Going Green

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR FIDDLE LEAF FIG

fiddle leaf fig in white pot next to antique white buffet

For way WAY too many years, I wasn’t able to enjoy having houseplants in any of our homes because – CATS.  Those hairy little A-holes would try to devour them like it was their job and they were earning extra benefits.

It didn’t matter how high up the plants were placed, the Hairy Little A-holes (awesome name for a band, by the way) would act like Cirque Du Soleil performers and nimbly jump up on everything just to wreak havoc on their poor little green-leafed victims.

And whenever The Hubs would surprise me with a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers, I’d take my time arranging them juuust right in a pretty vase only to wake up to the horror of discovering my new floral friends freshly decapitated and shredded beyond recognition. RIP.

money tree in basket hanging chair on porch fiddle leaf fig in black planter

THE DAY I MORPHED INTO CRAZY EFFING PLANT LADY

When we moved into our farmhouse on Thanksgiving Day 2017, I stood frozen in place, arms raised to the Heavens and loudly declared, “I’M GETTING SOME MOTHER EFFIN’ HOUSEPLANTS IN THIS MOTHER EFFER!!!” Well, not really, but it sounds SO much better with a little added drama to the story.

Our cats were 15 and 18 at the time, and I didn’t have to worry about them jumping on shit anymore so I dove right into getting some houseplants.  And boy, did I overcompensate for all of those plant-free years.  I think I just brought my 45th houseplant into the house this weekend …

A lot of people are afraid of trying their hand at raising houseplants, but I want to tell you not to be scared.  It’s really not that hard if you just pay just a little attention to their needs.

Now, I did have a few that died but since then, I have learned which plants work best in our home and our climate and I just stick with those species.  I’ve had some of my plants for well over a year now and I can honestly say they bring me SO much peace and joy and the same can happen for you!

fiddle leaf fig in basket on porch

EVERYONE’S FAVORITE:  THE FIDDLE LEAF FIG

There’s a reason why the Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is a favorite for interior decorators and homeowners alike – it’s just a GORGEOUS specimen with those huge, paper-like dark green leaves.

Lately, however, I keep reading design articles about how the Fiddle Leaf Fig is now “out” and other houseplants are “in.” To those articles’ authors, I say, “EFF. YOU.”  There is no way in hell this plant should EVER be on any “out” list. NONE. Sure, there are some other awesome houseplants out there but none that come close to the unique character this plant possesses. This plant is a classic for a reason – it has staying power.

I know that many people seem to believe that these plants are hard to raise, but after owning 6 of these beauties for the past year (and not losing so much as a leaf on any of them), I can attest to the fact that they are not as difficult as they are portrayed to be. IF, and this is key, IF you follow the recommended instructions of where to place them (and not where to place them) and not overwatering them (the #1 killer of houseplants in general).

And today is your lucky day because I designed some handy plant care instructions just for you, boo!  They are in PDF form and available to download and print at the end of this long-ass article.  Yay, you!

fiddle leaf fig in white planter on front porch

JUST SAY “NO” TO FAUX

Guys, I know this can be a polarizing topic: “TO FAUX OR NO?”  so I’m just going to give you my 2 cents based upon my own experiences of owning real houseplants for close to two years now.

I’m super into nature so I tend to gravitate towards the beauty of real plants.  Before I bought my Fiddles, I did visit a few stores (online & local) and checked out their faux versions.  The one that came closest to looking real was at World Market but it was $180 and I wasn’t about to spend that on one tree.  I’d much rather spend $30 and take a chance that I won’t kill the damned thing, and my gamble has paid off.  If I wanted to have 6 Fiddles as I do now, it would have cost me a cool $1,080 to buy the faux versions.  I ended up spending just over $100 for 6 real plants, so there’s one of my own reasons for saying “no” to faux.

Real houseplants are also proven to lift your mood, reduce stress levels, and boost productivity and concentration levels, so there are a few more reasons to just say “no” to faux.

Now, if you travel a lot for your job or run an Airbnb and you want houseplants in your home, then it makes sense to invest in the faux versions.  However, don’t shy away from going for the real thing because you’re scared of it.  Once you own a real one and it’s thriving under your care, you will gain confidence and become addicted to adding more to your floral family.

WHERE I BOUGHT MY FIDDLE LEAF FIGS

I bought my first Fiddle Leaf Fig at Home Depot and I believe it was around $30 at the time (they have since come down considerably in price – I just saw one for $19.99 the other day).

I typically try to purchase my plants from our local nursery but holy crap, the Fiddles are so expensive there!  They were close to $100 for a size just a tad bigger than the ones at Home Depot.  Um – HARD PASS, especially for my first Fiddle Leaf Fig.

I purchased the other 5 of my Fiddles at Walmart – they were only $17  (tabletop sizes are only $10) and they are GREAT quality.  I haven’t had any issues at all with any of my 6 Fiddles.

fiddle leaf fig in white planter pot on desk

YOU CAN MAKE BABY FIDDLE LEAF FIGS! SAY WHAAATT?

Yes, you read that correctly:   YOU CAN MAKE BABY FIDDLES!!

With this in mind, you really just need to make the initial investment of one Fiddle Leaf Fig and then reap the rewards for years after that.

It’s SUPER duper easy to propagate (a fancy term for making plant babies), but you will need to have patience because it can take a long time for the roots of a Fiddle clipping to appear.  But it’s SO worth the wait because not only can you make babies for your own home, you can also make them for gifts for your friends.  Suh-weet!

HOW TO MAKE BABY FIDDLE LEAF FIGS

Alright, so let’s dive right into how you make those babies.  After you do this and you see your baby for the first time, trust me – you will become ADDICTED and will end up having a huge family of Fiddles.  Not such a bad thing, really …

Step 1:  You will need to find a node (where the leaf’s stem is connected to the trunk of the Fiddle) and cut right above that as shown in the photo above.

I highly recommend investing in a pair of houseplant pruning shears (this is similar to what I have), or you can use heavy-duty scissors.  You’ll probably notice some white goo drip out from the cut stem – that’s normal.  Just make sure to keep your pets and small children away from it because it (and the entire plant) is toxic to pets and humans when ingested.

Step 2:  Remove the bottom leaves so you get a nice bare stem as in the photo above.   Gently clean any dust and dirt off the leaves with a damp rag or paper towel using lukewarm water.

Make sure to get into a ritual of wiping down your Fiddle’s leaves with a damp rag or paper towel at least every other month, as this will help keep it healthy.

Actually, cleaning leaves is something that applies to all houseplants.  Dust tends to accumulate pretty quickly on houseplant leaves, and that accumulation inhibits the photosynthesis process which is how a plant feeds itself.

baby fiddle leaf fig in vase on farmhouse table

Step 3:  Place the cut plant in a clear glass vase filled with chlorine-free water.  If you only have access to tap water, I would recommend spending $1.00 at the grocery store and buy a jug of distilled water to have on hand.

Even though you can place your new cutting into a pot filled with potting soil, I recommend putting the cutting in a glass vase so you can see when the water needs to be changed as well as see when the roots start growing from the cutting.

In my experience, it takes approximately 30 days, give or take, for the roots to sprout from the stem.  Once you see the roots, you can plant the cutting in a pot with potting soil. Voila!  You just made a Fiddle baby!

Click here to read an update on how my new baby Fiddles from this post are doing.

fiddle leaf fig in white mid century modern planter

DOWNLOADABLE FIDDLE LEAF CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Congrats!  You made it to the end of this long-ass article and earned your reward.  Just download and print out your plant care sheet to use as a handy reference tool for your Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter so you never miss a post – the signup box is at the top right of this page. Best part? You get freebies!

Also, make sure to check out my Pinterest Houseplants + Planter Pots Decor Ideas board to get some beautiful inspiration for your new houseplant.

And please let me know if this article motivated you to purchase your first Fiddle Leaf Fig.  If you already have a Fiddle but have run into some issues while caring for it, please let me know and I’ll see if I can help you bring that baby back to life.

Thank you so much for following my blog and letting me help make your home a little more beautiful and joyful! XOXO ❤︎



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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Lee
    07/06/2019 at 12:10 pm

    Wow, I did not know I could make a fiddle baby! I really need to do this toady! I have my fiddle at our lake house and the ceiling slopes down to 8ft on the porch. My fiddle has grown so tall that it is touching the ceiling!! I will definitely do this today!

    • Reply
      Michelle
      07/06/2019 at 2:39 pm

      Wow! That’s one tall Fiddle!!

      You’re going to have so much fun making Fiddle babies. I’m so glad this article inspired you! Let me know how it goes.

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