FIDDLE LEAF FIGS & WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE

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A few months ago it seemed like I couldn’t go online or open a magazine without spotting a photo or an article about Fiddle Leaf Figs (aka - Ficus Lyrata). After pointing them out to my husband he decided to surprise me by bringing home four trees to place throughout our home. The first two months were great. My trees were thriving. The leaves looked healthy and they were slowly sprouting new growth. I was resisting the urge to water and turning them every few days to make sure they got even sunlight. Then, out of nowhere, all hell broke loose. Not only did their leaves start forming black spots, but they were falling off. New growth, old growth, the slightest bump or breeze, and a leaf would hit the floor (proof of their demise below).

Things I should probably admit

I DO NOT have a green thumb, something that has prevented me from even considering having indoor plants, but living in this lush coastal environment ignited a desire to bring some green indoors.

I DID NOT do my research about Fiddle Leaf Figs, if I had, I would have quickly realized these Insta-worthy trees require skills that are far beyond my ability and my patience. But I’m impulsive and stubborn, so here we are.

Lucky for these little figs, they were a gift from my husband and I’m not quite ready to give up.

Sad - Right?

Sad - Right?

Once it became obvious they were not going to “turn the corner” on their own, I consulted the internet for help. Due to their current popularity, it only took a few minutes to realize where things had gone terribly wrong. HGTV’s article, The Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Fashion-Forward, written by Danny Flanders, gives a straightforward overview of care, including what they prefer concerning light, water, and soil, and how to prevent pests. While the Gardenista’s write-up by Michelle Slatalla, 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees, provides some lesser known facts about plant care and how to revive a tree that’s in crisis.

Had I slowed my roll just a bit, a lot of these issues could have been easily prevented. Hopefully, these tips will help your Fiddle Leaf Figs (FLFs) avoid a similar fate.

WATERING

WHAT I DID

Historically, I have always OVER-WATERED plants, drowning them slowly with love. This time, I was determined not to let that happen. For weeks, I kept checking the soil and it felt vaguely moist. Not dry. So I waited. And waited. Oops.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE

FLFs need consistency, which includes a REGULAR watering regiment. Letting them go so long without watering put them into shock and once I finally did water, they freaked. They need scheduled watering and your climate will determine the frequency. Water, drain, dry (but not too dry), repeat.

LIGHT & SUN

WHAT I DID

My trees were tucked around various nooks in our home. Sunlight was filtering through in one capacity or another, but not of them were getting consistent full light. Dang.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE

The light requirements for a healthy FLF are even more confusing than the watering requirements. Basically, they need plenty of indirect light and smidge of direct sun. The natural light that spills through your home is suitable, but it’s not enough. Direct sun from an east-facing window (yes, this matters) is recommended.

TEMPS & DRAFTS

WHAT I DID

Once I noticed their health declining, I placed all four of my trees next to a drafty, and very large, sliding glass door. I assumed that the extra light would help them snap out of it. My bad.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE

FLFs are considered a tropical plant, and therefore, prefer warm humid environments...not drafty sliding doors in the middle of winter. Once they were in trouble, I should have placed them in a warm, humid, light-filled nook, which is why mine are currently residing in my bathroom.

I still adore my Fiddle Leaf Figs, despite their finicky demands and little quirks. They are a great addition to my growing collection of indoor plants and add a little something extra to my home’s modern-boho vibe. I’m even thinking of naming them after my four kids to encourage myself to keep them alive.

Have you had success with your Fiddle Leaf Fig? Share some of your dos and don’ts below!