We’ve heard a lot of interesting questions about using various food items on fiddle leaf fig leaves or in the soil. Are you wondering what to put on fiddle leaf fig leaves?
Should you put coffee grounds in your fiddle’s soil?
Should you shine your leaves with mayonnaise?
We’ll answer these questions and more in this article!
Let’s dive into which grocery items are good for fiddle leaf figs and which aren’t.
Coffee grounds in the soil
Our verdict: Nope!
Many indoor and outdoor gardeners swear by adding coffee grounds to plant soil, but is this a good choice for a fiddle?
There are a few reasons why coffee grounds are good for some plants: coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen (which is an important component of many fertilizers, Fiddle Leaf Fig Food included); coffee grounds are acidic, and some plants prefer more acidic soil (rhododendron, hydrangeas, and camellias are good examples).
However, a fiddle leaf fig prefers soil with a pH around 6, and coffee grounds can tip this in the wrong direction.
Overly acidic soil can cause leaf discoloration, so you don’t want to add something that can acidify your soil beyond a fiddle’s preference.
It’s best to start out by potting your fiddle in soil with the proper pH like our Fiddle Leaf Fig Soil. That way, you won’t have to add anything.
If you’re concerned about nitrogen, just use a liquid fertilizer like Fiddle Leaf Fig Food to provide your plant with all the nutrients it needs.
Banana peels in the soil
Our verdict: Maybe
Banana peels are a rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient that helps plants grow stronger stems and leaves, ward off disease, and carry out photosynthesis.
If your plant is deficient in potassium, you may notice yellowing on the edges of the leaves. Burying banana peels in the soil provides more of this nutrient as it decomposes while also providing small amounts of nitrogen and a few micronutrients.
However, it’s hard to control how much of these nutrients your plant actually absorbs, and if you’re using it in conjunction with a liquid fertilizer, you may wind up with an excess of some nutrients and a deficiency of others. Banana peels can also attract fruit flies!
Use with caution.
Banana peels to clean the leaves
Our verdict: Give it a try!
Fiddle leaf fig leaves are massive and tend to get dusty.
It’s important to keep the leaves clean so they can continue to play their vital role in photosynthesis and respiration. Usually we suggest plain water or our Leaf Armor to clean the leaves because other methods tend to clog pores and effectively suffocate your plant.
But banana peels are interesting.
Since the insides of the peels aren’t oily, they don’t clog the pores like other methods, and they’re very effective at picking up dust and debris while leaving behind a nice shine.
However, we recommend wiping the leaves with a soft cloth after using the banana peels to remove any remaining residue.
Mayonnaise to clean the leaves
Our verdict: Nope!
Mayonnaise is a popular choice for shining fiddle leaf fig leaves because the fat and oil content imparts a lovely shine…but all that oil tends to gunk up the pores.
You may have shiny leaves for a while, but there’s a chance your plant will struggle to breathe or photosynthesize if its pores are full of mayo.
We recommend using water or Leaf Armor to clean and protect your leaves while keeping pores clear.
Coconut oil to shine the leaves
Our verdict: Maybe
We have mixed feelings about this one because we’ve seen bad things happen to fiddles when their leaf pores get clogged with oil and grease.
But coconut oil is lighter than mayo and other oils, so a small amount may temporarily give you that coveted shine without damaging your plant in the long run.
Thoroughly clean your leaves first and try using a drop or two of coconut oil (but no more) on a soft cloth to gently rub the tops of the leaves.
You can even try it on a leaf or two and wait to see how your plant handles it before using coconut oil on the whole plant.
We don’t suggest doing this often, but it might not hurt your plant if you’re going for a temporary shine.
Milk to shine the leaves
Our verdict: Nope!
Milk is often used to give the leaves a nice shine for the same reasons as other substances (for its fat content), and any fat-based substance can potentially clog your leaves’ pores and lead to a bunch of problems while also increasing the leaves’ risk of sunburn.
Milk might work for a temporary shine, but we recommend cleaning and shining your leaves with plain water, a soft cloth, and good overall care to support healthy leaves!
What to put on fiddle leaf fig leaves
Ultimately, we like to stick to products designed for fiddle leaf figs unless you REALLY know what you’re doing. Fiddle Leaf Fig Food and Leaf Armor keep our plants healthy and beautiful without the guesswork!
To learn more:
- Sign up for our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care 101 Webinar or our free Fiddle Leaf Fig Course, and make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter.
- Download our free Propagation Guide
- Read The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, your complete guide to growing healthy fiddle leaf fig plants. The book is available in full-color paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon now!
- Join our Facebook Community and chat with other fiddle leaf fig lovers.
Grab the Essentials for Your Fiddle Leaf Fig:
- Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig Potting Soil
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food
- Root Rot Treatment to treat one of the most common issues affecting fiddle leaf figs.
- Houseplant Leaf Armor to protect against insects, bacteria, and fungus (As an added bonus, it also cleans and adds shine to your plant’s leaves!)
- Moisture meter to always know when your plant is thirsty.
- Houseplant Propagation Promoter to propagate more quickly and with more success.