How to Prune Fiddle Leaf Fig

The glossy, dark green leaves of the fiddle leaf fig are attractive in an indoor setting. It also has the advantage of being available in small bushy forms for a tabletop as well as taller, more tree-like plants. Either of these may require pruning if the plant grows too tall or needs shaping.


Care Basics

The key factors in growing a fiddle leaf fig are light, soil and water. The plant prefers bright indirect light in a warm room, but keep it out of full sun. Good garden or commercial potting soils that drain well provide nutrients while preventing root rot. Don’t overwater – let soil dry out between once or twice a week waterings.

Timing of Pruning

Although they are evergreen, fiddle leaf figs have a distinct growth cycle. The plant is dormant in the winter months and resumes active growth in spring and summer. If you’re trimming a single leaf, you can do that at any time. More extensive pruning and shaping is best done in late winter or early spring so the plant can recover quickly.

Types of Pruning

All pruning techniques are designed to encourage new growth These can be used on a fiddle leaf fig:

  • Scoring – cutting into the cambium layer of the bark.
  • Notching – make a small cut just above a bud or growth node to encourage branching.
  • Tip pruning – pinch or cut off a few leaves.
  • Root pruning – trimming back the roots.

Pruning a Cluster

Some fiddle leaf figs are actually a cluster of plants in one pot. You can separate them to have more plants. Remove them from the pot and carefully separate them into individual plants. If you have a single plant with multiple stems, ensure that each has a sufficient root ball, then cut the roots apart. Repot in separate pots with fresh soil.

Don’t Overdo It

It’s important not to prune so severely that you damage or even kill your fiddle leaf fig. If you have a single crooked or excessively long branch and also want to encourage bushiness, start by removing the branch. Allow the plant plenty of time to recover. Once it starts to put out new leaves, prune back to encourage bushiness.

Using the Pruned Stems

Fiddle leaf fig can be propagated from stem cuttings, so if you want more plants you can put the trimmings to good use. Trim the bottom of the stem by making a slanting cut just below a growth node. Dip the end in water and rooting hormone, then plant about four inches deep in fresh soil. Stake or support the cutting if necessary; it should root within a couple of months.