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You Can Do Better Than a Fiddle Leaf Fig

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Last week, the New York Times reported on how the fiddle leaf fig—a glossy-leafed, non-fruit bearing evergreen that can grow to 40 feet in its native West African conditions—has become ubiquitous as a houseplant (it only grows to be more like 5 to 10 feet in an apartment). So frequently is the fiddle leaf requested by the clients of interior designers these days, the Times dubbed it this year's "'it' plant of the design world."

A small fiddle leaf fig.
A small fiddle leaf fig. Photo by Flickr

No matter where you live, it's hard not to notice the traction the fiddle leaf is getting—in nurseries, storefronts, and the homes of your friends. I suppose that's what makes it a trend, but I personally find the obsession a bit much. The fiddle leaf is a beautiful plant, but it's hardly subtle and has, in my opinion, the distinct effect of making every apartment, no matter the style, looking somewhat similar to the last. (Plus, being so in vogue, they're getting pricier and pricier.)

5 No-Kill House Plants for Any Home
5 No-Kill House Plants for Any Home

And as the Times reported, they're also finicky to care for—which made me think that it might be time to consider some alternatives, lest we forget they exist. Beloved for ease of care, reliability, or simply their ability to make a statement, here are 7 other (interior designer- and plant lover-approved) houseplants you might consider when the fiddle leaf fig trend starts wearing you out.

Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)

"They are WAY easier to care for than fiddle leaf figs but have big 'statement-y' leaves that I think are very beautiful." —Justina Blakeney, interior designer and blogger at The Jungalow

Our office's rubber tree, making an appearance in a few shots. Photos by Bobbi Lin


"I LOVE yucca." —Brad Sherman, B. Sherman Workshop and designer of the Food52 offices



"We've cycled through a pretty large number of houseplants in our house, but without a doubt the hardiest among them—and my personal favorite—has been the humble Plectranthus. The variegated leaves of the Plectranthus are light and bright and the plant arcs and sweeps dramatically as it grows. I find that even when they look nice in photographs, a lot of houseplants can be a little dark and imposing to live with. A Plectranthus always looks cheery! It enjoys regular watering, moderate sun, and a good repot every year or so. Bonus: It smells good when you clip dead leaves!" —Erin Boyle, blogger at Reading My Tea Leaves and author of the new book, Simple Matters

Erin's Plectranthus as a wee lad (left), and after growing up a bit (right). Photos by Erin Boyl, Stephania Stanley

Splitleaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa)

"Monstera has a vaguely tropical, bright-green leaf that's a bit wild, and the plant itself grows to a nice large size (like fiddle leaf)." —Whitney Parris-Lamb, interior designer at Jesse Parris-Lamb

"I LOVE philodendrons—that genus includes the Monstera, which is having a real Instagram moment right now." —Caroline Lange, Assistant Editor at Food52 and our resident houseplant expert

Misting. So much growth since I got it in January. 💕🌿 #monstera

A photo posted by Caroline One (@onex8) on


"I also love Oxalis. The delicate triangular purple leaves really stand out among more common green leafed houseplants." —Whitney Parris-Lamb

Parlor Palm (Neanthe Bella)

"Easy, doesn't need direct sunlight, and can handle neglect!" —my mom, source of 90% of my gardening and interior design inspiration

• obsessed w/ my parlor palm | spent the afternoon singing to it • 🌴 #parlorpalm #fanniebay

A photo posted by lucy graney | FANNIE BAY • NT (@lucygraney) on

Elephant Ears (Alocasia 'Regal Shields')

I think I'm going to get one—so sculptural and tropical!" —Connie Migliazzo, landscape architect

Are you all about the fiddle leaf fig or a little bit over it like me? Share your favorite houseplants of the moment in the comments.

Tags: houseplants, fiddle leaf fig