Fiddle leaf figs: real or faux & everything I know
AHhh the beautiful fiddle leaf fig: darling of interior designers and Instagrammers! I too have fallen for their winsome style and last year I bought one for my One Room Challenge reveal at the lake. Of course, immediately my husband called and said, “And just who is going to take care of that poor plant?” Which was followed by my friend Nancy immediately threatening to plant-nap it to save it from a certain death.
Look, I’m the first to admit that I have a black thumb (one time we killed our grass — all of it). But I have successfully kept Harry the Fiddle Leaf Fig alive now for over a year!
This is not to say that it hasn’t come with a whole lot of challenges. And it’s kind of not fair that all the fiddle leaf figs at the nursery look crazy healthy. I’ve considered stalking down the nursery employees at knife point to tell me their secrets. Anyway, I daresay that having a fiddle leaf fig is not unlike having a new baby.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR NEWBORN BABY FIDDLE LEAF FIG
STEP 1: ADMIT THAT YOU KNOW NOTHING.
You will bring that new plant home and think you’ve got it down. Light? Check. Water? Check. Except then your plant looks … wilty. The reality is that you know NOTHING and the plant knows EVERYTHING and you are about to get schooled.
STEP 2: NAME YOUR FIDDLE LEAF FIG.
Like any good parent, you should go ahead and give your plant baby a name. Our real fig is Harry. Our faux fig is Fanny.
STEP 3: WATCH IN DESPERATION AS MANY LEAVES DIE AS YOU ATTEMPT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPY. WHY IS IT DROPPING LEAVES? WHAT ARE THOSE BLACK SPOTS?
WHY IS THE BABY CRYING ALL THE TIME? Too much light? Not enough light? Too much air conditioning? Not enough humidity? TELL ME WHAT THE MATTER IS. You will google to the ends of the internet to learn All the Tips on Caring for your new Fiddle Leaf Fig. Try putting it in different corners until you get the indirect light *just right* and then leave him/her there. They get really angsty when you tussle them about too much.
STEP 4: REENACT THE RAINFOREST IN YOUR SHOWER
I like to give Harry a twice-monthly spa day in which I put him into our shower to reenact his natural rainforest habitat. I’ll run the shower indirectly for maybe 15 minutes at full tilt and let that warm water take care of his dusty leaves. And he comes away SO MUCH HAPPIER.
STEP 5: OVERWATER AND THEN UNDERWATER UNTIL YOU FIND A BALANCE
Which leads me to the next topic: watering. The kiss of death is overwatering — and of course, underwatering. Stick your finger into the soil; if it’s totally dry up to at least your first knuckle, then it’s time to water. Give your fiddle leaf a good soaking, and my guy likes warm water better than startling cold. Remember: RAINFOREST. I end up watering once a week, NEVER MORE.
Here’s the thing: this all sounds super complicated. And they are extremely fussy plants. But once you find the sweet spot of the right light and a regular watering schedule, you are going to be just fine. See? Just like having an actual baby.
WHERE TO BUY FIDDLE LEAF FIGS
Guys! Did you know that you can now purchase fiddle leaf figs directly from Amazon?! YASSSSS. It’s totally a thing now to have your plants shipped straight to your house. Who knew? Now, here’s my advice: go ahead and get a bigger plant. That way when you lose a few leaves, you’re still going to have a plant that is somewhat full-looking. You can get one that’s a full-grown tree; our local nurseries have some gigantic ones (AGAIN: TELL ME YOUR FIDDLE LEAF FIG WAYS!) but those run approximately $175. The one pictured below was $50 from a local nursery.
IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM, JOIN ‘EM: FAUX FIDDLE LEAF FIGS
Now. What if you’ve tried everything and you just can’t keep the fiddle leaf alive? Then it’s time to go faux. But have no fear – fake plants are not the goofy ones like they were in the 80s and 90s.
And in fact, I did choose to get a faux fiddle leaf for the lake house because I loved Harry so much back in the OKC house. This one is from a brand called Vickerman and you can get it on Amazon for $60; it’s only about 4′ tall, but you can get them as big as 7′ tall. Get it a cute little container and you’re good to go.
So there you have it. I’ll be the first to admit that I know NADA about plants, but I’m definitely having success now that I’ve found our sweet spot. And I even went ahead and got Harry a sibling: a pretty Monstera plant to liven things up a bit in here.
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