Department stores can be a tough place for a plant. Most stores are filled with fluorescent lighting, and the windows are often blocked by racks of clothes or shelves of merchandise. But there are a few plants that can survive—and even thrive—in these conditions.
Can a Fiddle Leaf Fig Grow Without Light?
A fiddle leaf fig can grow without light, but it will not thrive unless provided a substantial amount of artificial light. Most fiddle leaf figs need at least 6-8 hours of indirect sunlight each day to stay healthy, and seeing as it can be difficult to meet those requirements in a department store, most stores that keep plants alive have some tricks they use to keep their plants happy.
How Do Department Stores Keep Their FLF’s Alive?
There are a few things department stores use to keep their Fiddle Leaf Figs alive, even when they have them in the middle of their floor where the tree can’t possibly get any natural light.
Fluorescent lights are typically the only lighting option used by larger department stores, and although they’re not the top choice for anyone’s interior decorating design, they are actually the perfect light for plants that require medium to low light conditions. So having a Fiddle Leaf Fig inside a store that has plenty of fluorescent lights is actually an excellent place for a fiddle!
The secret to success when it comes to using fluorescent lights to grow plants is the specific light waves that this light emits. Fluorescent lights emit blue light waves, which is perfect for plants with a lot of foliage and not so much flowering.
Plant Care Companies
Many stores choose to rent their plants from a company, and they usually find great success in keeping fresh greenery in the store without worrying too much about keeping one plant alive. These plant care companies generally bring one plant or tree to the store, come back to care for it (watering and fertilizing), and then take the plant back to their nursery after a couple of months and let it recover from the low-light condition if it’s needed.
The company will usually provide the department store with a second plant after removing the first one and care for it in the same way until it’s time to switch the plant out again. This rotation can go on for as long as the store wants live plants.
The fiddle leaf fig is a low-maintenance plant
Overall, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is one of the hardiest indoor trees you can have. Having a resilient plant is the easiest way to keep greenery in the store, so when a store wants live plants, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is often one of the most popular choices.
The fiddle leaf fig is a low-maintenance plant that does not require a lot of light to survive. It can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions, from full sun to low light. This makes it an ideal plant for a department store with no natural light.
How to care for a fiddle leaf fig
These plants are native to tropical areas of western Africa. In their natural habitat, they grow beneath the canopy of taller trees, which means they can thrive with only filtered sunlight. So when caring for a Fiddle Leaf Fig, attempting to mimic the plant’s natural environment will give your plant the best chance at survival.
Sunlight and Position
If you live in a home or apartment with limited natural light, placing your fiddle-leaf fig near a north-facing window is ideal. You can always place it in a room with fluorescent lighting like department stores do, although natural filtered sunlight would be best for it.
Ideally, you should place your FLF in a spot that receives at least 4 hours of indirect sunlight every day, or up to 12 hours of artificial light. Just be careful not to install any artificial light too close to your tree.
When watering your tree, err on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering. These plants are drought-tolerant and don’t like soggy soil, so allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Tropical areas typically get consistent moisture, but not always a lot of it at once, so keeping your tree’s soil semi-moist will keep it happy. Using a moisture meter can easily take all the guesswork out of when to water your FLF.
Fertilize your fiddle-leaf fig every other month with a balanced liquid fertilizer designed for indoor plants. You can also choose to use our Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food that is designed to be given every time you water your tree.
Department stores are not typically known for being hospitable environments for plants, but the fiddle leaf fig is an exception. This hardy plant can thrive in a department store with little to no natural light.
So next time you’re in your local department store, keep an eye out for a Fiddle tree and take a closer look to see if it’s real.
Here are some of our most popular resources on fiddle leaf fig care to help you grow the happiest, healthiest, and most beautiful fiddle possible!
The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert eBook
Free Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Webinar