IS FICUS LYRATA AN INDOOR PLANT?

Is Ficus lyrata an indoor plant?

Like me, you have probably seen a lot of articles written about the fiddle-leafed fig - Ficus lyrata turning up on your news feed. You may also have noticed that, after white orchids, it is the houseplant of choice for the interior designers of multi-million pound properties. Lauded by some as the 'King of Houseplants', Ficus lyrata has seemingly captured the imagination of many houseplants lovers and its size is often used as a gauge the successfulness of ones horticultural skills. But let's take a step back here, We all know what they look like, so lets be honest, Ficus lyrata looks more like a tree than you're regular, dainty ornamental houseplant and this then begs the following question - is Ficus lyrata an indoor houseplant?

Well let me stop you right there all plants  currently considered 'house plants' (I'm kind of talking about the true species here rather than the modern, manufactured and selected varieties we generally see now) were all quite happily living outside in their natural environments long before proto-man (or proto-woman) even thought of the concept of a home. While it's true that there are plenty of cave-dwelling species that could argue the title I am going to ignore them for now for the purposes of this article.

Is Ficus lyrata an indoor plant?
One of the questions here is this, what is a houseplant? Put simply this is a species which can not only tolerate home conditions but will also thrive without growing its surroundings. For example, plants which tolerate the lower light levels of being indoors, can cope with irregular waterings and does not become misshapen or etiolated. This is why many of our favourite houseplants are shade-tolerant ground cover plants from tropical and subtropical climates.

Back to the question of is Ficus lyrata an indoor plant. Of course not, it's an absolutely enormous tree from western Africa which can reach an overall height of up to between 30 and 40 feet tall in its native habitat! So why is it so popular as a houseplant? This is because, by comparison to western African environmental conditions, our northern European homes are cold and dark and these limiting environmental factors act as an inhibitor to its natural growth rate. This means that you get all of the impact of a truly magnificent tree, but with at a growth rate of an acceptable two or three leaves a year - maybe more if you can provided more favourable conditions.

So there you have it. Is Ficus lyrata an indoor plant? Yes and No, so well done me for providing a clear answer.

Main image image credit - Ficus lyrata in Parque Botánico de Maspalomas (Gran Canaria) Date 1 April 2014, 14:31:35 Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz

In text image credit - By Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6115788

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW AECHMEA FASCIATA
HOW TO GROW THE CREEPING FIG - Ficus pumila
HOW TO GROW FICUS ELASTICA 'VARIEGATA' 
HOW TO GROW FICUS PUMILA
HOW TO GROW STROMANTHE SANGUINEA 'Triostar'

HOW MUCH LIGHT DOES A FICUS LYRATA NEED?

No comments: