Web Analytics

Deuce Cities Henhouse

Pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig - Deuce Cities Henhouse
Friends! Just wanted to give you a little fiddle leaf fig (aka ficus lyrata) update. Both my fiddle leaf figs (1 and 2) have grown tons this summer, it’s is really exciting watching new leafs appear all the time. One of my figs (the younger one) really began growing rapidly from the center stalk. It was actually starting to look a bit funny, like an awkward gangly teen (as you can see in the above photo). I really want to encourage my tree to take on a more rounded shape so I decided to do something drastic. After scouring the internet on fiddle leaf fig pruning advice I decided to go ahead and chop off the top of my fig. Now I’ve got to let you know that I didn’t find a lot of solid info out there on the old net, so after some careful observations I came to the conclusion that I’d have a decent chance of creating new branch growth if I lopped off the top of my fig tree, so I did it.

Pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig - Deuce Cities Henhouse
Minutes after carefully chopping off the top of my tree with a pair of sharp pruning shears I was filled with regret and worry. I wasn’t confident that this was really going to work. That was nearly 7 weeks ago. I was expecting to see a new branch after about two weeks. This totally didn’t happen, then the days passed and there was still no sign of growth. I was sure that I had ruined my tree. I could’ve cried about it, fer real. After four weeks passed, something amazing happened, I spotted the smallest little bud beginning to be formed! My plan worked!

Now mind you, the whole intent of this was to create two new branches in hopes of creating a more rounded vibe for my tree, but when I saw that new growth, I could care less, I was so happy and relieved to see something growing from the main stalk. I was sure I had screwed up my tree for lyfe. I also can see what appears to be the very beginning of a new branch bulge (whatever, my words aren’t technical) so I still am keeping my fingers crossed that it will produce more than the single branch. I’ll let you know what happens over the next few weeks.

If you’re gonna take on pruning your tree, make sure to do so in the months when it is growing – this is super, super important. I read somewhere that August was best, but I bet it would almost be better in the late July months. I am no expert, so don’t take my word for it, just consider what I have to say. If you’re gonna try this it is best to prune your tree immediately after a leaf, you can see in the photo below where I did this. I also paid careful attention to where my fig had been pruned prior (before it was mine). I even examined all the fiddle leaf figs and their pruning scars when I visited the garden center. I’m totally a tree detective.

I imagine my tree has another leaf or two to grow before it ends this growing season. I’m hopeful that next spring it will really take off and the new branches will begin to actually look like branches. I am really, really hoping.

Pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig - Deuce Cities Henhouse
So, have any of you ever tried doing this before with your Ficus? How did it turn out. Let’s start a discussion about pruning our super fast growing Fiddle Leaf Figs!


Pruning my Fiddle Leaf Fig WIP
Edited May 25, 2018
Well, it’s been a minute since first writing this post, and by a minute I mean 4 years give or take. I wrote this at a time when so many of us were trying our hands at FLF parenting. Since those early days, I’m sure we’ve all learned a lot. Awesomely enough, this comment section has been a great place to share information, and I say we revive it!

There’s been a lot of questions about “why isn’t my fiddle leaf fig tree shaped”. The simple answer is, a Fiddle Leaf Fig needs to be pruned and nurtured to achieve tree like status. Here are some recent photos of mine. My tree loves growing out of it’s main stalk, and it’s time for a hair cut to try and promote growth in the other branches. Last year I accidentally lopped the top off of it when we were transporting it from our home to the cabin (in a uHaul). Happily, I can report that there are two new branches jutting out of the top of it.

I’m very much thinking that I will cut of the top off. It’s important when pruning the tree to make a new cut with clean pruning shears right above the location of two leaves. Its likely that your fig will begin a new branches (buds) will begin at the base of the leaves. My fig is doing that right now! I’ll take a picture when I visit it at the cabin next and share below so that you get a sense of what I’m talking about.

This fig is super happy at the cabin. I was worried at first that it would not get enough sunlight, but after putting it directly in the front window I burnt a few of it’s leaves. It now lives away from the main windows, it still gets enough light without getting so much that its leaves get burnt. It has made the perfect vacation home plant because it likes one large watering and then wants to dry out before its watered again, giving us the freedom to water it every week to two weeks.

What else? Have any questions about my fig(s). I have 3 btw. Shoot me a comment below, and me or someone from the FLF squad will reply!

Here are a few other links documenting my FLFs.


Pruning my Fiddle Leaf Fig WIP

in gardening, How-To

Newer Post

Older Post

48 comments… add one
  • StaCEY September 30, 2014

    This is all good to know! When we moved in August, my plants had to sit outside in the sun for about 6 hours, and my beloved fiddle leaf figs got sunburned! I was so sure they were dead, but last week I noticed 3 new leaves popped out on one of the plants. WHEW! Still, the leaves that got burned have brown splotches on them which is no good, but they are alive! I’d rather have tree-shaped ones like you have, so maybe next year I can’ start some fanci pruning.

  • Becky October 1, 2014

    I have a request for a post. A how to on the digging and storing of dahlia tubers. Typically I would be lazy and not bother but my dahlias were gorgeous this year and I don’t remember what kind they were (impulse home depot purchase and I can’t find the packaging), so I would like to keep some and replant them next year–I just need your gardening genius.

    • Scoops October 7, 2014

      Okay Becky! I’ll file that a way. I should be doing some of fall gardening, but haven’t gotten around to it yet – I’m running out of time. It’ so awesome that you got some pretty Dahlias. If I don’t get a post up in time, just dig the tubers up and place them in a brown bag in a cool dark place. Just like you do with potatoes! I put mine down in the basement. I’ll get a post together with pics soon.

  • Jennifer @ Brave New Home October 2, 2014

    Sorry, I can only contribute to discussions about rapidly dying ficus trees : P I do appreciate any tips about how to take care of these beautiful plants and am happy your plan is working. Glad you got some new growth!

    • Scoops October 7, 2014

      Oh no! Jennifer that sucks! Try moving it to a window with lots of light if it’s not already, and water it about a half gallon once every 7-10 days. Maybe there is time to save it.

  • shavonda@ahomefullofcolor October 8, 2014

    Oh crap! I pruned mine wrong! I pruned mine last year from the bottom. Guess I know better now. I need to fertilize mine soon so I may do it all at once. Thanks so much for this post love.

    • Scoops October 10, 2014

      I bet it’s okay! Did you just prune a leaf, or did you lop off a branch. I think anything involving cutting back on the main stem will promote new growth. Just try and cut it right above a leaf.

      • Mary January 4, 2015

        To Jennifer, It is our human impatients, sometimes that we give up to early on out plants. I had a ficus tree that my parrot ripped to shreds, all the leaves torn and it was this ugly and looked like a stick stuck in a pot. It took months (Throughout the winter ones) Come spring low and hold there they where, the beginning of buds.
        as for your fig. I have mine in in-direct light. It has gone crazy. This is my first one and it came with two stalks side by side. There both about 5-1/2 feet tall. I am looking to cut them back as you said to round them out. So this will be a total experiment on my part since this was my first one. I will let you know what happens.

      • Will December 20, 2017

        I have a tall thin ficus that has lost all of the lower leaves. I was hoping to prune the main stem at the middle, but this is below the lowest leaves! Do you think this will work, or is it likely to kill the plant?

  • D.L. Strawn January 25, 2015

    <y Ficus has two side by side main branches. One has grown nearly two feet in 2 years and is now about once inch from the ceiling. I have been wondering about pruning, so thanks for sharing experiences. I will proceed this week to take about 2 feet off of this extremely tall, gangly limb. Wish me luck. The plant grows like mad, getting so big it looks like it should have monkeys or wild parrots roosting in it. It's huge.

  • mary January 25, 2015

    few of the leaves are curling up at the end of the leaf on my fiddle head they look healthy but and aren’t remaining flat. I looked for all the usual culprits non where spotted and these aren’t new growth leaves. I am also wondering since they came two in the pot should one be cut away? I think it may be part of the same plant????

  • Monica r. February 23, 2015

    Is there a certain height I should prune to get new growth? My FLF is one tall stalk, a little over 7 feet. It was given to me so I don’t know much about it. I want multiple limbs if possible. Can you recommend where to cut? The leaves start maybe 3-3.5 feet up from the base. Thanks so much!

  • Nate March 26, 2015

    I’ve just snipped off the top of my tree and now have that anxiety waiting to see if it was worth it. Thanks for the advice! Do you know why my new leaves would sprout with reddish brown spots? All the previous leaves are a healthy green but the newer ones have spots. Maybe it needs a bigger pot and more nutrient rich soil. But this is my first go at this. Does anyone have any tips? Thanks!!

    • Phoebe Tomei October 15, 2018

      Too much water is usually the reddish spots!

  • Mary March 26, 2015

    My fiddle head has a few leaves that are curling up on the ends. Suggestions?

  • Blanche Thompson June 1, 2015

    I have a fiddle-leaf fig that was only one main stem and decided to cut it back this spring. It was probably 6 or 7 feet tall. I decided how tall I wanted it to be and cut the rest off. The part I cut off I put in water to root then after rooting I replanted and had a new one. The plant that I topped now has two branches at the top which I want to cascade down when they get a little heavier.

    • Scoops June 2, 2015

      Such good insight, thanks for posting! Did you lop the top off during it’s growing season? How long did it take to root? Did it only need to be in water while it rooted?

    • EMily O. January 17, 2016

      How long did it take for the re-rooting to take place? OAN, I have a multi-trunk fiddle and the main trunk is growing like CRAZY! Can I just top it at depending on my preference?

      • Scoops January 21, 2016

        Hey, Emily! I still have a stem in a cup of water that cut late this summer, no roots yet. My mom has done this before and says it can take months. I’m not sure about the other part of the question, are you asking if you can just lop it off? Yes, but just make sure that you prune right above where you have leaf shoots.

    • Sandi February 3, 2017

      Wow! Did the stem that you cut root?

  • Alberta Harris June 20, 2015


    • Scoops June 23, 2015

      I would give it a shot, but I’m not an expert on Fiddle Leaf Figs. If it were me, that’s what I would do, with the help of some rooting powder. I’m going to have to try the same thing this summer.

  • Cody July 8, 2015

    I am about to propagate my fiddle leaf fig and can’t wait! My only problem though is the new leaf looks strong and very glossy but it has brown spots quite heavily through it! Te older leaves have a couple of brown spots but they Are only small and I’ve managed to get rid of 90% of this by cutting down watering. Should I be worried about this new leaf???

  • Brittany July 22, 2015

    I have had my fiddle leaf fig tree (appropriately named Fergus) for about 3 months now. I live in west Texas and this summer has been hot, in the 100s, so I’ve had to water about once a week. Last week I watered a little early in the day and left Fergus out to drain and his top leaves got sunburned. Now several other leaves have turned brown or black and I am worried! Should I prune them back? Or leave them alone and hope for the best? I am afraid these discolored leaves are causing stress on my poor tree! And myself! I should also mention Fergus is about 3 feet from my west side window because it’s so hot. I don’t know if moving him to a north facing window would do any good. Please help!

  • BrandI August 22, 2015

    So now that it’s been almost a year how is your Fiddleleaf fig doing? I’m curious to know because mine is growing Like crazy vertically and I would like to chop the top off to encourage branching. Thanks!

  • AlExandra September 3, 2015

    Hi there,
    My poor fiddle leaf last year had a run in with a small child whilst being repotted which resulted in the loss of 6 precious leaves down one side. It’s finally spring here in Australia and all the new growth is a super light green and quite thin and flimsy looking compared to other leaves. I’m really hoping for branching but just wondering if the lighter smaller leaves are a normal thing? :)

    • Vanessa October 20, 2015

      Hi Alexandra,
      After two huge new leaves emerged in September, a single thin pale green leaf emerged. It was very small and ended up dying and falling off. How have your strange looking leaves developed? Also, the new leaves aren’t actually fiddle shaped, like the ones below which seems odd! I’m in Sydney too.

  • Lauren September 4, 2015

    I pruned my fiddle fig and got new growth! but only from one side, so it’s not really branching. How do you get two branches to grow out of the stem/trunk?


    • Cynthia Mady March 17, 2016

      Have patience. I did the same thing and thought it would not branch. But today, months after I cut it, I see a new branch emerging. Good luck.

  • Lisa February 22, 2016

    I am needing a little advise please. I purchased two fiddle figs from Home Depot this past January. They were not looking there best BUT I live in Michigan and these trees are hard to find so I thought I would at least give it a go. I just snipped the top leafs off the steam because they were browning and had spots all over them. I just put them in the shower to water and clean leaves. My question is when and what type of fertilizer should I use? Should I fertilize now or hold off til a certain time of year?
    Thanks so much for any advise


    • Nat February 29, 2016

      I live in Australia and fertilize mine with just an all-purpose type fertilizer. I dilute it a little more just to make sure it’s not too strong. I only fertilize during it’s growing periods – spring and summer maybe once every 3-4 weeks. Hope this helps

  • Jo May 18, 2016

    Hi there, I just wanted to ask if you have any tricks on getting the leaves to look so shiny. My tree is growing well but the leaves are looking a bit dull! I’ve heard rubbing coconut oil lightly over the leaves helps? Thanks!

    • Helen October 21, 2016

      Yes! I gave mine a little polish with coconut oil, they’ve stayed shiny for weeks, it hasn’t harmed them at all, there’s been plenty of new growth since and they look like they belong in a magazine. Go for it!

    • Belle January 7, 2017

      I got a can of white oil spray from my local nursery. Good for the leaves and they’re so glossy and rich after a spray and wipe down.

  • Stephanie June 7, 2016

    My fiddle leaf fig is super awkward…just one tall skinny stalk with a cluster of seven leaves at the top. No branches at all. Does anyone know if I can get a new branch to grow lower down on the stalk?

  • Marina June 14, 2016

    To all of you FLF owners – it is okay to have the brown spots and blotches on new leaves! They go away as the leaves develop and mature. I had been worried myself in the beginning, but then just noticed that the leaves clear out after a while. I fugured it happens more if a plant gets more direct sunlight. So it is not a reason to cut back the stem. The plant is healthy and has no problems, just give it some time. I am really in love with my FLF and waiting for it to reach the ceiling (it is one quite leafy stem about 9 feet tall). I love trees! But then I’ll probably need to cut it back, so I’ll see what happens!

  • Marco August 5, 2016

    Helloo.. I purchased my Ficus Pandurata at half price-I guess no body wanted it and it was in bad shape-but still had leaves at the top, but looked like the beautiful leaves were nice & green, the ‘trunk’ seemed like it was dead. I watered it once a week, good soil…but then one by one the leaves fell.

    I decided to clip the upper branches leaving the ‘trunk’ leading to the top of 4 or 5 short branches (now). Like you, I thought I killed it, but kept watering it, good lighting. And now, leaves are sprouting from about 5 inches from the soil on the trunk..? And there’s like 3 leaves coming, and they’re growing fast, and there’s even a new ‘tree’ sprouting up right next the old tree..?? I’m completely stumped and don’t know what to do..

    Do I just prune the tree from the last leaf that’s growing? That would mean to cut the tree down to about 8 inches, and it’s about 3.5-4.5 feet now.. I was thinking of leaving it but, if there’s something I can do to help my little friend, I want to do it, and it seems like the time to do it, would be now.. Thanks everyone, I look forward to a response..

  • Candy Emerson November 6, 2016

    Thank you for this resource! You have addressed several of my concerns and given me the info on how to take my Sweet Fiddle Leaf Fig and propagate it. I have had it for over 25 years and it is a favorite- more would be lovely❣It is 8-9 feet tall – I have several bare branches with no growth that are unlovely, and will try trimming and rooting. It is Nov. and I will let you know. Blessings❣

  • deborah kivett March 5, 2017

    I started my fiddle head fig from a cutting . When my elderly friend passed I named the plant after her. It was in the fall and the cutting just shot up with lots of new leaves. I sensed this was an omen from her that she had made the passage ok. So now years later it is too tall to have in my home and I have been putting off pruning it, but after reading this site i’m going to do it and make cuttings from what i cut back.It is march , not the perfect time , but with the Florida heat I need to get it in.

  • GG March 21, 2017

    A fiddle leaf fig growth rate photo story here: https://greengrowblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/ff-london/

  • Burch Dena J. April 10, 2017

    My fiddle leaf fig was two trees together in a pot when I got it – it was 3 feet. That was two years ago on Mother’s Day, now it is 6 feet tall and got very “Leggy”! I lost some leaves and the ends of some of the leaves turn brown it’s first “summer” out on the back porch. Today I repotted it into a bigger pot it looks better and I put a 6.5 ft stake at the center of the two trees and used some twine to brace the thing straight because it had taken on a crooked slant. I’ve got my fingers crossed and I’m hoping it will be healthier and happier from now on. I do know now that I have to repot it at least once a year and put extra potting soil on top of it every 4 to 6 months. Also not to drown it !

  • Barbara June 6, 2017

    How do you prune the bottom leaves of a fiddle leaf fig ? I want the tree to look more Pom Pom on top , . Fuller at the top . Right now it’s only three feet tall

  • Tracy June 14, 2017

    My fiddle fig is out side in the ground and doing great. Years ago when I planted it ,it was very small and I had no idea how big it would get. I planted it to close to my palm tree. Now it is about 5 feet tall and very full and I want to transplant it in a large planter and bring in on to my porch. What are the chances it will survive the move. And any advise.

  • Robin June 22, 2017

    Your page is so pretty — what a treat to have stumbled across! I started with a little baby FLF in the fall and am stumped by the lack of info about pruning, strengthening, potting, etc. Do you have any updates about your pretty girls? Any advice for propagating cuttings? Can’t wait to explore your blog :)

    • Elaine June 23, 2017

      Hi Robin: my daughter has an 9′ FLFig and gave me two stalks she snipped off last Fall (2016). She rooted them in a glass of water until there was a good-sized root system then we planted them in late January 2017 in a pot situated in my north and north/east facing condo. It has grown SO fast – about 6″ a month – so in a few months, it will need lopping off at the top as I want it to have a more rounded shape at the top and not just straight stalks. I would say that every ten days, I have a new leaf!! To answer your question, as I said, my daughter just cut two sections off and put them in water. I have no idea from where she cut them but would assume it was just above a leaf on her “donor tree”. I had a huge Ficus tree – many years old – but gave it away because washing off the dusty leaves required too much mind-numbing work while the big leaves of the FLFigs are much easier to wipe down with a damp cloth. Good luck. When I trim my tree (after a few more months of growth), and if and when I see it grow into a rounded shape, I will post my results. Wish me luck!

      By the way, my tree is near a fairly cool window in the Winter but it receives plenty of light due to the condo being a corner unit. I live in southern Ontario, Canada; where, for the past few years, the Winters have been pretty mild and the Summers very hot and humid.

  • Alyssa January 13, 2018

    Hi there! Have just discovered this page and absolutely love it. I am seeking some guidance on my FLF (Frankie) from anyone who may be able to help – my question is similar to Barbara a few posts above. It is summer in Australia so I have recently fertilised and should probably re-pot Frankie soon however am wondering how you turn the FLFs from a you looking bush into the single trunk tree? At the moment Frankie has about 4 separate leaf lush but skinny trunks and stands about 2.5feet. Any help welcomed with open arms :)

  • Claire Akin April 24, 2018

    Glad you had success with pruning! I love your tips about when to prune a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree!

  • Melissa February 26, 2019

    Hello! TY for the awesome info! We have a 20+yr old fiddle leaf fig that desperately needs a hair cut! It’s over 16’tall!! (Yep! No joke!). It’s quite gangly, like a teenager! As u had previously mentioned. Would love to prune it! But the branches or I should say limbs are 2-3” in diameter. Actually there is quite. Aspen between the leaves on the tallest branches! Should I give it a whirl? It’s so overgrown it’s never leaving this house! TIA for the info! Again, love ur blog!

Leave a Comment