Hey Planty Pals! This month you received a Kokedama of a Ficus lyrata 'Bambino', along with a gorgeous print from local Brisbane artist Chloe and the Paper Pots. Chloe is a self-taught Australian artist who focuses on sustainability, promoting happiness, and spreading kindness. You can find her over on Instagram with her notably vibrant and exciting feed.
To help you enjoy your new plant even more, here is everything you need to know on how to help it feel good after postage and to help it thrive long term!
Ficus lyarata 'Bambino' have been a major "it plant" over the last few years. With beautiful dark green foliage and wide firm leaves it really does stand out. Commonly known as a "Fiddle Leaf Fig", however this one is a tiny bit different… The type you received this month is won't grow as huge as the ones you commonly see planted at your local shopping center with leaves the size of dinner plates, as it is essentially a miniature version, allowing it to stay in the kokedama longer!
These baby fiddles require a brightly lit indoor area, with minimal direct sun. If you notice the plant is leaning or stretching towards a window, shimmy it a little closer every few days until you notice the plant has settled in. This along with rotating the plant each time you soak it will keep it nice and happy. Keeping the plant in a bright well ventilated area is also ideal for any Kokedama, preventing any mould or funny smells.
Your kokedama will require water about once a week depending on lighting and a little less in the winter. A good way to tell is the moss will appear light in colour, and the plant will feel light to hold. If you are noticing the greenery of the plant is starting to droop, try increasing the frequency of watering the plant (unless you are suspicious of rot). You want to avoid the plant getting to the point of wilting as it is very stressful for the plant, finding a routine that works for your lighting, plants and routine is vital.
Water your kokedama by placing it in a bowl or a sink of water plant side up. Push down the kokedama for a few seconds till it is no longer floating and can evenly absorb the water. Allow to soak for at least 20 minutes or until it feels fully saturated. Remove the kokedama from the water and carefully squeeze the excess water from the plant. I like to sit my kokedama on cute little vintage dishes 1. because it's adorable and 2. because the plant can go back on display without having to wait for it to drain all day. I would recommend with all plants that you water in the morning or early in the day so that the plant has a full day of light to help absorb that water and make the most of its energy, this is also helpful if you tend to overwater as the plant won't be soaking in excess water overnight.
Unwanted pests can come and go with any indoor or outdoor plant, it is important to keep educated and prepared on what pests to expect and how to deal with them IF the time comes.
Figs may be vulnerable to a variety of pests, mealybugs and scale are the most common in my experience. It is important as with all plants to check out the tops and undersides of your leaves as well as the stems frequently, especially if you notice excessive drooping or yellowing of leaves.
Pests can be prevented by frequently cleaning dust and fertilizer build up on leaves with white oil or neem oil, both available at most local nurseries. However if you don’t see mealybugs or aphids until it's too late- isolate the plant, dab a bit of isopropyl alcohol on a q-tip, wipe off any bugs you can see with a wet cloth, and continue to do so over a few weeks until you are see no more. Keep in mind these bugs are totally harmless to your family and household, but have a quick result in plants.
Think you have a pest but don't know what it is or what to do? Email us a pic! (email@example.com). We love seeing how your plant babies are doing and want to do everything we can to help them live a long and happy life.
Kokedamas require a water soluble or concentrate fertilizer throughout the growing season especially. Measure the amount according to the directions add and add this to the water you will soak your plant in. It's always better to be a little light handed with plant food while you are first experimenting with it to avoid fertilizer burn.
As with all houseplants, yes you can propagate it! If you are not ready to commit to the big chop just one leaf is enough (perfect if you lost one or two in transit!). If you are in the beginning of your propagation journey I would recommend propagating with water as you can see fast results without having to invest in any propagation material. Ideally you would start propagating in the spring summer period, in a brightly lit indoor area with no direct sun.
Take a cutting of a leaf making sure to include some of the stem and allow just the stem section to sit in water. Make sure to keep the water topped up and to not let the leaf touch the water to avoid it rotting. After a few weeks depending on your conditions you should begin to see tiny baby roots. While these roots are still short, plant into a small pot with high quality well drained soil. As I said earlier these are beginners techniques. Propagation is one of my favourite pastimes. Look forward to seeing more in depth propagation methods posted in the future!
Sadly kokedamas will not last forever! If next growing season you notice your plant is struggling to stand upright or is showing signs of needing a re pot see our blog post on ‘How to Make a Kokedama (posted Thursday 23rd of January) Teaching you how to make one yourself from scratch and also how to revamp one that has grown out of its home.
Did I miss something? Feel free to contact us with any and all questions regarding the care of your kokedama at firstname.lastname@example.org