We got our first fiddle leaf fig house friend at Christmas.

Jai received it from a work friend as a secret santa gift – pretty fab secret santa present if you asked me. I was stoked because I had been wanting to get a fig for our house for a while but, I promptly realised I had zero idea how to raise our new green friend. My track record for keeping house plants alive is not great. This was well displayed a few years ago when I enthusiastically purchased a money tree succulent (Crassula ovata) on a whim at the nursery, parked it on our front step and immediately proceeded to drown it. Poor guy didn’t last even the week.

I had heard that fiddle leaf figs can be needy jerks. So when January rolled around and our new green friend was still sitting on Jai’s bedside table half wrapped in christmas paper looking sad and depressed I knew I needed to launch a full scale investigation on how to keep the little guy alive, if we had any chance of seeing him through the summer.

Here is what I learned along the way:

Water:

Unlike our peace lily house friends (who are being their own kind of pain in the ass right now) fiddle leaf figs are way less water hungry than expected. So go easy. Water once a week-ish, or better yet stick your finger in the soil and if it is still (oh god don’t make me say it) ‘moist’ beneath the first inch or so, it is probably good to go.

Healthy Leaves:

Figs enjoy having the dust brushed off their leaves on a regular basis. This can be done with a wet cloth, a duster or by giving the leaves a bit of a rinse once in a while. Removing the dust, helps the fig to breathe and keeps it happy and healthy. Apparently rubbing the leaves with milk also makes them nice and shiny. Haven’t tried the milk thing, not sure I’m convinced or if high-shine on a house plant is really my thang anyway. And to be honest, leaf brushing in general is verging on a little to precious for my liking but I am going to overlook this annoying request due to several other redeeming qualities.

Light:

Figs like a nice bright spot that is not too sunny, they like it warm, but not too hot, sunlit but nothing too direct  #needyjerk.

A spot in the middle of a well lit room, nearish to a window seems to be the consensus. Our fiddle leaf gets moved from room to room pretty regularly depending which corner of the house is tidiest and most in need of an indoor plant to help me feel more accomplished in my decorating endeavours.

Potting:

Figs like things snug and can get rather attached to their pot. If the roots are beginning to force their way out of the pot it may be time to think about upgrading but otherwise, leave that baby where it is. Fiddles leaves hate moving house as much as the rest of us.

Fertiliser:

A necessary step but one that we have absolutely not nailed in this household. Frankly that entire aisle at Bunnings is overwhelming. Alas our plants remain, for the most part, severely under fertilised. Liquid? Powder? Monthly? Quarterly? We would actually love some fertilising advice if anyone has any.

So far we are only 3 months into our friendship with our fig but I am feeling optimistic about how things are traveling. I have just realised, while writing this, that we are yet to name our green friend (which is very unlike me and does suggest maybe there is a small part of me that doesn’t want to get too attached).

* I just asked Story if we should give our plant a name. “Yes mum, his name is Peri-winkle”. Peri-winkle it is.

** Story names EVERYTHING Peri-winkle at the moment. We think it’s a reference to a Tinkerbell movie?