Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by a Fiddle Leaf Fig? How about a Calathea? How many of you have no freakin’ clue what I’m talking about? Last October I was gifted a Fiddle Leaf Fig by one of my best friends. I had just moved into to my new home and I knew I wanted plants. As most people who are sucked into the Pinterest vortex, I had saved a ton of ideas on furniture, rugs, organizational methods, and how to style corners of my home with….plants!
Of course on Pinterest everything looks simply amazing and effortless. Within a short period of time after getting the major items needed for my place, I knew it still needed plants. So, I dove right in. A fiddle leaf fig, cactus, different species of calatheas, snake plant, pothos, etc. I’m not sure what I was thinking, I had never owned plants, nevertheless cared and successfully grown plants indoors (or outdoors for that matter). How hard can it be? I thought.
Well.. with great sadness I’d like to report that Ruth, my Fiddle Leaf Fig, has completely died. May she rest in peace. She was a beauty. I watched in awe when she would grow a new leaf every month or so. It was truly fascinating. I was a proud plant mom. “I’m doing it. It’s not too bad, after all!” It was a feeling of excitement and accomplishment and then in what seemed like a blink of an eye, things took a turn. The bottom leaves began drooping. I read about it and figured, “it’s gonna be ok, it’s the older leaves, it’s normal.” I used all the positive self-talk, reframed my thoughts; I needed to convince myself that there was nothing to worry about. But then every week or so another one would turn brown. Before I knew it, I was hanging on to my last bit of hope, the last three leaves. They were still very green. Part of me was hopeful, part of me was very confused. Was it the weather change, too much water, an infection? Was I not there enough when it needed me? What the hell was it?!
It’s not surprising that my first choice for a plant ended up being the most complicated. It’s a true reflection of my personality. I don’t go for the easy and predictable, I pick the beautiful and challenging, as it seems to be my track record with relationships. It’s pretty frustrating when plants can’t talk and tell you what they need, even more so when it’s the people. Like plants, some people naturally do not ask for a lot of attention. Snake plants for instance, you can let them be for months, give them a little water and watch them as they detoxify your air. They don’t need much and give more than you believe in return. Calatheas on the other hand, much like fiddle leaf figs are gorgeous, yet they need the right environment to thrive. Lots of humidity, the right sunlight, the right touch. Love is like a calathea. You can’t simply get in a relationship and forget about it. You have to tend to it consistently. You need the right tools from the start. Failure to address the first signs of “droopage,” curling or browning of leaves, can result in complete loss.
The good news is that if you’re proactive enough, you do the research, the internal work, you prune the parts that are no good, so long as the root is intact and the soil is rich enough, there is still time for it to grow. It make takes weeks, months to see sign of new life, but like most good things in life, it always take time and most importantly you need to want to make it work. Geez…Whoever thought raising plants was easy, never raised plants.
Apparently there is still more that I’m yet to learn from my plants. Here’s hoping there’s still life after Ruth.