[raise your leaf if you’ve been personally victimized by regina george rosette the cat]
i’ll never forget the day i called our local nursery and told them i’d be there straight away to pick up a 4 foot fiddle leaf fig tree, which maddalena was sure to call, “leafy,” as soon as we loaded up in the car with our newest family member. i’m a girl with many plant dreams, and here was one of them fulfilled!! ahhhh. leafy!! leafy is such a treasure.
really, i just think the fiddle leaf fig is the happiest, friendliest, warmest, most delightful looking plant to have around! i’ve been nothing less than ecstatic to partake in this foliage trend. every time we are out at a new-ish restaurant or pretty much anywhere that’s “nashvilley,” we’re sure to see giant fiddle leaf figs… at which point i just maaaarvel at the huge, glossy leaves. i think “who is in charge of these beauties!!! i need their tips!!!” but alas, it is up to me to keep our own dear leafy loving life. and we have certainly not been without adversity, here in our well-intentioned plant-loving home! let’s just say… leafy used to be a lot more… leafy.
so, first, here’s the good news about our beloved leafy: it is still definitely very much alive and slowly growing after about a year and a half in our care!!!!
on the flip side, while it’s a pretty hardy thing in a lot of ways, it’s not the easiest plant to get right, unless you live in the ideal conditions. SO! in my experience, here in a place where we have a lot of hot weather, but still get all 4 seasons… i’d say the two biggest struggles i have faced in keeping leafy happy have been:
1. brown spots on the leaves. i have heard this could be a result of either too much/too little water or too much/too little sunlight. i know they prefer a more tropical climate, which means more warmth, light, humidity, and absolutely no chilly drafts! however, they don’t want too much direct sun that could burn their leaves, either… and they don’t want to be moved around a lot. soooo… sure! clear as soil!
solution: i tried pretty much everything… moving locations, watering more, watering less. then i noticed that it was primarily the leaves on the back of the plant [the ones receiving less sunlight] that had the dried-out browning spots, and it clicked in my head. so! it’s now doing much better in an elevated spot that gets more sunlight, and i also make sure to rotate it every now and then. i’ve settled into a less frequent watering pattern, watering thoroughly probably every week and a half to two weeks? and letting it dry out pretty well in between. i know a lot of people hose down their fiddle leaf figs every now and then either outside or in the shower, and i have done that, too! just not often.
2. the cats. namely our most curious girl kitty, rosette. ahhhh. there was a time that the cats were apparently climbing and attacking it every. single. day. and. night! i had probably let it go a little too long without water, too, and the leaves were coming off like CRAZY. beautiful green leaves all over the floor! it was sooo sad!
solution: well first of all, we started spraying the cats with a spray bottle for bad behavior, and that was a start. they *know* when they’re doing something we don’t want them to do! however, cats are not just like, submissive and obedient. no, no. something more had to be done! i remembered a little tip about keeping cats off of things with aluminum foil and decided to cover the dirt of the plant [which was what drew them to the plant… digging in the soil!] with aluminum foil. and seriously! this worked!!! i think, too, this may be helping reflect a little more sunlight up to the plant. that’s what i hope, at least!
and on that note, one more problem we faced a while back [pre-kittens!] was when leafy spontaneously dropped a ton of leaves while we were on vacation. as it turned out, we had the temperature set really low in our house when the temp outside dropped rapidly and leafy, who was by the window, did not like it!! that’s when i first learned that they would drop leaves due to shock, be it temperature or cats or whatever.
BUT!!! it took me forever to figure out an upside to leaf loss… gah. why, oh why did this take me so long?!?! i tossed out so many beautiful, fallen green cat-victim leaves before realizing… propagating a fiddle leaf fig tree using a leaf is the easiest thing ever. EVER!
all you have to do is stick a glossy, green leaf or two in a cup/vase of water for about a month. boom: roots! glorious roots! i let the roots get good and long [inches!], and then got baby leafy its own little pot. i can’t wait to see it grow! slash… i’m crossing my fingers it stays a happy baby leafy!
all this to say, our dear leafy still isn’t quite as leafy as it once was… but! we have high hopes for the future!! leafy and baby leafy forever, amen!!