Bros, I just wanted to pop in and give a quick update on my three (god damn right) Fiddle Leaf Fig trees. They are all insanely large at this point. I’ve trimmed each of them back at least once, if not twice. Trimming back the trees gives my porch ceiling a little breathing room (ya know?), and if you trim your plant back right after a leafing out point, often times you’ll end up with multiple new branches.
Last summer I trimmed back my OG Ikea tree in a hope to encourage new branching (which it did). I took the cutting and plopped it in a jar full of water. It was the start of the fall, and I wasn’t expecting much growth (if any) because this is the beginning of the trees typical dormant period. I watered that pathetic little leaf for months and months, with no sign of anything. I had basically given into the fact that it would never ever root, ever. Then on the verge of calling it a day, like magic, I checked for growth to find an insane root ball! So awesome! It’s even grown a new leaf – how cute. I’ve now potted it, and am babying my new baby.
Feel free to share your Fiddle Leaf Fig experiences in the comments below. There seems to be a big learning curve regarding this finicky tree and we can all learn a bit from each other. Lots of comments and insight were left the last time I posted about the tree and the first, but I am curious of others experiences with tree trimming and propagation. I’ll start, should I prune this tree pictured below, or should I hold out hope that it will be all sorts of wonderfuld and bend towards the light? Lay it on me!
Wait. How do you get the bare “trunk” part? I have leaves along the stem/trunk all the way to the pot! Do I break off the leaves from a certain point down to the dirt? That makes me nervous!
@ MRS Z, Mine are the same way. Where do we trim?
Hey Mrs Z! My first fiddle leaf grew up from a baby, there were two individual stems. I kept waiting for this tree thing to happen and it never did. It wasn’t until last year that I realized you should actually cut off the leaves if you want a trunk look, and if you want branches you need to trim it back right above where 2 or more leaves begin to create new growth. Pruning and trimming during the growing season is best. I’ll post photos of that fig later today in the comments.
This is so good to know! Mine are just straight sticks, and I have the same question as Mrs. Z, because my two stalks (in one pot) have leaves all the way up, and no branching. I think cutting the tops off would give me a heart attack, though!
With no expertise whatsoever, and just based on looks, I think you should prune the tree that’s hitting the ceiling.
Hey Rachel, check out what I said about creating branches in the comment to Mrs Z!
I have a Fiddle Leaf that was doing really well, lots of growth, looking healthy, etc. Last summer I decided to give it a little vacation and put it on the deck when it was raining. However, I left it out a little too long after the rain stopped and the sun was shining and the poor thing got really badly scorched on many of its leaves. I thought that it would drop the leaves but it didn’t. All winter it looked so sad and blotchy, and I was under the impression that the blotched leaves were spreading. About March I couldn’t stand how it looked any longer and figured I would try pruning off some leaves. After reading tons online I took off a few leaves and also cut away the dead tips on several. I was cautious and didn’t go crazy, but was stressed beyond belief. It was so wonderful to discover several weeks later new leaves appearing and lots of growth. I pruned some more of the leftover scorched leaves and I have to say the plant is looking really good. It seems they are quite forgiving.I think I would prune the height of your plant on the porch – they are so difficult to move when tall and if it is resting on the ceiling it will be even more of a challenge to move. Also, I would be concerned that if the growth got too much it might snap a branch.
I think you did the right thing. The plants do seem pretty resilient. The scorched parts are usually just aesthetic, I have some on mine as well from putting them too close to a lamp. I haven’t cut them off yet. I usually notice new growth around February or March and then it continues more vigorously over the summer going dormant in early fall. Also, in the spring my trees usually drop a leaf or too, I think it’s normal, so don’t worry if that might happen.
I’m on my third flf. I refuse to give up. This time I decided the problem was it needed repotting and boy, was I right! I used Al’s gritty mix and after pitting I tied each plant down to clamps on the sides of the pot. I also pruned the roots. When you root prune they get very insecure being so loose in the new soil so they need that stability. It’s been 2 weeks and so far so good. Waiting for new growth before I fertilize. Keep posting. Your flf is amazing!!!
Good tips on the root pruning!! I reported both my large trees last fall, but didn’t do anything to the root ball except loosen it up. Nice to know!
Update: Root pruning and repotting was a success! I now have new growth on all three plants. However, 2 of them are growing G rather tall with skinny trunks so I trimmed them at a leaf axillary and a white milky sap immediately ozzed out to cover the cut surface. I put the 2 cuttings in water. I’m assuming the sap is just a way for the plant to protect the cut? Has this happened to anyone else? Will it branch out soon since it’s the growing season? Thanks for any help. I just don’t want it to now be prone to some kind of infection or infestation. Thanks for this post, Scoops. Good one! We do love our flfs, don’t we : )
I had a similar now-that-it’s-cut-let’s-hope-that-it-reroots-so-I-can-have-more-fiddle-leaf-figs-in-my-life experience! A friend’s fiddle leaf had grown a little odd, so I cut off the top, stuck it in a cup of water, and waited (for months and months) for something to happen. Then, randomly, like you, I checked on the little guy, and it rooted! I was so thrilled. I stuck it in soil right away, then waited and waited and waited again. On another random day, I noticed a leaf, then another! My little baby is growing, and I’m so proud! (https://www.instagram.com/p/BE4lOioy1aB/?taken-by=whitecabana)
I don’t find the fiddle leaf to be so finicky actually. I just water it a little bit each week and rotate it a bit too so that it grows evenly. I’ve had it for 3 years now, and it’s growing strong (crossing fingers that the goodness continues). I do absolutely get a kick out of all the online (and in person) discussions that happen about this beautiful plant!
Not sure what to do about your giant tree. If you trim it, root the trimmings, then you can maybe start a fiddle leaf business. :)
I’m so glad you wrote about this! After some trial & error I found a happy location for mine. He has grown to about 12 ft in 3 yrs, but is still just a single trunk. The ceiling is only a few feet away, so it’s time for a cut! There is plenty of room to spread… The ceilings are vaulted & wood planked, & it would look awesome if the flf would branch out in a dramatic, sculptural way! I need to just go for it, but I’m having trouble deciding where to cut it.
I am lovng all these great tips! I have one that is growing, after I repotted and moved the location. I have been pruning the leaves to make it look top heavy. My other plant is not growing but at least it isn’t dropping leaves. I find forgetting to water those plants is what keeps them alive. Too much watering love and the leaves start to brown. Can’t wait for mine to get to ceiling height!
Oh, keep the comments coming! I’ve had one for four or five years that I rarely water, haven’t repotted in FOREVER and generally neglect. It’s tall and spindly, drops a leaf a year while sprouting a few new ones, and then suddenly a couple of months ago started growing what looks like a whole new baby tree off the bottom of the trunk. I’m not sure what to do with that little guy, because it’s in such an awkward location. I wonder what would happen if I cut that whole little new shoot off and tried to propagate it. Any thoughts? I would really love to expand the top and even it out, help it grow taller, but am awfully intrigued by this new growth at the very bottom!
When a leaf has brown leaves on a fiddle leaf fig how do you prune them to save tree?