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Growing and Pruning Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

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After more info for your Fiddle Leaf Fig? Check out my other FLF posts here.

Need advice on Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning? Those waif-like trunks with leafy foliage are quite eye-catching! You can splash out on buying a full-grown plant but this can be expensive – and risky – if you haven’t looked after one before! A much better option is to buy a cheaper and smaller Fiddle Leaf Fig, and enjoy the process of caring and training the plant yourself. Here’s a guide to growing and pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig, from bambino to adult size!

Growing and Pruning Your Fiddle Leaf Fig - A guide for small plant or bush to standard tree form.

There’s no question that the Ficus Lyrata aka Fiddle Leaf Figs are the new ‘it’ plant for indoors and generally they are quite easy to look after! I have recently purchased a baby Fiddle Leaf Fig myself and have scoured the interweb for the best info on how to grow and train the FLF into the shape you want.

I have heard it said that there are in fact two types of Fiddle Leaf Fig, the bushy type which you can often buy in a cluster of trunks and the more standard / tree form, but keep in mind they are the same plant, so you can generally prune and manipulate it to look how you would like it to look. The standard tree form is more popular, but if you have a bushy type, with time and a bit of work you may be able to train it to look like the decor tree of your dreams! Read on for the guide.

Basic Care

The main factors in your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s growth are light, soil and water.

Light: If its indoors, your plant will do best in front of a window where it can get loads of light. Start with bright, indirect light but you can always acclimatise your FLF to direct sunlight, which will help it thrive. They also don’t like droughts of cold air.

Soil: Well-draining soil is best so as to not keep the roots damp. This will help prevent root rot.

Watering: Watering may vary depend on the conditions your Fiddle Leaf Fig is in, but generally start by watering once a week to 10 days. Water fully until the excess drains out the bottom of the pot. You can let the soil mostly dry out between watering. Check the soil is mostly dry a couple of inches deep before watering again, or use a quality moisture meter for reference.

If the leaves get dark brown spots from the inside of the leaf, it may be getting too much water or not enough light. If the leaves turn crispy brown from the outer edge, it may not be getting enough water or the air is too dry. Sunburn or leaf-scorch looks like white-yellow to brown spots in areas where direct sunlight touches it. Change something in your fig’s lifestyle and give it time to react: move it’s position, change water levels etc.

Growth: During Spring and Summer is when your FLF will appear to grow the most and be getting lots of energy from extra sunlight hours. During autumn and winter it may appear dormant – the fig is conserving its energy to make it through the winter months and may not grow too much.

When I started to use a fertilizer on my FLF, I saw the most amazing growth – the leaf size doubled and it grew the most it has ever grown in one season. FLF’s will benefit most from a fertilizer with a NPK ratio as close to a 3:1:2 as possible, or go for this fertilizer which has the perfect ratio of nutrients for FLFs. See this post for more specific info on what fertilizer is best and how to use them.

Change: Generally FLFs don’t like change, so if you are planning on doing something drastic (like pruning, splitting a cluster or re-potting) do it at the beginning of a new season of growth, aka Spring so it has enough energy reserved to push through the added stress.

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How to Repot or Pot-Up

When your Fiddle Leaf Fig is looking too big for the pot it may be time to pot-up (aka move it to a larger pot). This will give it more room to grow and get taller. It is also a good idea to fully re-pot your FLF (which means removing as much soil from the roots as you can, trimming and planting it in new soil), which will give it fresh nutrients to grow with rather than reusing the same old soil.

How to Train you Fiddle Leaf Fig into a Standard Tree form (from bush / cluster or small plant)

 

While its tempting to get out the secateurs and start clipping your FLF to instantly look like a standard form, this may not be the best way to go about it. Those drool-worthy interior design pics make it so tempting! While your FLF may not be the ideal shape at the moment, if you allow some planning and time to go into it you will end up with a much nicer tree! The process might take at least a couple of years or seasons of growth to get it to the tree you want, but this is OK. Be patient and enjoy the process of training you fig.

Firstly, don’t remove the lower leaves! These help bring nutrients to the lower trunk and therefore strengthen and thicken it. FLFs are known for having waif-like trunks, but if the trunk is too thin it won’t be able to hold up the leafy tree-top part like you want and will forever need to be staked or be leaning. In my opinion, removing the lower leaves is probably the last step to do.

Separating a Cluster: If you have a cluster or group of FLFs in one pot, its possible to separate them to be single trees. At the start of the growing season, remove them from their pot and carefully separate the roots, giving each plant an appropriate root ball for its size (If you have to cut the roots apart, make sure each plant has a root ball respective to the plant’s size). Replant each one in its own pot.

Be aware that some clusters share a root ball and it may not be possible to separate. If your FLF has a cluster of stems that are very close together at soil level, this might be the case. Separating a cluster like this can result in damage or even loss of the plant!

Branching: If your Fiddle Leaf Fig is one trunk with no branches, there are also ways you can help it sprout new branches. One way is to nip off the tip / top few leaves of the trunk to encourage new growth. Another process is called notching, where you make a small cut into the trunk just above a bud you want to branch. This will trick the tree into branching out at this point.

If there are branches you don’t want on your FLF, just remove them close to the trunk. You can also use them for propagating and growing a new FLF! For more specific information on growing a FLF tree, this post will be helpful.

Are you embarking on a journey with a new FLF? Let me know how its going in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it!

Check out my other Fiddle Leaf Fig posts here if you’re after more specific info on fertilizing, pruning, strengthening a leaning trunk and common FLF myths.

My bambino FLF!

My first FLF!Save

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206 Comments. Leave new

  • I’m horrified to see springtail bugs on my Ficus Lyrata Bambino. How can I get rid of them? Will spraying with diluted dish washing liquid do the trick and not damage the plant?

    Reply
    • Hi Jane, springtails generally live in damp places such as potted plants’ soil. They don’t harm the leaves themselves but can cause damage to the plant by chewing on roots in the soil. I would allow the soil to dry out (at least the top 1-2 inches) to discourage them. You may want to put any infested plants outside in the shade to help them dry out and until the bugs have gone. Another way to treat them is to do a soil drench: mix 1:4 ratio of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, and fully drench the soil. The hydrogen peroxide will break down in the soil and won’t harm the plant. All the best!

      Reply
  • Hi! I have a variegated fiddle leaf fig and in an attempt to encourage growth I gave it a chop. When I made the cut, however, no sap came out. Should I be worried?

    Reply
    • Hey Angela, if the cambium (inside of the stem) was green/white then the plant is still alive. However if it was brown its possible that the section of stem has died. As long as the rest of the plant is healthy I don’t think there’s any concern! I’m yet to find a variegated FLF in real life (lucky you!) but I have heard they can be a little trickier to grow! All the best!

      Reply
  • Hello!

    We got our FLF a few months ago and have seen nice growth of new leaves at the top. It is tree like and about 5ft tall without leaves toward its bottom half. We have some exposed roots above the soil close to the base of the main plant that have begun to sprout a mini leaf cluster of about 4 leaves. Should this be removed? Will another branch grow from the roots?

    Reply
    • Hi Chelsea! It really depends what look you prefer for your FLF. The small cluster growing near the soil won’t have any harmful effect on the larger plant, so its up to you whether you’d like to remove it or let it grow! If you do decide to prune it, you can always attempt to propagate the cutting to grow a new plant 🙂 It’s possible it will grow to branch, however I would say it isn’t likely to grow large enough to compete with the main plant.

      Reply
  • Hi Emily,

    Thanks for the information! I have quite large drainage holes at the bottom of my FLF and i noticed that theres some yellow mold? It goes away when i touch it but comes back shortly after. Is that dangerous for the plant? Should I remove them? I water the plant once a week every Monday so I’m not sure if it is from overwatering.

    Also, there are some roots that have grown through the drainage holes and are quite long. Is it safe for me to trim them without harming the plant?

    Reply
    • Hi Dom, glad the posts are helpful for you 🙂 I don’t think the yellow mold would be harmful to the plant. Generally it lives off damp soil and can be caused by the soil constantly being damp or wet. Once a week may be a little much water for your FLF, depending on the climate where you live. You could also try propping the pot up on something, such as a pot stand to allow the base of the pot to air out better.
      The roots coming through the drainage holes should be fine to remove. The most important roots for plants are the really thin, micro roots – these are the ones that feed nutrients to the plant. Larger roots are more for stability and should be safe to remove. Unless the plant is extremely root bound with roots circling the outer edge of the pot, it won’t need to be repotted. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • We live in South Carolina. Our son gave us a healthy 4 ft FLF a month ago. We are embarrassed to admit that we didn’t know how to care for it. And we did all the wrong things – left it outside in bright sun, wind and rain. We noticed its failing health and brought it inside. Too late. Needless to say it began to drop leaves and now all of them are off the stem. However, within the last 10 days there is new growth about 6-8″ from the bottom of the stem. Several extremely healthy leaves that are growing larger every day! We see some new buds appearing near the new leaves, but none, so far, near the top of stem. Our question is should we cut the stem above the new growth? If so how much? Will it ever grow into the beautiful gift we originally received? We’re so disappointed.

    Reply
    • Hey Marianne! FLFs are amazing plants and after all the flak they receive about being ‘fussy’, they can still appear to come back from the dead, or a bare trunk, like yours! I’ve actually come across quite a few similar situations.
      In your case, I would feel the top of the stem. If the top has died, it will be dry and brittle. This can be cut back to where it is still living. If it doesn’t appear to be dead at the top, there is still a good chance the plant will grow new leaves towards the top too. You might want to prune the tip to encourage new growth – when you do this, it’s a good sign if sap oozes from the cut as this shows the stem is still living.
      Just as it takes extra energy for humans to go through a growth spurt, I would say that perhaps your FLF hasn’t regrown at the top yet as it’s focus is on the new leaves it is growing near the bottom. If the stem is still living, give it time, lots of bright light and I’m sure it will activate growth again! If you don’t think this is happening after some time, try notching the stem in multiple places to encourage new growth. This post has some tips on notching if you need them. All the best!

      Reply
  • Hi Emily—So my flf was growing so happy—I let it go straight up—now it’s almost to my very high ceiling—one very healthy stem—I kept thinking I would cut it but couldn’t bring myself to do it—my question is if I cut it, it will branch at that point? So I really should cut it way back down??

    Reply
    • Hey Pam, that’s right – the point where you cut it back to, is where it should branch. It’s good to have a think about how you’d like your FLF to look, so that you can decide where to prune it. In general, a good height for branching is around 4-5 feet, as it will then start to take on a standard ‘tree-like’ shape. You can also propagate any section that you do prune, so nothing has to be wasted!
      If you really don’t want it to branch, you can pinch off any extra stems that start to grow and leave just one main stem (whichever one appears to be leading and growing straightest would be best). It can be a little scary or sad to chop off the height, but it really is a simple process and it’s actually good for plants 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Reply
  • I rec’d my first FLF a few weeks ago and it seems to be doing nicely. However, I noticed a cobweb around a part of the pot/soil line, but have not seen any actual mites. I just wiped down the leaves w/ a damp cloth and there wasn’t any orangish residue on the
    cloth. My leaves do have some holes in them. Is this due to mites? When I spray w/ the oil, should I spray the soil top as well?

    Reply
    • Hey Joanne, spider mite webs are very small and generally occur along the veins of leaves or between the leaf and trunk of the plant. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s likely that a web near the soil would be from spider mites.
      Spider mites also don’t actually create holes in leaves. They suck out the chlorophyll from leaves, leaving the leaf with a whitish tinge. If your leaves have holes from a pest, I would say you’d be able to identify the pest by looking over the plant. If you don’t see anything, it’s possible that the holes are from past damage or from when the leaves were maturing. Also keep an eye on the plant. If there’s no new holes occurring, I would say there’s no pest problem!
      If you do find mites, spray the plant entirely until it’s dripping. As they don’t live in soil, you won’t need to spray the soil. All the best!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Giani Hennigan
    June 19, 2019 4:46 am

    HI Emily,
    I’m about to get a small FFF for the first time but what does it mean well draining soil? Sorry I know this is probably a silly question but I’m really new to plants.

    Reply
    • Hey Giani! That’s totally fine 🙂 Well-draining soil enables you to fully water a plant until the excess runs out the bottom. This is best for most plants to ensure that all the roots get watered, but without the roots ‘sitting’ in water for long periods of time which can lead to root rot in extreme cases. A soil that is well-draining normally is a ‘chunky’ mix which allows water to run through the particles. For example, pre-prepared cactus & succulent soil is well-draining as cactus & succulents prefer drier soil. When you buy a FLF the soil it is planted in should already be good for it and you’ll only need to worry about soil & repotting when it gets rootbound (generally every 2-3 years).
      When you water your FLF, make sure to water it thoroughly until the excess comes out the bottom. If it takes a long time to drain or nothing comes out the bottom, this could be sign the soil isn’t well-draining. Unless this happens you won’t need to worry about the soil for a while 🙂 Enjoy your new FLF!

      Reply
    • Hello Emily – a pruning question for you. I have what appears to be a very healthy about 5-6ft tree like FLF. It’s getting quite large, a bit dense and wider than I’d prefer. However, I’m terrified of pruning it. There are essentially 2 branches on each side and trunk in the middle. How do I safely prune this guy down without causing serious damage and shock? Assuming my timing is bad and I should wait until Spring as well? Appreciate the help.

      Reply
      • Hi Beckah! Pruning is actually healthy for plants and while it does seem scary doing it for the first time, it shouldn’t be! The best way to prune is to remove no more than a third of the leafy sections of the plant, to avoid it going into shock. This also ensures there’s still enough leaves to produce energy for the plant’s size.
        If you’re based in the northern hemisphere (end of summer), you could probably get away with pruning it now. You may not see any regrowth until the next season though. However if growth has stopped, I would wait until next spring before pruning. This would allow the plant to respond the best, and if it’s not growing any further, then it won’t get in the way any more than it already is. I hope that makes sense!
        Make sure you use a sharp pair of cutters and prune on an angle, generally just above a leaf is best.
        Also think about how your plant will regrow from the pruning, and the shape you’d like to prune it down to. Remember it will grow back, and you can always prune again to shape it how you like. Hope that helps – all the best!

        Reply
  • Hi Emily, I am having some problems with the soil not draining/drying fast enough and now I have gnats!! I made my own potting mix using the 5:1:1 ratio but I think they don’t have enough roots to suck up the moisture fast enough. I just separated a bush type into 5 single pots. Even after 2 weeks the top 2 inches of soil is still pretty wet. I’m thinking of repotting them by introducing something that will aid drainage. Any ideas? OR, do you think it’s okay to leave them until they’re dry (at this rate, it may take about a month or longer). Ideally, I’d like to water them once a week or 1.5 weeks but I can wait if that won’t ruin the plants. Also, I’m trying to get rid of gnats by spraying the soil with diluted dish soap solution. Is that okay? Do you have a suggestion on what else I can use? They’re not dying fast enough! Thanks!!

    Reply
    • After using insect control sprays to no avail, I put a layer of sand and it seems like it’s working! I still haven’t decided how much water to give and how frequent. I see new growth so I’m guessing it’s doing okay except all of them have edema. So I’m just going to cut down on water–maybe water them about a cup or two every week/other week. Do you think this will work? Any input would be appreciated! Thanks!

      Reply
      • Hey Aaron, sorry I just saw your comments! Yes I have heard a layer of sand works well in discouraging gnats, along with allowing the top of the soil to dry before watering again, which it sounds like you’re having trouble with.
        Edema is caused by the frequency of watering rather than the amount you water, and FLFs should be thoroughly watered until they drain to allow all the roots to receive water. Watering them only when the top 2 inches of soil has dried out is the best method, but if you are having to wait more than a couple of weeks for it to dry, I would consider changing the soil… I can’t remember what you ended up using in your soil mix, but it you do decide to repot, try leaving out sphagnum moss and consider using more chunky parts such as pine mulch, that will allow water to move through more quickly. Adding some horticultural charcoal will also help with drainage & repel insects. Thanks for the update! Hope that helps! 🙂

        Reply
  • Hi!! I’m trying to figure out wether or not my fiddle will still continue to grow up if I botch it or pinch it. Will it only grow the branch or will it grow on the original stem and the branch?! Please help me!!

    Reply
    • Hey, great question! When you pinch or prune the stem, it will not keep growing from that point. However this is the best way to get a FLF to branch. When they branch, they will continue to grow taller from the branches. So it’s a good idea to think about what height you’d like it to branch before pruning or pinching the stem.
      Notching won’t affect the growth of the main stem like pruning does. The main stem will still continue to grow while the notch encourages it to branch just below the notch. Notching can be trickier to get right and pruning can be more effective in growing branches. Hope that clears it up!

      Reply
  • Hi I just purchased my second flf when I got home I noticed the roots are growing all the way at the top around the top part of the soil and out of the soil up top should I wait to repot it or let it acclimate for a couple of weeks in the nursery pot

    Reply
    • Hi! It’s actually normal for some of the roots to show at the surface of the pot. FLFs are banyan trees in nature, so some aerial roots will grow. They like to be snug in their pots and only need to be repotted if there’s a lot of roots coming out the bottom, or if the soil isn’t retaining any moisture because its too rootbound. If you do think it needs to be repotted, it should be fine to repot straight away. FLFs only really respond negatively to changes in environment if they are ‘downgraded’ – aka put in a spot with less light than they’re used to, or if the environment is a severe change. If you do repot, remember to use a well-draining soil 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi Emily! Really nice blogs you have! Thank you for all the good info! I got my FLF at walmart she was not looking to good. Well there was 2 in 1 pot. So i took them home gave them a shower right away and i trimed them i got them in march. 1week later i moved the 2 into bigger pots with fast draning soil. 1 didnt look so good after that but i watered it alot and she come back! Its May now and i have new leaves coming like crazy!!!!!! I was so excited! There in my big window facing west! I feed them plant food to. I had some red spider mits but i just showered them off there was not much i only seen about 5 so i got them in time lol anyways as a newbie at this i think im doing really good! Happy Happy! Oh and i wiggle them every Wedenday! For 2min.

    Reply
    • Hey Lynn, sounds like your plants are doing well! Keep an eye on those spider mites as they can reproduce quickly.. Spraying with neem oil or an isopropyl alcohol dilution a few days after you showered them off can make sure anything left behind gets destroyed. So glad the blog posts are helpful! All the best! 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi Emily!! Do you have any advice on how to get my fiddle leaf growth more dense? It’s stems grow several inches between each few leaves the put out and looks thinner and scragglier as a result. If I left it alone it would be 20 feet tall but skinny as a straw. I see all these gorgeous trees that look so full and dense and I’m wondering what conditions affect how close the leaves are to each other? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hey Allison, great question!! The biggest reason that FLFs grow ‘scraggly’, or with several inches between leaves is a lack of sunlight. Fiddles are full-sun plants in nature and when they grow tall without many leaves, this generally means they are ‘searching’ for more light. This is how they naturally reach the sunlight when growing from the bottom of forest floors. So – see if you can move it to a more well-lit position. If this isn’t possible, you may want to consider getting a grow light to help (details about them here). One other thing that can help the leaves grow closer together is a specially-formulated fertilizer. This can help reduce ‘internodal distance’ – or how far apart the leaves grow.
      If your FLF’s trunk is weak or leaning because of the lack of leaves, read this post to get it growing strong again!
      If you’re wanting to fill in some gaps on the stem, I would suggest to try notching. This is where you make a cut into the stem with sharp cutters or razor, deep enough to make it ‘bleed’. Aim to do this above a leaf node or just above any small buds you can identify. Notching will encourage branches and leaves to grow on mature trunks, therefore filling in any gaps. If you’re wanting your Fiddle to branch like a ‘tree-shape’ just prune it to a height you’d like it to branch at. Multiple new buds should start growing within a couple of weeks.
      Hope these tips help!

      Reply
  • Last night I split a fiddle leaf that had 6 medium strength 3’ trunks. I thought they would come apart easily BUT when they didn’t (like at all) I sawed them apart. I also put in new compost mix and In a sunnier exterior location. Now the leaves are turning black and actually curling. 😬. I’ve loved this for over a year waiting to separate it and it looks like it’s dying. Is there any way to save it?

    Reply
    • Oh no! It sounds like your FLF is in shock from the splitting. Some FLFs with multiple stems have been planted in the one pot, while others share a root system – it sounds like yours shared roots, which is why you would have had to cut them apart. Hopefully you watered them straight after repotting – if not, I would do that. The best thing to do would be to monitor them, and make sure they have the best conditions possible – mostly including bright light. It’s good you put them in a sunnier spot but be careful if they are not used to direct sunlight as they normally need to be acclimatised slowly.
      Hopefully with the right conditions, they’ll each be able to grow new roots and recover. Just be aware this may take some time and they may look worse before they get better.
      I’d love to hear an update in a few weeks of how they’re going!

      Reply
  • I was given a tall fiddle fig plant when the neighbours moved but it has most of the leaves on one side as I don’t think it was turned. Should I try notching to make it more even?

    Reply
    • Hey Jackie, if the leaves have mostly grown to one side, facing the bare side towards the light may help the leaves lean back the other way. This could help it look a little more even. You can definitely try notching on the bare side! Notching is best done on the older ‘woody’ parts of the stem and should encourage new leaves and branches. All the best

      Reply
  • Hi Emily,
    Thanks for your post! It’s full of really helpful info.
    I’ve had my fiddle leave fig for about a year now and I love it dearly but it’s started to grow a bit strangely and I’m just wondering if you have any suggestions.
    First of all, it had a big spur of growth a while ago and now has a cluster of leaves at the top but the stem has barely grown so the stem that is there is like an S shape with so many leaves coming out of the same area. Is there anyway I can stop it doing this and coax it to grow taller?
    Secondly, I have one leaf that all of a sudden became much bigger than all the rest (like at least two times bigger) and its curved, almost concave in shape. It looks really strange compared to the rest of the leaves and it seems to be weighing down the plant. Why has it done this? Is it light related? And can I trim it off or is there someway to train it to grow straight and upwards rather than curved downwards?
    Thanks,
    Rachel

    Reply
    • Hey Rachel, so glad the post could be helpful for you 🙂
      When the leaves are growing close together, that’s actually a good sign! It means your FLF is receiving enough light. When there’s gaps between the leaves on the stem, it’s a sign they are searching for light. As you’ve had a spurt of growth, it may take a little while for the stem to adjust to the new added weight of the leaves. If it is bending towards a window, make sure you rotate the pot so each side of your FLF can receive light. This may help it to straighten up.
      Another thing you can do to straighten the stem (which I’m posting on in more detail next week!) is to give it some time outside where the breeze can help strengthen it. I bought a new FLF where one stem was weak and bending with the weight of new leaves. After being outside for 1-2 weeks, it learned to straighten up and was much stronger. When we keep them indoors, they don’t have the opportunity to strengthen their stems as they never need to withstand a breeze.
      If the larger leaf is kind of dimpled, it could be a sign of low humidity as it developed. There may not be much you can do now to change the shape. FLFs naturally produce larger and larger leaves as they grow, so I’m not surprised yours has done this (mine did too)! I would also say that putting your plant outside for a while to strengthen the stem can also help it to support this extra large leaf. Other than that, I would just make sure your FLF is getting enough light as sometimes the leaves will turn towards light.
      As it continues to grow, I’m sure the giant leaf will become less noticeable. If it really bothers you, you could trim it off but I always prefer to leave all leaves on as they help provide the plant with nutrients.
      Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
  • I have a few questions, but first, I better give you some background info so that you have the bigger picture. I live in Ohio (almost as cloudy as Seattle) and I bought two shrub type Ficus Lyrata from IKEA last summer (around July 2018). Since then, it dropped a lot of leaves so I panicked but soon learned that they were adjusting to the new environment. Anyways, starting end of February (this year), I noticed new leaves and I’ve been fertilizing them with Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Food (about 2tsp diluted in 4cup water every 2 weeks). It’s put out quite a lot of leaves. Both plants are about 2ft tall from top of the soil to the top of the plant and about 1.5-2ft wide. I’d say these are still pretty small. My goal is to have them looking like a tree (branches and all) with about 5-7 ft tall eventually. Now here are my questions.

    1. Each plant is still in a cluster (around 5-6 stalks in one pot). Should I separate these into single tree? You mentioned to do this early growing season, which I assume that’s end of Feb-March. I don’t want the repotting to shock these plants and make them drop leaves. But I’ve noticed the edges where it bumps against another leaf turns brown and that portion of the leaf just dries up and doesn’t look nice. So I’d like to separate them if it’s not too late and won’t cause much damage.

    2. How often should I fertilize them? I’ve seen every watering to once a month.

    3. I see red specks in new leaves. I’ve read that these are indication of edema (too much watering). But I only water when the top soil (2 knuckles deep) is dry (when pinched, there’s no water/moisture). When the leaves grow bigger, the red dots disappear. Sometimes, the new leaves look great and don’t have red dots. Is it due to irregular watering?

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Hey Aaron, I’ll try answer you questions one by one:

      1. If your FLFs are several planted in the one pot, you can definitely separate them. Have a look around the base to see if it looks like they connect just below the surface or have their own root ball. You’ll have better success separating them if they have their own root ball, however you can still separate them if they share roots. Doing this is a little bit more tricky and risky and it may take a little while for them to recover. In this case, you would need to use some sharp cutters to cut through the roots to give each plant a root ball in proportion to the plant’s size. You may also want to put the roots in a bucket of water to help remove as much dirt as possible and to help detangle. Make sure the roots don’t dry out when repotting!

      Its best to do this when your FLFs would have the most energy stored, around May or heading towards the longest day of the year. This will ensure they have the best possible chance of responding well to the change.

      If this seems like too much, you may be better off getting a new FLF that has a single stem. That way you can prune it when it reaches the height you’d like it to branch at, and train it into a tree from there.

      2. FLFs are light feeders and it would be fine to fertilize them once a month. Some people prefer to dilute the fertilizer and feed it in a weekly watering, which is also fine. I would go off the product’s instructions. Some fertilizers are more concentrated then others, so there’s not really a ‘one size fits all’ rule.

      3. That sounds like edema! As long as its not too severe, it isn’t a major problem. Like you said, the dots generally lessen or disappear once the leaf matures. If you are watering only when the top two inches of soil is dry, its possible the edema is caused by the soil retaining too much water. FLFs like a well-draining mix, which you could look into changing if you plan on repotting. Also make sure you are fully saturating the pot until water runs out the bottom each time you water.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

      Reply
      • Emily, thank you so much for your thorough reply!! This helps A TON. I am up for the challenge so I will repot in May since that’s when I have more free time anyway. Thanks again!

        Reply
        • So glad to hear it was helpful! 🙂

          Reply
          • Hi Emily! I’m ready to separate these bushes into single trees but I’m unsure if I need to get a smaller pot for them or the one I have is small enough. How do you pick the pot size? Depending on height? Root size? How do I make a good enough estimate so that I don’t have to rush to a nursery to make an exchange for the correct sized pot?

            Also, I’ve noticed that the ones that I want to grow as trees is not one straight trunk. It seems like the trunk grew at an angle after a branch was cut near the bottom. Will the trunk correct itself and grow straight up by the time it reaches 4 – 6ft? Or should I try to choose one that grew straight? Thanks!

          • Hey Aaron, generally when FLFs get repotted, they only need to be put into a pot that is 1-2 inches wider in diameter than their current pot. They like to be snug! But as you are separating the plant, I would say just to aim for a pot that is no bigger than its current one. I don’t think the size of the pot would cause any major issue.
            It’s a little tricky to give advice without seeing a photo of your plant, but I would say that any kinks or bends in the trunk would remain. They may become less noticeable as the plant matures.
            Sometimes it’s best to work with a plant’s natural shape rather than change them to be exactly how we like, so I would say that any bends like that would just provide added interest! Similarly, I think I mentioned in my last comment that bush-growing FLFs generally have shared roots that may get damaged when separating. It’s up to you to decide if you think it’s worth giving it a go, keeping in mind the potential damage and time it would take for each to recover. During this time, you may not see new growth for a while as the plants are most likely to focus on developing their root system again. Let me know how you go!

  • Hello – thanks for the details, this was super helpful!

    I have a FLF that I found at Home Depot (I was stoked) but it’s not grown at all since I brought her home (I did repot her upon integrating her into my house). She’s mostly vertical (leaves are tight to the stem). She sits in a bright window but it’s winter. Water levels seem ok – should I try to prune the top to encourage growth? Will she just wake up at some point?

    Reply
    • Hey Michele, so glad the post was helpful! It’s not abnormal for FLFs to be dormant during the cooler winter season. My FLF generally stops growing for around 4 months during the coldest part. I wouldn’t be worried! You can use a fertilizer to make sure she’s got all the nutrients needed to grow. If there’s no new growth by May, I would say there would be other issues such as lack of light or the temperature. If there’s a reason she’s not growing, pruning may not necessarily encourage growth. For new growth to occur, FLFs need to have enough energy reserves to push out new growth. This energy comes from sunlight & climate. Most likely, its just waiting to warm up to Spring 🙂

      Reply
  • I think this winter is getting the best of my fiddle fig, admittedly I have negelected her a bit over the last 2 months. She sprouted 3 new leaves in December but even while sprouting new leaves most of her other leaves were dark green and starting to curl under. Then this week she dropped 30 leaves! Would giving fertilizer to give her a boost? And is there a certain time of year that is better for that, or could I do it anytime? Or do you have any other suggestions.

    Reply
    • Hey Amanda, you can give fertilizer any time of the year, normally just using less in winter (or less often). However I would say your FLF has probably dropped leaves more due to environmental issues! These could include not getting enough light, or extreme cold temperatures, or dry air. Check these things, which can change during winter. Also check the soil a couple inches into the pot to see if it is mostly dry before watering. Hopefully now that winter is coming to an end, your FLF will start to recover!

      Reply
  • Hi Emily, just wanted to thank you for all the incredible information on this site! You’re the best!

    I do have a questions though. The new leaves on my FLF are developing lots of red/purple spots and just wondering what is causing this?

    Thank you in advanced!!

    Chloe.

    Reply
    • Hey Chloe, thanks so much for your comment! Its always nice to hear my blog has been helpful 🙂 Those reddish dots are caused by an excess of water in the plant’s cells, that burst as the leaves develop. Generally they will become less noticeable as the leaves mature. Sometimes this is due to overwatering as the new growth happens – check your watering to make sure you’re not watering your FLF too often! FLFs love to be fully saturated when you do water, but that means watering less often. Check the soil is drying out a couple inches into the pot before watering again. 🙂

      Reply
  • I have a fiddle tree with 3 close stems really great and growing but the leaves on the 2outer stems are branching outwards do I slightly string the 2 together to get a tall look or just leave it to grow to the sides

    Reply
    • Hey Jeannie, if they are growing outwards rather than upwards, they may be reaching for more sunlight. Try put it in a place with higher light levels! If they are growing outwards because of the weight of the leaves, it may help to put your FLF outside, so that the breeze will help strengthen the stems. I recently bought a new FLF which had one stem that was weak and leaning, but after being outside for 2-3 weeks, it is now growing upwards and not longer leaning. If it’s not possible to do these things, staking can help if you’d prefer them to grow closer together. However for a long term solution, the first two options would give you better results than staking. If you don’t mind the way your FLF is growing, you don’t have to change anything – as long as it is healthy 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi Emily,
    I just recurved a FLF as a generous gift. It has leaves growing off the trunk pretty much from the soil. It’s about 6 ft tall. Should I trim off most of the lower leaves? It’s extremely full on the bottom and I feel like they usually have a bare branch woth leaves only towards the top. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Ashley, what a nice gift! You definitely don’t have to trim the leaves, some people prefer the lush & bushy style FLF. Sometimes the lower leaves will drop off as the plant matures. The tree-styles you see have mostly been pruned that way for their look. The leaves also help to provide energy for the plant so if you remove too many at once, it may not be beneficial for the plant. You could remove some of the leaves if you prefer the tree-look, but don’t do too many at once or the plant may go into shock.

      Reply
  • Hello,

    Please help! My beautiful 6+foot FLF that I’ve had for over two years has succumb to freezing temperatures last night when our heater failed in the all season room. The leaves look aweful drooping and are very dark green/brown. Can I revive it ? I bought a plant lightbulb and put it on. I watered it with FLF fertilizers. Now I sit and wait ?

    Thank you in advance !

    Anna

    Reply
    • Hey Anna, I think I answered you on the other page but yes, after doing those things, wait to see if it livens up again! FLFs are tropical plants and are very sensitive to cold. Even if all the leaves drop, keep caring for it as it is possible that it will push out new buds and leaves as Spring arrives.
      Would love to hear how you get on with it. All the best

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your reply. I’m assuming that the leaves will eventually just fall off? I’ll keep you posted.

        Reply
    • I just bought a large fiddle fig tree and it needs to be potted. Should I wait awhile to pot it so it can adjust to my house first? If so, for how long? Also, how do I know what size pot to get? Thank you!

      Reply
      • Hey Bridget, the best time to repot is mid-late Spring. This timeframe would give your new FLF time to settle in and also time for you to get to know its needs, in terms of light and watering. Generally FLFs need to be repotted every 2 years or when rootbound. Its best to pick a pot that’s around 2-3 inches wider than it’s current pot – you don’t need to drastically upsize the pot as FLFs generally like to be more snug. When you repot, try to remove as much of the old soil as possible from the roots without damaging them. This will give your FLF the best chance of new nutrients with the new soil and prevent the soil from compacting over time. Hope these tips help 🙂

        Reply
  • Hi Emily!

    I received a FLF as a present which was gorgeous. Shortly after getting it, we got a bigger pot and did our normal manitenance. After about a month of having the FLF it started to develop brown spots which grew in size, eventually dropping to the ground.

    I bought a water meter and was keeping it in line avoiding to over water the tree.

    I deemed the tree dead a month ago as all that is remaining on the 6’ tree is a couple of leaves on 4 branches coming off of the Main stem. Two weeks ago it started sprouting new leave and branches up and down on the main stem.

    Have I killed it and miraculously brought it back to life? What is going on with the top portion? I have the tree in a drainable pot and never have water come out of it.

    Reply
    • Hi Justin. FLFs can sprout new growth when this happens, similar to pruning – when the tree thinks there’s no growth left on top, it automatically grows more in its place. This means your FLF is hanging in there, so that’s good! The leaf drop could be due to a few different things, normally over or under-watering.
      Only you could tell which one it could be, but make sure when you water to saturate the roots fully until water comes out the bottom. If it doesn’t drain well when you do this, the soil may need to be changed to a chunkier, well-draining mix. Moisture meters can sometimes be unreliable, but if you stick your finger in the dirt a couple inches, you’ll be able to feel if the soil is still damp or not. If you hadn’t watered in the last month when you thought it was dead, then it started pushing out new growth, I would suspect it was being overwatered! FLFs like a lot of water, but less often.
      When the leaves develop browning on the edges first, this is normally due to dryness.
      If some of the branches remain bare, try pruning them back a little to encourage growth again on these areas. You may also want to get a quality 9-3-6 fertilizer to give it nutrients especially while it is putting out all this new growth.
      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. With some extra care I’m sure your FLF will push through to be just as lush as it used to be 🙂

      Reply
  • HI Emily! I really enjoyed your post and tips for growing this wonderful plant. I was curious, what do you suggest for a fiddle leaf that has multiple trunks that are all attached? I’ve read on separating trunks that are detached but not so much on if they are all coming out from one trunk. My fiddle leaf is almost 5 ft now (after growing for 1 year) so I’d say it’s a very young teenager but I’m not sure what I can do to encourage growth on just one trunk. Do you have any suggestions? Should I just wait till it starts getting more mature or should I start cutting those other trunks and just leave the main one?

    Reply
    • Hi Ashley! Thanks for your comment, so glad the post is helpful 🙂 When you say they are all attached, are they branching out at a point from the main trunk or growing out of the soil? If there’s multiple trunks in the soil, you can try to separate them when repotting, however for a FLF that is already 5ft, the roots may be too interwoven to do this without too much damage.
      If there’s lower branches coming off the main trunk, they can be pruned. You would need to identify the leading branch (healthiest / largest) that you would like to be the main trunk and prune the others. However if your FLF is already naturally growing with multiple branches and its already 5ft, I would wonder if its best to let it continue growing this way? If you try to prune too much off it, it may go into shock or not recover.
      Some FLFs are grown for their bushy style, while others are grown as a standard tree shape. There’s things you can do while your FLF is young to train it in a certain form, but seeing as yours is already a bit larger, it may be best to enjoy its natural shape and pick up another single trunk FLF (or smaller plant that you can then train as it grows) if that’s what you prefer. Of course you can still prune the FLF you have, making sure it’s not going to sabotage the tree’s health. Hope these tips help! Let me know if you have more questions 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi! My FLF is going on 3 years old and is doing quite well growth wise. Mine is the columnar type of plant. My question is this; the lower leaves, although healthy, are pushed to point downward by the larger leaves above them, which seem to simply weigh them down. I hate to prune healthy leaves off my plant but I am unhappy with the way this makes the plant look. Should I remove them? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Heidi! It’s pretty normal for some of the leaves to point downwards. They generally face where the light is coming from, so if its coming in horizontally through a window (rather than from above) this could also be why. It is the same with one of my FLFs. You can prune these leaves if you choose, but if they are still green and healthy, they’ll be producing energy for the plant and I would preferably leave them be! You may be able to get them to face upwards again by putting them in a location where the light source is from above. Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
  • Thank you for posting such an informative post! I have 2 fiddles and would love a little advice 😁 Around 6 months ago I purchased one that is more of a bush (around 1.5 metres) and has big, full and mature leaves. What can I do to encourage more growth at the top so it grows more tree like. In the last few months this guy has also been growing some kind of mushroom/fungi in the soil. Should I repot him or remove the funghi?

    My other fiddle is around 1 metre tall and more tree like. There are two shoots. The tallest shoot has been growing ferociously over spring/summer with large leaves at the top. This has left it with small leaves at the bottom and a thin stem, causing him to bend over. Should I use a stalk? What can I do to encourage bigger leaves at the bottom?
    Th am you so much for your advice!! ☺️🍃

    Reply
    • I’m glad this post could be helpful Mel!
      For more tree-like growth, I’m guessing you mean branching. To encourage branching at the top, try pruning the tip. I did this and got 2-3 new branches out of it. You can also try notching for branching in specific spots too. For the fungi, I would check that you’re not overwatering the plant and make sure it gets enough sunlight – if the soil is drying out at the top between watering, you shouldn’t have any mushroom issues. You may need to repot if you find the soil is retaining too much water. Use a well draining mix. The best time to repot is late spring.

      Your second FLF sounds similar to mine – FLFs naturally produce bigger leaves as they grow. Staking can help it from leaning in the short term if its an issue. You can also try wiggling the stem to strengthen it (I now put my FLF outside and the breeze has helped strengthen the trunk). If the leaves are far apart on the stem, your FLF needs more sunlight. When the leaves grow closer together they provide more support for the stem. A quality fertilizer can also help to thicken the trunk (check out my FLF fertilizer post for more info). Hope these tips help!

      Reply
  • I have notched my plant but it does not grow new branches. What am I doing wrong.

    Reply
    • Hi Ron! Here’s a few tips with notching:
      -Make sure the notch is directly above a leaf node. This will activate the particular node to grow.
      -Make sure the notch is cut one third deep of the diameter of the trunk, and takes out a section of about 2mm of trunk. It is basically cutting a section out of the trunk to stop the growth hormone flowing, tricking the plant into putting its energy into growing a new branch.
      -Make sure your FLF is already getting the proper light, watering and nutrient needs. Your FLF will need to have enough energy stored to grow a new branch.
      -Lastly, make sure it is the growing season! If you’re based in Australia / southern hemisphere, now is a great time to notch. However if you are in North America, I would wait til around June when your FLF should be at its peak energy reserves.

      Hope these tips help. Let me know if you have any more questions?
      Emily

      Reply
  • Hi Emily, my fiddle leaf fig is struggling. It will sprout a new shoot, turn into a leaf, but then stop growing/staying very small. What is going on? Thank you! Julie

    Reply
    • Hey Julie, it sounds like your FLF may be lacking the energy resources to grow to full size. This can happen for a bunch of reasons, depending on your circumstances. Make sure it is getting the correct water & sunlight needs, then check if it is root bound. If all these things seem ok, it may be lacking nutrients in the soil. When I started fertilizing my FLF, the new leaves doubled in size! Check out the fertilizer I’ve linked in this post (affordable & VERY effective), or look for a fertilizer that has a NPK ratio of 9-3-6. This ratio is most effective for FLFs and can be found on the label. All the best! I would love to hear how you go.

      Reply
  • May I please ask what the best thing to do is? My fiddle Leaf fig is now about 12 feet tall!!! Am I able to halve the height & would I be able to replant what I’ve cut off? I absolutely love it, but it’s out growing my house!! ?

    Reply
    • Hey Leigh, you could totally prune your FLF to the height that suits you! For best results I would wait until mid-late Spring, when it will have more energy to handle the change. Make sure you cut on an angle and when you replant the cutting, stick the bottom 3-4 inches into the soil (remove any lower leaves if you need to). If its a large cutting, you could even cut it again to propagate from two pieces! All the best!

      Reply
  • I just bought a FLF bush and it is in a temporary pot and needs replanting. It’s November in the San Francisco Bay Area and it is still warm – days are in the 70s but nights are in the mid 40s. Of course it is an indoor plant and I don’t let my house get cooler than 65. Everything I have read says to wait until the growing season in spring for this plant to replant. Will it be okay in the temporary black pot until spring or should I repot?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Julia, your FLF should be fine to wait to spring to repot! As it cools down it would have slowed or stopped growing, so being root bound won’t get any worse until you get the chance to repot anyway. Waiting until spring will give it the best chance for recovery and new growth! ?

      Reply
  • I want to repot before my fiddle slows down for the winter, I have Hyponex plant soil with fertilizer, the other potting soils I have bought formed worms and ate my plants, so my question is can I repost? and it’s growing into a tree so how can I make it a bush is which I prefer?

    Reply
  • I have a 1 very tall fiddle leaf fig stem (1.5meters) with sparse leaves and with 2 much smaller stems (30cm) which appear to be coming from the same root ball. I am wanting to notch the larger one to encourage branching. How many notches can I do at once and should I give it a dose of seaweed tonic (seasol) at time of notching to help with stress??.
    Should I also remove low small branches so more energy is put into the new growth from the notches??
    Amy advice would be greatly appreciated
    Cheers
    El

    Reply
    • Hi Eleanor, I would probably try pruning the top of the tall trunk to encourage branching first, before trying notching. If the trunk is sparse, this should encourage branching as well as back-budding, which can help your FLF grow more leafy (and fill any sparse gaps). Are the lower branches that are growing attached to the main trunk, or are they growing out of the soil? If you don’t plan to keep them you could prune them off. But if they are growing out of the soil, it shouldn’t affect the energy levels of the main trunk as they would be seperate plants. It’s good to fertilize regularly during the growing months – this will help with any changes you make to your FLF. I’m not sure where you are located, but its best to make any changes (including pruning) during Spring/Summer months while your FLF is growing. If you are heading into the cooler months, it might be best to wait until Spring. If you did do some pruning when its cooling down, you may not see any changes as your plant will be conserving its energy for winter… Hope that helps you. Here is a link to my post about fertilizing FLFs if you’re interested in more specific info on nutrients 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi! I just found your blog, so so helpful! I have a single stem FLF which has a sparse patch where the leaves browned/dropped after being sunburnt. So the bottom leaves are fine, then a gap, then top leaves. Should I try notching in the gap to see if itll branch out there and fill out? Or am I better off cutting there and propagating a new plant? Also I’m confused about pinching; does that stop the plant growing taller or just divert energy towards growing branches and then itll continue to grow from the top? Thanks!!

      Reply
      • Hey Nadine, so glad the blog has been helpful 🙂 You could really do either option, depending on how thick your FLF trunk is. Notching works best on trunks that are more mature or have turned ‘woody’ brown. If your trunk is still quite thin you could either prune it and propagate the cutting, or wait until your FLF matures before trying notching. Keep in mind what shape you’d like your FLF to have in the future, as the height that you prune it is where it will branch. Think about if you’d like it to be lush and bushy, or a single tall stem with a ‘lollipop’ style tree top, or something different. This will help you determine the best path to take.
        Pinching is similar to pruning, but instead of pruning off a section of the stem, you just take off the top growing tip. Whether you prune or pinch, your FLF should send out new growth from dormant buds where leaves meet the stem. Both these methods encourage branching and while the pruned/pinched stem won’t continue to grow, your FLF will still grow taller via other branches. This is why it’s a good idea to wait until your FLF is at the height you’d like it to start branching from, before pruning. All the best!

        Reply
  • I picked it up at my FLF at local my local grocery store for $7.99! I was so excited when I found it! I have wanted one but didn’t want to spend $100 on a decent size maturing tree… just to kill it from my lack of FLF care. So I have had the three young trees in the same 10″ pot since I bought it over 2 months ago. They have lost some of its lower leaves on each of the three trees. Two of the 3 trees have new growth budding at the top. So I must be doing something right. My questions are should I fertilize now? Also should I wait till spring to separate the three trees into their own new pot till early spring next year? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Brittney – you could fertilize it once or twice now before the weather cools down too much, but I mostly only fertilize mine during Spring/Summer, when it will be needing the extra boost to grow. And yes, I’d wait til mid Spring to repot them, this will give them the best chance to react well to the change and grow again. Make sure you remove as much of the old soil as you can and give it a fresh new batch of soil so it can benefit from the new nutrients. All the best!

      Reply
  • Learned quite a bit today. I cut apart a cluster FLF to start as trees. All have let out a single branch. But I want that bushy tree look. So I am definitely going ti notch them.i took them outside for the summer. They are definitely thriving. Of course not in direct sun. Everytime it rains I pull them forward. I had no idea I had to wait years for a good look. I am patient. When I cut them apart I thought they wouldn’t make it
    Thank you for the advice.

    Reply
  • Hi Emily! I’m new to the FLF family! My husband bought me one back in the spring…so far, so good! I haven’t transplanted it to a new pot because I’m not quite sure what type of pot to get. I see most people put their FLF in baskets and I even found a basket I love. I obviously don’t want a pot with a hole at the bottom because the basket would get wet. But if it doesn’t have a hole, how does the water drain so the FLF doesn’t get over watered? Help! Also, what type of soil should I use to help fill the pot? Thanks so much!
    Laurie

    Reply
    • Hey Laurie, that’s so exciting you have a new FLF 🙂 I think the first thing to ask is if it needs to be re-potted? Can you see roots at the bottom hole or does the plant look too big in proportion to the size of the pot? Baskets are a great way to hide a plastic nursery pot or other cheap pot, if you’re repotting based on just the look of the pot it’s in now.
      However if it needs repotting, I would definitely recommend getting a pot with holes in the bottom as your FLF needs to be able to drain. If you don’t want to wet the basket, there’s ways around this. Either take the plant out of the basket when you water, or add in a pot plant dish / tray that the water can drain into. If the water can’t drain out, it will jeopardise your FLF’s health!
      When you decide to repot, get a good quality soil mix or ask for a mix that allows for good drainage. It can get more in-depth when it comes to soil, but that’s a simple and effective place to start.
      Hope that helps! Let me know how you get on and if you have any more questions ?

      Reply
  • Hi love this page!! My fiddle leaf fig has 3 very thin stems growing at the base of the plant are those viable or should I just cut them off.

    Reply
    • Hi! I think I answered you on instagram but you could wait and see if the stems take off. If you like the look of just a single trunk you can just prune these stems off. Either way they shouldn’t harm your FLF 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Jane Robinson
    July 8, 2018 12:36 pm

    Emily, thank you for the good advice! I wonder how you continue to have a nice thick “tree” form once it is about the size you want? Can you prune off the uppermost leaves to keep the growth modest and the tree thick rather than with long spaces between leaves?
    Jane

    Reply
    • Thank you Jane! If your FLF has reached a size that you don’t want to continue to grow it past, you can keep pruning it back to size. Another benefit of doing this is that it may back-bud and get more lush growth on the remaining branches. Generally if there are long spaces between leaves, it means the FLF isn’t getting enough light. To encourage bushier growth where the leaves grow closer together, see if you can move it to a place with more sunlight. I’m glad this post was helpful for you!

      Reply
  • Hi,

    I’m looking for tips on how to thicken the trunk, and encourage new leaf growth at the bottom of my “bush/column” type FLF. At the moment it’s healthy, but the leaves are small, sparse, and the trunk is quite thin. What do you suggest?

    Reply
    • Hi Maddie, FLFs trunks are naturally quite thin but should strengthen and thicken as the plant grows. Don’t remove any lower leaves, as they provide energy for the trunk to thicken. If the leaves are far apart, your FLF may need more sunlight! Try to move it to a place where it can get more light, which should help the leaves grow closer together and also keep the trunk strong. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • I accidentally notched too deep and now the branch is really dropping. Is this bad? Should I just cut it off? Also, I did a couple other notches on other branches at the same time. I hope this is ok!

    Reply
    • Hi Jamie, your FLF should be fine to have multiple notches at once, although it may not respond to all of them if it doesn’t have the energy reserved. It’s best to notch when you know your plant will have reserves – around the time of summer solstice where the hours of light are the longest. If the end of the branch you notched that’s dropping is still alive, the branch may have just lost some support from the deep notch. You could try making a splint for the branch to keep it straight – if you don’t want to lose it and it’s still alive, or you could just cut it. If you cut it you can always propagate a new FLF from this part, so there’s nothing lost!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Bill Roberson
    June 25, 2018 11:41 pm

    If the FLF has gotten too tall for the available space, can the trunk be cut off I.e. topped? If it can be cut, is it possible to root the cut portion to make another tree?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      June 26, 2018 4:24 pm

      Hi Bill, yes and yes! You can cut the trunk off where it is getting too tall and your FLF will send out a new shoot and keep growing. it’s great that you don’t have to waste the part you cut off as well, by propagating the cutting! Make sure when you prune it, you use something sharp to get a clean cut, and you might like to pick up some rooting powder to help with propagating the cutting.

      Reply
  • My FLF, Sven, has grown a few feet! One trunk, very happy, but he’s near the ceiling. I’m sure I need to prune or ?, but I’m anxious about it. Help!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      June 24, 2018 1:52 pm

      There’s no need to be nervous about pruning!:) Its a totally natural part of plant ownership. Just make sure whatever you use to prune has sharp blades to give a clean cut, and as long as you’re not cutting the majority of the plant back, Sven will be fine. If you live in the northern hemisphere, now is the perfect time to prune too! The warm weather gives the plant enough energy to push through changes like pruning and keep growing. All the best!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Serife Dervish
    June 4, 2018 4:52 am

    I recently bought a Ficus Lyrata. It had a new leaf bud, but it has dried up and turned brown (worrying about over watering, I didn’t water enough!) Should I pinch the leaf bud off? Thanks. Serife.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      June 5, 2018 3:12 pm

      Hey Serife, there’s no harm in pinching off the leaf bud if it looks like it isn’t growing anymore or has died. Your FLF should simply grow a new lead leaf bud and keep going! All the best!

      Reply
  • My Fig tree is growing rapidly and is getting too tall. Can I cut off the top main stock by 2-3 feet? Is it possible to use the cutting to start a new plant? Thanks for your help, Linda

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      June 2, 2018 8:42 pm

      Hi Linda, as long as the 2-3ft you want to cut off is no more than around a third of the leaves on the FLF, it should be fine! Plants need their leaves to produce energy, so if you remove too many it can go into shock. Make sure your FLF will still have the majority of its leaves left after pruning! You can always use cuttings to propagate, and if you would like multiple cuttings, you can even trim the section that you cut off into several parts.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Lauren Kennard
    May 10, 2018 6:40 am

    I received a Fiddle Leaf Fig in poor condition from a friend of mine, as I was willing to try to save it. I have 2 other successful FLF’s at home already. The one in poor condition is entirely bare except for a couple of leaves at the end of each branch. In the last month or so, it has grown a couple more new leaves at the end of the branches.

    I saw the tree when she first bought it, and it was beautifully shaped. It now looks so awkward with nothing on the branches except the tips. I’ve been considering cutting down the branches and seeing what it will do (but then there would be essentially no leaves). I just don’t want it to forever have these long bare branches and it doesn’t seem like a FLF will ever pop out a new leaf mid-branch (just at the ends). Would this work? Or should I try to notch it?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      May 28, 2018 10:07 am

      Hi Lauren, you could definitely try notching or cutting it back, but if it were my own FLF, I would probably go with cutting it back. Notching may work to get a new branch, but most likely won’t get you the desired lush and bushy look if all the other branches are mostly bare. Make sure it has the best conditions possible first eg light, air flow and a good fertilize. If you cut each branch back closer to the main trunk, hopefully new branches will grow from these pruned ones. It is a bit of a bonsai trick to do, to cut everything back with no leaves left, but give it time and it should recover with the right conditions! Spring going into Summer is the best time to do this. All the best! Would love to hear the progress.

      Reply
  • Hi my tree was moved during winter and all its leaves fell off .now its just a tall stem but its starting to grow leaves at base of trunk all the way down looks like there coming out of the dirt .do i need to prune the top because it looks dead or just leave it alone .theres 4 leaves on the bottom babys .about size of my hand the leaves are but the poor trunk is bare .help

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      April 19, 2018 3:55 pm

      Hi Kathy, sorry to hear the leaves have fallen off! Are the leaves that are growing near the bottom growing from the main stem or a different one? Unfortunately no new leaves are likely to grow on the bare stem, unless they grow from the top. You may be able to check if the stem is dead by feeling if it is brittle and dry or still ‘bendable’ like live growth. If there are leaves growing at the bottom, you can prune the main trunk so it doesn’t look odd or leave it and see if it will continue to grow from the top. It is a little hard to tell what is going on without seeing it, but obviously some part of your FLF is still alive, which is good news! And means it can be salvaged 🙂

      Reply
  • I really like the look of fiddle leaf figs. I would love to get one for my living room. It’s good to know that spring and summer will allow it to grow the most. I’m sure there could be some overgrowth that would require some trimming as well.

    Reply
  • Hi! Great article. My fiddle fig has developed dry brown areas on the tips of many leaves. Is there a way to confirm if this is from over watering, or root rot? Thanks! Paula

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Paula. Generally its best to feel the soil around an inch deep to see if it is still wet from the last water before you water it again. If it is damp in any way, wait til it dries out more before you water it again. This is a good way to make sure you don’t overwater. If you keep having this problem, it could be to do with the soil type it’s planted in retaining water, and you could repot it with a chunkier/looser soil to allow for water drainage. Hope that helps your FLF 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi there, I have a tree about 8 ft high. I want to trim it at the top, about a foot or two. I don’t want to kill it. Can I repot what I cut off? Any tips would be much appreciated

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      April 9, 2018 10:56 am

      Hi Noah, yes you can prune the top, this is actually good for your FLF. You can also use what you cut off to replant, this is called propagating. Make sure you use something sharp to prune your FLF, and you can either place the cuttings in water or straight into soil. If you go straight to soil, try using cutting powder (can be found at nurseries) which helps new roots to grow. All the best!

      Reply
  • Hi Emily,
    Thank You for all the information on the Fiddler Fig Ficus plant. I’m waiting for the Wal Mart or Lowe’s to get that plant in here in Southern Illinois. I prefer the bush to the tree but I’m seeing more info about the tree. I would appreciate all the information on the name of the bush so I’ll know what to purchase and not get a tree plant and any other information you can give me on the Fiddler Bush.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      April 6, 2018 12:45 pm

      Hi Cathy, thanks for your comment. There’s actually just one type of Fiddle Leaf Fig – so you you don’t have to worry about finding the right type! The tree style vs bush style just depends on how you prefer to grow and prune it. Some people remove the lower leaves to get it looking more tree-like. If you prefer it to be more bushy, you can just prune back any branches or parts that are making it look too leggy. Keep in mind that as your FLF grows (they can get quite large), it may tend to appear more like a tree. What you could do is to keep an eye out for one that has multiple trunks in the pot (called a cluster), which will help with the ‘bush’ effect. Hope this helps with your search! Happy growing.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    BETH jenkins
    April 3, 2018 2:44 am

    I have a Flf that is only one trunk. I am interested in having it branch out and grow into a tree. At what point should I cut off a leaf, or notch. It is about 18″ tall at this point.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      April 6, 2018 9:44 am

      Hi Beth, if you decide to prune off the top, it will branch from that height. If you’d like it to branch higher up, it might be best to wait until it grows to the height where you’d like it to branch, and then prune it. Similarly, notching gives an exact spot where a branch will bud from, as you are targeting a dormant bud just above a leaf node. So it all depends on where you’d prefer it to branch! I’ve let my FLF grow for about a year or so before attempting to get branches from it, so that it is a bit taller and more mature first. But it is up to you! Hope that answers your question 🙂

      Reply
  • My ficus is 12 feet tall and starting to bend at the top. The are plenty of lower branches and leaves. Can I trim the top off and plant it in another pot? It’s so lush and I’m afraid I’ll kill it. If I can trim it how do I get it to root at the bottom?
    I’d appreciate any help and info.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      April 2, 2018 6:12 pm

      Hey Mari, you certainly can trim the top and repot it! This is called propagating and is often done with plant cuttings. I’ve heard its best to propagate with a piece that has a few leaves on it. If you are wanting to trim more than just a few leaves off the top of your plant, you can always cut into smaller sections the piece that you do trim off, and have multiple new plants.
      There are two ways you can propagate – by planting the cutting straight into soil, or by placing the cutting in water for a few weeks or so, until roots start to grow. It is up to you which way you decide (and if you get multiple cuttings, you could try both ways!). If you do water propagation, be careful with the roots when you transfer the cutting into soil, as roots that are grown in water are often more delicate. If you decide to place it in soil straight away, get some cutting powder from your nursery. This helps to encourage root growth.
      As long as you’re only pruning 1/3 or less of your FLF, it should respond fine! Pruning is good for plants and even encourages more growth. Have fun experimenting and let me know if you need more help!

      Reply
  • Hi! Thanks for this article! I’d like to notch to encourage branching in two places. Should I do one notch at a time? Would two be too traumatic to the plant? Thanks for your advice!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      April 2, 2018 6:03 pm

      Hi Cari, thanks for your comment! I couldn’t say for sure whether two at a time would be too much – how well your FLF responds often depends on its level of health and energy, which is why its always best to make changes during the growing season. While there may not be any negative effects of doing two notches at a time, I would probably stick to one and see how it responds. Remember, it will only be able to grow a branch if it has the energy reserved to do so at the time of notching, so make sure it is in good health by getting good amounts of light and fertiliser! You could also try pruning the tip to encourage branching, but you won’t have much control over where the branches grow this way. I’d love to hear how you go with it 🙂

      Reply
  • My fig is getting way too tall and is bending badly. Can I just cut the trunk back to where I want it? Will it branch out if I do?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 13, 2018 4:42 pm

      Hi there Juanda, yes you can prune the tree back to where you’d like it, but it’s best to only prune around one third or less at a time, to prevent your FLF from going into shock from the change. Make sure there will still be enough leaves left on the tree! This will encourage your FLF to branch and grow more leaves. You can also try staking it to help it stand straight. All the best 🙂

      Reply
  • My fiddle fig tree is totally dying, it has brown spots, some leafed are turning totally brown and falling and as soon as that happens the next leafs go through the same process, what should I do to save it. Should I just cut the leafes? Help please!!!!!

    Thx,

    Janette

    Reply
    • Hi Janette, is your FLF getting too much sun? While it is tricky to figure out the exact cause of your FLF leaves turning brown and dropping, I would start by changing things one at a time. If you think it could be getting too much sun, move it to a shadier spot. If you don’t think this is the cause, is it not getting enough water? The last thing I would check is to look up close and see if you can see any eggs or bugs on the leaves that could be causing the plant to die. Changing things will help you figure out the cause to then fix it! Hope that helps.

      Reply
  • I have a fiddle leaf tree which I bought last summer. Having it only for months. The leaves just fell off. I now have 2 or 3 leaves left on this tree. Will it grow back when spring and summer hits? Or is it dead? Very confused. Please help!!’

    Melissa Papiersky

    Reply
    • Hey Melissa, if there’s still green leaves on the tree, there’s still hope! 🙂 I would give it some fertilizer once Spring hits and see if that will give it a boost… If you think it’s too far gone, you could always cut the remaining leaves off and propagate new FLFs from them… Let me know how you get on 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi Emily, Feb. 9, 2018

    I recently (4 days ago), purchased a fiddle leaf fig plant—the bushy kind—in only 4 days of having it in my living room, in an apartment building, my tree smells awful and I have developed breathing problems, itchy eyes, and a stuffed nose.

    I understand that the ficus lyrata (which this plant is), may produce mould spores and thus cause these allergies.

    Should I get rid of my tree? Or possibly put gravel on the top so I don’t smell the soil.

    When I enter my apartment, after several hours, there is a bottom of the garbage pail smell throughout the house. Yes. My tree smells awful.
    Please help.

    Julia

    Reply
    • Hey Julia, I haven’t heard of that problem before but here are a few things you could try:
      It may have had a smelly fertiliser applied, if you have an outdoor space, you could put your FLF outside until it improves. Sometimes the fertiliser is present on the leaves, so try wiping them down with a damp cloth too.
      You mentioned putting gravel on the dirt- if the smell is coming from the soil, try giving it a big water next time you water it, to flush anything out of the soil. Water it until the water comes out the bottom of the pot.
      If its still smelly, you may want to try repotting it with new dirt, and getting rid of all the old dirt it was sitting in. I hope these tips help! And I hope your symptoms get better – hopefully you will be able to keep your tree 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Sonja A. Walker
    February 3, 2018 4:28 am

    Dear Emily,
    Thank you very much for all of the good information that you have provided about Fiddle Figs. I recently inherited my son’s fiddle fig when he moved to Germany. I hadn’t realized that there were two types of fiddle figs… his had the leaves growing from the bottom to the top of the plant (bush). I saw a picture of a fiddle fig on line that looked like a tree so I decided to get rid of the leaves on the bottom part of the plant to reveal the trunk. On reading your blog I discovered that I shouldn’t have done this! Oops! I hope that my fiddle fig will be able to overcome my mistake.
    The roots of the plant are highly visible at the top of the pot… is this normal? Should I cover them with dirt? I realize that I will either need to trim the roots a bit or re-pot it. Would you please advise me? Is there a special soil recommended for my fiddle fig?
    Thank you so very much in advance for your advice!
    Sincerely,
    Sonja

    Reply
    • Hi Sonja, there is only one type of FLF, but it all depends on how you would like to grow/prune yours. Some prefer a bushy style, while others prefer the tree style! As long as the FLF still has the majority of its leaves it should handle having some on the trunk removed. It’s possible that there has been some soil loss from the pot if the roots are showing. If the plant is root-bound or getting too big for the pot, it would make sense to repot it. It is probably better to remove all the dirt and have a completely new mix than adding new dirt on top. Make sure you get a well-draining soil mix, your local nursery should be able to point you in the right direction 🙂

      Reply
  • I purchased a FLF late last summer. I had it near a window but it only received morning direct sunlight. After a few months nearly all but maybe 3 leaves have fallen off the top of the tree but I have substantial growth at the base. I was watering it once a week but I don’t think I was using enough water. Will the top leaves ever grow back in especially with spring right around the corner or should I consider the notching? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Carla, unfortunately leaves can’t grow back in the same spots, but that’s not to say it won’t keep growing upwards from there. If the whole top is bare, you could consider pruning it back to where the last leaf is, so that if it continues to grow upwards, you won’t have a ‘bare’ patch on the trunk. I’m not sure why only the top leaves would have fallen, but if its still got growth then that’s a good sign! You could also check the trunk at the top – if it’s brittle and snapping off, the section has died – feel free to trim off any bits like this. Hope it helps. Happy Growing 🙂

      Reply
  • Hello Emily,
    I have a fabulous FLF that was given to me like a year and 1/2 ago.
    It has grown to at least 10 ft but in doing so has become somewhat “one sided” and a little leggy in my opinion.
    During the summer I pruned a small amount, learning later this was not the time to prune.
    I did see new growth after that pruning but still have no signs of new branches.
    The main goal of the pruning was too encourage new branches filling in on the “flat side”

    ??
    Did I screw up pruning during the growing season?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I will try to attach a couple of photos

    Thanks for your time
    God bless

    Reply
    • Hi Cherie, thanks for your question. Its actually fine to prune in summer, when the days are long and it’s peak growing season! If your FLF is leggy, it may need some more light. I also turn my pot 1/4 of the way round each week when I water it – this encourages it to grow evenly and not get lop-sided. Plants will always lean / grow towards the light! You could also try notching on the side you want to encourage more growth on. Let me know if you need any more help! 🙂

      Reply
  • I am looking for some advice to keep my FLF alive! I’m hoping you might be able to help! I bought the tree at the beginning of the summer and it was doing beautifully for several months. I water once a week, and let it dry out before watering again. I also had it in a great spot, but during the winter that spot turned out to be very drafty so I moved it. The spot it was in seemed very similar, and was doing well. Now it has started to drop leaves, and the leaves are turning brown and crunch at the ends. Any advice??? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Lindsey, FLFs typically love humid conditions, so if you have a temperature-controlled home during winter, my guess is that it could either be too dry or in the path of your a/c. Check that its not in a draughty spot, and you could also try using a spray bottle to give it some moisture. Hopefully you can bring it back to health again 🙂

      Reply
  • Thanks for your article! I have a FLF that is about 12 feet tall & is leaning hard at the top. I’ve been debating taking off the top & rooting that, hopefully encouraging branching at the top (it has 2 branches lower down). I will follow your advice and wait until spring. Any further tips are welcome!
    Thanks!
    Karrie

    Reply
    • Hey Karrie, sounds like it is definitely ready to be pruned! If it starts leaning further down, you can always stake it until you are ready to prune, so that it doesn’t tip over. Staking will also help it grow straight in the meantime. 🙂

      Reply
  • I think I killed my fiddle leaf tree! He was getting brown leaves so I moved him to the office to more indirect light. Then I found little worms in the pot so I took him out, got him new dirt and rinsed his roots. I replanted him and he seemed to be fine, but I went on vacation and he was forgotten. I came back to his last four leaves broken off from dropping. He didn’t get watered while I was gone. Now I just have three branches with no leaves. It’s the middle of December and from what I read I might not see any new growth until spring. Is this true? Do I have any chance of bringing him back?

    Reply
    • Hi Jenna, it sounds like your FLF has no leaves? If this is the case, unfortunately I don’t think there’s much chance of revival. You could wait and see if anything happens in Spring, but if the branches are brittle and can be snapped off, this is a sign that its died 🙁 It might be time to take a trip to the nursery for a new one!

      Reply
  • If I have removed leaves from the trunk, do they ever grow back?

    Reply
    • Hi Bender, Unfortunately they won’t grow back. The only possible solution is to prune or notch the trunk to encourage your FLF to back-bud, which means dormant buds could grow into branches off the trunk. This will help it look fuller, but where the leaves themselves were removed, will stay bare.

      Reply
  • I bought a really nice, full, bush style FLF this last spring. I had it growing in the shade on my patio in Dallas, TX. We had an early cold snap – didn’t freeze, but was windy and temp dropped to 38. The FLF has been brought indoors, but has dropped all the lower leaves – probably lost 25-30 leaves. The only ones still intact are on the very top – probably 12 leaves remaining. Is it a total loss or can I cut it back?

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy, as it sounds like your FLF has lost the majority of its leaves, I wouldn’t prune it back, especially during the cooler months. It would have lost its ability to produce energy when it lost the leaves, and therefore the ones still there will have to work extra hard! Pruning any back may harm your FLF. When the warmer months hit and you notice it growing again, you could try pruning it just a little bit to encourage buds to grow on the lower area.

      Reply
  • Hi. I have my FLf and I am afraid to prune it. What will i do? Maybe because I’m afraid to kill my plant. I have only 1. And I noticed after a week from the time i bought it, most of the leaves are getting weak… what to do? Pls help… I wish that my FLF will grow and add some branches on top. 🙁

    Reply
    • Hi! If you have recently bought your FLF home, it may take some time to adjust to its new location. If it is not improving, change something small. This might be getting more light or watering more/less. FLFs don’t grow much in the cooler months, most growth occurs is Spring and Summer. They are slow growing, so be patient 🙂 Only prune it in the warmer months and make sure if you do, that you only prune less that 1/3 of the leaves. All the best with your new FLF 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi, the new leaf coming in on my fig leaf tree has some brown around the leaf. When it fully comes in, can I trim the brown off of the leaf without hurting it?

    Reply
    • Hi Sheila, you can trim the brown off the leaf however this section of the leaf won’t grow back! So it just depends whether you would prefer to leave to brown on or have a trimmed back leaf. If you do trim it, there will most likely be a brownish line where you have cut it anyway. Your FLF will most definitely be fine either way 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Kayla Brooke Michalek
    October 21, 2017 1:24 am

    My tree is losing leaves so fast. Two or three a day. Any suggest ?? The veins turn brown and tips are crispy. I have it near a window and water only when soil is dry. It’s a single stem and most the leaves have fallen except for the few on the top. They continue to show new growth but recently the leave I do have left are droopy. Please help !

    Reply
    • If it is getting direct sunlight through the window, your FLF might be getting too much sun! You could also try giving it some more water, this may be part of the problem if the leaves are drooping. Yellow leaves are caused by overwatering but if they are turning brown, it would most likely be too much sunlight or not enough water. Hope that helps:)

      Reply
  • Hi Emily,
    I have a very happy 3-trunked FLF which was probably 4 ft tall when I brought it home 2 years ago. I did have to stake it to keep the trunks straighter for foot traffic reasons.

    It has grown to approx 8 feet tall, which is amazing! So far it’s still standing tall – but with much more growth, it may start to topple! And I don’t necessarily want it any taller.
    You mention trimming leaves off the top. Could you please give me a bit more informaton?

    Reply
    • Hi Myrna, you can simply cut off the top of your FLF at the height that suits you to prune it down. Make sure you have a sharp pair of secateurs to prevent any unnecessary damage. As long as there’s still a decent amount of leaves left on your FLF it shouldn’t be a problem! Keep in mind its best to prune in Spring/Summer, and growth should slow in Autumn/Winter, so it you can leave it as it is (it won’t grow much during the cooler seasons) until its Spring/Summer, that would be ideal. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  • Hi Emily. I have a FLF that has grown over 2 feet in 1 year. Its active growth recently slowed (over the spring and summer, which surprised me), and it dropped nearly 10 leaves on the lower trunk. I thought it was dying but it’s since stopped, so I assume it was transitioning from a bush to a tree. Does growth typically slow when a FLF is transitioning from bush to tree? Also, I added more soil to its pot this spring but it looks low – would adding more soil (even to the bottom of the pot) encourage growth? It has a very curvy, thin trunk, with three long branches – the longest being the main trunk. I’m hoping new branches will help fill out and balance the tree. How do I encourage new branch growth (rather than continuous growth on the 3 existing branches)? Should I notch the trunk in order to encourage new branches, or prune? Which is more effective, and less likely to cause damage? If I notch the main trunk, will it kill the leaves above the notch? If I prune the main trunk, will new growth happen where it was pruned, or elsewhere? Also, it’s October – should I wait until the spring to do this? Lastly, if I stake the tree to support the trunk upright, do I need to be careful in how I stick the stake into the soil? Can it damage the root system? Thank you so much for your advice.

    Reply
    • Hi Elyse, I’ll try to answer a few of your questions… There’s a number of reasons why growth may have slowed/leaves lost, and its a little bit of trial and error, but its possible that the pot/soil its in is no longer providing it with enough nutrients – especially if your FLF has grown a lot. You may need to repot it with new soil (remove all the old soil from the roots) or try a fertiliser. Notching is more effective than pruning to encourage branching. Both of these are not designed to damage the plant, in fact they are healthy parts of a growing plant. With notching you can almost ‘choose’ the area you’d like a new branch to grow from. With all plants its best to wait for a growth season to apply any changes (you could still fertilise to keep it healthy though). You could also stake it until you’re ready to try pruning/notching/repotting… If your FLF doesn’t seem healthy (dropping leaves etc) its best to focus on getting it back to health first. For example if its not getting the nutrients it needs from soil or fertiliser and not growing in general, it won’t have the energy stored to create new branches anyway. Hope that helps you!

      Reply
  • We need help. Can we send you a ours is a tree and leaves are dying however is new growth at the very top.

    I can send photos via email.

    Reply
  • Do you have to separate a cluster? I purchased a mid size cluster (3 total) and repotted the cluster all together. Is this okay or should I repot them in separate pots?

    Reply
    • Hi Anthony, it is totally fine to repot a cluster together! Its totally up to the owner what look they prefer – fortunately FLFs look great as a single tree or as a cluster 🙂

      Reply
  • I replanted my FLF, it has grown a lot and is hitting the top of my ceiling? Where can I trim it so it won’t die?

    Reply
    • Hi Julie, you can trim it at any point as long as the majority of leaves are left on the tree (rather than being cut off)! If its growing after being replanted, this is a good sign, and should be able to handle some pruning 🙂

      Reply
  • Great information… thank you.. tony

    Reply
  • Hi Emily,

    I just bought a 3ft. tall FLF this weekend. In proper conditions how fast can I expect the tree to grow in terms of height?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi William, FLFs are generally slow growing and do most of their growing in the spring/summer seasons. Mine has grown about 2 foot in the past year, so if you’d like it to grow fast, the best things to do is provide the best living conditions for it- light, soil and water. Be patient and enjoy! ?

      Reply
  • Hello – I have had a fiddle leaf fig for years now. After a couple of years I gave up on it and had even placed it by the trash. Having second, third and fourth thoughts I brought it back in, started caring for it again, and Lo and behold it reappeared and took off. Knowing nothing specifically about the fiddle leaf, but loving plants, I didn’t know how to care for it. Over the years it has continued growing, losing all leaves up to about five feet, with the top this year reaching against the inside of the roof window, where those leaves have been roasted, toasted and burned by the sun. Would the plant survive having the top several feet lopped off, and/ or do you have any suggestions? I’d be happy to send you a photo if there’s a way to do that. Thank you very much – Barb

    Reply
    • Hi Barb, FLFs respond well to a bit of pruning, however it is best to make sure the majority of leaves are left on the tree after pruning, ie make sure you don’t take too many leaves off! Without the leaves the FLF will not be able to produce energy. Keep this in mind if your FLF is already missing leaves from the bottom! All the best.

      Reply
  • Thank you Emily. I had given thought to putting it in water to sprout first. Hope it works! ?

    Reply
  • Hi Emily
    I have x3 FLF slender trunks that have been twirled (you can tell I am a novice gardener) together to form a stronger trunk. It is super happy and I’ve had it for a year. It is now starting to splay as I’ve not tied the trunks to twist around each other, plus a branch has sprouted. There are now four very happy branches which currently feel pretty sturdy. I would like to re-pot it as the roots are busting out from the original planter but also need to manage it’s size. It’s about 4.5 foot high from the soil base so has lots of potential to grow. Another couple of feet up is fine but it is the width that I’m a little concerned about. I have a new larger pot at the ready – should I wait til Spring (UK) which seems so long away or go for it now with a good few months of sun left ? I’d welcome your thoughts on the above plus any re-potting tips.

    Reply
    • Hi Philippa, sounds like a healthy FLF! I think it would be ok to repot now, keeping in mind that a bigger pot will allow the tree to grow bigger altogether. You can always trim the branches or stake them up a bit straighter if they are too wide. Make sure the roots don’t dry out when you repot by working quickly and watering in its new pot straight away. Soil choice is one of the most important things so double check with your nursery if you are unsure on the type ? Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • What a great blog just when I needed it. I inherited a tall single stem FLF from my daughter and since being here indoors the last 7months has grown taller, now at least 5ft. I came across your blog because when spring comes in Australia I want to chop the top off, perhaps by at least a third. I was reading that I can plant the top I cut off. Do I do this just into a new pot straight away? This is one of 3 FLF I have. The other two are multi head.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      August 9, 2017 2:14 pm

      Hey Elana, thanks for your comment! I’m also anxiously awaiting Spring in Aus to do a bit of work on my FLF 🙂 I think the best way to propogate the piece you cut from the tip would be to put it in water first, until some roots start growing. It would then be easier to plant in soil, knowing it has a better chance of surviving. Let me know how you go!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Carol Forney
    July 3, 2017 9:18 am

    Help…my 2 FLSs in one pot are reaching my ceiling. What should I do ??? Beautiful but beginning to bend as they reach less light above the upper part of my window.
    Thanks.
    Carol

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      July 4, 2017 5:30 pm

      Hi Carol, sounds like your FLF is quite tall! It would most likely be bending from the weight on top and thin trunk. You could try pruning them to a more manageable height and can always use the cuttings to propagate from. Or you could stake them so that they don’t bend. However if they are already reaching the ceiling its probably a good idea to prune them! As long as the majority of leaves are left on the plant when you prune it, it should handle it ok. 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Maureen Massaro
    July 1, 2017 3:05 am

    Thanks for your info. I have a tree FLF and the branches are long. I have tried to cut the tips hoping it will start a new branch from the trunk but it does not. How can I encourage more branching? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      July 4, 2017 5:25 pm

      Hi Maureen! Try pruning the tip of the main trunk rather than the branches themselves. Pruning the branches will encourage the branch to back-bud, which means they’ll end up bushier. Otherwise you could try notching on the trunk above what looks like it could be a bud. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Hi! I’m thinking of pruning off the top 2 feet of my tree, can I just plant that cutting in the same pot for propagation?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      June 5, 2017 10:42 am

      Hi Frederica, sometimes its best to keep a cutting in water until roots start to develop, and then plant. I would say to use a new pot so its not competing for the same nutrients or overcrowding the pot. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Hello!

    My fiancé surprised my with my dream fiddle leaf fig the other day. I’ve only had it for like 3 days, but I’m already wondering if I’m doing something wrong! Most of the leaves on it are pretty sturdy/firm.. but I noticed today that the very top three leaves (one of which is the smallest/newest leaf) are soft/flimsy. They are not drooping down.. they’re still sticking pretty straight up but I’m worried that this might be a sign of something I’m doing wrong? Have you experienced any of this?? Any tips??
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      April 2, 2017 2:42 pm

      Hey Lauren! This is pretty normal for the new growth at the top of the plant. The new leaves are usually softer, lighter in colour and will stand straighter up until they grow bigger and heavier. No need to worry! 🙂

      Reply
  • I bought a FLF (2 trunks in one pot, approx. 2′ tall) the other day and had no idea they were all the rage! I guess I’ve been living under a rock. Anyway, the ladies at the nursery suggested that I repot it so I did. Now I’m seeing pictures of all these fabulous single trunk/braided trunk with tons of branches and big full tops. I’m wondering if I should work toward that now or if I should just leave it alone for a while so it can get used to its new home. And if I should wait, does that mean waiting till next Spring? Will it be too late to separate them by then? I don’t want to shock the poor thing too fast. My impulse buy suddenly has me very anxious!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 28, 2017 5:13 pm

      Hey Whitney, separating the two plants could have been done when you repotted it but now I would wait til at least next Spring before you try that! Generally they can be repotted every 2 years or so. It won’t be too late to separate them at that stage, as they are two different plants they will have their own root systems. FLFs can be a little slow growing so there’s no rush to get a beautifully bushy tree-like structure happening. It might take a little patience and care but with the right light, soil and water your FLF should thrive 🙂

      Reply
      • Well, I’m less than two weeks in and my plant has brown spots on the bottom leaves. I’m pretty sure I overwatered it because I followed the advice of others to flush it completely. That was 10 days ago and the top soil still feels moist. ??‍♀️ Is there something I can do to accelerate its drying?

        Lighting may be an issue, but I’d rather not move it if I don’t have to. (It’s about 3′ from a south facing window.) If the brown spots spread once it’s dry, I guess I can try relocating.

        Thanks for your first answer, by the way. I’m not typically a commenter but your responses to others was so helpful. I’d happily take the advice of anyone else reading as well.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          Emily Connett
          April 9, 2017 3:44 pm

          Hey Whitney, thanks for the update 🙂 hmm you may have given it a bit too much water the first time if it is still moist at the top, I generally water mine once a week and it seems to be a good routine. I think you’re right – wait until it dries a bit more and if the brown spots are spreading, try moving it to a lighter spot. It is all a bit of trial and error but I think as long as you keep an eye on it and change things accordingly, you should be able to have a healthy FLF! <3

          Reply
  • I just purchased a nine foot FLF that is one stalk with leaves from the base to the top. It was wrapped when I purchased it, so I did not realize that there were no branches. (Maybe that is why it was only $20.00! I am unsure whether I should notch it and if I did, at what height I should do it. Or should I prune some of the top off to encourage branching, or possibly do both?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 27, 2017 4:08 pm

      Hey Carrie, $20 is still a great price for a 9ft FLF! I would give it a chance to settle in first to make sure its happy in the position you’ve put it, then you can try pruning, notching or both. Notching is probably a more specific way of encouraging your FLF to branch, as you notch directly above the leaf / section you’d like to see branch. Pruning may or may not encourage branching, but if it does branch, its a bit unknown where a branch will start growing. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  • Hi!
    I have a beautiful 10ft FLF in my living room that has a 10ft ceiling…clearly, I have a bit of pruning to do. I’m nervous to do anything to this gorgeous tree that my shock it or damage it but I have to trim the top.
    Do I just simply cut the top or is there a special method?
    Help….please!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 27, 2017 3:59 pm

      Hey Stephanie, if you’re making any changes to your FLF just make sure you do it in a season of growth – Spring being the best time, so it has the best opportunity to thrive. Use something sharp to prune it and you can always use the pruned section to propagate with. As long as you are leaving the majority of leaves on the plant it shouldn’t respond badly to being pruned! 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi! I have two FLF and they are both quote skinny with one trunk. How do I make them busy and more leaves. They’re both about 3 feet and need some fattening up!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 22, 2017 2:47 pm

      Hi Sharon, FLFs naturally have very thin trunks but you could always do some pruning if its getting too top heavy or to encourage more bushy branches. Make sure they are getting enough light too! 🙂

      Reply
  • I have a FLF that I bought that was in tree form, almost 6 ft tall. A few months ago it started sprouting growth at the base of the trunk and I let it grow. There are now three little branches that range from about 8″-18″ long with several leaves. I’m wondering if I should just let my FLF do it’s thing and let them grow or if I should trim them to keep it looking more like a tree. My trunk has always had a curve to it, so I’m wondering if these new branches would balance things out a bit. Would love your opinion!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 22, 2017 2:45 pm

      Hey Sarah! That’s interesting, I haven’t seen one do that before! I guess it depends on what you want your FLF to look like and how much you want to do to get it looking like that. Some people do prefer more branchy, bushy FLFs but if not, you could always use the branch cuttings to propagate a few more! It might help to think about the location of your FLF and if the bottom branches will get in the way or if it has room to grow. 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Lee M. Holloway
    March 12, 2017 5:01 am

    Hi Emily!

    I just purchased a FLF bush last month. I have left it in it’s original container. There are a few leaves at the very bottom of the branch that have dark -brownish/black spots on the edge. Is it best to cut away, remove the leaf completely or repot ?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 22, 2017 2:55 pm

      Hi Lee, the leaves won’t grow back if they are removed so think about what your FLF will look like without them before you remove them! At the same time, the spots will also stay there so it depends if you prefer to leave the leaves on the tree with the spots or take them off. As FLFs get older they can lose some of their lower leaves automatically as well. If the spots were really bad I would remove the leaves so that the plant isn’t wasting energy on keeping those damaged leaves. You shouldn’t need to repot straight away, unless you can tell your FLF is bursting out of the container! Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
  • How do you notch the tree? Xo you notch it where you want the new branch to grow. Does the notch site need any special card after?
    I have a single stand that is approximately 7 foot tall with no other out quotes and would like it to become more branched about 3 to 4 feet from base. I felt uncomfortable cutting it down to a three or four foot height

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Emily Connett
      March 22, 2017 2:58 pm

      That’s a good question, I’d recommend looking up some forums for more specific details! Generally you notch the branch around 1/3 of the trunk deep, just above a leaf, around the height you’d like it to branch. You could also try pruning the top of the tree (just a few leaves) to see if that stimulates branching if you’re uncomfortable with trying notching first. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • I have an 8 foot FLF that is looking healthy. It has a main trunk with 3 branches on top. One of the branches has taken off, growing like crazy. The other two branches don’t seem to be growing much. I’d like to keep it looking like a normal “ball” on top. Should I prune down the one branch to where it should be? Wouldn’t that encourage more growth and make the tree more lop sided?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hey Eric! That is a good question. To keep a more even ‘ball’ shape you’ll need to prune that longer branch back to where it should be – you can always use the pruned part to propagate a new FLF! Pruning the longer branch may actually encourage growth in other areas, especially if your FLF sees this branch as the main growing tip/trunk. Sometimes when a branch is pruned, the tree will redirect its energy into other parts of the tree… Pruning can ‘trick’ the plant into thinking that section is no longer growing. Hope it works out for you!

      Reply
  • Hi,
    I just bought a single bush from a store in Estonia. I can send you a picture. I read your writings and i just want to say thanks. I am going to go through the process of trying to turn it into a tree. Right now i am going to just let it acclimate to its new home.
    Thanks,
    Scott

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments Scott! It’s always a good idea to let your FLF acclimatize to its new surroundings. All the best! 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi! Thanks for all the great advise! I was planning on pruning my 7 foot single FLF bush this coming spring since it’s almost touching my ceiling. I was wondering what you meant by “pinching” the top? And when making notches on the side of the trunk to encourage branching in a specific area, how deep should I notch into the trunk? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Jen, Pinching the top refers to literally ‘pinching’ out with your fingers the very growing tip, which is said to encourage new growth below to create a thicker, fuller effect. You would definitely need to do more than just pinching if your FLF is touching the ceiling though, pruning sounds like a good idea. Notching is generally done about a third of the width of the trunk, above an area you’d like to see growth. There’s lots more specific info in the plant forums linked above if you need! Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
  • Thank you for all of your great advice on FLF’s! I have a FLF tree whose branches and leaves have gotten so wide and heavy I am concerned it will start tipping over! Is there anyway to encourage the tree to grow upwards instead of becoming a top-heavy tree? It has one trunk. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Hey Janel, thanks for your comments! I would suggest pruning the branches that are growing too far outwards back closer to the trunk – you can use these to propagate new FLFs! With the outwards-growing branches gone, it may redirect its energy and effort into growing upwards. Check out the plant forums on Houzz which can help with more specific info, you can even post your own pics and questions to get plant-specific advice. It really helped me, I hope it does for you too 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi, I had been looking a the fiddle leaf fig and I bought one for a friend hoping I would wait until spring so I could get me one cheeper , but the day before Christmas I luck up and went to a home depo and found one it was only 12 dollars so my husband got me 2 of them . They are about 1-2 foot and they are a bush. I want a tree also. Do I wait until they are about 3-4 foot tall and do I start taking leaves off the bottom first then pinch the top so they branch out. I know I have to do it slowly but I want a tree so bad. This is my first 2 plants. Thanks for the help.

    Reply
    • Hey Gwendolyn! Thanks for your comment. That sounds like a great deal on two FLF’s, as you might know the bigger they are, the more expensive they get (and quickly!) You definitely have the right idea, FLFs naturally start as a bush form and with a bit of training and pruning (and patience) you can shape them into a tree. I would only take off the bottom leaves once the trunk is nice and strong, or as the last step in your process. You can pinch the stop when it has reached the height you would like it to branch around. This is a good forum which goes into a bit more detail.
      http://forums2.gardenweb.com/discussions/4234290/training-fiddle-leaf-fig-bush-into-a-tree
      Hope that helps you! 🙂

      Reply
  • hi, i just bought my own fiddle fig leaf but it the bushes one, is there any other way that i can make it become a tree one. ? or i just need wait for it to grow as a tree ? by the way its just about 3 feet

    Reply
    • Hi there, you can remove the lower leaves to create the tree-like shape, however the lower leaves help the trunk grow strong so it’s best to only remove them once your FLF is at a desired height with a strong trunk. You can look into removing the growing tip to help it branch out and pruning to grow taller if that’s what you’re after. You can buy more mature trees that already have the tree-form although they do get expensive! I’m in the process of growing mine into a tree-form too 🙂

      Reply
  • My friend dropped a 6 ft. Fiddle Fig plant off she no longer wanted. Love it! But its to tall and is starting to lean. It has two stalks. Can I saparate them into two plants. And can I prune it to the height I want. Its in side now because I live in ohio. It has leaves down to the base of the trunk. Says not to remove these. So how do you getting looking like a tree?

    Reply
    • Hey Lesha! If it has two stalks coming out of the dirt, it is most likely two plants that can be separated when repotting. The lower leaves help the stalks grow thick and healthy so if it is already leaning, it might be best to keep them until it can support itself. Alternatively you could prune it from the top so there’s not so much strain on the stalk. From what I’ve read, the tree form can be constructed from removing the lower leaves. If you do any pruning or repotting, just make sure you wait until Spring when your FLF hits another growing season! Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply

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