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How I Saved My Fiddleleaf Fig

February 25, 2021

A year ago, I left Manhattan for Brooklyn to move into a grown up apartment with my fiancée. We found a one bedroom apartment on the Gowanus Canal with high ceilings and lots of lighting. After almost a decade in New York, we didn’t have much furniture, so we needed to do something with our empty space. We had an easy solution: plants!

After some extensive shopping, we acquired 60+ plants for the apartment and spent a few days decorating. We both work from home and biophilic design positively impacts our everyday interactions and stress levels. Without the plants, our apartment would feel sterile and inorganic. Plus, we like the idea of being plant (and dog) parents!

We love fiddleleaf figs and purchased one for our apartment. For the first few months, it flourished and sprouted big new leaves. We saw impressively large fiddleleaf figs on a trip to Morocco and were excited and inspired for ours to continue growing.

Despite regular waterings and access to sunlight, our fiddle slowly lost its leaves. At first I thought I was accidentally hitting the plant with my backpack, but a problem was apparent when no new leaves would grow. After a few weeks, things started to become dire. Our fiddle was down to three leaves!

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While we’ve mistakenly killed plants before, we were determined to nurse our fiddle back to health. One perk of working for Garden Streets is access to the collective knowledge of a team of seasoned horticulturists.

The team studied my photos (see above) and shared the diagnosis of ‘not enough light or water,’ i.e. I was starving my fiddleleaf fig! They recommended:

  • Swap the terracotta pot out for a plastic one. The terracotta can cause the soil to dry out too quickly.

  • Repot with fresh soil and water thoroughly.

  • Leave in a bright spot (ideally next to a window) for at least 30 days.

  • Water regularly

We listened to the advice and re-potted the plant with new soil, watered it, and placed it in the brightest spot in our apartment. The plant stayed the same for a few days and then we noticed a new leaf budding out! After a few weeks, the plant kept regaining health. It was growing upwards and adding more leaves each week.

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Fiddleleaf fig maintenance can be challenging, but they’re rewarding as a beautiful accent to your living space. You can also purchase a variety of sizes pending your preference.

For more information about fiddleleaf figs, check out Garden Street’s plant care guide.

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