When he was in middle school and very enthused about the Harry Potter series, Max went through a Wiccan phase. He told me this casually one day early in our relationship, and it’s a fact I’ve never quite been able to shake. He was young and discovering himself and trying to figure out what future-grown-up-Max might look like and what such a man might do with his time and energy, and apparently one of those options involved the practice of witchcraft. I, myself, began wearing blue jeans around the same time, after wearing khakis for five years straight as part of my self-imposed uniform, so I guess I kind of understand what it’s like to reinvent yourself in such a drastic and fundamental way during those critical formative years.

Though, to my knowledge, it’s been at least several years since Max has cast any incantations or earnestly mixed himself up a potion, I wonder about it sometimes. By way of avoiding admitting my own flaws/weaknesses/shortcomings, for instance, it’s usually more practical to just privately decide that Max is casting spells. This explains why his desires come to pass in a seemingly passive, convenient sort of way. For example, about 9 months ago I wrote about a little drama unfolding in our apartment surrounding houseplants. To recap: Max hates houseplants. I, however, like houseplants because they are pleasant to look at and give the impression of nature without having to actually go outside. You might call me a houseplant advocate.

I had some plants—an Aralia and a Philodendron, specifically—which I showed proudly on the blog. Oh, were they nice. And then guess what happened.

A fucking witch got to them, that’s what.

Not even this one was spared. Obviously, a spell was cast and slowly but surely, despite all my very best efforts, Max’s determined will was made manifest by the tricky and fatal maneuvers of magic. I’m literally up against impossible odds, and to be honest, it’s frightening.

To be fair, the Philodendron didn’t completely die, because I think that’s next to impossible, but it got so straggly looking that I dragged it out to the fire escape, where it’s become progressively less and less attractive over the course of the summer.

But no matter about those small fries—there were better things on the horizon. I had been hinting for months that what I really wanted anyway was a BIG plant. A Fiddle Leaf Fig, specifically. These plants have been popular for forever, but I think only in the last couple years have they become a full-out raging botanical trend, and I wanted desperately to get in on the Fiddle club.

The Fiddle Leaf is not a plant for the faint of heart. It is potentially huge, and therefore commanding. It bespeaks a kind of permanence that my smaller plants didn’t: it’s easy enough to move a couple little pots to a new apartment, but moving a fucking tree is a serious hassle. Seeing as Max would never go for a plant so ballsy and conspicuous, I always regarded the Fiddle more as a powerful threat than an actual possibility. Don’t fuck with me or I swear to god, I will put a fucking tree in that corner. 

I don’t remember exactly when the pendulum swung, but at some point either before or directly after the inevitable purchase (which was eventually made out of passion, not rage), Max warmed inexplicably to the idea. If memory serves, it was when we brought the thing home and propped it up in the corner. “Oh,” Max said, “it’s so…glamorous.” And just like that, Max became a fan of at least one indoor plant, and my ability to predict his likes and dislikes reached a new level of ineptitude.

Right now it’s chilling in the living room corner by the newly-painted radiator, but I might move it around at some point. I couldn’t really love it more, what with its sexy green leaves and enormous scale, it makes a huge impact and is apparently something that both Max and I can rally around. I basically want it to GROW GROW GROW and totally take over the room, or at least come close to the ceiling. How glorious would THAT be?

Of course, the flip-side of loving something so delicate so much is the emotional toll of always worrying that it’s going to die.  This corner gets tons of natural light, which I’ve read is very good for fiddles, and I’ve been trying to water it enough but not too much, rotate it every so often, and generally pamper it to make it feel loved, wanted, and fully accepted. I think it’s doing well. Then again, I don’t actually know because it’s a plant and plants are mysterious and notoriously quiet when it comes to complaining.

But it seems happy? Sometimes it sheds leaves but other times it grows new ones? Fuck, it’s totally going to die, and along with it, my dreams.

Because it’s pretty large and is set to only get bigger, I heeded the advice of the woman who sold it to me and transferred it to an 18″-20″ diameter planter. When she recommended that, I just nodded, thinking sure, whatever lady, IKEA’s practically around the corner, not realizing that 18-20 inches is BIG. Bigger than anything IKEA sells. Home Depot, Lowes, the usual modern home-goods suspects like CB2 and West Elm—nobody had anything. I figured an outdoor planter would be my best option, but have you seen outdoor planters lately? They are all fucking hideous, not to mention expensive, which isn’t really a problem when you couldn’t pay me to put one in my house anyway.

But then, oh joyous day, I went to Target and this huge white vaguely-retro-looking planter was waiting for me! It looks convincingly like ceramic but is actually fiberglass, so it’s very lightweight, even when filled with 8,000 tiny bags of potting soil and a tree. It was also on sale, costing all of about $35 if I remember correctly. Which is good because the plant inside of it was not exactly a bargain. Stupid New York City garden center prices.

Please, please don’t die. I will be lost without you. Grow big and tall and strong, my beautiful Fiddle baby, and be not harmed by Max’s hocus-pocus shit.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 8.31.12

    Best post ever. I’m glad Max can hex you when needed.

    I want a fig tree AND a witch boyfriend.

    • 9.2.12
      Chris said:

      What she said.

  2. 8.31.12
    Ana said:

    I bloody LOVE it!

  3. 8.31.12
    SFT said:

    Wow, beautiful plant! I’m sad to report that my fiddle just died, I think because we didn’t provide for proper drainage in our pot, so the roots got soggy and rotted. Something to keep in mind.

    • 8.31.12

      I was going to comment on the drainage thing, too, but I didn’t want to be a spoilsport.

    • 8.31.12

      (Not that I’m calling you a spoilsport!)

    • 8.31.12
      SFT said:

      That’s alright, Anna. I’ll gladly accept the label if I can save just one of these beauties from a drainage-related demise.

  4. 8.31.12
    Mom said:

    Oh my goodness what did your readership do to warrant such a treat as two posting in such short order? Have you been holding back on us? I LOVE the tree and if you come visit you can take some other tree out of here, through the sun roof and back with you.

  5. 8.31.12
    kelly w said:

    Daniel’s mom FTW.

    PS, I have now been successfully growing three Christmas cactus plants for seven years. My expert plant advice: talk to them sweetly, pay attention to them. Give them water when they want it. They will thrive.

  6. 8.31.12

    Such a wonderful and hilarious post AND. THAT. PLANT. It is just SO gorgeous. I am very jealous, but considering I apparently love to kill succulants – which one would normally think to be a challenge – the hope for my very own fiddle may not be realized for quite some time.

    Also so happy to hear you found a plant that both you and Max can enjoy =) Make sure Max keeps his wands and spells at bay so that puppy can grow and grow.

    Congratulations fiddle-club-family!

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      I thought succulents were supposed to be hard because they need a lot of sunlight, no? They are so pretty though, I’m always so tempted to buy them!

    • 9.2.12

      It’s true – but it depends on which ones you are getting. They basically love sun and hate water, as much as they still need a little from time to time. I just can’t stop buying them so they are just all getting stuffed near my windows while the rest of my apartment remains un-green =( Similar to the concern some others have mentioned regarding your fiddle pot, succulents also really need drainage, otherwise they get funky fungus sometimes. This continues to apparently be my favorite method of plant-murder.

      I think I would still trade in all my cacti for a beautiful fiddle if it could work in my place, so until I move somewhere it can, I will live vicariously through you. May your fiddle grow healthy and long – and get HUGE.

  7. 8.31.12
    Jill said:

    I remember Max’s Wiccan phase! Oh the runes and spell books. Yeah…I had a Wiccan phase myself. Oh the Tarot cards and celebrating Yule. I similarly dropped this fun fact on my boyfriend, who finds it hilarious. Wicca4life Max.

  8. 8.31.12
    Heather said:

    House plants don’t like direct sun, so putting your philodendron outside may have contributed to its demise. But it was probably Max.

    I had someone offer me a mature fig a few years back but the weight of it and the pot scared me off (my house is old–what if it collapsed the floors?) and I have regretted it ever since. It looks awesome.

  9. 8.31.12
    Amanda said:

    I know next to nothing about plants and regularly kill mine, but you may want to move the tree once the radiators turn on this winter. I had a giant money tree next to my radiator and it got really dried out, brown, and generally unhappy looking.

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      Oh, yeah, I’ll definitely move it when the radiators turn on! It would also probably be good to get it a bit further from a window in the winter, since the windows are drafty and that corner will be cooooooold.

  10. 8.31.12
    Lisa said:

    “You might call me a houseplant advocate.” is quite possibly one of the greatest sentences ever written.

  11. 8.31.12
    Jaimie said:

    It’s so beautiful! I’m jealous. My house does not get much natural light, so the only plants I’ve managed to keep alive are golden pothos and something called a ZZ plant (which has lasted two years but is looking a little sad lately). Sticking them outside in indirect light for a day every week or two seems to help their longevity. I picked up a couple snake plants recently, hearing that, despite being marked as bright light, they can tolerate just about anything and live. I would love a giant fiddle leaf fig, but I know it would wither and die in my house.

  12. 8.31.12
    kmkat said:

    I second the advice about moving the plant away from the radiator. Green growing things do not care for heat sources so close. Otherwise, that is a wonderful place for the tree when the heat is not on. (Oh, and thanks for two posts in one week!)

  13. 8.31.12
    Krysta said:

    I used to be very firmly in the I-hate-houseplants camp. I think too many in one place starts to read granny for some reason. That, and I never could keep one alive. And then this year I’ve added some succulents to our home and managed to keep about 90% of them alive and well. And I very much so lone the look of that fiddle leaf plant- it really is quite glamorous!

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      Yeah, plants are tricky, certain types especially can go granny REAL fast, especially if the scale is small. I’m guilty of liking some granny plants (hello, philodendrons and mother-in-law tongues…), I guess it’s just about the pot, size, and placement. Mostly I guess I just like stuff that doesn’t die…

      Good for you for keeping the succulents alive! I really want a couple…sometimes I see them for a couple dollars, I should just go for it.

  14. 8.31.12
    sallysadie said:

    Where did you find the beautiful plant?

    I was too lazy to move my many houseplants and am now regretful and looking to acquire some new ones. Where is good to get them in Brooklyn or Manhattan if necessary? Do you trust bodega stock (or IKEA)? Do you buy from some specialty vendor?

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      I found it at the Chelsea Garden Center in Red Hook after shopping around at a few places in Brooklyn and trying to find a decent deal. All in all it was a good experience and the employees were great, and the plant was $125. That price seems completely standard for Brooklyn, although I keep hearing about people finding fiddles at Home Depot or IKEA for like $15-30, or nurseries outside of the city for $30-50, which is enraging! Definitely not in Brooklyn!

      I definitely trust bodega and IKEA plants, though! I’ve bought a few bodega plants and they’re always great…I’ve never bought a plant from IKEA (they never seem to have any species I like), but I know many people who have and they’re nice!

    • 9.2.12

      SallySadie – I am not sure about the IKEAs elsewhere but the IKEAs in Southern California always have a bunch of cacti/succulents and they have definitely lasted longer, look more beautiful, and were cheaper than a lot of the others I have gotten. Definitely trust IKEA if you can find what you are looking for.

    • 9.2.12
      Paolo said:

      Flower District in Midtown has them for 60 bucks for the big one. I just got one from Ikea in Long Island for 12 bucks. It is still small though.

      I also have an air plant that only requires watering once a week. I got it in Flower District for 8 bucks and it’s about a foot.

    • 9.3.12
      Daniel said:

      I need to hang around the flower district more!

    • 9.12.12
      Rebecca said:

      Just found your blog, love this post (followed from Keep Smiling fyi) – but as a Brooklyn native and avid houseplant keeper, if you have a car, you should hit the Canarsie Market. Its wholesale, but the public is welcome and I have the same fiddle that I got for $40 (when I bought it, it was roughly 5′). I highly recommend a hike out there! Rock on highly unpopular Brooklyn neighborhoods!

    • 9.13.12
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Rebecca!! That is fantastic information to know, seriously.

  15. 8.31.12
    Keith said:

    Gorgeous plant. Serious leaf-envy here. And I may have to stalk Target for that planter.

    Oh, and keep wearing those jeans, you rebel, you.

  16. 8.31.12
    Mariane said:

    It’s so big, you can now consider yourself a family of five…so how are you going to name it?
    P.S It look fabulous!

  17. 8.31.12

    I had one just like yours and ALL of the leaves fell off! out of sheer desperation I proceeded to water the shit out of it and new shoots came out and it’s thriving. I now have a couple of these guys and they drink LOTS of water (once a week). kind of impossible to over-water. i would lean in that direction. your place and the fiddle looks great!

  18. 8.31.12
    Ricardo said:

    WOW! I love your blog and fiddle leaf figs. I have one that is currently over six feet! Though it isn’t as glamorous as yours since it is a multi trunk variety. I got mine at Lowe’s and it was a little over a foot tall and $15. It had a major growth spurt after we moved it next to our southern facing sliding glass door. Judging by the light in the photo it will love its current location. I water mine about every week though it used two be almost every two weeks, but mine is just so big-sorry couldn’t resist. I read that you should water it when the top leaves begin to droop a little and I’ve followed that rule with success. You definitely need to address the drainage issue- I have mine in a cheap plastic pot that is inside a MCM Gainey style gray pot. Good Luck! Make sure you talk to it, I always tell mine how lovely it is as I clean its leaves.

  19. 8.31.12

    In one of the happiest days of my life I saw a craigslist posting for “tall tree/bush/plant.” It was a 6.5 foot Fiddle Leaf Fig tree for $60!!!!! Transporting it was hilarious because it was so big – my boyfriend and I put it in the backseat of his VW Bug convertible with the top down. It’s one of my favorite things ever and I’m always afraid I’m going to kill it. It was attacked by mealybugs recently and I almost died trying to get rid of them. Watch. Out. For. Mealybugs!

    Photos here if you’re curious! >

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      Amazing! I literally searched CL for two years waiting for one to pop up, but it never did! I never searched outside of “Fiddle leaf” though, maybe that was my problem! \

      I’ll keep an eye out for bugs, thanks!

  20. 8.31.12
    Colin said:

    I’m hopping on the drainage wagon. If you didn’t already put something on the bottom of the pot, I suggest chunks of styrofoam – it’ll help keep the weight down while giving excess water a place to collect. The roots will learn to grow down there and soak up the excess water when they need it.

    All the plants I’ve done this for thrived; the others are no longer with us, sadly. Good luck with the fiddle!

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      OKAY OKAY I’LL DRAIN!!! That’s pretty clever with the styrofoam. Hmmmm.

    • 9.1.12
      Colin said:

      Thanks! I picked it up from some blahgiddy blog comment section – I kept the packaging from my TV and broke it up into chunks.

  21. 8.31.12
    Kari said:

    I’m an amateur house plant person, but I have learned a few tricks along the way.

    1) touch the soil with your finger. If the soil doesn’t stick to your finger, water it. If the soil sticks, it’s still moist enough and doesn’t need watering yet. Come back in few days.

    2) If your apartment has A/C or the heat is on and the air is dry, a little mister bottle with water is great for giving the leaves a little humidity. If water droplets are pooling and dripping off, you’ve over-misted!

    3) Don’t feel bad if the plant doesn’t grow much right after re-potting. It’s using it’s energy to grow roots and you’ll see leaf growth soon enough.

    4) A little plant food like Miracle grow in the water every other week is a good idea, but make sure to give the plant a “rest” period (usually during the winter) without plant food.

    5) Check the underside of the leaves often for aphids or other bugs. They sometimes hitch a ride into your plant pot with the potting soil. A little dish soap and water in a spray bottle will usually take care of most pets.

    And yes, all plants need a name to be happy :) Good luck!

    p.s. love your new puppy!

    • 8.31.12
      Kari said:

      umm.. soap and water takes care of most PESTS. The key is it won’t harm your pets.

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Kari! These are helpful things to know. I was thinking about the Miracle Grow option, I’ll give it a try! And I need to be better about spritzing.

  22. 8.31.12
    lisa said:


  23. 8.31.12
    Jealous said:

    SO JEALOUS! Have been waging a tough pro fiddle leaf campaign for years. Alas, my significant other is not budging. I’ve steadily increase the amount of houseplants over the years and he’s warmed to them. One day, one day I’m just going to buy the damn thing and when he gets home he can haul it up the stairs! Also, where did you buys yours? I have only one nursery in the area that carries them but at $450 it’s never going to happen.

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      Chelsea Garden Center in Red Hook! It was $125, which I thought was a lot but seems totally standard in Brooklyn. $450 for a plant seems completely insane to me! Are they like 30 feet tall or something?

  24. 8.31.12

    I must confess, my Tommy is a bit Wiccan in his spare time and as the very vocal athiest that I am, I make fun of him every chance that I can get! I told him that the only spells I want him to cast in our home is the kind where large sums of money just appear out of nowhere, like say, behind the sofa! At any rate, I envy the natural light that you get in your beautiful apartment. Like Max, I hate plants. Shoot, if left to my own devices, I culdn’t keep a rock garden alive. At any rate, the plants that you do have are really beautiful and make great accents to your home as long as you can keep them alive! Absolutely keep them away from the radiator or they will shrivel up and die no matter how much water they get. Afterall, you know how hot NYC apartment heating can be, Amazon temperatures! On another note, Tommy got this crazy root/plant called the Resurrection Flower at the Renaissance Festival at Fort Tryon Park last year (contain your laughter please), the woman who sold it to us was most definitely Wiccan and I was most defintely not entertained by the “magical” tone in her voice but the plant is pretty damn cool! You just have this ball of roots sit in a small bowl of water and it it opens up into a green, leafy flower. If the water dries out, the plant closes and dries up but never dies. It can spring back into life the moment you put the bottom side back into water! Another option to keep in mind in case your house plants don’t make it through the winter!

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      “Tommy got this crazy root/plant called the Resurrection Flower at the Renaissance Festival…” OMG. I DIE.

      In all seriousness, though, that thing sounds crazy and amazing and freaky and I want one.

    • 9.1.12

      This is it, although the official name is Jericho Flowers but at least in the description, it says it’s also known as a Resurrection Flower! I guess I was listening to that white witch/Stevie Nicks knock-off when she tried selling it to us!

      I’m so tempted to click on the “Wiccan Clothing” category on this website but I just know it will infuriate me! I mean, why torture myself in the fashion department when Fashion’s Night Out is just around the corner! I’m still trying to recover from Lady Gaga on the cover of the September Issue of Vogue magazine, why inflict more pain on my eyes with Wiccan Wear?!

      Let me know what you think!

  25. 8.31.12
    Jo in NZ said:

    You were born to write. Please continue to write?
    Love the plant.

    *waves at Daniels’ awesome Mom*

  26. 8.31.12
    Jo in NZ said:

    Daniel’s. Ugh. Cat hit the “GO” button. Honest.

  27. 8.31.12
    Jamie B. said:

    I like a couple small houseplants around too and despaired that I’d failed to inherit my mother’s honest-to-frigging-god master gardener genes. But my apartment is north facing, ie. basically a lightless cave all winter, so I think even she’d have trouble here. They flourished in the one month I did get some early morning sun through my windows, so I feel vindicated and have resigned myself to the fact they’ll look like ass the rest of the year. tl;dr: I envy your natural light!

  28. 9.1.12
    bawkbawk said:

    Oh dear! I hope you have better fiddle leaf luck than I. Im generally pretty good at keeping plants alive but my fiddle leaf fig has been on the saddest decline since I got it 9 months ago. So big and beautiful in the beginning, but has not been reduced to literally FOUR LEAVES on some twigs. Im still holding out hope that as the weather warms (first day of spring here, today!) things will come good, but am almost ready to admit defeat.

  29. 9.1.12
    Mimi said:

    I’m sure your fiddle leaf fig will reach the ceiling in no time! Or 4 years, as it was with our fiddle leaf from IKEA. Here it is in 2008:
    4 years later it’s hitting the ceiling and still continues to grow vertically:
    I need to figure out how to make it branch out horizontally so that it’s more tree-like and less like… whatever it is now :P

    • 9.1.12
      Daniel said:

      Wow! Also, um, please may I move into your house? SWOON!

    • 9.2.12
      Mimi said:

      Yeah, we really lucked out in finding our house! We bought it from the original owner who built it in 1952 and NEVER REMODELED (except the kitchen in 1968 after a fire), so that means all original fixtures/finishes everywhere, yay! My only regret is that we didn’t know about the estate sale she had before putting the house on the market; our neighbors tell us she had a ton of super cool furniture, some of it custom made :(

    • 9.2.12
      Mimi said:

      Also, tell Max that NASA says you need at least 15 houseplants to improve indoor air quality!

    • 9.3.12
      Daniel said:

      That’s awesome, it looks amazing!

      I’ll pass that tidbit along to Max. He’ll be thrilled!

  30. 9.1.12
    Ann said:

    Beautiful plant! If you want to try a natural fertilizer that has really helped my plants and it also helps repel bugs- worm casting (poop). weird I know but it really works. I bought it online. Ikea sells great casters for plants, it makes moving them around much easier and it also helps protect your floors. Good luck.

  31. 9.1.12
    furpants said:

    Very funny post. Max could have been casting spells or just dumping drinks and toxic cleaners on the plants when you weren’t home. Either way, glad he came around to liking the fiddle.

    My philodendron likes a root pruning from time to time. I have to pull it out of the pot and prune away some roots. Then give it some fresh soil in it’s pot. I can pretty much cut it down to a stump on top and on roots if needed and it will grow again.

    I got that same exact pot from Target and planted a dwarf lime tree in mine. The pot has a drainage hole, you just have to set the pot up on something so air and water can circulate underneath. I used some of those sticky felt things you put on the feet of furniture. At some point I’ll pick up the plastic rings that are hidden under the pot but raise it up about 1/2″.

  32. 9.1.12
    Luna said:

    This was the funniest post I’ve read this week. You new tree looks gorgeous.

  33. 9.2.12
    Jessiejack said:

    Thanks for 2 posts in a week! Love your blog – What is the story of the self imposed uniforms?

  34. 9.2.12
    Elin said:

    Nice fiddle!

    Also obviously you have to pick plants that your Max will like. Something beautiful and cool. And possibly easy to keep alive/hard to kill. Also on drainage, here in sweden we have something called “lecakulor”. Not sure what they are called in english. But I always put lots of them in hte bottom and then have some mixed in with the soil aswell. They soak up the water and provide the plant with water over a long persiod of time without drowning them.

    I suggest Aloa Vera’s. Fabulous! I have several, that used to be just one. The motherplant is huge now and it keeps popping up new ones that I pull out and plant in new pots. I have to give some away since I dont have room for more.

    Also other succulents. They really aren’t hard to keep from dying. What I usually do with succulents is keep watch for the leaves to turn sorta wrinkly or soft. That means give them water. If you water them to ofter they will rot. Mine gets pretty much ignored and they grow like crazy because of my neglect. I have a really big Crassula that is full and luscious, completly covered in leaves instead of the ones you see everywhere with just a few leaves on long branches. Also a big Bumblebee tree that is so thick you can’t even stick your fingers between the leaves.

    Something nearly impossible to kill is Zamiakalla that you can basicly put in you closet and it will survive. Mine are so big and got so many leaves and branches they cover my bedroom window, thus letting me walk around naked without giving the neighbours a peep show. The plants thrives when I neglect them, sprouting off more and more stems making them thicker and thicker.

    So to recap my long and boring text.
    Lecaballs or whatever it’s called in english
    Aloa Vera
    Bumblebee trees
    Crassula trees

    If you want to see what my plants look like I can post a link.

  35. 9.3.12
    Charlene said:

    I had one of these Fiddle Leaf Fig trees when I was in college – rescued a dying one from a dept. store in my hometown for $2 (this was in 1989). All summer I kept it on the back porch in full sun, it loved it, grew a lot of new leaves and I named him (??) Figgy. Luckily I had a friend who was taking a horticulture class so she took figgy on as her semester project, where she found that Figgy had been root-bound.

    Figgy met a tragic end when someone stole him and left him outside in the middle of a blizzard (I took out an ad in the school paper, I was so distraught that someone would steal my tree!!). However, with good light, water and enough room for the root ball to grow – this tree did really well. Since you didn’t buy your tree from an Ames department store going out of business, I think yours is going to be just fine, it looks gorgeous!

    And as always – thank you for the hugely funny posts! Thanks to your last post, I’m going to the hardware store this morning for paint to FINALLY deal with painting my radiator and the heat poles in 3 rooms.

  36. 9.3.12
    J1C2 said:

    You’re a great and witty writer! Do you write for a profession?

    Love reading your blog.


    • 9.4.12
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! I’m currently a student, but I hope to someday!

  37. 9.3.12
    Elin said:

    Oh..I forgot to tell you.

    Figs are called “fikus” in swedish, and incidently it is also a slang word for a gay man. ^^

  38. 9.3.12
    Cynthia said:

    “But it seems happy? Sometimes it sheds leaves but other times it grows new ones? Fuck, it’s totally going to die, and along with it, my dreams.”

    This quote. This quote times 932742937. You made my day, Daniel Kanter. You really did.

  39. 9.5.12
    Taylor said:

    The Boston IKEA (Stoughton, MA) is selling fiddle leaf figs right now, and they’re $12.99. I bought two over the weekend. I have no idea what I’m doing in potting these guys, but I want to do it right. Is there anyone out there that can speak a little more about these drainage issues? Do I need planters that have a hole for drainage or do I just need enough soil (and a large enough planter) so the roots aren’t sitting in water at the bottom of the planter when the water settles? Someone needs to do a step-by-step tutorial on how to pot a FLF!! I’m talking type and size of planter, whether I need to go to UPS to buy some fucking styrofoam, how much soil, what type of soil, fertilizer or not, if so, what type of fertilizer, how and how often to water, how and how often to prune, ideal light conditions, ideal room temperature, whether these trees ever become climbable, etc. Daniel? Anyone? My empathies with the anxiety and paranoia.

    • 9.5.12
      bfish said:

      Replying only to your potting question — it’s advisable to not transplant a house plant from one pot to a much bigger pot. Sure the roots need room to grow but pot it up gradually as the plant gets bigger. I know this sounds like more work and more pot-buying but the plant will thank you. Also I vote with others on using pots and planters with drainage holes. Good luck!

      My husband loves outdoor gardening but he is no advocate for house plants — accordingly I’ve given up on them though may try to bring in one or two moderately sized ones when it gets cold.

    • 9.19.12
      Chelsea said:

      Read this posting on proper drainage for houseplants. (Read: Styrofoam isn’t the solution.)

  40. 9.7.12
    Madeleine said:
    • 9.7.12
      Daniel said:

      Trust, I’ve thought about it!

  41. 9.8.12
    kariane said:

    Beautiful! One more plant tip: with those big, wide leaves, you have to dust them. When they get dusty, the leaves can’t absorb the needed sunlight as well, the dust will actually act as a barrier! Crazy. Just take a damp rag and gentle wipe off each leaf… Once a month or so… Good luck. I hope this one is the game changer for you!

  42. 9.8.12
    frances said:

    i bought a fiddle leaf this week and i’ve named it daniel. i will be talking to it every day to keep it happy and healthy and i wanted you to know this so if your ears are ringing that’s why. can’t tell you enough how i love love love your writings! hi to max mekko and linus……all amazing.

  43. 9.25.12
    Jessica said:

    I had never heard of a fiddle leaf fig until you posted this, and then I was suddenly struck with the realization that I NEEDED one. With its giant leaves and potential to grow indefinitely, this could be the one and only plant to fit my giant loft with its west facing bank of windows and 20′ ceilings.

    So uh I kind of impulse bought one. It was $70 in New Jersey (for a 6′ plant in a 14″ container), but an 18″ terra cotta pot and saucer was another $70, and then a $25 delivery fee … Yeah.

    My boyfriend asked how much and I shamefacedly said $70. He acted shocked. Now I can never ‘fess up. :( I thought it was a bargain …

    I’m really hoping for a tree-like fig that grows up to the second set of windows (15+ feet) but it’s Day 2 and it has been dubbed the Little Shop of Horrors bush. We’ll see how it goes.

  44. 2.10.13
    sue may said:


    I’ve been reading your blog like forever. I am from Costa Rica, Central America and a month ago I got a fiddle (another one is waiting for me to be picked up from the nursery).

    I guess the type of climate we have here might be good for the tree. But I am freaking the fuck out with the caring for this little friend.

    I read that in order to know how many times you are suppose to water it you need to water and then wait until you’ll see the new growth starts to die.

    I did it and the new growth well completely died. So my guess is I have to water it every 4 to 5 days.

    I placed it in the middle of the house, there is a skylight there so it gets lots of natural filtered light during the day and no awful drafts.

    Can you provide an update on your experience. I love the way you write, it is more personal than going into the web and search for tips from people who write like robots or something.

    This is my fiddle:

    Sorry for the low quality pictures.

    • 2.11.13
      Daniel said:

      Oh, I’m not a plant expert by any means, it looks like you’re doing a great job of taking care of your fiddle! I think they are plants that thrive in warm weather, but mostly just good lighting conditions. I probably water mine about once a week (I let the soil completely dry to the touch before watering), and I think we’ve hit a good groove? It’s not dying yet, anyway. I think care instructions would vary a good deal by climate and other conditions, but so far so good! Yours looks very happy!!

  45. 2.20.13
    sue may said:

    Hello! Thank you for your quick response ^_^ I just wanted your input, I am a newbie as well.

    I was reading a very helpful column, apparently this guy tapla or tapia is somekind of awesome jedi mind expert.


  46. 3.6.13
    M.E. said:

    Dearest Daniel.

    Can you tell me how your FLF is doing these days? When you posted this (many moons ago, now) it was sitting between a radiator and a window. Has it been doing well there?

    I got one of these trees for xmas and I named him Ralph and he also sits by a radiator and a window and my BF thinks I am slowly murdering the plant. I am hoping to hear that yours is thriving and perfect and wants to sit right where it is pictured above…


    • 3.7.13
      Daniel said:

      Mine is fine, but our radiator is never on!! If it was, I don’t think it would be a good spot for a plant…

      Our landlords are cheap so our building basically has no heat. Downside, we are cold nearly always, but on the upside I can put plants wherever I want!