Ah, the fiddle leaf fig. Although it has a pretty nerdy name, ficus lyrata, it is the trendiest plant gracing the loveliest of living spaces. If you haven’t heard about the famous FLF by now, either you don’t read blogs + magazines or you’ve been living under a rock.
A native of West Africa, the fiddle leaf fig happens to be one finicky plant. You can’t water them too much. You can’t plant them in too big of a pot. You can’t move them from their location because they get angry (see also: start wilting, yellowing or dropping leaves).
Here’s what he looked like when he arrived exactly one week ago:
I looked far and wide for my very own fiddle leaf fig tree. Neither Home Depot nor Lowes had them. I’ve read that other bloggers have found them at Home Depot for super low prices ($20 for a 4ft tree) but none that I called had them. I didn’t try calling local nurseries because this tree, on top of being finicky, is also really expensive the larger it is.
Where did I turn? Amazon. Hirt’s Gardens has them for as little as $9.99 with superb ratings and tons of pictures in the reviews. The shipping was pretty pricey ($8) for the price of the plant, and it arrived in a small white box labeled LIVE PLANT with packing peanuts holding it up inside. Our mail lady left him on our door step. In the Florida sun. At 1pm. Without ringing the doorbell. My poor Eugene was baking there for two hours. It’s a miracle he was alive when I took him out and put him in his new digs.
I watered him with one cup of water, the magic amount of water per week bloggers swear by, but he drooped a bit a few days later. In hindsight, I think the potting soil absorbed any moisture his rootball had and that one cup of water wasn’t enough. I added a second cup of water, made sure I patted down the soil a bit more, and he perked up again a day later. Success!
A few things you’ll notice from the pictures above:
- He was greener when he arrived.
- He is missing a leaf.
- He is now closer to the window and I’ve gotten a “perch” for him.
All of these things are interrelated. Only two days after Eugene arrived, Chip accidentally amputated poor Eugene’s top leaf via an airborne dog toy. The broken leaf looked pitiful. Instead of stressing him out even more (after his voyage, baking, and transplanting) by leaving the leaf there, I snipped it off with kitchen scissors.
I took Heather’s advice and named my fiddle leaf fig. (She has incredibly helpful tips on how to nurture your fiddle leaf as well!) He looked like a he, first of all, and he also looked like a Eugene. A little background on the name. I never met my paternal grandfather, José Eugenio, and his name was the first one that popped into my head. Hence, Eugene :)
Here are some other famous fiddle leaf figs I’ve found who happen to be little Eugene’s role models…
I can’t wait to see little Eugene grow tall and handsome!