The fiddle-leaf fig plant is trendy, but it's also tricky to keep alive

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | April 25, 2016 - 12:15PM

See that plant on the left? It's the plant bloggers love.


Emily May/Flickr

Move over terrarium gardens, there's a new chic plant town. The fiddle-leaf fig plant is the trendy houseplant of the moment, reports the New York Times. Didn't know plants could be trendy? Us neither.

"Open the latest issue of Elle Decor or Architectural Digest and you will likely spot a fiddle-leaf fig, often potted in white lacquer boxes in minimally furnished white-walled rooms. Go into any Céline boutique and you will find one there, too, for the fiddle-leaf has become the unofficial-official plant of the French luxury brand," reports the Times. Companies like Marimekko and Casper have installed them in their offices, according to the paper.

Space-deprived New Yorkers, in particular, like the fact that the plant is rather vertical, with large leaves just on top, says Natalie Diaz at the Upper West Side's Plant Shed.


Prices run the gamut; here's one from Plant Shed for $85 and a taller one from The Sill for $200 (pictured above). 

And while the tall plants with large green leaves add pop and drama to any room (and photograph well — a must for the Instagram generation), be forewarned that they're not always easy to care for.  "They're finicky to their environments," says Christine Munroe of Chelsea Garden Center in Williamsburg.

Aparment Therapy offers these tips:

  • Water your fig tree when only the top inch of soil is dry. 
  • Keep your fiddle leaf fig in bright, indirect light.
  • Fertilize once a month (not during winter).
  • Wipe dust off the leaves with a wet cloth.

And if you're not quite confident in your gardening skills, Munroe suggests some alternatives to the fiddle-leaf fig plant. "Sansevieria—or snake plants— are green year-round, drought-tolerant, and do well with little attention and little light," she says. She also recommends a bird of paradise, which has large green leaves that are heartier. And, finally, "The Monstera is pretty popular, like the fiddle fig; they do need light, but they're not as finicky," she says.


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