Easier Care “Figs”

20170819_084050Okay, first let’s get something out of the way: the darling of the designer world, the fiddle leaf fig, (ficus lyrata) is not easy care. In fact, after looking up care in several reputable places, mine is going to hit the compost heap because it is clear that my cold and drafty New England house is completely unsuitable for it. My bad.

In addition to liking temperatures well above the 62 degrees that we keep our winter temperature heated house at, it needs nearly perfect watering (the famous “not too wet and not too dry”). That never happens with me and 150-180 plants at a time. It’s survival of the fittest and it’s clear that this plant isn’t fit–at least for my home.  I’m sorry I have brought this plant in, only to kill it off. But, live and learn.

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Something that is much easier care is the rubber plant or tree (ficus elastica). These once came only in green but they now come in several variations like my ‘variegata.’ There’s also a variety with a dark leaves called ‘burgundy’ which is very pretty.  These are so hardy and nearly impossible to kill–the Spoiler’s plant once survived a break in at his office in February which left it exposed to freezing temperatures for hours. It’s now almost 60 years old!

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The mistletoe fig  (ficus deltoides) is similarly carefree. With enough light, this plant will actually produce small, edible figs (but I mean small–the size of peas or so!). And talk about adaptable! This plant will take sun or shade and will adapt to very dry conditions. This is clearly the perfect plant for my neglectful home!

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And finally, there is the creeping fig, ficus pumila. This plant is actually grown outdoors in warmer climates and some states consider it an aggressive pest. Hard to think of a fig as aggressive, isn’t it?

It comes in both green and variegated varieties and makes a nice trailing plant for containers. It can also be trained as a topiary.

That concludes our tour through the world of figs as house plants. With any luck, one of these will suit your needs and become a beloved part of your home.

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