Friday, May 2, 2014

Where We Found Our Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

As an update to our office transformation earlier this week, we mentioned ordering a fiddle leaf fig tree to complete the greener elements of the new space — and it's finally here! We've wanted some larger indoor plants and after studying the best types of trees for indoors, we liked the look of both the rubber plant and fiddle leaf fig.

Fiddle leaf fig trees are ornamental plants that do not produce blossoms or fruit — we love the sculptural look and feel of their large leaves and the added benefit of being a natural air purifier. You might recognize them as a plant often popping up in our favorite house plant pins:

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

We had no trouble finding the rubber plant at our nearby Lowe's garden center. These "rubber plants" are also properly named "burgundy ficus elastica," so asking or searching for that name might help with the hunt if you're looking for one too.

The fiddle leaf fig tree proved to be a bit more elusive to find here locally, outside of mature trees we saw at Home Depot that were a bit past our budget for a plant that's rumored to be temperamental. That's when we took to the internet and found a host of information from where to buy smaller versions, tips for care and growth and success stories from other people who've tried the same. Laura's post all about finding her fig tree online and it's progress were encouraging, but after reading the success that Cheryl had growing a starter plant and the ability to propagate it, we were sold!

After our own search, we opted for a budget-friendly solution, ordering a smaller version for $17 online. Our hopes are that we'll be able to tend to the smaller version, allowing it to grow taller overtime. Similar to the rubber tree, you might have better luck with searching for the proper plant names "ficus pandurata," or "ficus lyrata" when looking for a fiddle leaf fig of your own.

We'd recently gotten our feet wet with ordering plants online when we had an organic climbing rose plant shipped earlier this spring, so we were interested to see how ordering a much larger plant might fare. Our fiddle leaf fig bush arrived within two days, making the trip up our way from sunny Florida. We eagerly opened the box upon arrival — Basil was perhaps the most curious of all:

We left it wrapped up in the paper it arrived in until yesterday morning — here are a couple shots of what it looked like straight from the box in better light:

Not bad at all!

Since we got the smaller version of this tree with hopes of future growth, to add the appearance of height and vertical dimension, we mounted the tree into a tall planter I'd picked up on sale during off-season at Target last year. Since the planter was too tall to drop the plant all the way into, we hacked it to to suit our needs by resting the plant on top of an upside down plastic planter wedged inside the taller one:

As the tree (hopefully) grows taller, we'll have room to plant it further down inside the pot or play around with placement. When it comes to caring for the plant, we're ambitiously nervous. Most care tips we've come across include the following points:
  • Bright, indirect light is best — lots of bright light, but no physical sun beams on the plant.
  • Water the tree only when surface soil is dry.
  • Wipe dust from the leaves to keep the plant healthy and able to absorb the most light.
  • Fertilize once a month throughout spring and summer when plant shows the most active growth.
  • Prune top leaves at stem during growing season to promote bushier, branched growth instead of a single stem.
  • Re-pot the tree in a one-sized up container when roots begin to grow from current pot, or trim rootball, no more than 20 percent.
For now we've paired our new fiddle leaf fig bush alongside the rubber plant and pineapple top we're trying to grow near the mantle in our office that gets bright, indirect light:

We're hoping for the best and look forward to seeing how each of these plants progress. Perhaps we'll even be able to propagate it in the future...

Down the pike, a fruiting citrus tree could be a lot of fun to add in with our indoor mix of plants, but as you can see we've got plenty on our plates to take care of with these guys for now. We'll keep you posted on the progress of our new tree and its green office companions. Tips for success and from your own indoor tree experiences are welcome!

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  1. Looks amazing! Grow little tree, grow! Glad you took the plunge. :)

  2. How is this little guy doing? I'm interested in one for my room and would love to know if he's thriving!