‘Can cause reaction’: Plant pro warns fiddle leaf fig owners to ‘wear gloves’ when pruning

Fiddle Leaf Fig: Royal Horticultural Society share advice and tips

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Fiddle leaf figs, also known as ficus lyrata, are sought-after houseplants with large, glossy green leaves. The plants are typically quite fussy and require special care as they can drop their leaves if they’re unhappy. Despite the plant being popular, many people may not be aware that the sap of fiddle leaf fig plants is actually toxic.

Bryony Willis, a gardener, blogger and houseplant expert warned in a video for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in 2019, that owners of the plant need to “wear gloves” when pruning the plant.

The plant pro said she “loves” the plant and its “large, leathery leaves”.

But the sap of the plant can “irritate” the skin if an owner doesn’t remember to wear gloves.

Bryony said to prune the fiddle leaf fig in spring to encourage the plant to branch out and get bushy.

She added: “Remember to wear gloves when you prune it because the sap can irritate your skin and causes allergic reactions in some people.”

Fiddle leaf figs can irritate the eyes and skin due to their toxic sap.

They are also toxic to cats and dogs.

The plant is a member of the mulberry family and has a white, sticky sap which can cause blistering of the skin.

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Ensure when you’re propagating or pruning your fiddle leaf fig, you don’t come into contact with the sap.

Bryony also shared tips on looking after fiddle leaf figs which can have very specific needs.

She said: “Fiddle leaf figs love sunlight so put this plant in a bright sunny spot in your home.

“Because it loves light you may find it starts to lean towards the window.

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“Keep rotating it once every month or so to keep it growing straight.

“Also, as a tropical plant, this plant prefers a warm, humid spot.

“Don’t locate it next to air-conditioning, radiators or drafty areas.

“As most UK homes are not sufficiently humid, misting its leaves daily will keep it happier.

“Make sure to keep the leaves clean from dust and dirt.

“Otherwise, the leaves will start to suffocate and struggle to photosynthesise if they’re left dusty.”

Bryony also suggested to allow the soil to dry out between waterings and only water it when the top of the potting compost feels dry to the touch.

It’s important you don’t overwater a fiddle leaf fig plant as this can lead to root rot.

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