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My sweet neighbor Randi bought a beautiful Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) about a month ago. She recently noticed spots on some of the leaves, and asked me for help.

Here’s what one of leaves looks like:

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I’m not terribly familiar with her tree. I like how Fiddle Leaf Figs look. I like how they make a corner pop. But I’ve never grown one. Never even cared for one during 14 years of caring for interior plants.

There is a ton of conflicting information on the Web, so I’m hoping that with your help, we can clarify the problem and subsequent solution.

I look at a leaf with spots like that and my gut says, that’s not a water issue. If it was overwatered, the brown spots would most likely be around the edges of the leaf, not in the middle. If it was underwatered, the whole leaf would turn brown. They’re not bruises – those would be more obvious (leaves can get damaged, for example, from the car-ride home from the nursery).

What do you think? Do you have experience with these types of trees? If so, please leave a comment, and I’ll pass your knowledge along to Randi. Thank you!

 

After the recent U.S. Presidential election, I vented about my sadness (which still hasn’t faded to this day) and promised to share more advice from our beloved Expert Dottie Correll. Because she’s awesome. And she’s 90 – she’s lived through a lot of shit.

I started this blog in 2009, so it was already after Barack Obama won his historic first-term. It was before I started the “Ask the Experts” column every Friday, so I don’t have written evidence of any of their opinions.

But I did ask them what they thought after the 2012 re-election of President Obama. I enjoyed Dottie’s answer quite a bit – it reflects her passion for this country.

(For the full Experts panel, with each of their unique takes on the question, you can access the the original post here.)

Here’s how it went down with Dottie.

I asked:

Q. Everyone’s minds are on the Presidential election next week. Would you please share with us what you’d like to see in America’s future?

Dottie’s response:

dottie_jpg3

A. In my 87 years of traveling around this fascinating globe of ours, I’ve witnessed ups and downs, recessions and repressions and I’ve never found another country finer, more able to meet and cope with the challenges or ultimately more agreeable than the good old USA.  In spite of all the “ugly warts” and “hogknobs”, the USA always comes through!  When asked about the future of our country, what you see here is an eternal optimist and positive thinker.  An example I heard today:  Governor Christie and President Obama together discussed and put into action the help appropriate for the state of New Jersey to commence a speedy recovery from the devastation of “Hurricane Sandy”!  That’s a big beginning of the kind of cooperation we need to get this country back on the right track.

I saw it in action, when I have been a part of the recovery of many disasters the past 40+ years as a volunteer disaster casework supervisor with the American Red Cross—most especially in NEW YORK at “9/11”.

I spent a large part of my childhood growing up in the worst depression the country has ever known.

When the chips are down, and push comes to shove, Americans pull together and get the job done!  Check the history – We may make many goofs along the way, but we hang in there until we get it right!

I see a tough road ahead, but one the USA can travel with grit and determination and succeed.

That’s America!   The American way!  God Bless the USA!

Thanks Dottie! I needed that.

 

 

Life in the low desert.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Thunbergia flowers in January

Patio flowers in January.

Look at these adorable pots I scored as a Christmas present from Mom:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, new plants for the new year

I love them! She got them from Chive.com. They have lots of beautiful gifts.

I also got some cuttings from Mom’s plants, so yesterday I finally potted them. I’m very happy with the outcome.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, new plants for the new year

Here they are in their new home, in front of an east window:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, new plants for the new year

Thanks, Mom!

Heyyyy, look who decided to bloom on Christmas Eve:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Christmas Eve Thunbergia bloom

Phoenix is weird.

I don’t think I’m going to regret harvesting the last of the basil and parsley today.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, final herb harvest of 2016

Phoenix is COLD!!!! Like, ridiculously cold even if I am a big baby about the cold now.

I don’t know what my garden will look like come morning, so I’m glad I heard the freeze warning on the radio on my way home from work. Now on to bigger decisions – pesto? Caprese salad?

For those days in between when your farmers’ market flowers have died and your next opportunity to replace them, a nice green bouquet can work wonders to fill the gap:

Good To Grow, Liza's plants, green bouquets

Good To Grow, Liza's plants, green bouquets

Plus, they’re rooting, so there’s that bonus as well.

Bouquets feed the soul. No one ever said they had to be flower bouquets.

It feels satisfying to follow a post about a 90-year-old with a post about infants.

Meet my new Filius Blue pepper plant sprouts:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Filius Blue Pepper Plants

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Filius Blue Pepper Plants

I’m excited to see these little guys grow, but don’t tell anyone – they’re going to be Christmas presents in a few months.

I recently got the seeds from my good friend Jenn Daniel. A few years ago, she gave me a tiny plant, which turned into this:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Filius Blue Pepper Plants

Pretty, right?

Don’t let that pretty purple color fool you – those peppers are hot! But if you leave them on the plant long enough to turn bright red, they will be much milder.

It’s a very cool pepper plant. I’m so glad Jenn sent me more seeds so I can share the love! Thanks lady!

 

The Saguaro cacti at the Desert Botanical Garden are blooming!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, blooming Saguaro

So cool!

A couple of months ago, I carved out an area of the back yard for a flower garden, and planted lots of seeds, mostly different varieties of Zinnias. I carefully planted one little portion with Cosmos seeds only.

I waited a couple weeks, and nada. No sprouts.

So then I pulled out all the seeds I’d collected the last couple of years in Albuquerque – my Penstemon, Agastache, Gaillardia and Hollyhock seeds, and more. I threw them all into the bed together willy nilly.

A couple of weeks later, still nothing. (Except for the Cosmos portion of the bed – lots of encouraging sprouts there.)

Then I decided to pick up a few seed packets – Portulaca, more Zinnias, some wildflower mixes. Planted ’em all with no thought to straight rows or neat little bunches of flowers. I stood over the main portion of the bed and scattered them with wild abandonment like I had beforehand. I felt like the wind. Or a flock of birds.

A couple of weeks later, the Cosmos portion was thriving, but the rest of the bed was disappointing. A handful of sprouts that I could identify as Zinnias, a stray Cosmos sprout or two. But pretty much nothing else.

Then last week, it rained – poured – for nearly two days in a row. I should mention, the bed isn’t on drip irrigation, but I was very good about keeping it moist so the seeds could germinate.

But I had nothing on the rain.

Suddenly, I had dots of green galore. Yay!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, flower sprouts galore

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, flower sprouts galore

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, flower sprouts galore

My takeaway here isn’t that I should’ve been more diligent about planting in an orderly fashion. It wasn’t that I’m going to need to thin those when they get a little bigger. And it wasn’t that perhaps I should’ve exercised more patience from the beginning.

Nope. None of the above.

My takeaway from this is that I love rain in the desert.

One thing I don’t like about the desert? The spring winds. I thought I’d escaped the ones that hit New Mexico by living in the low valley of Arizona. But I was wrong. A few days after the rain, we had 45-50 mph gusts of wind for a whole weekend.

Which brings me to another first in the garden: First major cleanup of spring.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, backyard cleanup

(I know, this doesn’t look too bad, but it’s only the tiny area by my back door. The entire back yard is littered with leaves and trash. Also, to my amusement, the welcome mat by the front door somehow ended up in the back yard. Not sure if it flew over the apartment or went through a series of turns and flights.)

 

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.

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