A mature fiddle leaf fig may grow large and unruly vines causing it to look unsophisticated or lopsided.
In this article, we address the correct method of pruning this stunner, which results in a greener, healthier, and stronger fiddle leaf fig that will become the pride of your house.
A healthy fig plant can grow from a few inches a year (few centimeters), to a few feet (1 foot equals 30cm), in ideal conditions. However, rapid growth toward the sun can cause them to get too tall for their location.
The healthy growth of your fig is excellent, but it can also be a challenge as a healthy fig plant can reach a majestic ten feet tall indoors.
However, this growth can cause them to outgrow their space, and their container and pruning is one way to bring them under control and give them shape and fullness.
Read on for how to prune fiddle leaf fig plants.
Table of Contents
How To Prune Fiddle Leaf Fig
You will need a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears and damp paper towels before you begin pruning a fiddle leaf fig. Then, decide which branch you want to cut, make a clean cut between two nodes, and at least an inch away from the central stalk. Remove the sap that escapes with a dampened paper towel to help it heal more quickly.
How to prune a fiddle leaf fig the easy way?
For easy pruning, mark all the branches you want to cut with post-it notes or colored tape, including the diseased ones. Next, disinfect and sharpen your pruning tools and begin making cuts little by little with extreme care and caution.
Stepwise Guide for Pruning a Fiddle Leaf Fig
Shaping a plant as beautiful as the fiddle fig lead is no less than art; therefore, before starting the process, ensure that you have an end-vision goal set.
Keep in mind that once a branch or vine is cut off, it cannot be undone, and so, going slowly and steadily is the key here.
1. Decide the Ideal Shape
Generally, the fiddle leaf fig has two shapes: a wider bush shape and a relatively narrow tree shape.
When dealing with small plants, the former form is a better option, whereas taller or broader plants grow better as tree-shaped.
Plan whether you would like your fiddle leaf fig to grow as a tree or a compact bush-shaped plant after pruning.
2. Removal of Damaged Branches and Leaves
The only thing worse than a diseased plant is one with damaged branches or leaves.
A plant can suffer due to a wide variety of reasons, including direct trauma, internal deficiencies, bacterial or fungal infections, and external forces such as strong winds.
Assess the condition of each branch and leaf and determine which part needs to be cut off from the rest.
If you see leaves with brown or yellow spots or branches with abnormal or comparatively smaller leaf growth, mark these areas, preferably with colored tape.
3. Elimination of the Crossing Branches
The fiddle leaf fig loves proper, adequate airflow and does not do well if crowded into a small space or with too many plants.
If you notice any tight or very close branches, remove these to maintain good aeration.
Branches that are blocking out the sunlight for other vines or leaves that are impeding the growth of other leaves should be cut off.
4. Execute Your Plan
Now that all the theoretical basics are covered, it is time to get into practical work.
Try to prune your fiddle leaf fig in such a way that it matches your ideal shape, the one that you had initially planned.
If you have decided on the tree shape, get rid of the lower branches and leaves first to reach the plant’s trunk.
If your plant seems to be out of shape, remove the seemingly causative growth or the gangly vines to give your fiddle leaf fig an overall attractive look.
5. Making the Right Cuts
Now that you have a clear field, with all the unnecessary branches, vines, and leaves removed, it is time to prune your plant into your desired shape.
For the cutting process, get hold of your pruning shears, disinfect them with plant alcohol (or mild alcohol), sharpen them, and get to work.
Make clean cuts in such a way that the least number of healthy parts are damaged.
Each cut should ideally be made about ½ inch from the plant’s leaves or trunk; this prevents exposure of the internal parts to the air, and ultimately, reduces the risk of infection.
It also helps the plant heal and regrow faster.
Separate and dispose of the cut leaves and debris to keep potential infections and germs away from the plant.
6. New Life
A true gardener understands the pure joy of new growth that a plant typically achieves after pruning.
Normally, after pruning, a mature and fit fiddle leaf fig splits its branches at the pruned site and forms two new branches.
Such a fiddle leaf fig gives the appearance of a fuller and healthier plant that is ready to grow and benefit you and the environment.
Putting your fiddle leaf fig in the ideal conditions is essential to ensure full recovery and normal development.
A plant in unfavorable settings, such as inadequate sunlight, cannot achieve the desired growth.
Pruning Techniques To Go Tall Or Wide
If you choose, you can leave your fig as a single stalk plant or prune to have more form as a tree.
Alternatively, you can keep your plant lower and shapelier by pruning your fig plant to add branches.
In either case, as related above, you need to start with a very sharp, clean knife or shears.
Pruning to add branches to your fiddle leaf fig requires the same equipment, but your cuts will differ.
Remember that pruning your plant can stress it out, so take care of it like a baby after removing branches. In addition, remember to save those cuttings because they are potentially new plants.
A pruned plant will be healthier overall after it recovers from being pruned.
However, it will also grow more prolifically and will need the same treatment next spring as it continues its growth to adulthood when its growth will slow.
The Best Time To Prune A Fiddle Leaf Fig
Pruning needs to be performed in the spring of the year so that your plant can get plenty of spring sunshine to help it heal.
Pruning your plant can stress it, so it will need extra attention after you perform this task.
Remove the dead leaves of your fiddle leaf all year long but wait until spring to prune your plant. Your fig needs to breathe, so keeping the leaves thinned is beneficial to its health.
The lower leaves of your plant will eventually die and will need to be removed, so there is constant maintenance to keep your fiddle leaf fig healthy and growing.
Pruning is another aspect of that maintenance and care.
Learning when the best time to prune your fiddle leaf fig is, decide if you need to prune it and how.
Fiddle Leaf Fig And Pruning
If you want your fiddle leaf fig to be healthy, it’s best to go about with the pruning process. However, left unattended, your fig plant will scrape the ceiling, which is not its best look.
Careful pruning will allow you to train your fig plant and give it a bushier look instead of a tall, slender style.
However, it is your plant, and there are different ways how you can train it.
Pruning not only keeps your plant healthy but also provides cuttings.
The plant pieces you have removed from pruning will offer a new aspect to owning a fig plant, propagation.
The branch sections that you remove when pruning your plant can be used to add new plants to your home.
Likewise, propagating these stem cuttings can add a new plant or two to your home.
Care For Your Fiddle Leaf Fig After Pruning
Pruning can stress your plant and need extra attention after cutting away excess growth.
Pay extra attention to its needs at this time and be sure that it has access to an abundance of indirect sunshine and a warm room.
Fertilizing at every watering or at least once a month is highly recommended for your fiddle leaf fig and helps keep it healthy. Another maintenance item is clean leaves.
Your plant needs to be able to convert sunshine to food, and clean leaves allow optimum photosynthesis.
A soft, damp cloth is enough to keep them clean and avoid chemicals at all costs, as they can burn your plant’s leaves.
Benefits of Pruning a Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Stronger immunity develops as younger, healthier branches grow
- Decreased probability of infection and disease
- It gives a proper and good shape to the plant
- Balances the plant
- Prevents overcrowding
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Prune Fiddle Leaf Fig
Why is my fiddle leaf fig plant so spindly and weak-looking?
A lack of light can make any plant spindly, and the same is true for your fig plant. Fiddle leaf figs love the indirect sun but can take it more directly when acclimated to the increased light. So, if your plant is leggy-looking, add sunshine but do it slowly.
Can I make a fiddle leaf fig plant grow straight?
Plants will lean toward the sun, and you can keep your plant straight by rotating it every time you water it. By doing so, you will not only keep your fig plant straight, but this act will also strengthen the trunk, an added benefit.
What is the ideal time for pruning a fiddle leaf fig?
The ideal time for pruning a fiddle leaf fig is in the spring season when there is plenty of sunlight to promote new growth and recovery. Alternatively, you can prune in early summers. However, please avoid cutting your plant down in the dormant season as the plant recovers very slowly, increasing the risk of infection.
How many days or weeks before a newly-pruned fiddle leaf fig grows back?
When placed in the ideal environment, most pruned fiddle leaf figs grow back in about four to six weeks. They often form new roots and leaves, at which point you can move the fiddle leaf fig into a well-draining indoor pot.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.