Welcome back, Fiddle Leaf Fig lovers! Recently I’ve been getting more and more questions from readers about their FLFs (which is great – I love helping you guys!). Over time I’ve started to see some trends on what people need help with.
One of the most asked questions I get is how to strengthen a weak or leaning Fiddle Leaf Fig trunk! Maybe you FLF is starting to lean, or no longer wants to stand on its own. The good news is – it is very possible to get them standing straight and strong, and it probably won’t take as long as you’d expect!
When my first FLF was around 3 feet tall, I took it outside to hose down the leaves. Inside, it stood straight all by itself. But when it was exposed to the slight breeze outside, it bent right over until it nearly touched the ground! I had to leave it outside until it stopped dripping from the hose-down, but I was so nervous that it would just snap in half. I tried to hold it upright, but it seemed to prefer to touch the ground whenever I let go. *crying face*! I wish I had taken a photo to show you!
So I grabbed a couple of bamboo stakes and staked it upright again. Staking is great for an emergency, temporary fix like this. But the bad news is, staking won’t help strengthen your plant! And you won’t want to have your plant staked forever, either.
When a plant is staked, it doesn’t have to do any work to support itself, so it never really strengthens. The good news is, in a few simple steps you can get your Ficus growing strong all by itself.
Here’s my steps on How to Strengthen a
Leaning Fiddle Leaf Fig:
1. FLFs are Light Lovers!
Light plays a huge factor in the health of your FLF. When your FLF is getting enough light, the leaves will grow close together. This really helps to support the trunk. When they aren’t getting enough light, they will ‘search’ for more – you can notice this if there is more than around an inch distance between leaves (called ‘inter-nodal distance’). Your FLF might look lanky or may even be leaning towards the nearest window.
If there’s more distance between the leaves, there’s more opportunity for bending. Giving your plant more light won’t fix older growth, but any new growth that comes through should be closer together and therefore stronger.
So firstly make sure your FLF is getting adequate light! I’ve found they generally need more than we think. Directly in front of a window is best if they’re inside. In nature, they can even grow in all-day sunlight!
One quick tip is that a specially formulated fertilizer can also help with shortening the inter-nodal distance. I recommend one like Botanicare Grow Fertilizer for FLFs.
Make sure to rotate the pot as you water each week to help even out growth. If you can’t move your FLF closer to natural lighting, you may want to supplement some light with a grow light – read an easy guide to grow lights here.
You can see this FLF below needed more light, because the leaves are so spread out on the stem:
2. Air Flow will Train the Trunk
In nature, you won’t come across a FLF that can’t support itself. Why? Because of air flow! When a FLF is outside, it has to learn to withstand the force of the wind. This causes it to strengthen its trunks and stems and grow straight.
Remember my poor FLF that bent over at the first sign of the breeze?! It now lives outside for half the year and is taller and stronger than ever!
Because most of our beloved FLFs live inside, they don’t get a chance to strengthen their trunks with air flow. This can eventually lead to a leaning Fiddle Leaf Fig through the weight of their enormous leaves. FLFs naturally grow larger and larger leaves higher up, which adds to their top-heavy nature.
I recently bought a new FLF where one of the stems was bending under the weight of its new, large leaves. I sat it outside and within a couple of weeks, that stem had straightened up and was so much stronger. It really doesn’t take long for the breeze to do its thing!
FLFs can withstand quite a bit of bending, so don’t be afraid to allow yours some time outside in a light breeze. If it’s seriously bent over like my first one was or you’re worried its too weak, you may want to loosely stake it while outside just to keep it upright.
One thing to note is that you’ll need to have favourable outdoor conditions for your FLF. They don’t like temperatures under 65F/18C, and be sure to acclimatise them slowly to any extra sun they might get.
What if you can’t get your FLF outside, I hear you ask? There’s an answer for that too!
3. Wiggle the Trunk
Am I serious?! You betcha! I’ve heard many success stories of people who wiggled their FLF trunks to strengthen them.
Wiggling the trunk basically mimics the wind. If you can’t get your FLF outdoors, doing this may take a little bit more effort but is still successful.
Two to three times a day, take your FLF trunk and begin to wiggle it side to side. Like I mentioned earlier, they can withstand quite a bit of movement. So don’t be afraid to work up to quite a bend! Spend about 10 minutes or so doing this.
This method may take longer than natural conditions would to strengthen your FLF, but within a few weeks you should see results.
4. Keep the Leaves On
Lastly, It can be very tempting to remove some lower leaves on your FLF, especially if you’re looking to get that coveted tree-like shape. BUT the leaves provide a lot of nutrition to the trunk, so they play a big role in helping to strengthen and thicken it! My advice is to leave the lower leaves on as long as possible. When you do eventually have that tree shape, the trunk will be strong enough to support a top-heavy canopy.
As FLFs mature, it’s also pretty normal for lower leaves to eventually drop off. So you may not need to manually remove them yourself.
FLFs naturally produce larger and larger leaves as they grow, which can add to their top-heavy nature. If you notice new large leaves that are causing the stem or trunk to start to lean, do the above steps regarding light and air flow to allow the stem to catch up in strength to its leaf size.
So the simple steps to strengthen a weak or leaning Fiddle Leaf Fig trunk are: 1. Make sure it’s getting enough light (checking the distance between new leaves may help you determine this), 2. Give it some outdoor time where it can get a breeze, 3. Wiggle the trunk if you can’t get it outside, and 4. Leave the leaves on to thicken the trunk!
If you take the above steps, you can transform your FLF to stand straight and strong on its own generally within 1-3 weeks.
I hope this post has been helpful for you – let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you’ve tried these steps with success!
I also have a library of FLF help – check it out here!
Hi there, Emily,
I’m new to your content, so my apologies if I’m asking a question you’ve already addressed!
I purchased a very inexpensive FLF and it is stagnant. It’s only 8-10” tall with two leaves – one is not in good shape. (Several have fallen off). There is a baby leaf near the base of the trunk trying it’s hardest, but not growing much, if at all. I have full spectrum 9watt grow lights overhead and give her a wiggle a few times a day but nothing seems to be working. I do my best to only water when the top 4-5 inches are dry (no drainage holes). Should I get her outside once the temperature is more stable and see how she does? Any input I’d greatly appreciated! Thank you, thank you!!
Hi Tessa, outdoors is great for Fiddle Leafs and I’m sure it will do it some good! You can also find tips on encouraging growth here.
Would running a ceiling fan on the lowest setting through the night help with strength or would it dislike that much of a draft? It’s kept in a 12×12 bedroom near a South facing window.
Thanks for your insight!
Hey Lisa, I’m not sure that a ceiling fan would provide enough of a breeze to make a difference to the leaning or strength of a FLF! Generally you want it to be strong enough that the trunk is moving/bending to some extent. If you’re unable to place it outside, manually wiggling the trunk can help!
I am new to FLF care and have a new plant in a 18cm pot. The trunk has a bend in it half way up and it came loosely staked. I’ve removed the stake and it leans (if you imagine a clock it would be about 2:30 lol). Should I keep this little guy outside in dappled light for a few weeks? And also is there anything I can do to straighten the trunk out or is this just an interesting oddity of my particular plant? I want to both strengthen and straighten so I feel like I should loose the stake but also need one?
For further info: the trunk is pencil thin. It has gorgeous glossy big leaves on top which would definitely make it top heavy. About 6 of them (all bigger than my hand).
Hey Kely, hopefully you got some good tips on strengthening leaning trunks in this article! If it is strongly leaning without a stake, it may be best to loosely stake it for now. Fiddles do love being outside so it should help the plant’s health if you can manage to find a relatively sheltered spot from the sun, and should also help it grow upwards rather than towards a light source. A fertilizer can also help strengthen the trunk – more info on fertilizers here.
Hi Emily, Unbeknownst to us our fiddle leaf fig came with a salad bowl and develop root rot, leaf loss , drooping and spotted leaves. We re-potted with FLF soil and route fertilizer. How long may take before we start to see this plant recover. It was once so beautiful and full we love it and do not want this plant to die
My FLF is about 5ft tall but is only one weak stem (it came staked) and leaves are far apart. I’ve had it since autumn last year so I’ve not had it in the growing season but it hasn’t grown single leaf. It sits between 2 south facing windows so I suspect it could do with more light. I’d like to move it in front of the window but there is a radiator there and I’m guessing that would just make it crispy! I’ll wiggle the stem and see if that helps. Should I maybe move it in front of the window in summer when the radiator isn’t on?
Hi Jess, it does sound like the plant could use more light! If you’re unable to get it in front of a window, a grow light can be a huge help. More info about grow lights here!
Hello! Thanks tout for all the great information!
I juste got a Little FLF but when i was transplanting it from the nursery pot I noticed a long part of the trunk was hidden inside the soil and the roots where at the very bottom so I ended up with a leggy little tree and I wanted a bush shaped FLF. Is there any way to encourage new leaves from the trunk that was inside the pot? Will the FLF grow more leaves naturally? Or should I chop it down and start all over? Thanks you !
Hi Sandra, unfortunately there’s no way that plants can regrow single leaves but you can encourage branches lower down for a more bushy look with notching. Otherwise pruning it back is an option too (or get another plant and enjoy both styles 🙂 ) more details on pruning & notching here.
Thank you!!! I will definitely try notching and of course another plant will be great also 🙂 . Thanks!
My Fiddle leaf Fig has gotten out of hand at aprox. 18 ft long on an angle toward the s.e. morning sun. (afternoon sun is mostly blocked by trees) its at about 45 degrees with several other stems 4-12 ft long. It is super healthy with close leaves. If it starts more upward it should not bother anything but we are concerned it might topple. The base feels strong, it gets a lot of wind. I`m sure i should have chopped it at a proper height but wondering what i might do if anything at this point 12/30/2020 I am in the Tampa Bay costal area. The weather is fair. Thanks so much.
Hello! We’ve had our FLF for about a year. It came staked and I didn’t know I should take those off. It still has the stakes and went from about 3 feet to 4 or 41/2 feet now. The top is unstaked and starting to lean slightly. Otherwise, it seems pretty happy. Should I take the stakes off now? The trunk is thin, so it’s hard to know how strong it is. It gets lots of indirect light. We live in Colorado, so I’ve not put it directly in the strong, south facing light. Thank you!
Hey Angie, you can always take them off and see how the plant goes. As long as the plant isn’t falling over or extremely bent it should be fine to leave them off. Then you may want to start strengthening the trunk with the above tips!
I’ve had my FLF for 2.5 years now and it has grown substantially in height (from 4′ to maybe 6.5′) but the trunks are so skinny and frail. There are 3 trunks and they were staked when I first bought them. I removed the stakes after a few months and the FLF grew beautiful large leaves the next spring but the trunks started leaning. I ended up staking them again a year later and now, after 6 months, the tree is searching (leaves are more than an inch apart) and because it’s grown so tall, the trunks look even skinnier than before. All the lower leaves have fallen off so I have a lot of skinny trunk and top heavy leaves that are spaced out – not pretty at all. Should I chop off the tops of the plant and place the plant outside to help the trunk grow and help the plant get healthier in general? Or is it too late for any of that? 🙁
Hey Cheryl! Sounds like the plant would benefit from a good pruning. It can be scary to do but it will help the plant grow back stronger. Placing it outside is also a great idea so that the trunks can strengthen in the breeze and the plant can get more light (which will help new leaves grow closer together after pruning). Sounds like you are on the right track 🙂
Hello, I removed the leaves from the lower trunk of my fiddle leaf fig so my cats couldn’t reach them before I read that it’s best to leave them on. Can the trunk still strengthen without the lower leaves? Any advice please? Thank you!
It may just take a little longer but the plant should be fine! Allowing it to get a breeze or wiggling regularly should help 🙂
Oh, thank you! I was worried I may have harmed the tree.
My FLF trunk is curved right at the soil line. It’s so bent over and I don’t know what I should do. Please help.
If it’s still young and bent that low, you may need to stake it to help train it straighter. A loose stake will still give it room to move & strengthen on its own, however if the bend is really severe, staking it for a while may be your best option at that stage.
I just got my first FLF, my brightest room has a big picture window and faces North. Is good just to be in this room or does it need to be right in front of the window? Secondly, if I put it outside for the summer, at what temp should it be brought inside for the winter?
Thank you for a great article!
Right in front of a window is always best, even if you think the room gets lots of light. You can measure the light with a light meter app, which will help you see the difference being in front of a window can make vs against the opposite wall, for example. They generally don’t like temps below about 55-60F so this would probably be a good time to transition them inside again 🙂
Hi Emily. I love all the wonderful info you give in your page! About a month ago I adopted 4 FLFs. They’re 5-6 feet tall. They are currently potted in 12″ nursery pots. They have a lot of superficial roots on the top soil, circling it once or twice. I’ve only seen a small root poking out of one of the containers. Judging from the top, they are root bound and leaning in all sorts of directions. I removed the stakes to asses what I was dealing with and since I live in Las Vegas (it’s 115 degrees out and 5% humidity!) I have opted to just wiggle them every time I pass them and not bake them outside. In the month that I’ve had them, they’ve had several leaves drop. I feel they would benefit from repotting, but I’m not sure if I should wait until they are more acclimated to this weather and environment (they came from California). It’s the middle of August and even though it’s very sunny and warm for a long while here (until the end of October), I’m afraid they may be even more shocked. Should I wait to repot them? What do you recommend?
Hey Olga, you can check if they’re rootbound by wiggling them out of the pot and seeing if there’s lots of roots circling the outer edge of the soil. I think it could be more likely they’re dropping leaves simply as they adjust to the new environment, as this would be more of a shock to their system while becoming rootbound will happen slowly over time. If you do find they are very rootbound and need repotting, you could do it outside in early morning or evening to avoid the harsh sun & temperature. Here’s some more info on soil & repotting if you need 🙂
Hi Emily thanks for the great information! I as well have a question! My husband recently purchased a FLF for me and although it looks beautiful(big healthy green leaves) it was damaged(some leaves are broken) and also it is leaning a little. There is no direct light in my house and I have it in my room, but I take it outside every morning. Do you recommend keeping it in the same pot? (It is a 10in and the plant is roughly about 3.5 ft tall. (I have been shaking it side to side as well) I purchase a saucer to put under and woven basket 12″ to put inside it. Any help please and thank you ! 😀
Hey Edith, they really only need to be repotted if they’re rootbound. More info on that here. I would be a little more concerned about the lack of light & moving it each day though – Fiddle Leafs generally do not like to be moved around. If you find it starts suffering and you can’t find a spot for it to stay in that has bright light, getting a grow light might help! 🙂
Super informative! I just for my FLF yesterday and repotted to a new (bigger) pot. The trunk of the plant is definitely bent and not strong. I am happy to take the plant outside, but it can get cold in San francisco at night (below 65 F for sure). Plus reading about FLF, they like consistency. So i dont want to keep moving back and forth between outside and inside. Is wiggling my best option? And should I wait a few weeks to start wiggling until it acclimates?
Hey Ritika, if you don’t think you could leave it outside at night then it may be best to wiggle it instead. They don’t need to be acclimatised to start either! 🙂
Hello… your plants are inspirational and your advice is amazing! But…I think i need help! I have an apartment that has one window in the living room and that gets some light in the afternoon. So I thought I should put my FLF outside. Well i did and most the leaves turned brown, with holes in them! Didn’t know what to do so i took the leaves that was seemingly burnt all off, except for maybe 2, which still have some brown spots and see thru spots… should i just take all the bottom leaves off?? I recently grew another top leaf ( I returned it to the inside by the window). Is this a good sign? Should i bare the entire tree and start all over again?? Help please!!
Hey! Here’s a post about browning that might help. I normally recommend only removing leaves if they’re over 50% damaged, as otherwise they’ll still be creating energy for the plant so it’s worth keeping them on. Its a good sign that it’s continuing to grow – they are quite resilient plants!
Thanks for such an informative post. I just brought a new FLF home and it was staked And branches were all tied up at the store. When I Untied it, one branch is practically horizontal and falling to the floor. The whole tree is pretty top heavy and weak without the stake. What should I do with a weak branch with lots of leaves?
Hey Diana, if you’re finding that it’s very weak you may need to loosely stake the branch upright to help give it support, while it strengthens. A loose stake will keep it upright but still allow it to move freely to gain strength. You can sue some string or fabric to create a loose tie. If you can allow it some time outside it will definitely help!
Help! I have an almost 9 foot FLF which I’ve nursed for 5 years. Last winter I had to unfortunately prune leaves growing at the top because I only have a 9 foot ceiling. Early Spring brought a weird leaf drop for my FLF. It only has one trunk and now looks very odd. I have a small branch halfway to the top and about a 3 foot bare spot until you see great growth on top. Should I remove the small branch of leaves from the trunk below the healthy grow? It looks so odd and not sure I will have more branches grow to fill in.
Hey Suzann! Pruning and shaping Fiddle Leafs can really be done however you like, or however you think your plant would look best. It sounds like your plant is quite tall, in which case you may actually want to prune back the ‘leader’ branch to a reasonable height, especially if it is quite bare. Pruning encourages branching, so if you pruned that main branch near where the other smaller one is growing, you could potentially get more branches around the same height and it should look more like a ‘tree’ shape, if that makes sense. But it really is up to you & how you’d like it to look. Here’s a post on branching that has more info 🙂
My fiddle leaf doesn’t have leaves on the lower trunk anymore (pruned the prematurely). Will the trunk still thicken or is it a lost cause?
Hey Helen, I’m sure it will – it may just take a little longer than normal. Hopefully some of the tips in this post will help! 🙂
Thanks so much for this! I’m have a FLF about 5ft5”. There are two trunks in there so I think two plants, but both trucks are super super weak. Is it too late to build them up? They cannot stand on their own. I’m getting lots of growth and new leaves but it’s just weak. Is there anything else I can do?
Hey Lara, it’s never too late! 🙂 If they won’t stand up on their own, I would probably recommend staking them very loosely. This will keep them upright but still allow them to move freely. If you can have it in a position where it will receive a breeze, this will slowly strengthen their trunks. All the best!
LOVE this! Such helpful and detailed info is much appreciated! No leaning on our FLF, just HUGE new leaves after a recent feeding – so exciting – except now, the large leaves seem to droop/flop. Trunk looks the same, more just the (tiny) attached branch of the new growth… should we attempt to prop the leaf until it stiffens a bit? She has less than 1/2″ between leaves so sounds like light isn’t the issue
Hey Ashley! SO glad the blog is helpful 🙂 It’s pretty normal for new leaves to droop, as they are young and more flexible. As they mature they will stiffen up and be able to stand by themselves, so you don’t need to do anything with them in the meantime. It’s a very good sign that the leaves are growing closer together and getting larger! Well done 🙂
Hey there, What a great blog to have handy for our beloved FLF. So many questions
Answered…but i do have one that i wanted to ask. I have 2 FLF about 8 feet.
They are in a very large room with very high ceilings, with lots of light.
I want to supplement more light with a grow light because of the winter months.
Ok here’s the question..is it ok to put the light on the floor which would give uplighting
To the leaves (i did get a actual LED plant bulb) or should I try and mount it on the wall so cascade the light downwards. It would be be a hassle to climb up a ladder to turn on and off daily. But i will if you think the up lighting would be detrimental or not.
Thank you so much for all your time and effort you put into all the answers. Your wisdom is so valued by those of us who love out FLF.
Hi Ann, it’s definitely best to have a grow light positioned above the plant, as this mimics sunlight. Plants also naturally lean and grow towards the light, so having the light come from the side or underneath is not too helpful for the plant. If it’s an issue to turn it on and off each day, maybe consider getting a timer switch so that you can set it to turn on and off automatically. Thanks so much for your feedback, so glad the blog has been helpful for you 🙂
Thank you so much I love your blog! I thought my fiddle leaf fig was doing great, but now I realize it hasn’t been getting enough light. There are several inches of stem between the most recent leaf and the other leaves. Now I’ll have to buy a grow-light!
Thank you Kelly! Yes, light is key for shortening the stem distance between leaves. A grow light should help! 🙂
My main FLF is probably close to 6′ tall and another one maybe 2′ tall in the same planter. I’ve kept the 6′ staked (increasing the length of the stake as it grew) since it was probably 3′ because I was (as a new plant owner *facepalm*) trying the crazy concept of weaving the two FLFs into a twisted FLF… Yeah, that didn’t work. I’ve also clearly messed up because I removed the stakes yesterday and the 6′ completely topples over to the floor. The 2′ one also is starting to topple. Both have more than 1″ between the leaves. I’ve never pruned either….. hopefully, I haven’t completely ruined them or at least the larger one. This morning I moved the planter closer to a window with tons of sunlight, leaned it up against the wall instead of staking it and turned a fan on to provide wind. I live in NYC. Besides the above steps you’ve suggested, should I maybe cut it back down a couple feet or what pruning should I do? I know nothing about pruning. Sorry for the monologue and I appreciate any advice you can offer!
Hey Max, you could definitely give pruning a go. This will help remove some of the weight of the stem and so it should be less likely to bend. I think pruning would give the plant more of a chance to grow strong and stand on its own, especially now that it’s closer to a window & you’re doing things to help it strengthen. Pruning generally initiates branching, so have a think about where you’d like to see branches stem from before you prune. I think it would be safe enough to trim a couple of feet off. Just use a pair of clean, sharp cutters and make the cut on the diagonal. This post on getting a FLF to branch has more details on pruning if you need!
I’ve found a lot of people are hesitant to prune because they think it might harm the plant, or the plant will never grow back. But in fact, plants respond very favourably to pruning! Hope that helps with the pruning decision 🙂
Hi Emily. You just answered my concern. My fiddle leaf plant is going thru a growth spurt and being that the new leaves are so big, I assumed that is why both trunks are bending quite abbot. I went away for a few nights and came home to see it almost touchinng the floor. My husband more than likely left the ceiling fan on all day and night. Now that you are saying wind will make the trunk stronger, should I give it a break from the fan to see if it straightens. It won’t be getting any wind in the winter and the plant is too large for me to move outside.
Hey Jennifer! If your FLF is at the point where it is almost touching the floor, it’s probably not going to have the strength to straighten by itself. I would pick it up and tie a very loose stake around it, so that it still has room to move and bend but isn’t falling over. Then each day, follow the steps to lightly wiggle it in different directions. That’s probably that best method to take, seeing as you can’t get it outside. Making sure it has enough light will also encourage a stronger trunk. You can tell if it’s getting enough light by how far apart the new leaves are growing (I think the details are in this post). And if you can, getting a quality fertilizer will assist with growing new leaves closer together and thickening the trunk too. All the best!
Emily, thank you for this post! I have been searching for answers to my FLF “problems” with no luck. You’ve helped me address both of my FLF issues. First, I couldn’t figure out why my FLF was quickly growing taller but with several inches between leaves.
Second, this tall growth without leaf development had me concerned about the integrity of the trunk. (It is currently staked.)
I will definitely be moving her outside for more light and soft breezes. This does bring about another concern though. What do you do to protect your fig from pests? Do you treat it before you bring it back into your home? I live in North Carolina so my fig couldn’t (nor would I want it to) live outside year round.
Thank you for your help!
Glad it could be helpful! It’s something I had to learn about my FLF too. To be honest, I’ve had just as much trouble with pests when they’re inside, so I don’t think having them outside is any worse. When I put my FLFs outside, I always keep an eye on them to catch any pests early.
If you are concerned you could always easily hose them down outside to physically remove any possible pests before bringing them in. I don’t think you’d need to treat it unless you’ve found signs of pests – but check the top and bottom of the leaves to be sure 😊
How do I propagate my FLF from the trunk ( large area in my plant without any leaves)
without cutting it of the tree? I saw it done in a website but cannot find it now?
That way I would already have two trees once it shows roots?
All I can remember is
They used a plastic water bottle cut and it hugged the trunk?
Hi! This technique is called air layering. A section of the branch is scraped, then wrapped in damp sphagnum moss and covered in clear plastic, or a bottle. After weeks, when you see roots developing, you cut the branch section off below the plastic & plant it! I’m yet to try this technique but believe it works well for propagating a larger piece of plant. Other forms of propagation (such as in water) work better with short or smaller cuttings. If you look up air layering, you may be able to find some more details. It looks like a fairly straightforward process 🙂
Thank you for this important information. I’ve started to give my FLF vitamins and it is finally doing much better. I am going to put it outside for a few hours today. I Live in Florida and it is a beautiful day. Do you think it is okay to do that.
Hey Joan, outdoors is great for Fiddle Leaf Figs! I would just make sure that you acclimatize it to direct sunlight. If your FLF already gets direct sunlight, it should be fine to put outside. If it doesn’t normally get direct light, I would only leave it in the sun for an hour or so a day, otherwise the leaves could burn.
I recently (5 weeks ago) rescued a FLF from an office where it hadn’t been well cared for at all. It’s almost 7 feet tall and very spindly; the leaves are 6″-8″ apart. The mature leaves have brown edges on sections but otherwise seem strong and healthy and there is new growth / leaves popping out the top. The pot is huge and I haven’t figured out how to repot it yet due to the height and weight so I don’t know the health of the root ball. I have it next to a window with western exposure and other than watering, dusting the leaves and a little fertilizer I’ve left it alone. Should I prune the new growth off the top even though that seems to be the healthiest part? If I can’t find a way to repot it will healthy growth ever happen? Any advice on how to help it thrive? This is by far the biggest plant I’ve ever owned and one of the first tropicals as well. I’m a little overwhelmed but it’s trying so hard to grow I don’t want to give up on it.
Hi Deborah! If there’s new growth coming from the top of the plant, then that’s a great sign. I would take it as a sign that it’s relatively happy where you have it! It sounds like you’re doing things right – I think we generally tend to fuss over our plants a lot more than is necessary.
Unfortunately plants aren’t able to regrow leaves where they’ve been lost. But if the bare trunk bothers you, you could prune it back quite hard. Pruning encourages branches, and this will also help strengthen the trunk too if it is leaning or looking thin. It’s up to you whether you’d like to prune it – I would just keep in mind what sort of shape you’d like the plant to have in the long run, and this should help you to determine where a good place to prune is. All the best!
Why does my FLF have two trunks? And mine has leaves all the way down the trunk, not just at the top like all the pretty photos of FLF’s you see online.
Hey Debbie, it’s pretty normal for FLFs to have multiple trunks. Sometimes it’s a few plants planted in the same pot, and other times the trunks will share the same rootball. Generally the tree-like ones you see photos of have been pruned and trained to that form! FLFs can come in all shapes and sizes. If you are after a tree-like style, think about picking up a FLF that just has a single stalk. It can then be pruned when it gets tall enough to encourage branching. It is possible to separate multiple trunks in the one pot, although it can be a little tricky.
When FLFs mature, it’s common for the bottom leaves to eventually drop off. Some people remove the lower leaves, however as they add to the health of the plant it can be best to leave them on til they’re ready to drop. 🙂
Gah….my dear FLF Sven grew many feet until he hit the ceiling, I took about 2 ft off from the top, between nodes. Dear husband decided he was not straight enough and Sven is now tied to a 1×2″ stake (for support ).. after reading the above I think we’ve messed up. He’s scrawny, big leaves, not full IMO , he lives against a full glass door, east facing. I had dreama of a full, jungle type tree, ha. Thoughts? ?
Hey Kristen, you haven’t messed up! You can always do things to help it straighten and fill out. Pruning and notching can help promote new lush growth by activating buds down the stem, and using the above steps can help it straighten up by itself. If the new leaves are growing far apart, you may want to consider a location where it can get more light. IF this isn’t possible, you can supplement natural light with a grow light, which will help new growth be more dense too. Hope that helps 🙂
I have a FLF which got very top heavy. my Husband sawed it off half way up the trunk. we crossed our fingers, two weeks later
there were buds on the trunk. Now it is a picture covered in new glossy large green leaves. It is an outside plant. Soon to go into my
Green house to be company for my other FLF.
Hey Glenda, your Fiddle sounds amazing! Pruning is another great way to help a top-heavy FLF. Whenever I prune I keep the cuttings to propagate from too! I’m sure yours will love it’s new green house environment 🙂
Hi! I’ve had my FLF since November and it’s only grown a few inches since it’s been winter, but I was wondering when I should remove its stake. It’s currently about a foot tall.
Hey Allyson, you should be able to remove the stake anytime! If your FLF doesn’t stand when you remove the stake, you may need to loosely re-stake it while you work on strengthening it. Whey they grow with the support of a stake, they don’t have any need to grow their trunks stronger so sometimes staking can actually be detrimental overall. So how you go removing it and refer back to the post if you need any more help! 🙂