I’ve been getting a lot of questions about plant care, and while I’m no expert and have killed my fair share of plants (just ask my husband), I did manage to keep quite a few alive. I’ve read a lot of articles and advice that has helped me, so I definitely want to pass along what I’ve learned.
First, I want to talk about the ever-so-tricky Fiddle Leaf Fig. I absolutely love this plant and event though originally I only wanted it because of it’s popularity, it’s really quite pretty (even my husband agrees). I did a lot of research before buying mine, but a lot of the things I do to take care of it are pretty much what I personally feel works. I think every house is different (lighting, sun exposure, heat/cool air) so it’s important to take a few weeks to figure out what your Fiddle Leaf Fig likes and how to achieve that in your house.
Fiddle Leaf Figs are tropical, so trying to recreate their natural environment is key. Just don’t go crazy, you don’t want to turn your house into a hot jungle, plus the plant is adaptable so you can slowly get it used to your house by just giving it a little of what it needs. Tropical plants like a lot of sun and a warn environment, so the first thing is placing it somewhere where it gets plenty of sun (next to a window that’s not west facing is ideal). While doing my research, I found out that a West facing window, which gets the most heat, is generally not a good place because it gets too much direct sunlight and the leaves start to turn brown. In it’s natural habitat, there is also a lot of shade from other trees, so the sun is not super direct. If you want to place it where it faces the west window there are 2 ways to make it happy, not putting it right next to the window but still facing it, or having some shade outside that blocks some of the sun. I have 2 fiddle leaf figs that are right in front of a West facing window (in different rooms) and I have no shade in the backyard to protect them from too much sun, so I’ve come up with another way to make it work. We put film over our windows that provides a ton of shade, it was pretty inexpensive at Lowe’s and it also helps with making the house cooler so we don’t have to set our A/C very low. My bedroom windows don’t have the film yet, so what I do is close the blinds halfway to create a little shade.
Now that we have the sun part covered, let’s talk about watering. There’s only one rule and it’s the most important, drainage is key. For me, the best way to water it, is to basically give it a good shower. I put it in the bathtub and run water over the soil for a few minutes turning it to make sure the soil really gets soaked. Then I let it sit there for a little while and let the water drain from the pot (make sure you have enough holes for drainage in your pot, I just keep mine in the store bought one). After you think it’s drained pretty good, just put it back in the nice pot or basket that you keep it in. If you’re not sure on how good it drained, just check the pot or basket that it’s sitting in to see if there’s water on the bottom. It’s normal to have it pretty wet with just a tad of water, but if you have a lot definitely get rid of it and drain it better next time. Since one of my Fiddle Leaf Figs is in a basket, I have a plastic tray inside to catch water so my basket and floors are protected.
I haven’t re-potted mine, because I’m waiting until next Spring to do that. When I do re-pot it I’ll just make sure I have a bigger pot with a lot of drainage holes just like the one it came in so I can keep the same routine. And that’s about it for the Fiddle Leaf Figs.
I also have a lot of succulents and a few cacti, which I tend to water at different times depending on size. The really tiny ones that I’ve propagated from leaves, I water once a week since they have very small roots. For the older ones, the general rule is to water a couple times a months in the summer and about once a month in the winter. That’s it, don’t water more than that. Sunlight is also important and I follow the same rules as with fiddle leaf figs, a lot of sunshine, but the direct West sun is too much. When re-potting succulents also remember that drainage is key. I have drainage holes on all my pots as well as a good amount of gravel inside under the soil that really helps with drainage as well. If your succulent died, you probably overwatered it or it sat in too much water because it didn’t get proper drainage. For more information on caring for succulents you can visit Retro Den’s Succulent Guide, they have additional guides for planting succulents as well as caring for air plants.
When it comes to air plants and Spanish Moss, I water them once or twice a week. I either run them under the faucet so they get really soaked or fill a bowl or the sink with water and leave them in for a few minutes to an hour. Then I lay them on a paper towel until they’re almost or completely dry and put them back where I keep them. And again, if you need more information visit Retro Den’s Air Plant Guide.
I do have a couple of Avocado plants that I propagated from seeds, and I found them to be a bit tricky. The leaves turn brown and fall of if the plant doesn’t get proper care. I’m slowly bringing my older one back to health after it had lost all it’s leaves and started to rot at the top. I cut the rotted part off and eventually the new leaves started to grow. After doing a bit of research, it turned out the problem was the water I was using. When your tap water has too much salt, it causes what’s called a Salinity Burn on the plant. I’m not sure about the water in our new house, but I’m not taking a chance with tap water anymore. My second, younger avocado is looking healthy (no brown leaves) since I took proper care of it. As far as watering schedules and amounts go, I stick to a similar routine as with fiddle leaf figs. It’s good to give them plenty of water once a week, but drain really well, since they don’t like to sit in water.
As for all the other plants, I generally just stick to watering once a week and they’re doing great. I have them in pots with good drainage and just take them to my kitchen sink and run some water through them, then let drain pretty good before putting back. I also make sure my blinds are open for most of the day so all plants get plenty of light. I do try to keep them somewhat shaded though, especially the ferns and ivy which like shade.
I hope this post helps you guys care for your plants better, and if you have any additional questions feel free to contact me on social media (or text me if you have my number) and I’ll be happy to answer them!