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After moving into a new home I had visions of the perfect furniture and accessories gracing every corner of the little bungalow. Rugs, pillows, and tapestries couldn’t be collected fast enough, while larger items like couches, tables, consoles, and chairs sat anxiously in online shopping carts. One of the major items I knew would be needed to tie together the living room was a plant and not just any plant, the elusive fiddle leaf. The floppy leaved tree has been in every home photo shoot for the past several years and It’s sturdy trunk and lush canopy fills a room with a botanical presence that demands attention. Once available at Home Depot, these trees are in high demand with equally high prices. After receiving confused stares from plant shop owners after requesting a seven foot tree for $100, I knew this home accent was quickly becoming unattainable. I would stare longingly at stores that had thriving fig leaves flanking their doors and pondered how I could quickly grab one and run without anyone stopping me. It’s hard to kidnap a plant when there are branches and dirt to consider so I continued my search the legal way. Weeks went by and the corner in the living room remained plant free until I was turned onto another up and coming option, the pencil cactus.

More of a succulent, the pencil cactus is a thick bushy plant that has smooth finger-like branches sticking out from all sides. The stems often turn a beautiful coral pink but the standard variety are bright green and a little scraggly looking. I liked the idea of having the fig leaf 2.0 so I said farewell to the ficus and began scouring the nursery sections for my succulent. Luckily Home Depot is full of these plants and propped up on a wooden stand I found a four foot beauty that would become the living accent to my living room. Cleaning up and potting the new plant was a little like bringing home a stray animal. My husband and I named the bushy guy on the way home (his name is Pierre), cleaned off his little fingers and stems, re-potted him in a fresh white pot, and gave him some water. Pierre now sits happily in the corner soaking up the afternoon light through his pencil branches and casting interesting shadows on the wall in the morning sun. I’m going to give it a few months to catch on but I foresee a few of those fig leaf photo shoots being replaced with more bushy Pierre’s. Even if they aren’t front and center, the fig leaf has a new competitor.

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