Yesterday I noticed that my Fiddle Leaf Fig was growing two new leaves—only the third and fourth in nearly a year. No matter what I do—I even shake it—it just rarely seems to grow. Last year the only way I got two new leaves was by removing two tiny ones from the bottom of the plant.
So, I got very particular about how much water it was getting by using a water meter. And now I have two leaves growing. To say I'm thrilled is an understatement.
Most plant parents can relate to this feeling because no matter how experienced they may be with plant care, they probably have at least one high-maintenance plant. It’s that one plant that takes a lot of time to care for, it’s always top of mind, and when it starts showing signs of growth it's the best feeling ever.
We spoke with five plant influencers to find which plant in their collection is the most high maintenance.
01 of 05
Philodendron White Princess
Who: Manna from @one.node
"She’s really a drama queen, but in all fairness I did not give her a good start as she was purchased last April from an international seller," Manna said.
"I was a new plant collector back then. She was beautiful when she arrived, but I did not give her time to acclimate, potted her up right away in the wrong soil, and over fertilized thinking it’s spring so why not!” I think we’ve all been there…
”Soon after, she started struggling with droopy leaves. My attempt at saving her was changing the medium to moss and putting her inside a homemade terrarium,” Manna said.
When that didn’t work she put it in LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) which seemed to work for a little while.
“Eventually, it was changed into Lechuza Pon and the self-watering pot. The PWP loved it. After all the babies grow from the bottom nodes, it was cut to propagate/grow on its own...The one white princess grew it into many. The variegation is just about perfect and it’s a much stronger plant today...If I had to do it again, I’d buy five of her instead of just one.” Manna said.
02 of 05
Who: Ariel from @growingngrowing
“My most challenging plant, and by far the most high maintenance, is my calathea medallion. I've had this plant since the start of the new year, and while it's not my first rodeo with these plants, it's still been a rollercoaster of a journey with this calathea," Ariel said.
"To keep this beauty in mint condition, I keep her right by my humidifier, set between 50-60%, and away from cold drafts. Unfortunately, due to her dramatic nature, I'm down quite a few leaves and have been reviving her—I'm currently filming a timelapse of her newest leaf unfurling.
"That's what I love about needy and overdramatic plants. When they come bouncing back, it feels amazing, and reminds me that the best things in life take time to grow—and a lot of nurture. This is the one plant I check on almost every day, and it's well worth the effort to keep those leaves in tip-top shape.”
03 of 05
Ficus triangularis variegata
Who: Charmaine of @unplantparenthood
“It is by far the most dramatic in terms of leaf drop when moved to different environments, and basically will not live in temperatures cooler than 21C [degrees Celsius or 69.8 Fahrenheit] and humidity under 80% in my care.
"I do have a few of these and it's always a hit or miss with getting one that won't give you any fuss, but I would say of all my plants, it's definitely the one I'm still stumped trying to understand fully. I got my first ficus triangularis about 6 months ago and have acquired a few more since then, and while one or two of them have been pretty stable, the rest have gone through stages of shedding and regrowth almost constantly. I don't regret having it though as I find them to be so beautiful and unique, and part of the fun in this hobby is really learning how to nurture the individual needs of every plant through trial and error.”
04 of 05
Begonia Maculata Wightii
Who: Pooja from @poojasplants
“...Although it is currently thriving. It seems to be one of those plants that can either be really easy or really hard to care for," said Pooja. "I've seen people fall on one of the two ends of the spectrum. It really goes to show how conditions in homes make a difference when growing plants!
"I've had a really hard time with this plant because leaves continually crisped and died over the last growth cycle, all the time. Nothing I did seemed to help. And weirdly enough, in the current growth cycle, things seem completely fine and I haven't changed a thing! Bright indirect light, 60% humidity, and fairly moist soil at all times is what it seems to be liking!
"I've had this plant for slightly over a year and a half now. I call it my little phoenix because it was basically down to a little stump last growing season and is fairly lush now! It was totally worth all the stress it caused me because the foliage is so stunning. The polka dots make it really attractive and the red backs add a perfect pop of color!”Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Anthurium Warocqueanum or Queen Anthurium
Who: Jacquelyn from @littlenorthplants finds her most high maintenance plant to be here Anthurium Warocqueanum, or Queen Anthurium that she’s had for almost a year. “I consider it high maintenance because it reacts so much to any change in its environment. For example, when I brought it home, it had different lighting and humidity levels to where it was previously growing, so it decided to drop all of its leaves and I was left with a little stump and a huge root ball. It eventually grew one new leaf, and then another, which was super exciting but then I forgot to water it one week and one of the leaves is turning yellow and will probably drop off soon, so I'll be left with one leaf.
99% of my other plants might get a little droopy if I miss a watering, but they'll bounce back quickly after getting a drink and you'd never know anything was wrong, but my queen anthurium is definitely more vocal,” she told me. Still, she doesn’t have any plant regrets, “I definitely think it's worth having despite all the work! It's so easy to lose leaves, so it's extremely rewarding and exciting when I see a new leaf coming in. I've heard that if your queen anthurium holds on to 3 or more leaves, you're doing a good job, so it's almost like a challenge to care for it as best I can to get to that point!”