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Finicky fiddleleaf fig

Difficult plant grows in popularity

I always find it interesting when a plant that I consider to be difficult to grow becomes so popular. Ten years ago, we sold maybe two to three fiddleleaf figs a year, but over the last three years, sales have increased dramatically. In the right location and with specific care, it can be stunning, but anything less than that and it suffers.

The fiddleleaf fig is now the go-to houseplant with many interior designers. You can see them in almost every decor magazine, catalog, and most home design television shows. Perhaps it’s their dramatic architectural shape. Plants often range from 3 to 10 feet in height in the home and their leaves can be up to 18 inches long.

If you want to grow one, there are a few important growing conditions to consider. The fiddleleaf fig can be grown outside in part shade in the summer and indoors in the winter. Inside, it needs to be in a location where it receives bright natural light, such as in or very near a window. They will not live if placed in a corner where there are no windows. Turn or adjust your fiddleleaf fig every three weeks so that a different part of the plant faces the light source.

Fiddleleaf figs do not like abrupt changes, so don’t move them around a lot. They do like the soil to be moist, but well-drained. Overwatering or allowing them to sit in water is harmful. I find it best to water regularly, but it is necessary to adjust the watering schedule as the seasons change. When natural light levels are low, such as in late fall and winter, you may need to water less than in the spring or summer. Also, be conscious of any air movement around your fiddleleaf fig and avoid locations where any floor, wall, or ceiling vent will blow directly onto the plant.

If you want to follow the trend and are willing to provide what the finicky fiddleleaf fig requires, you may be rewarded with a beautiful, dark green, glossy-leaved houseplant. If not, don’t worry—there are lots of other easy-to-care-for houseplant options to choose from.



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