My new favorite plant, the fiddle leaf

November 06, 2014

fiddle leaf fig

Yet again…I’m late on the trend train. Like, the train is in the next station late. Per usual for me. I’m not very trendy anyway, and on the rare times when I do get on with one I’m super late and usually on it’s way out.

I know you want to be cool like me. :)

One trend that I admired and never jumped on till this year was the fiddle leaf one. Funny that a plant can become a trend, right? 

But these plants with the beautiful large leaves are still everywhere:

plant in basket

I’ve noticed they come in two different forms – the more squatty version like this one that has much larger leaves:

large fiddle leaf

And others have much smaller leaves but are taller and branch out into more of a tree shape. That one above was an IKEA find a few weeks ago and he was not in the best shape. Most of the leaves have some kind of damage but he’s doing much better so far.

The IKEA one was a super great price of only $13. I’ve never seen them for that low anywhere else, especially for the size. I got this one for our master bedroom last winter for a lot more than $13. ;) It is taller though:

gray board and batten wall

This was my first fiddle leaf and I immediately started killing it. Like, right away. It’s leaves were dropping like flies and it was NOT happy in it’s new home.

So I started doing some pretty ingenious things to keep it alive…like watering it and making sure it had enough light. ;) Seriously, I think the key to these plants is LOTS of light. I’ve read they don’t like direct sun but mine looooove it.

As soon as I got this guy into the sun every morning he started doing great. Not before half of the leaves fell off though. Whomp. And now I water them about once a week – not a soak, just a good watering. 

Water and sun…who would have thunk it.

I’m not a clean freak by any stretch of the imagination but the leaves on this guy were grossing me out:

how to clean large plant leaves

You can see the new leaves are bright and shiny. The old ones were filthy. I swear to you the rest of my house does not look like those leaves – I’m not sure what I did in the room that made them so dirty. 

Maybe because that window is open so much? I don’t know – the newer leaves that are about eight months old barely had any dust on them.

No idea but I finally decided to clean them up – I took a wet rag and wiped every. single. leaf.:

cleaning plant leaves

For real, I stood there and couldn’t believe I was dusting my plant leaves. Do most people do that? I don’t even know. I guess I’ve never had plants with leaves big enough to actually accumulate anything before.

I recently heard about a little trick to shine up the leaves and make them look brand new again. It sounded a little wacky to me but it worked – I just took a teensy dab of mayonnaise and wiped the leaves down:

mayonnaise on plant leaves

I did this very gently by the way – the older leaves are nice and thick but I didn’t want to do any damage.

I have to admit it worked really well – the older leaves now match the glossier (more glossy?) new leaves:

how to make plant leaves shiny

Fiddle is looking pretty awesome I must say:

fiddle leaf tree

Excuse the cat butt.

Side note: I love green and gray together.

You can see from the older pic above that the tree lost a TON of leaves. But you should have seen it before I figured out how to bring it back. :) It has grown quite a bit since then – both out and up.

I LOVE these plants now – I’m completely hooked. If I can find more at IKEA I’d like to get one more. Their big beautiful leaves are lovely:

fiddle leaf fig tree

A few of you have asked about the cats with this plant. I waffled back and forth about getting one because I read conflicting reports over the years. But I’ve found the cats don’t touch these plants. Our palms they chomp on like food but they’ve never shown any interest in these at all. Also, when the fiddle leaf is healthy it doesn’t seem to shed leaves…this one hasn’t lost one leaf since I brought it back to life.

Have you jumped on the fig train? Are you a plant person in general or no? I LOVE them and love having plants scattered throughout the house – they give it life! I’ve blogged about plants that are safe to have around cats (and easy to grow!) here and here

I think the key to most plants is the light – pay attention to what their needs are in that area and you’ll be good. Most of our plants I water every two weeks or so and they do wonderfully.

**See how to keep your fiddle leaf plants alive and well here!

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. I have had my ikea fig for about a year, i was worried for $13 it wouldnt last, but knock on wood it seems to be the only plant i can keep alive.. yours look amzing

  2. I've long admired the fiddle leaf fig tree, but since I haven't inherited my farmer-father's green thumb, I tend to stay away from indoor plants and only buy cut flowers from Trader Joes. I might just have to give it a try with such a great price at Ikea.

  3. Love mine as well! After a little trial and error I finally have healthy plants. I water and clean the leaves in the shower. The spray nozzle is great for removing dust.

  4. I got one (a small one like your small one) at Home Depot for $9.98! They had big ones for $20 something. I was a little concerned about it and our cat too but just like yours he doesn't touch it. I do keep a watch on him but so far he just loves the palms. I think cats like plants with "grass like" leaves.

  5. Yes, total plant person!! I have many in every room of my home - none of these kind though! Next IKEA trip for sure! And yes, just last night I dusted one of my kitchen plants, LOL. Happens often, especially with animals in the home, and everything gets a good scrub down when I repot in the spring :-).

  6. My cat also doesn't touch my Fiddle Leaf Figs, but looooves the palms.

    Did you prune to make yours branch or did you buy it more like a tree? I have two Home Depot FLFs, and they're pretty small now, but I want to be prepared for when they get to a size where I'd want to get them to branch. Do I encourage branching early or wait until it's closer to the desired height? Thanks!

    1. I bought that one more like a tree so I'm not sure! I would say start now and see what happens. Let me know how it goes!

  7. I got one at Home Depot this summer. It loved living on our back porch all summer. I worried when I brought it in, but I kept in on the same side of the house near a window and it is thriving. And yes, I dust the leaves too. My brother actually had a client of his years ago that made him clean all of her indoor plants occasionally with a rag dampened with milk of all things. It apparently made the leaves shiny. LOL

  8. I too have jumped on the Fiddle Leaf Fig bandwagon....I learned from my first plant at Ikea that it does not require much attention...I was over watering it...leaves falling off....So with a bit of neglect and sun...they are doing better! Love the walls in your room!

  9. I grew up washing plant leaves, so know the process. We didn't use mayo, but milk, for some reason. Maybe it's because we lived on a small dairy farm. :) Who knows? Your plant looks great, cat butt and all.

  10. Oh my gosh, I haven't heard "fiddle dee dee" in so long. My grandmother used to say it all the time as her "F" word. LOL. She was a very dear person to me and I have many fond memories of her and summers baking in the kitchen. Thank you so much for making me smile and bringing back memories this afternoon. Fiddle dee dee, I miss hearing her voice. :)

  11. I love the look of these plants and I know one would look lovely in my home. I got one from IKEA and, like you, immediately started killing it. Sadly, I never figured out exactly how much water/light it wanted and it is no more. I might try again if I find a good deal.

  12. My mother has had a fig tree, affectionately named “Sir Isaac Newton” (get it? fig? fig newton?) that has been around since I was a little kid- it’s gotta be at least 20 years old now. But she’s carted it around through 6 moves and good ol’ Sir Isaac keeps going strong. He’s huge now, but seriously, he’s like a member of the family. Don’t know what we’d do without him. ;-)

  13. Plant whore here. Rooms look naked without 'em. And I totally wash mine. I do the big leafed ones like you did, and smaller leafed ones, I stick in the sink and use the sprayer. I have yet to become a fiddle owner, though. I'm generally a solid five years behind the times.

  14. Love, love, love my figs!! Just another tip. First, tho, yes people do dust their plant leaves. The lady at the nursery told me that some of the dust on the leaves is probably chert from when they were hauled from Florida (I guess they are all grown there?). Anyway, the dust prevents the leaves from absorbing as much sunlight as possible which is so necessary, especially in winter. I have never heard of the mayo thing. There is a whole chat board with an expert on fiddles on Garden Web. If you have any questions, you can find anything you ever wanted to know about them on that site. Also, about anything house related (don't let the name fool you). I even found out how to paint my front door a high gloss black on that site. It's really a great source of information.

  15. That is too funny. I am also so behind on trends in fashion, decor, pretty much everything. I just claim to "stick with the classics" rather than following the trends. Makes me feel better. :) But I have two figs, also from Ikea. One is dying, the otter is thriving. I'm going to put it in the brightest window I can find and see if that helps!.

  16. I don't have a fiddle leaf fig but I have had ficus trees for years. A couple of times a year I set them outside during a steady rain. It cleans the leaves beautifully and also flushes out the minerals that build up in the soil. Of course it won't work if you don't have drainage holes in the bottom of your pot.

  17. I'd live a fiddle leaf fig for my dining room but haven't been able to find just the right size. Oh, and I think you are super trendy in your decorating.

  18. I've been dying for one of these, but I am worried my cats might eat it-- well, just one rascally cat in particular. Maybe if I can find one that cheap it'd be worth a try!! Also... one of my chores as a kid was to wipe down the spider plant leaves with a sponge every Saturday. My mom was a bit of a neat freak, but it's recommended to do that if you have people with allergies in your house :)

  19. How would you like to live where everything has dust like that on it every blasted day? Have never lived in such a blasted dusty dirty place in my life. I could dust all day and it's still dusty, arrrggghhh.
    Sure wish we have an IKEA close so I could get one of those fiddle leaf figs. Never heard of them until I read your blog. Gorgeous plants, love both versions. Will have to check Home Depot next spring see if they have any. I grow plants outside just fine but tend to forget plants in house. You've really got me interested and all your commenters really whet my interest for them. I've heard of washing leaves for long time but then I'm an old lady, (74). Enjoy your blog so much. You are one heck of a ball of energy with all you do. Happy weekend and season

  20. I have found that fiddle leaf figs are very easy to propagate using cuttings. My mom has one that is over 30 years old, and every time we move or a friend would like a fig we start a new one from it. If you're interested, search for "fiddle leaf fig cuttings"! It sure makes the price right!

  21. When I was in school for interior design, I had an instructor who said that she used Saturday mornings to "dust her plants." :-D Just letting you know -- you're not alone! Lol...

  22. I am a plant technician which means I take care of plants for a living. Fiddle Leaf figs have to have SUPER bright light or they will drop their leaves. They also are usually really root bound and need to be watered a lot! If you can give them bright light an lots of water they are very easy to care for. We always dust all of our plants. It is not just for looks.... dust build up reduces the amount of light that gets through and will eventually affect the health of the plant. Plants need light for photosynthesis and this is even more important when they are inside and usually getting less light than they would outside. We also use a spray wax called Pokon, just for plants, to give them a nice shine. This is just for looks, but it does make the plant look healthier. You sound like you have figured out how to take care of your plants, just like the professionals do!


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!