Gardeners' World: How to care for houseplants

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Fiddle-leaf fig plants, also called Ficus lyrata, is a species of flowering plant that’s native to western Africa. The plant is usually found in lowland tropical rainforest and can grow up to 12 to 15 metres tall. The houseplant has become very popular in the UK due to its large, green leaves and aesthetic.

However, they can actually be quite “fussy” and a challenge to new houseplant owners.

They don’t like draughts, wet soil, dry soil, too much sun, not enough sun or dry air.

But if they are looked after correctly, they can “take off”, as plant expert Silver Spence discovered with her own fiddle-leaf fig.

The CEO of independent houseplant site Friends or Friends told said she experimented with her plant to figure out where its sweet spot was.

She said: “I’ve been experimenting with my fiddle leaf fig plant that I bought around five or six years ago.

“I put it outside in the summer to see if it could take as much sun as the ones in California – which is where I’m from.

“It was not at all the same. My one from the UK started to drop a bunch of leaves and it wasn’t liking life.

“Then I put it in a bathroom I have with a skylight on top – I’d say with medium light – but it was really warm.

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“It started to take off. Now, I’ve left it in the cold after summer and it’s still doing really well.

“It goes to show, you have to know or do a bit of research and find out where your plant came from.”

Silver explained that a lot of houseplants are used to cooler conditions despite their native countries.

This is because most of them are from Europe.

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She continued: “Most of the plants we have in the UK come from the EU so you’ll get a lot of houseplants that are used to the cold.

“They will go as cold as 9C steadily but that’s not a good idea because you won’t know how to treat it and think it’s dying.”

Silver added: “They’re really fussy!”

Fiddle-leaf figs can be challenging but when they’re happy, they thrive.

Some plants can even grow as large as ceilings if they’re encouraged to.

If you find your fiddle-leaf fig is looking a bit dead, then you can actually chop the top of the trunk off.

These trees will sprout back from the trunk if you cut them back.

The plant will then new leaves and become bushier.

Friends or Friends is The UK’s number one destination for baby plants.

They’re a small independent company bringing affordable houseplants to your doorstep – because plants are friends.

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