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Fiddle Fever: Meet The Fiddle Leaf Fig

Posted by The Sill on

THE PLANT 

The Fiddle Leaf Fig, or Ficus lyrata, is a species of fig tree native to western Africa that is most at home in lowland tropical rain forests. In its native habitat, it can grow over 40 feet tall and produce green figs. However, indoor fiddles are significantly smaller, grow slower, and do not produce fruit.

The leaves of a Fiddle Leaf Fig can vary in shape, but are often broad, and leathery in texture, with prominent veins and a vibrant green hue. Their silhouette usually resembles that of a fiddle - hence the name.

THE MOVEMENT

Whether you're a plant lover or not - chances are, you've been seeing fiddles everywhere recently. Fiddle fever seems to coincide with the popularity of online social platforms, like Pinterest and Tumblr, and the rise of home and design blogging. Our hunch is the trend was sparked aspirational image sharing.

A little background: Pinterest soft-launched in 2010 or 2011, but it really didn’t take off till 2012. Its peak as a trending search on Google was in February of 2012. This coincides with the sudden appearance of fiddles, and a handful of other popular plants like miniature succulents and odd-looking cacti, on just about every design-focused blog.

From 2012 to 2013, designers, bloggers, DIY-ers…everyone had fiddle fever. Some tastemakers even called it that! Since then, the fiddle has only become more and more popular - and more accessible, which has directly contributed to the growth of its popularity even more so. For example, IKEA has been selling them since around 2010, but they saw an influx of fiddles sales within the past two years. 

THE IMAGES

It is the aspirational images, prior to 2012, of stunning 6 foot fiddles in gorgeous homes in the glossy pages of magazines like ELLE Decor, that made their way to Pinterest and consequently jumped started the fiddle movement.

In particular – the dramatic fiddle in the living room of Laurie and Adam Herz’s Hollywood Hills home by interior decorator was Peter Dunham in Elle Décor; the two statuesque fiddles flanking the paintings in Claiborne Swanson Frank’s Manhattan apartment’s dining room, also in Elle Décor; a large, wild fiddle in front of the fireplace in Anna Burke’s West Village apartment in Lonny Magazine; and the matching large fiddles in bright orange planters in Jonathan Adler’s dining area in his NY apartment in Elle Décor France.

And thanks to technology, those images really started to circulate - more so than print circulation - and bloggers started to share these aspirational images, but also how accessible these plants are, and how easy they are to care for. Fiddles now make regular appearances in popular home décor catalogs (IKEA, West Elm, Jonathan Adler), blogs (Door Sixteen, Apartment Therapy, DesignLoveFest, Gardenista), and magazines (Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, Lonny, Dwell)…just to name a few! 

THE CARE

If you're lucky enough to have the space and the sunlight, then a fiddle makes for a striking houseplant. It is one of the easier ficus plants to care for - making it an excellent choice, even for beginners. Make sure to place it in a spot that receives bright, indirect light and the warmth of the sun.. Usually by a south or west facing window.

Be aware that fiddles can be finicky when placed in a new environment. When stressed, their leaves tend to brown and drop off. Make sure to give it time to acclimate to its new home before sounding the alarm. Keep it far away from drafts or heat sources, as it likes its environment to stay consistent in temperature and humidity. And note, it can be toxic if ingested (it probably won't kill your furry friend, but it will irritate their stomach and cause them to throw up - at which point, they'll then leave it alone). 

COMMON TROUBLESHOOTING  

  • Leaf crinkling, loss, and rot ---> Overwatered 
  • Surface burns, leaf loss ---> Extreme heat or direct sun 
  • Leaves overly soft and flexible ---> Under-watered 
  • Brown disc-shaped spots under leaves ---> Scale 

 

P.S. Looking for a Fiddle Leaf Fig to call your own? If you're in NYC - you're in luck! 

 

  


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