My tips for pruning a fiddle-leaf fig tree will give you a taller, bushier plant - here's how (2023)

Pruning the fig tree with rabeca leaves is a must if you want to achieve a more attractive shape, your plant looks unbalanced, or if the leaves are damaged. If your plant is one of the larger varieties that look like miniature trees and looks like it's about to fall over, that also means it's time to get out those pruning shears.

While you might be nervous about pruning those luscious leaves, remember that pruning is an important part of growingHow to grow and care for a fiddle leaf fig treePlant. It is good that your plant is pruned once a year to allow it to regenerate and grow again.

The good news is that when you prune a healthy plant, the branch will split at the point where it was pruned, resulting in two branches instead of one. This means you will have a much fuller, more shapely plant.

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Sara Wilson

Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015, covering everything from garden design to plant care. She studied undergraduate gardening and landscaping as well as floristry. As a proud mother of houseplants, she enjoys tending to her collection of over 50 houseplants. While she's never really happy about removing healthy leaves from her fig trees, she knows it's for her own good!

5 reasons to cut your fig leaf

Fiddle leaf figs are like thatsimple houseplantsThis means they can usually be left alone. But there are several reasons you might consider slicing fig leaves. They are usually triggered by concerns about your plant's appearance or health. Here's our rundown of the most common reasons you might want to get a pair of pruning shears.

1. Your plant is too big

Fiddle leaf fig trees can grow to the ceiling, which means they will likely eventually grow too tall for their current location. Violin plants do best when their top leaves are at least 10 inches below the ceiling, so be sure to control any growth beyond that.

The taller the plant grows, the heavier it can become and even tilt at an angle. By pruning your fiddle so it doesn't grow too tall, you'll create a stronger, more compact plant.

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(Video) Pruning Fiddle Leaf Fig To Encourage Branching + How to Propagate | Ficus Lyrata

2. Your plant doesn't have a nice shape

If your plant isn't having balanced growth, it could be due to its position and exposure to light. Maybe it's on the side of a window, for example, which can cause uneven growth. If this is the case and you don't want to move your plant, remember to rotate it regularly so it's more balanced. Symmetrical always looks good on a violin.

In the meantime, it never hurts to use scissors to correct the shape of a crooked fig leaf to improve secateurs(opens in new tab)It would be ideal.

"You can also use a wooden stick to shape the stems into whatever shape you want," suggests Lina in new tab). "Simply tie the stems to the stake with plant tie or zip and give them some time to grow into the desired shape."

If you want to grow a tree-shaped fiddle-leaf fig tree, try removing the leaves and lower branches to encourage a long-stemmed appearance.

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3. You want a bushier plant

You can shape your fig leaf by cutting off the top of the main stem to encourage branching. This creates a fuller, bushier plant. You can also trim overgrown branches.

If you want a bushier plant, watch the new growth. "Cutting back new growth is a great way to encourage a bushier fiddle-leaf fig tree," says gardener and CEO ofNC cutting tools(opens in new tab)Jose Clemente. "When you cut off new growth, it encourages the plant to branch out and produce new leaves from the sides. This redirects the energy of the plant and encourages new growth on the sides.”

Along with the pruning and pinching, don't forget the basics either. "The best way to achieve a bushy habit is to make sure your plant is getting plenty of nutrients, water, and sunlight," says Jen Stark ofhappy house do it yourself(opens in new tab). Without enough sunlight, you will end up with a leggy plant with fewer leaves.Transplanting a fiddler fig leafalso regularly ensures that it can continue to grow well.

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(Video) The EASIEST Way To Create NEW BRANCHES on a Fiddle Leaf Fig

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4. The center of your plant is too dense

If your fiddler fig tree is too bushy and the leaves are compact, it is not good for the health of your plant. Leaves need adequate spacing between them to allow for the airflow needed for healthy growth.

Sheets can also become scratched if stacked too close together. Therefore, it is important to thin out the growth by pruning to create a more airy plant. "If the branches are interfering with each other or restricting their growth, prune some of them back to allow for better air circulation and encourage healthy growth," says Vladan Nikolic in new tab).

First identify the leaves that are rubbing against each other. Don't be afraid to reach into the heart of the plant with your scissors to make room. It may be necessary to remove an entire stem or just a few leaves.

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5. Your plant has discolored leaves or a disease

Once you realize yourFig leaves Fig leaves turn brown, or if the leaves turn yellow, remove them by pruning to improve the appearance of your plant and keep it healthy. Remember, you're still pumping energy into those wilted leaves.

Damaged leaves generally tend to cluster at the bottom of the stem, and removing them will create a much clearer outline, especially if you intend your violin to be tree-like with a long, bare stem. "Removing the lower leaves can also help encourage new growth because the plant releases growth hormones, which encourages new growth at the top of the plant," says Richa of KediaSimplify plants(opens in new tab).

It's also a good idea to find outWhy is your fiddle leaf fig tree dropping leaves?if this happens regularly.

Finally, if your fiddle leaf fig tree has a disease, you should remove all affected parts. "Brown, crusty, or dry leaves should be pruned, and you should cut them off at the petiole near the stalk," says Vladan Nikolic. "Remember to sterilize your secateurs to prevent the spread of disease."

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(Credit: Fiddle Leaf Fig Ashley Belle Burns/Getty Images)

How to prune a fig leaf in 4 easy steps

Pruning and shaping the violin reed is important to maintaining its overall health and aesthetics.

“You can get creative with your fig leaf and trim it to your liking,” says Vladan Nikolic. "It takes a little practice to master this skill, but over time you'll be able to prune your plant and shape it the way you want it."

  1. Identify which parts of the fiddle leaf fig tree need pruning. Look for dead or yellowed leaves, as well as branches that are growing too fast or in an odd direction, causing your plant to become crooked.
  2. Rotate your plan and decide where to make cuts to create the shape you want. If the leaves are healthy and free of blemishes, it might seem wasteful (and harmful like a plant parent pruning its baby!), but remember you might find outhow to propagate a fiddle leaf figso that no seedling is wasted and you can expand your collection with new plants.
  3. Be sure to use clean, sharp tools. Cut in the right place to avoid damaging your plant. You will need pruning shears or sterilized scissors and something to clean them, such as a knifeIsopropyl alcohol (available from Amazon)(opens in new tab)The fiddle leaf figs will produce sticky juice as you go, and you don't want to contaminate the shears or cuttings.
  4. Prune any sick or diseased leaves that you notice, then remove any branches that get in the way of others. Make each cut about half an inch away from any leaves or stems. Start by cutting the stem at a 45 degree angle just above the leaf node, which is the point where the leaf joins the stem. This will encourage new growth from that point forward. Don't worry - removing a leaf or two or a stem is best so you don't stress your plant.

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(Credit: Sarah Wilson/Future)

frequently asked questions

How do I make sure I don't over-prune my fiddle leaf fig tree?

It is best to exercise caution when pruning fig trees, especially if you are new to this game. I'm always nervous about these beauties as the leaves are so large that removing them seems too drastic.

Start pruning just two or three leaves or a section of stem if your fiddle is branched and wait a week or so for your plant to regenerate. Monitor your plant's reaction and make sure everything is okay before shearing again if necessary.

Be careful not to over-prune the fiddle leaf fig. You should only remove about 10% of the plant at a time. Also, make sure you don't accidentally cut off any new shoots or buds that form on your plant, as this can stunt future growth of your fig leaf.

Remember that pruning can be stressful on a plant, so it's important not to overdo it. Fiddle leaf figs are one of thebest indoor plantsas long as you follow our circumcision advice to keep them looking their best. Go slow and steady and your fiddle leaf fig tree will soon reward you with healthy, vibrant new growth.


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