giorge thomas

Turning my fiddle leaf fig into a tree!

So here’s a little video for you on creating branches on my fiddle leaf fig…

 

I didn’t know a syngonium was a syngonium. They were just these odd mottled plants my mum had. She’d cut them at the stalks and put them in a vase, and there they’d live forever more.

So when I looked for greenery to compliment my new home, I took cuttings from my mothers plant and stuck them in old wine bottles, hoping that I would, perhaps, get a good few months out of them before having to replace with new cuttings.

 

Not so. These plants seemed indestructible. Not only did they survive in their water homes, but they flourished, unfurling new leaves and growing in a curved vine which made my home look like an interior design masterpiece.

And then I got into plants. I got a fiddle leaf fig because I fancied a tree in my home. Waiting for this little guy to grow, I bought more and more plants to fill the void before becoming a bone fide plant nutter, turning to Instagram for inspiration. For someone who doesn’t enjoy the art of the selfie, plant photos are my jam.

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Which is when I discovered that these nameless plants which I have neglected since welcoming them into my home are the fancy of all plantgrammers.

‘Syngonium, syngonium, syngonium. Look st my syngonium!’ Ah ha! Not only do these plants have a name, but they are famous! And I have several…

So I decided, in my wisdom, that I would plant one of my rooted beauties into soil where it would no doubt flourish so I could join the masses on Instagram by sharing the delights of this fabled plants.

Alas, the fucker died. Died! I mean, all I did  was give this plant what it naturally desires – earth – and the bastard had the audacity to go and die on me! What an ungrateful bastard.

And yet, despite my previous contentment of having these plants in water for a number of years, I now desire above everything else (apart from acquiring a Hoya Mathilde, that is) to have a syngonium survive a potted life.

Is this too much to ask?

Probably.

 

I could, of course, just go and buy one which is already established in soil, but that feels a little defeatist if you ask me. And I’m not about all of that. I mean, I’m the chick who persevered with African Violets for TWENTY years before finding success – I’m just hoping I don’t have to wait another twenty for my syngonium.

So, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you will have noticed a change to my content.

A dramatic change.

Yes, that’s right, I’ve gone plant crazy.

Not quite sure what has happened. Actually, I am. It’s the obsessive gene. The addictive gene. I’ve got it.

There’s no grey with me. There’s love, and there’s hate. And when I love something, I love it hard.

Super hard.

When we got our new house a couple of years ago, I was suddenly presented with a beautiful, light space where I knew plants would thrive. Finally, I had a home I was proud of, not embarrassed of, and spaces in which I could swing more than one cat. Which turned out to be fortunate, given, at the time, I had two of them.

(Sadly, Penelope didn’t last the year in her new home, but her older sister, Martini, is still going strong and is looking forward to her 20th birthday this July).

So I wanted things to be pretty. I’m not great at interior design — I’m not my sister — but I like things to feel homely and have a pleasant feel about them. I’m somewhat eclectic in my design, I guess, or, if I want to be truthful, I’m making do with hand-me-down and old furniture, including a couch which threatens to stab Mr Thomas with a wayward spring every time he sits down on it.

Our front room has a wall of windows looking west and is filled with the most incredible light for all of the day. I knew it would be the perfect place for a Ficus Lyrata and loved the look of these tree-like specimens ever since I saw one in Carol’s apartment on The Real Housewives of New York.

Alas, back then, the good old Fiddle Leaf Fig wasn’t as popular as it is today, so were still pretty pricey. Given a tree-sized Ficus cost around $800, it was a no-go for me at the time, and Mr Thomas sated my desires by buying me a little lad for me to nurture.

So I had this fiddle leaf, and that was kind of it, really. But then, because I have this wonderfully rustic dining table, I wanted to dress it up with fresh flowers. Well, fresh flowers are expensive, especially if you’re buying them every week. So, instead, I purchased an orchid. I figured these guys would last a lot longer than cut flowers, and I’ll have a month of colour before having to buy a new plant.

Somehow, though, I managed to not kill the orchid. I watched some Youtube videos, and gained a few insights on how to look after these guys. At the end of the season, I cut off the bare flower stems of the orchid, and left it in the front room. I didn’t think much of it, until, several months later, I noticed a new flower stem peeking through.

What? Had I really managed to get an orchid a flower with no trouble at all?

Ah, yes!

Suddenly, I was awash with plant confidence. I needed more.

See, when I was a kid, I loved plants. I’ve always loved plants. Growing up, I made myself a little garden on the side of the house, using plants I’d steal from Mum’s garden beds. I’d have to be clever about things so she wouldn’t notice so I learnt how to seperate roots and plants and propagate to bump up my garden and not ruin hers.

That’s always been my relationship with plants. Up until recently, I would hardly buy any plants. I would take cuttings from friends and family, give propagation a go and wait and see what the results would be.

And I’ve realised, this whole plant thing is all about my innate need to nurture. I take things, I feed them, I make them grow, and I love watching them flourish.

As someone who suffers terribly from anxiety, I can’t describe the calmness that plants bring me. Just looking at them makes me happy.

Which is probably why I have amassed such a collection of indoor plants. Not to a Summer Rayne Oaks level. I think Mr Thomas would divorce me if I introduced 500 plants to our house, together with a chicken. But, you know, plants are now a thing for me.

And I was thinking — well, I love writing, and I love plants. So why not write about plants?

So I’m starting a new segment here on giorgethomas.com — Giorge Love Plants.

Not a fan of plants? I’m so sorry. But, with all my obsessions, I need to see this through.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you, as well as sharing all my wonderful plants!

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