Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are some of the most popular houseplants, and we can totally understand why. With their luscious dark green leaves, they really do become a centrepiece of any room! If you have had your Fiddle Leaf Fig for several years and it is becoming quite unruly, tall or dense, then you might want to think about pruning it back a little.
Why should I prune my Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?
There are a few reasons why you might want to prune your Fiddle back a little. It can be for personal taste, but also often to keep your plant looking and feeling healthy.
Removing damaged leaves
However well you look after you Fiddle Leaf Fig, sometimes they may have a few leaves that turn a little brown, or stems that aren’t super healthy. Make sure to figure out the cause of the problem and adjust the environment or your care straight away. Once you have solved the problem, you will want to trim away the dead parts of your Fiddle carefully so that no energy is wasted on trying to revive these dying leaves.
Control the shape and size of your Fiddle
Whether due to personal taste, or the size of the environment, you may want to prune your plant a little every so often to keep it in a certain shape or size.
Keep your Fiddle balanced
Although you might want your plant to grow straight up, they often have a mind of their own. They will always start to follow the sunlight and will start to grow towards the nearest window. This can often mean that your Fiddle starts to become lopsided so you might want to reshape your plant to keep it upright.
Reduce leaf crowding
Leaf crowing can sometimes harm your Fiddle’s health as the leaves like space and airflow. The leaves can sometimes rub up against each other a lot if there is too much crowding, so removing a few leaves can be a really good idea.
When is the best time to prune a Fiddle Leaf Fig?
It is best to wait until early Spring/Summer to prune your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. You want there to be enough light for the weeks/months after the pruning so it can develop healthy and steady growth. However, if you are only trimming off dead/brown leaves, that is fine to do all year round.
What will I need?
Luckily for pruning, you don’t need very much. A pair of sharp pruning shears will do the job. It is, however, really really important that the shears are sharp. Blunt and dull tools will harm the stem and leaves when you are cutting. Oh and make sure they are clean too as you don’t want to infect your plant when cutting into it.
You might also want to lay down some newspaper or a plastic sheet around your plant as the sap from the stems can damage your floors if it falls onto them.
Sharp pair of pruning shears
Newspaper/plastic sheet to protect your floors
Firstly decide on the shape and size
It is really important that before you make any cuts, that you know how you want your Fiddle to look after pruning. Locate any parts that are making the plant unstable, or any overcrowding to ensure that you don’t make any trimmings that you regret.
How to make the cuts
Once you are happy with where you need to make the cuts, it is time to actually prune! Using your clean, sharp shears, slice the stem at an angle as this will help to heal. Then dab the cut part of the stem with a damp cloth or tissue as this will also help with your plant’s recovery. Make sure to wipe over the shears after a cut to keep them clean.
Once the seemingly hard bit is out of the way, you need to make sure that you keep an eye on how your Fiddle is recovering and check up on any new growth. If your Fiddle is healthy, it should split its new branch where it has been cut to create two offshoots. However, if there is only one, don’t worry too much as this is usually only a sign that it is not getting enough sunlight to produce more growth. Make sure that you plant is getting good levels of indirect sunshine to encourage new healthy growth. We also recommend fertilising your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree after pruning to help it recover.
Other tips and tricks
Never remove more than 10% of the plant
This is quite important especially if your Fiddle isn’t that mature yet. You don’t want to go overboard and cut too much off as it may struggle to revive itself without enough leaves to take in sunlight.
Remove the least healthy areas first
You want to try and make sure that you start by pruning the least healthy leaves first. You don’t want to snip away too many luscious leaves only to be left with slightly yellowing and underdeveloped leaves which will struggle to keep your plant alive.
Propagate the cut off stems
Instead of throwing the prunes leaves away, try propagating them to create more Fiddle Leaf Figs. Put the stem cuttings in water and after a month or two they should form new roots and be ready for planting!
Written by Joanna Turner