Why experts say the Monstera is the fiddle-leaf fig of 2018

Photo: Luisa Brimble

Photo: Luisa Brimble

Ubiquitous in magazine pages and the homes of flora fanatics everywhere, the fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) was arguably the “it” plant of 2017.

Named for the shape of its distinctive leathery dark green leaves, the plant remains a popular option, however we think it’s time to turn over a new leaf and find out what the experts think is the most fashionable foliage of 2018.

Enter: the Monstera deliciosa.

“Bringing plants into a space is a relatively inexpensive, easy change that can make a space feel brighter and more cheerful,” says Claire Greenhill, a landscape architect, designer and plant expert for Perth-based plant consultants and concept store Stackwood. Greenhill recommends indoor plants based on “beauty, impact, hardiness and the ability to survive a variety of conditions”, and is full of praise for the Monstera deliciosa.

“Beautiful, big, hole-y, shiny, green leaves with a spreading trailing habit, this is a real feature plant,” she says. “It does grow quite large but pruning can maintain the size of this plant providing the owner with cuttings that are super easy to propagate in water.”

Another top contender is the Ficus elastica, otherwise known as the rubber tree, a relative of the fiddle-leaf fig.

“The rubber tree is a beautiful tree with large leathery leaves and glossy new growth,” Greenhill says. “I love the cultivars with deep red to almost black foliage often sold as ‘Rubra’ or ‘Burgundy’ as they add contrast to plant groups where green abounds.”

 

Claire Greenhill \ Stackwood. Photo: Bowong

Claire Greenhill \ Stackwood. Photo: Bowong

 

“There’s a global trend for organic-ness,” says Richard Misso, creative director of interior design firm the Stylesmiths.

“People are moving away from things that are just shiny and new, and plants can really anchor a space and make it feel cosy and warm.”

For Misso, when it comes to what’s on-trend, it’s all about the 1970s.

“The 1970s are back in fashion in a major way, from high-waisted pants to oversized handbags and platforms,” he says. Indoor plants, it turns out, are no exception.

“Monsteras were the plant of the 1970s, they’re indoor and outdoor, and the bigger the leaf the better,” he says.

“So if you really want flexibility I think you can’t go past the Monstera.”

Misso also affirms the rise of the rubber tree, as well as a move towards hanging gardens and ferns.

Lauren Camilleri loves indoor plants. A lot. The owner of Sydney-based plant and design store Domus Botanica, she also runs a boutique plant delivery service, Leaf Supply, and recently co-wrote a book on indoor plants with business partner Sophia Kaplan. “I love the way plants can soften a space and bring some much needed life,” Camilleri says.

“I’m a big fan of lush foliage. The big graphic leaves of Monstera deliciosa, the trailing variegated foliage of devil’s ivy, basically almost anything that creates serious jungle vibes.”

For Camilleri, it’s easy to understand why the Monstera is in such high demand at the moment.

“It’s a designer’s dream with those graphic holes and stunning heart-shaped foliage,” she says.

“It was the plant that got me hooked on indoor gardening way back when. They make a really great statement or feature plant and are super low-maintenance (unlike the fickle fiddle-leaf).”

“There’s a real trend for the plants that were big in the 1970s and the Monstera definitely fits the bill.”

“As a bit of a plant obsessive, I collect different varieties of Monstera, and all of them are such beautiful home plants,” says Bayden Packwood Hine, co-owner of Melbourne-based terrarium and plant supply store Plant by Packwood.

“I love indoor plant classics like Monstera deliciosa and ‘devil’s ivy’ because they’re lush and green and easy to care for. They’re popular for a reason,” he says.

 

 

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