Yes, things are so boring around here I am taking photos of leaves. Really? Well, my life is pretty boring and low key. I do enjoy the green that surrounds my Florida home. On close inspection there are many types of things growing in the jungle. I am amazed by big leaves.
Inside the House
The Fiddleleaf Fig tree has added new leaves since I last purchased it last January (2019). I’d never grown a fig before, but had wanted one for ages. I will say that they are super easy to grow. I thought this new leaf emerging was quite interesting.
Around the Yard – Elephant Ears
Elephant ears are some of the largest leaves you will find. They die back in winter months but come back strong in summer. I did not plant these, they are growing along the edge of the yard in a lot.
At one time the palmetto palm was everywhere. It doesn’t seem to be so common these days as this palm is apparently considered too ugly to keep in a landscape.
Builders come in and wipe out all traces of native vegetation, build a house, and plant new vegetation. The local plants don’t count here.
These photos came from the land next to my house lot. As of this writing, the land has not been bought and cleared for a home, but I expect it to happen. These big old palm trees will most likely be ripped out, along with everything else.
Two years ago I planted a little hibiscus plant out behind my house. It grew quickly and flowers all the time with double flowers. Double flowers means each bloom is more ruffled looking with layers of petals as opposed to flat, 5-petaled flowers.
Hibiscus grow very well here in Florida, and this past winter was quite mild without any overnight temperatures dropping below freezing. At least not where I live. I never had to cover any plants and everything looks great. The chances of having a freezing night now are slim, so it’s safe to cut back outdoor plants that need it.
My bougainvillea is just a baby, but it is already reaching over the fence into the front yard. Last year this plant was nearly dead after the cold winter and I thought it was hopeless. Then little green sprouts began to appear at ground level and it continued to grow. You can see a picture of it on this blog post with photos I took last January. It looked dead. Not only did it survive, it went nuts this year!
Some of the branches were growing awkwardly toward the house, so I trimmed them up and took the flowers inside. They did well in a vase of water until day three, when the flowers began to fall off and make a mess. Bougainvillea is not a long-term bouquet flower.
This vining plant is gown in many yards around Florida. It can be huge and looks beautiful draped over a fence or along a wall. I love my light pink flowers, but the deep red is stunning and it comes in many other colors, like orange and yellow.
My bougainvillea is in a semi-shaded location, but they do like lots of sun and will have more flowers. They can be trimmed at any time and this is the first year mine has been so tall and had so many flowers so I’m not sure how long the flowers will last. They don’t need a lot of water either, which is nice. They won’t droop and wilt. But do be careful if the weather turns cold because they don’t like cold temperatures.
A few nights this winter the temperatures dropped close to freezing and the only plants I covered outdoors were the crotons in the big pot out front. They were newly planted to replace the beautiful big croton that died in 2018 due to the cold.
This year was so mild, that everything is still big and green. I recently cut back my orange hibiscus which was nearly touching the roof of the house! When nothing freezes back, the plants have a head start in Spring.
It is January, and the weather has cooled off nicely here in central Florida. The windows are open, and it’s a pleasure to be outdoors. Finally I wanted to shop for plants because walking through the nursery was fun!
Christmas spending is over and I decided to add a few essential plants to my home. I traveled to Lindley’s Garden Center in New Smyrna and bought a little Staghorn Fern which is hanging under the Brazilian pepper trees in my backyard.
For inside the house I added a little thyme plant to the kitchen windowsill – a necessity for cooking – and a Fiddleleaf Fig tree to the dining room. Yes, I have a Fig Tree! I have wanted one for a very long time, and finally splurged on this beauty. Now I need to find a suitable decorative pot to complete the look. I’m in the process of finding the perfect pot.
If this fig tree looks familiar, I wouldn’t be surprised. It is used often as backdrop greenery for commercials, tv shows, and movies. You can hardly watch any show or read any magazine without seeing one somewhere in the background. If you are a fan of the Fixer Upper show, Joanna uses them often when decorating finished homes. The gorgeous fiddle-shaped leaves grow in bunches from a straight trunk to create a tall, textured green space. Various size trees can be grouped together to make a big accent area, but single trees are enough to decorate any room with interest. They can grow tall without being overwhelming, and the combination of stalks and fat leaves is such fun. Smaller trees can even go on countertops or tables. If my house was larger, I would have many of these trees scattered about. As it is, I could barely find room for just one.
At Lindley’s I paid $39.50 for this tree which is about 4 feet tall. Mind you the pot is nothing special. To get it home I set it on the floor of the passenger side of my Subaru and tilted it back toward the seat. I did have to grab the pot as I went around corners as it wanted to roll, but no leaves broke off- phew. I got it home safely and am so pleased to finally have this tree to enjoy.
How to Care For the Fiddle-leaf Fig Tree
After a day or two I took the tree outside and sprayed it down with the hose. I added a little fish fertilizer and watered it good. I am lucky to live in a tropical location because these trees love sunlight (filtered, not direct) and warmth (with humidity thrown in). Because of this, I have a good chance of keeping this tree happy and healthy. I can give it some playtime outside now and then, which I do with all my houseplants.
I’m not sure how well a Fiddleleaf Fig would fare in a northern climate, but the HGTV website has some advice for those of you who would like to try to grow one.
Fig Tree Artwork
One afternoon I decided to draw the fig tree. After I finished the drawing I uploaded it and used Pixelmater to remove the background and add color. Then I played around with the image and used it to create artwork for sale in my Zazzle store, Clara’s Desk. Below is the poster I made.