Houseplant shopping. A fun excursion on any day. Is there a plant you’ve been wanting? When you find it and it is offered in multiple sizes, which one do you choose? The 4″ pot or the 10″ pot? It is so tempting to buy the largest plant you can afford (or can’t afford, but buy anyway). But, is buying the biggest plant always the best choice or the right choice for you? There a few reasons why buying the smaller plant may be best when houseplant shopping.

Fiddle leaf figs

Two different sizes of fiddle leaf figs at my daughter’s home

Buy what is best for your budget

The first reason to buy the smaller plant is that it may be the one that fits your budget. I’m using the fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) as an example. A small fiddle leaf fig (I have seen them in 4″ pots) can cost under $30 if you are lucky to find one. Yet, a tree form or standard could range from $100 upwards to $500 and more. If you want a particular plant, buy the size that you can afford and watch it grow.

fiddle leaf fig

This tree form or standard fiddle leaf fig will be quite a bit more than a small fiddle leaf.

Watch it grow

That brings us to the next reason to buy a smaller plant. You can watch it grow from “infancy” if you will. It is fun to watch a plant grow and change as the years go by and it gives you a sense of pride knowing you have raised your plant from a baby.

small fiddle leaf fig

This smaller fiddle leaf fig fits on a windowsill.

Lasts longer

If you have 8′ ceilings and buy a 6′ plant, you won’t be able to enjoy your plant for a long time, because all too soon, it will be hitting the ceiling. Then you have to decide what to do with it. Cut it? Air layer? Give it to a friend with higher ceilings? If you buy the small plant you will be able to enjoy it longer before you have to make a choice about its future care. By the way, there is a mini fiddle leaf fig called “Little Fiddle’ or ‘Bambino’. They have much smaller leaves and stay smaller overall if you don’t have room for the normal fiddle leaf.

fiddle leaf figs

Here is a regular fiddle leaf fig on the left and the “Little Fiddle’ fiddle leaf fig on the right

Acclimate to your home

The main reason I feel it is good to buy a smaller plant, no matter the plant, is because a younger plant can more easily acclimate to your home than an older, larger plant. More mature plants have been in the ideal conditions of a greenhouse for much longer than a young plant and may take longer to acclimate to your home’s conditions, which are far from perfect compared to those in the greenhouse they came from.

Buy the one you can afford and want

The key is to enjoy your plant and don’t go into debt to get the one you want. If you can afford the large plant and have the room for it, by all means, go for it. If you have a budget and a small plant is what you can buy, that works, too. It will grow, especially if it is in the right light with the right moisture.

Have fun houseplant shopping and don’t feel bad if all you can afford is the small plant. It might be the best buy in the long run.

Have a great week, my plant friends!


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