What To Do When Fiddle Leaf Fig Gets Too Tall

Figs with fiddle leaves grow well. They might not be the swiftest, but when they have all they require, they are sure and stable. In a growing season, a healthy plant will add several inches. Most of the time, we rejoice at this growth since it indicates that our Figs are content. But at some point, you might notice that your Fig has gotten too tall or has outgrown its place. Pruning time has come.

Pruning your Fig doesn’t have to be frightening, and it should actually be a frequent part of your maintenance routine. A well-pruned fig can be shaped to create a significant architectural statement in your living room and is typically healthier overall. Let’s go over the measures you may take to reduce the size of your Fig if you’ve neglected to prune it for a while and it has grown out of control.

Things to Consider Before Pruning Your Fiddle Leaf

You should first evaluate your Fig to comprehend its existing shape and structure before making any cuts to your plant. If your plant is younger and has never been pruned, it probably has a single stem that grows straight up with little branching. A topping cut would be suitable in this situation. Read this article to learn how to top your fiddle leaf fig and when to do it.

Maybe you have a fig with several growth tips that is well-branched. Determine which stems or branches are becoming unkempt or excessively long. By cutting those off first, you may decide whether you need to make minor cuts to secondary branches to improve the plant’s structure.

You might occasionally grow several stems in a single pot. They could have a single stem or be branched. If the plant is extremely tall as a whole, you might need to cut back everything at once, but you can usually space the cuts on each stem out over a few weeks. This enables a more progressive change in height and shape, with the added advantage of allowing observation of any potential new branch growth.

Your Fig’s leaf distribution is another aspect to consider. Every time you make a significant cut to your plant, you should try to preserve a few leaves on it to allow it to continue performing crucial processes like photosynthesis. Your Fig will recover more quickly as a result, and the chance of shock is decreased. Find locations where your Fig will grow to the desired height while yet keeping as many leaves on the plant as you can when selecting where to make your cuts.

A Quick Note on Branching

The ability for several new branches to sprout from an incision along the stem is a neat feature of fiddle leaf figs. A cut activates the nodes immediately below the cut line to begin producing new growth because auxiliary buds are situated at nodes along the length of the stem. One to three nodes can often be active at once.

This means that every cut you make may result in one or more additional branches sprouting from that location. This is why regular pruning is an excellent strategy to get your fig to branch out and grow into a bushier plant. When selecting where to make cuts, bear this in mind.

To assist predict the future shape of your plant and new growth stems that will eventually need to be clipped for height, try to imagine where new branches might grow in. Not to worry! You may always clip off all but the first new branch that emerges from a primary cut if you want to keep your Fig light and airy but are worried that cutting it back will result in too many branches.

Make the Cuts

It’s time to actually grab the scissors and prune back your plant now that you’ve evaluated your Fig and know where to make your cuts. To make your cuts, you’ll need a pair of clean, sharp garden shears or a knife. Sterilizing your tools in advance can reduce the possibility that your plant will contract a disease or illness as pruning always leaves a wound on the plant.

To generate straight, flat slices, make your cuts perpendicular to the stem. This minimizes the incision and makes it simpler for the plant to heal.

Make any bigger first “finishing cuts. Cutting back a plant’s primary growth stem to manage height is referred to as topping cuts (or top trimming). Therefore, a topping cut will reduce an overgrown single-stemmed fig to a height that is manageable.

Keep in mind that your Fig will start pushing new branches from everywhere you make a cut. As a result, whenever I make a topping cut, I typically aim a little lower than what “I know new branches will ultimately start to grow upward from that point, so that height is ideal. Again, visualizing the height and shape you want to accomplish would be useful in this situation.

To avoid stunning the plant, a basic trimming rule of thumb is to only remove about a third of the stem or branch at a time. This is unquestionably a safe method, but I frequently discover that I need to chop more off to control the height of an overgrown Fig.

In my experience, there has never been a problem when I take half or more of a developing stem at once. I would advise you to think about how healthy your Fig is and whether it can sustain such a hard pruning because there is obviously a bigger chance of stunning it to the point where it might not survive.

How do you handle a fiddle leaf fig that has grown too large?

Cutting back fiddle leaf figs is actually extremely simple, despite the fact that the concept of it may be scary.

When trimming down fiddle leaf figs, be prepared. You should cut your plant with neat, precise cuts. Only a clean, well-kept set of pruning shears can accomplish this; not a pair of worn-out scissors. It’s also advised to cover the area surrounding your fiddle leaf fig with a drop cloth when you prune it because any cuts could drip sticky sap onto your floors, and nobody likes that.

If you feel so inclined, think about keeping the healthy trimmings and replanting them as fiddle leaf fig plants by rerooting them in a jar of water. Within 1-2 months, your cuttings should form healthy root systems; at this stage, you can plant them in little pots.

Your particular preferences will determine how you prune fiddle leaf figs. dislike the appearance of sick branches or shredded, burned leaves? Simply use your pruning shears to remove any of these eyesores. The stems or trunks of fiddle leaf figs can be either naked or covered in leaves. If you want your fiddle leaf fig to look more like a tree, you should remove the older lower leaves from the trunk, assuming your plant is still growing well on top.

Do you like how tall your fiddle leaf fig is right now? Your primary stem has a developing tip at the top where new leaves will eventually appear. You will need to use your fingers to pinch out these young leaves as they emerge in order to control the height of your plant. Additionally, it might prevent lower leaf loss and promote branching of your plant close to the pinch spots.

Is your fiddle leaf fig plant lanky or excessively tall? Make a cut just above one of the main stem’s nodes at the required height by inspecting the nodes (a node is the location where a leaf joins a branch). For any horizontal or outward branches that may be too lengthy for your taste, repeat this procedure. Below the areas where you were trimming back fiddle leaf figs, new growth can sprout.

Can I remove the fiddle leaf fig’s top?

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 set 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. 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.

(If you’re wondering what to do with the plant parts you clipped, try growing another 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.

Can I chop my fig tree’s top off?

If a fig tree is left to grow on its own, it develops into a charming and romantic figure with a strong, twisted trunk that rises 50 feet in the air and thick, robust branches that span the same distance horizontally. You must begin training the tree as soon as possible if you want something more manageable and compact. A fruit tree is trained when it is young to develop a structure that produces copious amounts of fruit that is simple to harvest. Fig trees typically have an open center structure with no central branches, enabling more sunlight to enter. Cutting off the top of the young tree is the first step in the procedure.

Remove the newly planted fig tree’s top 24 inches or so from the ground. Act before the first buds emerge in the late winter or early spring. All remaining branches should be cut back to 6 inches.

Early in the summer, keep an eye out for quick new growth. Choose three healthy shoots from the new branches at the end of June to act as the main scaffolding branches. Select branches to be evenly spaced around the trunk, up to 8 inches vertically apart, with the lowest branch being 20 inches or so off the ground. Avoid branches that are attached to the trunk at tight angles; instead, go for angles of about 45 degrees. Use paint or ribbon to identify the scaffold branches so you won’t confuse them.

When the scaffold branches are longer than 30 inches, trim them back to 20 inches. On each scaffold branch, pick three or four auxiliary scaffold branches. Reduce all other shoots to a height of 6 inches.

Can fiddle leaf figs be trimmed down and replanted?

Taking a stem or leaf cutting from a fiddle leaf fig plant and letting it root in water or soil will result in a new, self-sustaining plant. Most houseplants can be propagated, albeit with different degrees of difficulty. In reality, fiddle leaf figs are rather simple to grow.

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 siphon 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 fertilizers 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 fertilizing 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.