How To Prune A Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

The spring, when there will be sufficient of light to support healing and new growth, is the ideal time to prune your fiddle leaf fig. Prune as much as you can in the spring or early summer. The stems of your plant could be crushed by blunt tools or scissors, therefore you should invest in a good set of pruning shears.

How should a fiddle leaf fig be pruned?

As I indicated earlier, many growers like to cultivate a traditional tree shape, complete with a distinct canopy and trunk. However, F. lyrata tends to grow in a columnar or bushy shape when kept as a houseplant.

In the wild, F. lyrata does this on its own by losing its lower leaves and growing into its original shape as a banyan tree.

like the renowned “Wild F. lyrata and ordinary banyan, F. benghalensis, both start out their lives as epiphytes. When a seed falls into another tree’s canopy, it germinates, develops, and eventually strangles its host plant as it descends to the ground.

Your houseplant won’t do this, of course, but the tree shape is attractive. How can a rambunctious F. lyrata be transformed into a tall, graceful specimen?

First off, if you’ve recently acquired a highly sought-after fiddle-leaf, hold off on starting to prune it into a tree shape.

Whatever two-thirds of the intended height means to you within the boundaries of your space, let it grow to that point. The trunk might become strong and thick as a result.

It’s advisable to top the tree out at least eight to ten inches away from the ceiling if you want it to grow tall.

This not only improves the appearance but also prevents the top leaves from bending and slamming against your ceiling.

Say, for instance, that you want to top your tree off at about seven or eight feet and that your home has nine-foot ceilings. You shouldn’t begin trimming for lateral growth until the trunk is at least five feet tall based on these measurements.

Wait until spring or summer when the plant is actively growing before pruning your fiddle-leaf fig to generate a tree form with branching lateral growth. Then, make a cut at least six inches down from the tip of the tree.

You can preserve and grow this cutting! Cut in an internodal space, if possible.

Don’t remove the leaves that are below the cut. So that the plant can photosynthesize and generate energy to grow those lateral branches, you want them to stay.

Within a few weeks, your F. lyrata will start to branch from the cut. Although this tree occasionally produces just one branch, it frequently produces two or three additional lateral branches.

You can remove one or two leaves from the tree’s base once the new branches have developed leaves.

The hue of the leaves and emerging branches will deepen as the canopy ages. Feel free to remove one or two more leaves from the bottom part of the trunk once you become aware of this.

You can continue to prune leaves away from the tree’s trunk as the canopy grows over time. You’ll eventually grow a tidy trunk that supports a Y-shaped canopy.

Note: Some knowledgeable gardeners enjoy using a technique called “creating lateral branches by notching. Using this technique, the gardener carefully cuts through two nodes. This cut is supposed to encourage the tree to generate lateral branches without losing height.

Because of the fast growth of F. lyrata and the fact that we are confident that pruning for lateral branch growth yields reliable results, we advise using this technique to produce that attractive canopy.

After pruning, give your plant the best care possible by providing it with the right amount of water, fertilizer, and light, which will hasten the healing of its wounds.

Is my fiddle leaf fig in need of pruning?

Our indoor plants also require occasional trimming, just like when we clip our hair or groom our dogs. This not only generally enhances their beauty but also benefits the health of the plant as a whole. Among the advantages of trimming your fiddle may be:

Space: Fiddle leaf figs have a propensity to grow rapidly under ideal conditions, so you could realize that your fiddle is getting “packed.” Your plant will benefit from improved ventilation if you prune a few leaves and branches.

Sickness: Prune any leaves that are showing indications of illness, such as brown spots, right away. In addition to using a lot of energy to repair these damaged spots, your plant may also swiftly transmit the infection to other neighboring leaves and across the entire plant.

Form: Pruning your tree will help you get the picture-perfect appearance you’ve been wishing for, whether you have uneven growth or you just want to improve its shape.

What happens if the top of a fiddle leaf fig is chopped off?

Your fiddle leaf fig probably has no other branches that will allow it to transition from a fiddle leaf shrub to a fiddle leaf tree. In addition, bear the following in mind before proceeding:

The amount of regrowth that results from pruning depends on how severe it was. The reason for this is that the plant is trying to grow again in an effort to balance the root system below with the shoot system above, which is now designed to support the plant at its bigger size before trimming.

Usually, the most active shoot growth takes place 6 to 8 inches after the pruning cut.

Make the cut on your fiddle leaf fig

Make a decision regarding the size of the Ficus lyrata cut. Once more, the branching will be more noticeable the longer a part is clipped. (And the less the plant will grow in height, at least for that shoot.)

Your fiddle leaf fig won’t be encouraged to generate as many lateral branches off of the main trunk if you simply pinch out the fresh buds at the top with your fingers.

If you want to encourage a little lateral development to make your plant appear fuller near the top, pinching is more helpful.

On the other hand, you’ll see a lot more branching if you remove 12 of the top shoots.

Choose the node that you want to cut above. The spots on stems known as nodes are where leaves, buds, or branches can grow. However, not every node has leaves or branches; some nodes may only have a mark and a little thickening of the stem. Internodes are the parts of the stem that lie between the nodes.

3. Make use of a clean pair of pruners. Just above the top of your node, make the cut. Cut just above the node rather than into it, which would harm it.

Any plant in the fig family, including your fiddle leaf fig, will exude an oozing, milky, white sap when cut. Simply avoid eating it, getting it in your eyes, or letting it land on the carpet because it can be annoying.

4. As a final piece of advice, wait to remove leaves from the trunk of your fiddle leaf until the new branches have begun to grow. Your plant should be as robust as possible because those leaves aid in the development of the new lateral buds.

(Are you wondering what to do with the plant pieces you pruned? Why not cultivate a second fiddle leaf fig?

I’m done now! Now, give your new lateral buds, which will eventually grow into branches, a few weeks. While the exact length of time varies on a number of variables, your chances of success are higher if you attempt this in the spring, when fiddle leaves are actively growing, as opposed to the winter, when they are largely dormant. In comparison to winter, when the plant will need more time to heal the cut and form new buds, springtime will see rapid new development.

When do figs need to be pruned?

After the worst frosts have passed, it is ideal to prune fig trees in March or April; any dead and diseased wood should be cut out. according to Thompson & Morgan’s Sue Sanderson (opens in new tab). In this manner, the plant will remain sufficiently dormant to withstand the pruning while the frosts will not be able to harm the wounds left by the trimming.

Fig trees leak a white sap when they are cut, hence it is crucial for the health of the tree that it is dormant while chopping huge branches.

Why should I Wiggle my Fiddle leaf fig?

Your indoor tree’s trunk can be moved to simulate wind, which will help you become more resilient outside. You can also leave your tree outside for extended periods of time to strengthen its trunk and expose it to the elements. Once you get the leaves inside, be sure to inspect them for bugs.

What are the best growing conditions for an indoor fiddle leaf fig tree?

Know that your fiddle leaf fig tree prefers moderate temperature changes and place it in a sunny spot within the house. The tree should be planted in a container with well-draining soil that is kept humid but not soggy since this might cause root rot.

Why isn’t my fiddle leaf fig tree flowering?

You should be careful not to overwater your fiddle leaf fig because it is prone to root rot. When storing the fig within a container, make sure the bottom has lots of holes to allow for proper drainage.

How do I fix a leggy fiddle leaf fig tree?

Give a leggy or tilted fiddle leaf fig tree bright, filtered sunshine as treatment. Please place your plant in the area of the house that gets the most indirect sunlight, which is usually six to eight hours per day. Don’t keep it in the Sun for too long, though; doing so could scorch the leaves.

Will wiggling my fiddle leaf fig tree weaken its roots?

Every one to two weeks, wiggle your fiddle leaf fig tree for 1.5 to 2 minutes to significantly thicken the trunk. Beginning with light shaking, progressively build up the force. If your plant is stake-supported, move it about at first with the support in place. You can take the stake out once your fig tree has gotten used to this practice.

My fiddle leaf fig is leggy; why?

Leggy or unstable growth on a fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) typically indicates insufficient light. The entire plant could develop a weak trunk and grow tall and flimsy. Long branches may have leaves that are widely spread apart, or this may just apply to the lower branches if they are shaded from sunlight. Lower leaves may fall off if they don’t get enough light.

The brightest room in your home should have your fiddle-leaf fig tree, which should be placed just far enough from the window to avoid direct sunlight touching it. The plant will also receive the necessary protection if there is a sheer drape between the window and it. Position carefully so that all branches, high and low, have access to light, and move anything in their way. If your windows are high and light doesn’t reach the bottom leaves, you might need to keep your plant on a stand. Every time you water, rotate the tree a quarter turn to ensure that all sides receive an equal amount of light and that its shape remains balanced.

Keep leaves clear of dust, as an accumulation will limit the amount of light that reaches the leaf. In the spring, prune lanky branches to a node.

Our Guide contains more details on how to take care of your fiddle-leaf fig plant.

How should a fig tree be pruned?

Whether you have a fig tree or a fig bush in your backyard garden, pruning it each year will promote growth. Think about some general advice for this procedure.

  • 1. In the tree’s first year, prune it. When you first plant a young fig tree or fig shrub that you purchased from a nursery, trim it. When pruning for the first time, you should remove roughly 50% of the branches. This will enable the tree to concentrate its efforts on developing a solid root system.
  • 2.Prune your tree again during the tree’s first winter. Winter trimming should be done every year, beginning with the first winter your tree experiences. The end of the tree’s dormant season in late winter is the ideal time to use pruning shears. By early spring, new branches will begin to grow as a result.
  • 3. Continue to prune your tree every year after that. It’s crucial to prune your fig tree in its first year, but remember to continue pruning it the following year and the year after that. Fresh fruit will start to ripen in early summer if your fig tree is pruned while it is dormant. This will result in a more fruitful growth season.
  • 4. Decide which branches should bear fruit. It’s time to go strategic now that you’ve finished your first pruning. Search for five to six exceptionally sturdy branches that branch off from the main trunk as you prune the tree in its second year. Your main branches for fruit production will be these. Remove the rest of the tinier branches from the main trunk.

Do fig plants benefit from coffee grounds?

Coffee grinds might be an excellent addition if you have alkaline soils or want to lower the pH level of your garden soil because fig plants like acidic soil. The addition of coffee grinds close to the root zone will aid in moisture retention and generate soft spots for new roots to enter. If adding coffee grounds close to the tree, make sure the soil is thoroughly mixed with them before spreading them to prevent hard, dry spots from forming.

How is a fig tree kept in good health?

Figs are a delectable treat that grow best in warm settings but may also be cultivated with with extra care in more temperate areas. How to plant a fig tree in your garden is provided here!

About Figs

Figs can be grown in colder climates if they are properly protected from freezing temperatures or cultivated in containers and kept indoors, but they fare best in regions with long, hot summers (Zone 8 and warmer).

Because its blossoms don’t need to be pollinated in order to produce figs, the common fig tree (Ficus carica) is the most well-liked kind of fig for backyard gardeners. The common fig tree comes in a wide range of types, including hardy cultivars that can be planted outdoors in slightly cooler climes (Zones 6 and 7). Other fig species are difficult for home gardeners to raise because they either don’t yield edible fruit or have very specific pollination needs (such needing to be pollinated by a specific kind of wasp).

Figs can be consumed straight from the tree, preserved, or cooked with. Remember that figs stop ripening after they are picked, so make sure to harvest them at the proper time!

Planting Fig Trees

  • Figs can be successfully planted outdoors in USDA Zones 8 and higher. Make sure to select a hardy fig type if you live in an area where winter temperatures regularly drop below 10F (-12C). Winter protection could also be necessary. As an alternative, figs can be cultivated in sizable containers and stored indoors over the winter.
  • When the tree is dormant, in the early spring or late fall, plant fig trees outdoors.
  • Grow fig trees in containers in earth-based potting soil and supplement with fine bark chips for better drainage. In the summer, keep the tree in direct sunlight. Make careful to water the tree gently and add a high-nitrogen fertilizer every four weeks in the spring and summer. Move the tree indoors for the winter and maintain the soil moist.
  • Plant the tree in full sun in the spring or early fall for outdoor fig trees. Fig trees may flourish in a variety of soil types as long as it is well-drained and rich in organic matter. (Find out more information about organic soil amendments.)
  • Fig trees should be placed at least 20 feet from any structures or other trees.
  • If given the chance, fig trees will have deep roots, so keep that in mind when selecting a planting location.
  • To bury tree seedlings produced in containers:
  • Laying the root ball on its side and cutting through the roots with shears will allow you to remove the plant from the pot and cut any circling roots.
  • Create a hole that is somewhat broader and deeper than the roots’ spread. In the center of the hole, place the tree on top of a small mound of earth. Make sure the roots are spread out from the trunk without being overly bent.
  • Place the tree in the ground 2 to 4 inches deeper than it was in the pot (check the color of the trunk to see the original soil line).

Caring for Fig Trees

  • To aid in their establishment, young fig trees should receive regular watering. Water fig trees thoroughly at least once a week in dry places.
  • The majority of fig trees do not need regular fertilizing unless they are planted in containers. However, you can add 1/2 to 1 pound of nitrogen supplement if your fig tree doesn’t grow much (less than 12 inches in one growing season). Divide the nitrogen throughout three to four feedings. Apply the nitrogen starting in late winter and stopping in July.
  • To assist prevent weeds and preserve moisture for the tree’s roots, you can also spread a layer of mulch around the tree.
  • Pruning fig trees is not very necessary. To promote growth during the dormant season, make sure to cut off any branches that are dead, sick, or weak.
  • If figs are growing in great quantities, you can thin the fruit to promote the development of larger figs.
  • Bring container-grown fig trees indoors for the winter in colder climates. Maintain soil moisture.
  • Outdoor-planted fig trees may wither and die if the winters in your area are especially chilly. The tree’s underground portion is probably undamaged if it is a hardy type. While the tree is still dormant, remove all dead wood and keep an eye out for fresh growth in the spring.
  • “Brown Turkey,” which yields a lot of medium-sized to giant figs. Although this kind performs best in warm climates, it can also tolerate cooler temperatures to some extent.
  • Small, sweet, purple figs called “Celeste” are produced. One of the most winter-resistant kinds is this one.
  • The winter-resistant variety “Hardy Chicago” yields medium-sized, purple figs.
  • King is a plant that does well in the northwest’s milder climate. It yields figs that are medium in size and sweet and flavorful.
  • “Kadota,” which bears little to medium-sized fruit with vigor. It is the fig that is most frequently canned, and its figs are rich and delicious.

Harvesting Figs

  • Figs shouldn’t be picked before they are completely ripe since they won’t continue to mature off the tree. The figs ought to have an even hue and feel slightly supple to the touch.
  • Because figs are a favorite food of birds and squirrels, you might need to spend money on bird netting to safeguard your crop.
  • Wear gloves or long sleeves when gathering figs because the fig tree’s sap might harm your skin.
  • Figs lose their flavor quickly. Figs can be kept for two to three days in the refrigerator.
  • You can freeze whole figs for long-term storage and use at a later time. The figs can also be dried as a storage option. Also possible is home canning of figs.
  • Potassium, dietary fiber, and calcium are all abundant in figs.