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Secrets Of The Green Thumb – Easy Care For High Impact

The Fiddle Leaf Fig: A Decorator’s Dream

Several years ago, the fiddle leaf fig tree really solidified its role as a décor staple in the interior design world. If you don’t believe me, just take a quick scroll through Pinterest or any interior design Instagram account, and I can guarantee you won’t go far without seeing this gorgeous plant. I personally have been growing them in my home for years now – I had a massive one in the living room of my Beverly Hills condo, several scattered around my former home in the Palisades, and I enjoy them in my current Laguna Beach house as well.

I am pretty proud to admit that the longest one I’ve had lived for about eight years. Which is to say, I’ve managed to keep these finicky indoor plants alive much longer than I expected I would. As much as I’d like to chalk it up to a proverbial green thumb, the truth is that I simply follow a few steps that I’ve researched over the years to keep my trees growing and the leaves looking a healthy, shiny shade of green.

Today, I’d like to share some of those tips for growing your own gorgeous and healthy fiddle leaf fig tree. I’ve tapped plant shop owner and green thumb enabler Mackenna Rowley of Piep Co to share her expert tips with us, many of which happen to be the same ones I’ve relied on for years. But there are a few great secrets to success in here too. Here’s what you need to know before taking the fiddle leaf fig tree plunge.

Watering Wisdom

The first and perhaps most crucial step in keeping your fiddle leaf fig happy and healthy is to nail the watering routine. As Mackenna recommends, the key rule of thumb to remember is: “It’s better to underwater than overwater.” She advises allowing the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings and strongly recommends bottom watering your fiddle.

“The problem a lot of our customers have, especially with larger plants, is that they see it start to get brown and dry, so they water it from above,” Mackenna explains. “But doing this never really saturates the potting mix. Then they keep watering more and more, resulting in an overall underwatered plant that also has root rot in places.”

You see, potting mix can be slightly hydrophobic, so when you water from above, it’s easy for the water to just trickle down the path of least resistance and not actually fully saturate the root ball – especially with big plants in large pots. To avoid this, Mackenna recommends placing your fiddle in the tub with water about halfway up the pot and leaving it overnight so the potting mix can wick up the water completely. This also gets the plant an extra dose of much-needed humidity.

Underwatering and too little humidity generally cause crispy, dry leaves, while overwatering typically results in soft, yellow leaves. So pay close attention to those telltale signs, and adjust your watering accordingly.

Optimal Lighting

While it can feel natural to only consider décor and aesthetics when choosing where to place your tree, its positioning should be given much more thought. I’ve come to realize that lots of bright, indirect light makes my fiddle leaf figs very happy.

Mackenna notes that until the tree is a fairly mature (which takes a decade or more), you’ll want to keep it out of any direct sunlight. “The leaves can get dry and brown when it’s getting direct light,” she warns. “I recommend placing yours by a window that has a lot of soft, indirect light.”

And pay attention to which direction that light is coming from – north-facing windows will get the least sun, east-facing windows will get morning sun but not enough throughout the day, and west-facing windows will get strong afternoon sun that may burn the leaves and dry out the plant. South-facing windows are best, as they’ll give your fiddle just enough sun without it being too intense.

It’s also important to note that your fiddle will grow towards the light, so be sure to rotate it regularly to keep it symmetrical if that’s the look you’re going for.

Potting Perfection

When it comes to the potting mix and pot itself, Mackenna has some essential tips. For the potting mix, you’ll want to use a high-quality, well-draining blend. And the pot must have adequate drainage at the bottom, as the fiddle leaf fig is susceptible to root rot. “You can’t bottom water a pot without drainage holes,” Mackenna explains.

Her recommendation is to leave your tree in its original plastic growing pot and slip it into a slightly larger decorative pot or basket. “I love using these from The Little Market,” she says. “It makes it a lot lighter to carry when you’re hauling it off to the tub, and growing plants always require adequate drainage. Plus, if you find a decorative pot you adore that doesn’t have drainage holes and you don’t want to drill them yourself, you’re still able to use it.”

Protecting from Drafts

Fiddle leaf figs are fairly susceptible to drafts, so Mackenna recommends keeping yours away from doors or windows that open frequently, heating or cooling vents, fireplaces, or other draft-prone areas. “Remember that fiddle leaf figs prefer some humidity, and drafts tend to lessen that,” she warns.

Styling for Success

When it comes to displaying your fiddle leaf fig, I prefer a simple pot or woven basket to let the plant’s natural beauty shine. Mackenna agrees, noting, “The fiddle is such a distinctive, sculptural plant that I don’t think it needs much else competing for attention.”

However, if you want to add a little more pop to your pot, Mackenna recommends picking either a color or pattern – not both, as that can get a bit overwhelming. “Unless, of course, that’s your thing,” she adds with a wink. “In that case, go for it!”

Leaf Care

One of my top tips for keeping my fiddle leaf figs looking their best is to clean the leaves regularly. As the plant grows, those huge leaves can gather a lot of dust, which can actually inhibit growth by blocking sunlight.

Mackenna recommends using a little coconut oil when cleaning the leaves, as it adds a lovely shine. “Just be sure to only rub it on the tops of the leaves,” she cautions. “Using it on the bottoms can clog the plant’s stomata and keep it from being able to breathe.”

The Key to a Thriving Fiddle Leaf Fig

Ultimately, growing a healthy, happy fiddle leaf fig comes down to striking the right balance – not too much water, not too much sun, and plenty of humidity. By following these expert tips, I’ve been able to keep my fiddle leaf figs looking lush and vibrant for years.

And you know what they say – the key to a healthy, high-impact garden starts with the secrets of the green thumb. So why not add one of these stunning plants to your Today’s Gardens landscape? With a little bit of TLC, you’ll be rewarded with a true interior design showstopper.

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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