The Fiddle-Leaf Fig: A Headstrong Houseplant

Learn how to give this popular-but-persnickety indoor plant the attention it needs to thrive.

| July/August 2019

Photo by Unsplash/Mark Marquez

The fiddle-leaf fig is the outlaw of the houseplant world: tough to tame, hard to understand, difficult to love. Yet, we try to keep it and love it.

The fiddle-leaf fig’s columnar, complicated physique makes it among the most photogenic of trees; its likeness is printed, etched, and painted onto countless pieces of décor and works of art. Fiddle-leaf figs have been central to thousands of interior designs in the past decade; the focus of dozens of websites, giveaways, chat rooms, and weekly newsletters; and the muse for a seemingly endless stream of Pinterest galleries. Even The New York Times called the fiddle-leaf fig the new “it” plant. And no matter what houseplant trend comes up, nothing has budged this tree from its pedestal.

“The fiddle-leaf fig is the hardworking hero of houseplants,” says Emily Henderson, host of HGTV’s Secrets From a Stylist. “It’s graphic, dramatic, and always gives life and a big moment to a room. I love using them to soften the corners of rooms, as well as to bring a little bit of greenery to the space.”

Greenery for Good Health

Houseplants, such as the fiddle-leaf fig, are beautiful, but more importantly, they offer a host of environmental, physiological, and psychological benefits.

“Houseplants help city folks and all folks reconnect with nature,” says Christopher Satch, former plant science lead at The Sill — an online plant store with two brick-and-mortar locations. “There’s a larger world around us, and some of us tend to forget that.”

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