Recently, we polled our fiddle leaf fig community members and asked how old their fiddle leaf fig plants were so we could answer the common question: How long do fiddle leaf fig plants live?
As you can see, most have a young fiddle leaf fig, between 1-5 years old. Which begs the question, how long do fiddle leaf fig plants live?
How Long Do Houseplants Live?
Let’s start with how long houseplants live in general.
The oldest houseplant that is documented in the world is a palm in London that was planted in 1775.
At nearly 250 years old, it is still on display at the Botanical Gardens in London.
The oldest tree on record is actually a bristlecone pine tree that’s in California. Nobody knows the exact location because it’s a closely guarded secret, but it is 4,800 years old, which was documented by cutting through the plant and counting the rings.
There is also a really old Sequoia up in Sequoia National Park in California called the President. It’s in the midst of a giant grove of giant sequoia trees, and it is about 2,800 years old.
When you think about how plants can live in the wild for thousands and thousands of years, there is a concept of biological immortality.
The notion that if something doesn’t have a predestined life span, it actually can live forever, if it isn’t affected by disease or pests or some cause that makes it die.
Plants, in theory, can live forever because they don’t have a predestined life span.
Another example is the grove of quaking aspens that exist, called Pando.
Sharing an underground root system, it is verified as 80,000 years old. It’s not that any one individual tree is that old, but the organism together with a shared root system underground is 80,000 years old, which is incredible.
The Oldest Ficus on Record
The oldest ficus on record is called The Sacred Ficus. It was planted in 288 B.C., is around 2,300 years old, and is in Sri Lanka. Ficuses are some of the longest-living plants, and a fiddle leaf fig is a ficus lyrata.
There’s reason to believe that of all the houseplants, fiddle leaf figs may live longer than an average houseplant. Other long-living houseplants include ivy, spider plants, ferns, and palms.
My grandmother had a fiddle leaf fig in the 1970s, and it is now around 50 years old. There is a plant in Costa Rica that is verified to be at least 30 years old. Also, if you are a Disney fan, you will find two fiddle leaf fig trees at Disneyland that are at least 30 years old as well.
We know that when fiddle leaf figs live in the wild, it takes them 10 to 15 years to reach maturity. There are a lot of fiddle leaf fig plants that are between 20-50 years old.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Popularity
We don’t see older fiddle leaf figs in homes due to the fact that they were not that popular previously.
There was a little blip in popularity in the 1970s, which is the time when my grandma got her fiddle leaf fig. But before 1970, they didn’t really exist.
But in Africa or in Australia, where they grow natively, there are sure to be plants that are probably 100 years old.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Problems
Houseplants are susceptible to root rot and other diseases and ailments that can cause them to become unhealthy and die.
The majority of fiddle leaf fig plant owners are novice houseplant growers, and unfortunately, they sometimes see their fiddle leaf figs die between 1-5 years. So the answer to the question of how long do fiddle leaf fig plants live will depend on how well they’re cared for.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Center is here to help you take care of your plant and keep it green and gorgeous.
If you have questions about your own unique plant, sign up for our Ultimate Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Webinar. We go through exactly what you need to do to fight the most common problems so that you have the information to fix the issue and keep your plant healthy.
How to Learn More About Fiddle Leaf Fig Care
First of all, make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter. You’ll also want to join our community on Facebook: Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Resource Group.
Read The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. Fiddle leaf fig care topics include: tips and tricks, pruning, shaping, cleaning, propagation, and more! The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now!
For those fiddle leaf fig lovers looking for information on advanced fiddle leaf fig care, check out our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar and our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Course. Course topics include:
- Fighting root rot naturally
- Aeration and repotting
- Pruning your plant into a tree
- Propagation to clone your plant
- Notching to encourage new branches
- Troubleshooting insect problems
- Treating brown spots
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