Yup, yup, after years of wearing a “brown thumb” badge of honor, I finally fell hard for gardening and house plants about a year ago. As a crazy plant lady, I do, of course, occasionally indulge in buying some new … Continue reading
It’s no secret that I have a serious love of the fiddle leaf fig plant – and quite unexpectedly for this life-long brown thumb, I have had a lot of success in growing them! This is a good sign for those of you who want a fiddle leaf fig of your own!
I started off with three plants that I bought. They have grown so much that I have been able to prune them (here are some tips on pruning), and I have propagated five new ones (here are some tips on propagation) off of those. I’m about to send one of the baby fiddle leaf figs off to a friend’s home, and I thought I would include a little card with some tips on caring for these special plants. I’m not having difficulty letting go, really…
Here’s the card I put together, and if you want this in a PDF format, this is the link: Caring for your Fiddle Leaf Fig.
So, I know I’m not the only one who loves the ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf fig. My post on how to propagate fiddle leaf fig plants from cuttings is by far one of the most popular topics on the blog!
It’s my second year of growing these magnificent plants, and I thought I’d try my hand at shaping one into a tree. The two most common shapes for fiddle leaf fig plants are a column, often planted in groups of twos or threes, and a tree shape. Even though they look very different, these two shapes are the same plant, and you can actually make a tree by carefully pruning and shaping your plant!
The best time to prune is spring or summer, when your plant is growing most actively.
Here is a tree-shaped fiddle leaf fig I bought from Sloat Garden Center about a year ago. It has grown three-to-four times in size, and I’ve pruned it several times already. As it grows, I study the shape and look to see where it may be getting lopsided. Then, I cut the branch including two-to-three leaves off of that area, and this encourages the plant to branch out in new directions. The more you cut, the more side branches the plant will grow.
Why? The plant hormones – auxins – that promote upward growth also inhibit branch growth. The auxins flow from the tip down, so when you cut off the tip, you lower the level of auxins, which allows branching. The more you cut, the lower the concentration of auxins, and the more branching you’ll get.
These are examples of a traditional column shape, and the one in front is actually a plant I propagated off of the one in back! I was able to cut off the tip of the column-shaped plant with just one leaf, and it grew back just one bud, keeping its vertical form without branching. The benefit of doing this, besides getting a new plant from your cutting (!), is that it slows down the vertical growth and lets the trunk get stronger.
Of course, you don’t have to be traditional! I bought this plant from Flowercraft last Mother’s Day, when it was just the lower section. It grew two side branches, and I just let it continue that way. I pruned one of the side branches once, so you can see there is yet another small branch coming off of it. This plant now has a very unique shape which I’ve grown to love.
Back to my latest fiddle leaf fig project! I had this smaller fiddle leaf fig plant that I actually purchased online, when I was eager to get my hands on one and was having trouble hunting one down at a nursery. It grew a bit slowly at first, but it did eventually take off, and now it is ready for an adventure!
How to shape your fiddle leaf fig plant into a tree:
- In spring or summer, cut off a large section from the top of the column. I cut off the top of the stem with six leaves, in two sections of three leaves, so I could root both of them into new plants. Make sure you have some rooting hormone on hand and read my other tips for propagating a new plant. The more you prune a plant, the more it will branch, and I was hoping to get about three side branches.
2. About a month later, I was rewarded with three new buds! Each of these will grow a new branch, and we’ll be on our way to a pretty new tree shape!
3. When it grows enough, I will start taking the leaves off the bottom section of the trunk. It is good to wait a while to do this, as each of those leaves is helping provide energy for the plant. I also have never been able to propagate a leaf without the stem section, though I think I might as well try when I cut those leaves. More to come!
I’ll keep updating this post with progress and tips, so come back and see how this beauty is doing!
Update at 1.5 months:
So, I have good news and bad news…. good news is that two of the buds have totally taken off into branches… bad news is the third bud hasn’t grown much. I’ll give it some more time, but I know that the plant hormones – auxins – that promote upward growth also inhibit branch growth, so I may try trimming the top of the new branches when they get mature, to try to allow that third little bud to grow.
Since I’ve become a crazy plant lady, I’m always looking for planters to hold my collection. Big plants like my fiddle leaf figs (see how to propagate them here) can get heavy, so I try to put them in plastic … Continue reading
Hello, Crazy Plant Lady here today!
- Wooden beams
- Curtain rods
- Wall brackets
I’ll give you those details and also include some more ambitious ideas that I still fantasize about!
One general tip is that I chose lighter weight planters. Some of my plants are hanging in my made-over yogurt containers, and others are in glass jars or vases, some painted with metallic spray paint.
I lucked out to have these beams running in our family room, so I screwed in coat hooks for my plants. Obviously, not every house has wooden beams, but if you do, this is easy, and to display more, you can screw in two hooks and run a rod between them.
Plants need light, so it makes sense to hang them in front of a window! It wouldn’t be the most convenient idea for curtains that you open and close often, but it’s great for windows where the curtains can stay open most of the time. I used shower curtain hooks to hang several plants this way. The rollers on the curtain hooks make it easy to move the plants, if you want to close the curtains.
I was honestly too nervous to hang plants from our ceilings. The house is about 90 years old, and the walls and ceilings are plaster and lathe. I had visions of the giant patches of plaster crumbling down on me, so I decided to use wall brackets. This method also gives you more flexibility about hanging heights.
These are the brackets I used. (The link is to Amazon, but they’re cheaper at IKEA, if you can get to a store).
If you’re feeling more courageous, here are some more ideas I’d like to try!
Hanging a ladder from the ceiling. This is just so peaceful and gorgeous!
A large branch displaying multiple hangers. I love all the colors and designs!
Photo: Emily Katz of Modern Macrame
How about a cool metal pipe or rod to display your plants?! A sleek look, and you could do it from a wall, if your ceilings are unreliable, like mine.
Photo: Cote Maison
Thanks for coming with me into the world of macrame and plants. I am clearly a little obsessed. I’ve got more new ideas coming up to share with you soon(ish)!
“At first I was afraid… I was petrified…” and now I’m totally obsessed with macrame! With apologies to Gloria Gaynor… once you learn a few basic knots, there are so many possible macrame projects!
You might remember that for my first plant hanger, I used heavy rope and simple overhand knots. I added gathering knots in colored yarn. For my next projects, I learned the square knot and added some beads.
This project uses some silver-colored beads, and the hanger is formed with short stretches of three square knots. I used sport weight cotton yarn (similar to this yarn) which I already had. The advantage is that it’s thin enough to thread the beads onto, but the result is quite thin, so it will be best for a smaller plant.
This next project uses some braided candle wick. It lies flat, which makes the square knots much easier and neater. I did two longer stretches of square knots at the top and then shorter stretches to form the hanger. The twine is heavier than the cotton yarn, and I really like how it lies flat. I’ll definitely be doing more projects with this string!
By the way, you may have noticed the same (fake) plant in both these hangers. We’re on vacation in Toronto, and I ended up buying a “plant model” to help with my projects. 😂
Next macrame projects coming up: wave knots, colored string, and dip-dyeing (I think I will save that for when I get home…)! I always need to have a project to work on, and this has turned out to be a great one for traveling, because it is so compact. Hope you will give it a try.
Everything old is new again! I’m visiting my dad and fantasizing about magically unearthing some old macrame projects from the 70s. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hand at making some plant hangers. This macrame obsession pairs perfectly with my newfound love of plants!
Tying knots in string shouldn’t be that complicated, but I was nervous getting started, so I chose the simplest project I could. Using some heavy cotton rope leftover from hanging a birthday piñata, I based my plant hanger off of these instructions.
Because the rope was so thick, I chose to use a gathering knot in blue cotton yarn rather than tie a heavy knot with the rope at the top and bottom.
Being a busy mom, the first chance I had to work on this project was on a plane! Luckily, the tab that holds up the tray table works perfectly for attaching the loop at the top;)
And here’s how it looks planted with Golden Pothos.
Stay groovy and green!
Don’t say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! After years of joking about my “brown thumb,” I’m getting really excited about gardening and plants. It’s so rewarding to watch things grow, not to mention how plants freshen up any space both visually and literally.
I’m growing all kinds of plants, but one of my greatest loves is the Ficus Lyrata, the fiddle leaf fig. I’ve heard that some people have found these at big box hardware stores, but I had no luck. I ended up buying one online (really!) but eventually acquired two more at local nurseries Sloat Garden Center and Flowercraft. The one I got online is fine, but the ones from the nursery are much bigger, so I’d definitely recommend looking around locally, if you can.
After just a few months, two of my trees needed trimming already, so I decided to try to propagate new plants from the cuttings. I have done this several times now, so I have updated this post with all the tips – get it? tips!
When and where to propagate?
- Plants grow fastest in spring and summer, so you’ll have the best success between March and September
- For more tips on when and how to prune your tree, check out this post
- Place your cuttings in a bright location, to help them grow, but avoid direct sun that could scorch the leaves. The cuttings are more delicate than an established plant
What type of cutting can you propagate?
- Using a clean knife or scissors, take a cutting that includes a section of stem and one to three leaves. If you want to trim more than three leaves, separate the cutting, so each section has no more than three. A bigger cutting can’t get enough water to survive while it’s forming new roots
- If you cut the tip of a branch, which includes a bud, the cutting will continue to grow from the bud
- If you cut a section of stem from the middle of a branch, a new bud will form on the side of the stem and will grow upwards
- I have heard lore of being able to propagate a leaf without a stem section, but the one I tried did not work. I will probably try again, but I don’t have first-hand experience seeing this work.
What supplies do you need?
- You can place your cutting in water, soil, or an inert medium like vermiculite. The bottom tip of the cutting needs to stay very moist, which is easy in water. If you use soil or vermiculite, wrap the container in plastic wrap to keep moisture in and check it every few days, adding water when it starts drying out
- I applied rooting hormone to the bottom end of the cutting to help encourage new root growth. Apply this just once. If you over-use the rooting hormone, it actually hardens the tip and makes it more difficult for roots to grow – yes, I learned the hard way!
Here are some pictures to show what you can expect over time:
You may see some new roots around this time!
And your original plant should be growing a new bud (or two, or three) where you took the cutting:
You can see more robust root growth taking off!
Exciting news! The single top leaf has grown so many roots that I transferred it to a pot today!
Crazy! This is where I cut off three leaves from the top of a plant. It went from buds to tons of new branches and leaves in just one week. So exciting!
This was the stem with a single leaf. It now has three new leaves and a promising looking bud pushing out the top. Yay!
If you take a cutting from the center section of a stem, with no bud attached, it may take even longer for a new bud to form, but it can definitely work!
For real! The plant in front was a section of stem with a single leaf off the top of the plant in back. It grew like gangbusters!
Thanks for reading and please share your questions and tips!