When notching, a precise cut is made above a node as opposed to clipping the top sprout. Only if you don’t want to lower the height of your fiddle leaf would I advise employing notching over pruning, which is a sophisticated method.
Another way that notching functions is by obstructing the hormones that control growth—again, auxin. The impact is gone as the wound calluses over, and hormones will start to flow once more.
How to notch your fiddle leaf fig
First, some dexterity is needed for notching. If the incision is made too deeply, you run the danger of amputating the limb. (But hey, even if you accidently cut off the head of your ficus, there will still be branching.) If you make the cut too shallow, it might not heal.
It doesn’t yield reliable outcomes like pruning. Though it can result in less-than-ideal gaps in your fiddle leaf branches, think about cutting a few more notches than you desire branches. (Again, pruning doesn’t have a problem here because it works best on the nodes closest to the incision.)
It works better on a woody stem than on more recent, softer green growth.
This is how you do it:
Make an incision above a node using a clean, sharp blade. I applied a brand-new X-Acto knife blade’s tip edge. (The kind where the old blades can be removed with a snap.) I was able to secure the internode because of this. If using pruners makes you more comfortable, do so.
Make an incision that goes 1/3 of the way around the stem and no deeper than 1/3 of the stem just ABOVE the node. There will be some latex sap, which you should brush away in case any children or animals decide to taste it because it does like milk.
Making the incision above the node as opposed to below it prevents auxin, a hormone that controls growth, from functioning properly. By switching the flow of carbohydrates from vegetative development to reproductive growth when a node is cut just below it, blooming and fruiting are encouraged (flowers & fruit).
Leave it alone to recover, and maybe after a few weeks you’ll have buds that develop into branches. As with pruning, your chances of success will increase if you attempt this during your fiddle leaf’s prime growing season, which is in the spring or early summer.
One last 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.
So that’s pretty much it. Your single-stalk fiddle leaf can easily be transformed into a full, tree-like canopy. Waiting for those branches to appear after you’ve finished your trimming or notching just requires patience.
How do you feel? Do you favour single-stalked fiddle leafs grown singly, in clusters, or as a single-trunked tree?
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How should a fiddle leaf fig tree be shaped?
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, fertiliser, and light, which will hasten the healing of its wounds.
My fiddle leaf fig won’t stand up straight. What should I do?
You can stake the trunk of a fiddle leaf fig to keep it upright if you need a quick fix to save it. By no means is this a long-term fix because staking will prevent your tree from developing the necessary strength to maintain itself.
While you do other things to strengthen the trunk, such fertilising, correctly watering, offering lots of light, and regularly wiggling, staking can at least train your fiddle to grow straight.
To stake your tree, buy a stake the same length as the trunk of your tree and drive it into the ground near the trunk. Then use plant tape or ties to fasten the trunk to the stake.
Every few weeks or whenever you wriggle the trunk to test whether it can stand on its own, remove the stake. With regular maintenance, your trunk should begin to strengthen after a few months.
How can a fiddle leaf plant grow new branches?
Fiddle Leaf Figs can be encouraged to branch by notching, which doesn’t entail the plant’s height being reduced. Instead, tiny cuts or “notches” are made all the way up and down the stem or trunk to promote the formation of new growth lower on the plant.
There are two distinct notching patterns. The first slashes diagonally through the FLF trunk at a depth of about one-third, immediately above a leaf or node. Similar in nature, the second involves two cuts and the removal of a tiny “chunk” or piece of the trunk. To remove a small portion of the trunk, make the two slices just 1-2 mm apart.
It might be challenging to properly notch a plant without accidently decapitating it or cutting too deeply. It’s unquestionably a more sophisticated technique with variable outcomes. If you want to try it, I also advise going numerous notches. Not all of them have a 100% success rate. So if you want two or three branches, you might want to do six notches.
The best stem for notching is one that is more aged or woody. It might be advisable to wait till your FLF stem reaches maturity if it is still green before attempting to notch.
Tips for Notching:
- You may have more control over the notch with a craft knife than with a pair of cutters.
- Directly above a leaf or node, cut the notch.
- Cut the notch diagonally, about a third of the way into the stem’s depth.
Should I remove my fiddle leaf fig’s bottom leaves?
You should be aware of what those bottom leaves do before selecting when to remove them.
Lower foliage has the same function as that fresh, vibrant growth up top: the leaves work to mix that green chlorophyll, commonly known as “the meat of the leaf,” with sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to produce sap, the plant’s own sweet food.
So let them alone if you want the trunk, roots, and new growth to continue receiving energy from the sun through the foliar producers and absorbing it.
Another advantage of the lower leaves is that this is typically where the most frequent watering issues show up. To put it another way, many owners of fiddles may detect overwatering and underwatering based on early warning indicators from these bottom leaves. You lose access to one of the plant’s early warning systems if you remove them.
Keep in mind that the lower leaves should be saved for the very last stage of shaping because they AID in giving the tree its characteristic shape.
Once more, deciding whether or not to remove these lower leaves depends on what they do for the plant.
What happens when a fiddle leaf fig is notched?
A room is brightened by a bushy fiddle leaf fig with lush foliage, but occasionally they might become leggy, malformed, or not have the full foliage you want. Making sure a fiddle leaf fig plant is healthy and receiving everything it needs to thrive is the first step in encouraging it to grow bushy leaves.
Before attempting to coerce the plant into producing bushy foliage, be sure you are providing for its growing requirements and that the plant is healthy. Here is a quick list of the requirements for your fiddle leaf fig plant to thrive inside.
Check on its light needs
For photosynthesizing to take place and generate the energy required for growth, your fiddle leaf fig needs direct sunshine. Place your fiddle leaf fig in an area that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to make sure its lighting needs are being satisfied. It works great to be near a window in the west or south. An eastern window also works nicely if you have adequate eastern exposure.
The level of light your fiddle leaf fig plant needs to thrive is not present in the light coming from a northern window. Similar to this, watch out that your plant doesn’t get too much light, since a sunburned fiddle leaf fig won’t look its best.
Make sure it’s getting enough water
Your fiddle leaf fig requires enough water to stay healthy and beautiful. Every time the soil feels dry to the touch 2 to 3 inches below the surface, water it thoroughly so that water runs through the bottom of the pot. After watering your plant, empty the saucer or catchpan. A fiddle leaf fig that has been overwatered may develop root rot, among a number of other problems. Water that is left in the saucer may syphon into the soil and keep it moist.
When determining how frequently to water a fiddle leaf fig, keep a close eye on the soil around the plant and create a schedule that works for you. When it is vigorously developing in the spring and summer, it can need watering once a week or more. During the fall and winter, it may last 10 days or longer without needing water.
Put your fiddle leaf fig in the right soil
To maintain the health of your fiddle leaf fig, you need well-draining soil. The roots may become trapped in squishy soil as a result of poor soil drainage. This may result in diseases like root rot.
By mixing one to two parts all-purpose potting soil, one part perlite, and one part peat moss, you can create your own potting soil for your fiddle leaf fig tree. Widely regarded as the ideal soil for fiddle leaf figs, this produces a light soil that drains well.
Ensure it has the right temperature and humidity
Temperature changes will harm your fiddle leaf fig, which enjoys temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. It should not be planted close to heating or air conditioning vents because it is susceptible to both hot and cold gusts. It prefers a relative humidity of between 30 and 65 percent, therefore dry air in your home during the winter months may be problematic.
Use water-filled pebble trays underneath the pot or set up a humidifier to maintain the happiness of your fiddle leaf fig tree. You might arrange your plants in a cluster to take use of the moisture they transpire. The surrounding humidity will increase as a result.
Some people prefer to spritz their plants frequently, but this method is ineffective for increasing the humidity in the area around your plants. Misting has short-lived effects and needs to be done frequently during the day to be effective.
Feed your fiddle leaf fig with its preferred fertilizer
High nitrogen fertilisers work best for fiddle leaf figs. The optimal formula is 3-1-2. This or a similar recipe can be purchased from a hardware store or garden shop. From spring through summer, feed your fiddle leaf fig once a month, adhering to the application rate on the container. When new growth starts to show in the spring, you should restart fertilising your fiddle leaf fig.
Pinch your fiddle leaf fig
The simplest and least labor-intensive technique to spur new growth is to pinch.
The act of pinching a fiddle leaf fig involves using your thumb and finger to scrape off the tiniest fresh leaves from the tops of your plant’s branches and stem. Squeeze the fresh leaves to remove them from the plant by locating them.
The plant must create new growth from nodes along the stem or branch when the fresh leaves are pinched out.
Prune your plant
While pruning requires a bit more work than pinching does in terms of making your fiddle leaf fig bushier, the consequences are the same.
You will require a clean, sharp pair of clippers or a knife to prune your fiddle leaf fig. Find a node on the plant’s stem where you want new growth or lateral branches to develop.
Just 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the node, cut the stem. This will compel the plant node to produce new growth. To force branching, you can prune lateral branches or the fiddle leaf fig’s entire top.
No more than 10% of the plant should be pruned. Extreme trimming may stress the plant and retard its growth.
Notch your fiddle leaf fig
A more sophisticated technique for making your fiddle leaf fig tree bushy is notching.
As previously mentioned, notching entails slicing the plant’s stem right above a node. This prevents the release of growth hormones and causes the node to produce new growth.
Since notching necessitates a deep cut through one-third of the stem, it carries a small chance of accidently cutting the entire stem. If you want to force new branches and bushy development on your fiddle leaf fig tree, try notching it as described above.
Your fiddle leaf fig plant will look better if you promote lush new growth. Notching is one method of doing it, but it’s not the only one. If you’re worried about notching your fiddle leaf fig and running the danger of breaking it or totally cutting the stem, think about pinching or pruning to create a bushy plant as an alternative.