When To Prune A Fiddle Leaf Fig

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.

Should I remove the 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.

Potential Cause 1: Root Rot

Brown stains on the roots from a fungus caused by too much moisture. Root rot is brought by by over watering and bad drainage, and it eventually affects your plant’s leaves.

How to Correct It

Removing the pot and looking at the roots is the only way to be confident that your plant has root rot. Root rot is at blame if the roots are mushy and discolored. Let your plant dry out for around two weeks if there are only a few brown patches on the leaves so that the roots have enough time to heal.

Make sure your plant gets enough light, and remove any damaged leaves. If there are several brown patches, you should remove any brown, mushy roots and the affected leaves before repotting the plant and being careful not to overwater it in the future.

Potential Cause 2: Bacterial Infection

In addition to the brown spots, your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s leaves will yellow as a result of bacterial leaf spot. In contrast to bacterial leaf spot, which causes the leaf to turn yellow as the brown spot spreads, root rot often causes the leaves to remain dark green with brown patches. Your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s leaves will eventually drop off due to both bacterial leaf spot and root rot. Since bacterial leaf spot tends to feed on new growth, it is likely to be to fault if your younger leaves are suffering more than your older leaves.

Unfortunately, this is the Fiddle Leaf Fig condition that is most difficult to treat. It can already be too late for your plant, even with the right care and watering. Cut off all of the leaves that have brown spots if the damage is not severe, then repot your plant in new, sterile soil. While it is healing, give it lots of light and don’t water as frequently.

Potential Cause 3: Insect Damage

Although uncommon, insect illnesses leave clear signs. Check your plant for webs or insects using a magnifying glass. Small patches that develop into holes on the leaves are a sure sign of insect damage.

Treatment for insect infestations is simple. Use neem oil products made specifically for indoor plants. Alternately, you might make your own cure by mixing a few teaspoons of mineral oil and baking soda in a spray bottle with water. Spray the entire affected area of the plant after thoroughly shaking the solution. Your other houseplants should not be near diseased plants. Neem oil has an overpowering odor, so move your plant outside if you can. Spray your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves with a strong mist. Don’t forget to spray the area where the leaf meets the stem after turning each leaf to cover the underside. If more spraying is required, wait two weeks, inspect once more, then repeat the process.

Potential Cause 4: Your Plant is Too Dry

Dry tan or brown regions that originate at the edge of the leaf and force the leaf to curl make dry plant brown spots simpler to identify. Your plant will occasionally appear dry or wilted overall, and the dirt may have retreated from the pot (shrinkage). This may result in the water never reaching the root ball and instead running between the pot and the soil.

Consider transferring your Fiddle Leaf Fig to a more moderate area if it is currently close to a heater or in an extremely dry environment. When the soil is 50 to 75 percent dry, water as needed, and keep an eye on your plant to make sure it’s getting enough hydration. Use a humidifier close to your plant or try misting it once to three days. Make sure the root ball of your plant is completely submerged in water by giving it a long sip. Make sure the pot’s bottom is dripping with water. Before placing the plant back on its saucer, let it to rest and drain any extra water.

Can you 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 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.

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.