Blog Fiddle Leaf Fig A Guide To Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning

A Guide to Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning

Want to learn more about fiddle leaf fig pruning? We've got you covered. Check out our helpful guide on all you need to know today!

@Kiersten avatar
Dec 12, 2021

Fiddle leaf fig plants grow quickly as long as they get adequate nutrition. However, with quick growth, they may become lopsided or overcrowded, which can affect overall health. 

This is where pruning comes in. Keep reading for our helpful guide on all things fig pruning! 🌿

What is Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning? 

Pruning, in simple terms, is the process of grooming your plant. You remove the dead branches and leaves, freshen up the shape of the fiddle leaf fig plant, and cut off any unwanted growth to boost overall plant health. 

The more severe the pruning, the greater the resulting growth boost can be. However, you need to do it with care and gentleness to ensure you don’t damage the tropical plant. 

When you prune a fiddle leaf fig tree, the houseplant works hard and boosts regrowth to bring about a balance between its growth above the soil and roots below the soil. 

Photo by Figglet

How to Prune a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

Choose a Shape

Fiddle leaf fig plants can be cut into many shapes and styles depending on your personal preference. However, they all boil down to one question––do you prefer your fig plant to look more like a bush or more like a tree? 🌳🌲

Choose the shape you want, but also keep in mind the current state of the plant. If you want a tree-like appearance, you will have to remove older leaves on the trunk. That means they need healthy growth on the top of the plant, so ensure you stay on top of your fiddle leaf fig’s watering schedule. 

Looking for detailed, step-by-step instructions on watering fiddle leaf figs? By using physics and machine learning to predict the water needs of any plant in any environment, the Greg plant care app will help you grow healthy plants with confidence. Download the app today!

Identify Branches to Remove 

Pruning can be done for many reasons. One of those reasons is damaged leaves. Tattered and browned leaves and damaged branches can be removed through pruning, to ensure it doesn’t endanger the health or appearance of the plant. However, keep in mind you shouldn’t remove more than 10 percent of the plant’s leaves.

Remove Crossing Branches & Dead Leaves 

Remove any dead leaves or leaves with spots from the plant, such as fiddle leaf fig brown spots, developing dark spots, and ensure you are extra careful on your plant if you start to notice root rot in your fiddle leaf fig. If your fiddle leaf fig trees have crowded branches that may reduce airflow in the plant, you can also remove those. Any leaves or branches that are overcrowded and impeding growth should also be fixed. 

Create Your Shape 

If you want to maintain the height of your fiddle leaf fig plant, pinch off new, soft, and fragile leaves at the top of the main stem. This will diminish growth in that direction and also promote branching. 

For a bush-like appearance, you can use notching, which encourages the formation of branches from the main stem. For this, make a small cut above the nodes at your desired height on the main stem. New growth will occur below the notches, resulting in a bushy plant. 

Nodes can be identified as the points where the buds, branches, and leaves grow from. If you want the plant to look like a small tree, you can remove the older leaves at the bottom of the trunk––as needed––leaving behind the healthy and new growth at the top.  

Photo by Jenlcolon0824


Now that you’ve identified which leaves you want to remove and what the overall shape of the plant should be, you can begin the pruning process. Make sure your shears are sharp and clean before you start cutting. 

For best results, cut the leaf or branch less than 0.5 inches away from the stem. This will not only reduce the risk of any infection spreading in the plant, but also boost growth.  

Tips for Successful Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning


Spring is the growing season for most things. The best time to prune fiddle leaf fig is also in the spring; this time of year provides the plant enough access to light for growth and recovery. 


To ensure pruning doesn’t damage the tropical plant, use a sharp pair of pruning shears. Dull scissors can crush the stems of the plant and minimize the benefits. 

Supporting Materials

Wear a pair of sturdy gardening gloves before dealing with any plants to protect your hands. When you prune a fiddle leaf fig branch, it releases a sticky sap that can stick to the floor. It can also cause the burning of your skin. Use a spare cloth to cover the floor and prevent damage from the sap. Use a disinfectant for the pruning shears to prevent infection in the indoor plant. 

Fertilize After Pruning 

Once you’ve pruned the indoor plant, it’s best to fertilize the soil. This will provide the plant with enough energy to recover from the shock of pruning and also support new growth. Fertilize regularly and consistently but don’t go overboard. Wondering how to propagate fiddle leaf fig? Read our latest blog on our best tips and tricks! 

Fiddle leaf fig pruning is definitely not complicated, it just requires giving your ficus tree a little extra TLC. When you do, you’ll discover it rewards you by thriving! 🌿 🌿 🌿