Fiddling With Fiddle Plants

October 22, 2020


Do you own a fiddle plant?

I know fiddle plants (fiddle-leaf fig trees) are the trendy, tropical rainforest interior decorating thing these days and I have to say their large green leaves are appealing. Needless to say I eventually succumbed to the trend, more from curiosity than anything else and have not turned back.

From the beginning I refused to pay the exorbitant prices that seem to dominate all stores, even at my local Bunnings they weren’t cheap. What is it about the cost of fiddle plants?  

Finally, about three years ago, I found an established plant for $50 on my Local Market Place Facebook page. The plant was about 75cm high, extremely healthy and had been well cared for. This pot would have been at least 30-50% more in a retail store and it was good value for money as I had been looking around for a while.  I realise in hindsight the seller had already been down the path I was about to take, and why she sold them.

Ms Fiddle and Me

Anyway, I love my plant and speak to Ms Fiddle every morning when I open the blinds and greet a new day. I tell her how gorgeous she is and my reward has been witnessing intermittent sprouts of tiny baby leaves. They give me such joy as do many simple things in life. Only once have I needed to repot Ms Fiddle and she has always been low maintenance.

But when my favourite buddy outgrew me, while our bond was as strong as ever, I was in an awkward position of what to do next. I had to do something, Ms Fiddle had reached her glass ceiling and there was no alternative suitable location in my townhouse for her to successfully develop. 

The word was, you couldn’t propagate fig trees but being the person I am, curiosity got the better of me and within a few minutes on Google and YouTube, I soon discovered it was purely a myth. I could feel the weight lift off my shoulders and the refreshing light illuminated my excitement.

I was about to test my learnings and asked Ms Fiddle if she would make the ultimate sacrifice and allow me to cut a piece from the top of her trunk, albeit a little disconcerting at the time. I made no promises but assured her I had the best of intentions and she could retain her present location with, hopefully, a new companion.  

We achieved mutual gratification. Since her first sacrifice Ms Fiddle has already resprouted from her trunk, and gifted further stems from her top and sides. I categorically declare you can propagate fiddle plants and Ms Fiddle has many companions.

Tips that are good to know 

So far my successes have been from cutting (a slanted cut) a stem around 10 – 15cm long with a leaf or two attached, placed in a jar of water. The exciting part is when you see the roots begin to sprout.

I read somewhere that rooted leaves without a stem don’t produce a tree (makes sense) but again I am investigating this myself. I have placed more than one individual leaf in water, planted the rooted ones and will monitor the outcome.

It’s true, Ms Fiddle does not like her soil too wet, nor too dry, prefers the filtered sun through my window, dislikes drafts, does not like being outside in Queensland’s sun (I almost lost one of my new plants when I left it outside for a day), prefers moist/humid air and is happy when I wipe the odd bit of dust from her leaves from time to time. I rotate her regularly to ensure all sides of her leaves have an opportunity to gaze outside into the sunlight.

For all the lucky owners of fiddle plants, you must at least give it a try. Cut off a stem with leaves on it, place in a jar of water and watch the dawning of new life. Propagating fiddles is easy and fun.

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