. They ensure good water drainage.
Put the plant in the pot and fill it up with the freshly mixed substrate. Press the soil well and water the plant penetratingly. After repotting, you should wait six to eight weeks for the first fertilization.
The exotic plants are bright all year round. They also thrive in winter in rooms with a warm room temperature, but prefer temperatures between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius. Make sure that the thermometer does not drop below 15 degrees Celsius. The plant is particularly sensitive to drafts and cold feet in winter. Place a sheet of styrofoam under the tub to protect the roots.
In winter, a location on the windowsill is less than ideal. The plant suffers from stress when its leaves lie against the cold window pane and these are simultaneously exposed to the rising air from the heating. Place the bucket in a place where the temperature is even. Reduce watering. The cooler the room, the less you need to water. The substrate must not dry out.
Violin figs can be attacked by scale insects that settle on the trunk, on the leaf veins and on branches. Once the infestation has progressed, the leaves change color and die over time. Give the plant a systematically effective agent via the irrigation water, which is absorbed via the roots and distributed in the organism with the plant sap.
An infestation by mealybugs or mealybugs can occur. They leave webs on the leaves and secrete a sticky mass. A contact poison provides a quick remedy. For a long-term effect, you should resort to systematically acting means. These also help against thrips that settle on the underside of the leaves and in the depressions of the leaf blades. The infected leaves show silver or yellow discoloration. Act quickly to avoid major damage to the plant.
If the violin fig has been attacked by spider mites, yellowish discoloration will appear on the leaves. The pests lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves and extract nutrients from the plants. Shower the entire plant with a hard jet of water to remove the pests. If there is a strong infestation, you can use products with extracts from the neem tree. They have proven to be particularly effective against sucking pests.
Violin figs are sensitive to frequent changes in site conditions. If they are regularly moved to a new place, the plant has to constantly adapt to the new conditions. This adaptation causes stress. Frequent turning of the pot in its place causes changes in the incidence of light, which is not good for the plant.
Too wet a substrate will cause the roots to rot. They can no longer draw enough water and nutrients from the substrate, so the leaves slowly die off. As a first measure, remove the wet substrate from the root ball and place the plant in dry soil. Let the top layer dry well before you water the plant again.
Choose a round bucket with a low center of gravity. The roots get stuck in rectangular plant pots more quickly. That makes the annual transplanting difficult. Pots with a low center of gravity are especially important. Violin figs form a lush crown that puts on some weight. The pot serves as a stabilizing counterweight.
- Bambino : Compact growth, stays small.