How far back can I prune a fiddle leaf fig?

Answered by Willie Powers

When it comes to pruning a fiddle-leaf fig, it’s important to exercise caution and not go overboard. Pruning more than 10 percent of the plant at any given time can put it under stress and hinder its growth. So, it’s best to prune conservatively and gradually, allowing the plant to recover between pruning sessions.

To start, identify the lateral branches or stems that you wish to prune. These are the side branches that grow from the main trunk or other branches. When making a cut, it’s important to do so just above the branch collar. The branch collar is the swollen area where the branch attaches to the trunk or another branch. By cutting just above the branch collar, you ensure that you’re not leaving a stub, which can be unsightly and prone to disease.

However, be careful not to cut too close to the trunk. If you cut into the branch collar or wound the tissue in that area, you risk introducing disease pathogens into the trunk. This can compromise the health of the plant and potentially lead to further issues. So, take your time and make precise cuts just above the branch collar.

It’s worth noting that when you prune a fiddle-leaf fig, it’s not just about cutting back branches. It’s also important to consider the overall shape and balance of the plant. Pruning can be an opportunity to shape the plant and encourage a more balanced growth pattern. For instance, if you notice that one side of the plant is growing more vigorously than the other, you can selectively prune back branches on the dominant side to promote more even growth.

In terms of how far back you can prune a fiddle-leaf fig, it really depends on the specific plant and its current state. If the plant is healthy and robust, you can prune back branches by a few inches or even several feet if necessary. However, if the plant is already struggling or weak, it’s best to be more conservative and only prune back to healthy, vigorous growth points.

Remember, fiddle-leaf figs are known for their large, attractive leaves, so it’s important to strike a balance between pruning for shape and maintaining the foliage that gives these plants their distinctive look. It may also be helpful to research specific pruning techniques for fiddle-leaf figs or consult with a knowledgeable plant expert for further guidance.

When pruning a fiddle-leaf fig, take care not to remove more than 10 percent of the plant at any given time. Make cuts just above the branch collar to avoid wounding the tissue and introducing disease. Consider the overall shape and balance of the plant when pruning, and be cautious not to remove too much foliage, as the leaves are a defining feature of the fiddle-leaf fig.