Pruning Fiddle Leaf Fig – When, Why, and How (Ultimate Guide)

Is your fiddle leaf fig plant reaching the ceiling? It does not look good when a fig plant reaches the roof. Furthermore, it looks messy and steals the beauty of your precious plant. Do not worry, if you are one of those who are facing this issue, this article has got you covered.

This situation calls for fiddle leaf fig pruning. Apart from this situation, your fiddle leaf fig may also need pruning if there is a pest infestation or if you want to maintain its beauty and health. The only thing to remember is to avoid pruning in the off-season. It may be difficult for your fig plant to heal during the off-season. Due to this, it is important to consider spring as the time of the year when plants are most active. 

Moreover, if you are cutting your fiddle leaf fig for the first time, you should follow the step-by-step guide to avoid damaging it. Read on till the end of this article, if you want to know why, when, and how you should prune a fiddle leaf plant!

Now let’s dive into the details of pruning the fiddle leaf fig!

Why is pruning fiddle leaf fig plants important?

Pruning can be a little scary but it is important to prune your fiddle leaf fig plant to avoid pest infestations, to make it look more beautiful, and for many other reasons. Let’s know those reasons in detail given below!

Why is pruning fiddle leaf fig plants important

Pruning maintains the growth of fiddle leaf fig

A Fiddle Leaf Fig is a large houseplant valued for its ornamental value. However, their size and spread can become unruly, requiring occasional pruning.

Your Fiddle Leaf Figs can easily reach the height of your roof. Since they grow over 40 feet outdoors, they don’t mind reaching the ceiling by a few feet. This makes it difficult to care for the plant as it spreads horizontally. Also, this height isn’t ideal for your ceiling. Additionally, it is not aesthetically pleasing. 

You will see your Fiddle Leaf bend over and grow toward the light as it hits the ceiling. As a result, trees look messy and unattractive because of the imbalance.

Pruning encourages new growth

When done correctly, pruning can help you spur growth. Pruning a small Fiddle Leaf tree can help it grow into a thriving and bushy plant.

Additionally, plants produce a hormone at the site of wounds to heal and keep growing. By cutting where and how you want, you can also encourage the plant to branch out, giving it that full and lush look you want.

Pruning figs for good health

Health is one of the most beneficial reasons to prune. Eventually, all plants get damaged, whether from pests, diseases, or owner error. Plants lose energy when damaged, so they cannot grow healthy new things.

Yet, it will save precious resources if damaged fiddle leaf fig stems are cut off or drooping, yellowed, or brown leaves are removed. As a result, pests and diseases will be less likely to thrive on vulnerable parts of plants.

Additionally, pruning fiddle leaf fig is essential if you encounter pests or diseases.

Enhance the aesthetic value of fiddle leaf figs

There are more reasons to prune than health. Pruning can also improve a plant’s aesthetic value.

However, there is no need to prune Fiddle Leaf Figs if you are happy to leave them bushy and wild. As long as they receive sufficient light, the branches and leaves will grow as they see fit.

If you like a traditional tree look, you can shape the branches and remove the leaves. Also, you may need to shape your Fiddle Leaf if it becomes unbalanced. In the absence of light, the plant is slow to grow, resulting in an uneven growth pattern.

To prevent this unbalanced growth, rotate the pot weekly. If you forget to rotate the pot, shaping can correct the imbalance.

When to prune fiddle leaf fig?

When to prune fiddle leaf fig

Pruning fiddle leaf figs are best done when they are actively growing, usually in spring or early summer. Also, you can remove a dead or diseased leaf at any time. It’s better to remove these harbingers of sickness and infestation as soon as possible.

Trim any leaf that appears yellow, brown, or diseased with a clean, sharp pair of pruners. Moreover, you should wait until spring and summer to prune the actual branches. 

In winter, when the plant is resting, pruning branches can stress it out and even shock it. As a result, your beloved houseplant may become ill or even die. Also, when it’s dormant, the cuts won’t heal as quickly as they would in the spring or summer when the light returns.

Ideally, these plants need six hours of bright daylight from an east- or south-facing window. So, let’s wait until spring before pruning, and then you can trim your plant for summer!

How to trim a fiddle leaf fig?

How to trim a fiddle leaf fig

This section discusses two methods for pruning fiddle leaf figs. Let’s begin with the first method,

Method 1: Fiddle leaf fig leaf monitoring and removal

Step 1: Identify the plant’s needs by inspecting its leaves

Look over your fiddle leaf fig plant to see if any brown, yellow, or red spots are appearing. These signs indicate your fiddle leaf fig plant isn’t feeling its best. Ensure your plant is being monitored regularly so you can take action on time.

  • Red marks on fiddle leaf fig leaves indicate excessive water consumption. However, as the plant grows, these marks will fade.
  • Yellow leaves indicate overwatering. You might notice a difference if you cut back on the amount of water you give your plant each week.
  • If your plant has brown spots, it usually gets too much direct sunlight. Try a different position for your plant and see if it works!

Step 2: Remove damaged leaves with shears

Remove damaged leaves from the stems at their bases. Pay particular attention to any leaves that appear brown or black throughout.

To alter the overall shape of your fig tree, you can also remove leaves. It would look more natural if you cut off a few leaves at the base.

Step 3: Trim just a few leaves from your plant at a time

Trim only a small handful of leaves from your plant. Taking too many leaves off at once could shock or damage your fig plant. However, it is safe to remove a few more leaves once the plant has developed leafy foliage.

Also, before pruning more from the base of the plant, wait until more leaves sprout on top.

Method 2: Branching out the fiddle leaf fig

Step 1: Determine the height of your fiddle leaf fig

Use a measuring tape to determine the exact height of your fiddle leaf fig. Wait several weeks or months if your plant is less than 5 feet (1.5 m) tall.

It can be dangerous to prune fig trees until they are well established. So wait until they are well established before pruning.

Step 2: Trim the upper part of the fiddle leaf fig tree

Look for a section along the top of your fig plant that’s especially leafy or tilting. Select a small or large section depending on how you want your tree to look.

Say you want to trim the top of your tree, you cut 6 inches (15 cm) off. Moreover, If you want to propagate a plant, you can cut off large branches.

Step 3: Using sharp pruning shears, cut the branch

When you are ready to cut the branch, place your shears along the section and apply a lot of pressure to the handle. To make your tree look as smooth as possible, remove the branch in one go.

If you want to propagate the branch, cut it at a 45-degree angle. Several weeks after the cut, you may notice new shoots growing. This will eventually make the tree look fuller.

Step 4: Place your fiddle leaf fig in indirect sunlight

Place your plant near a north- or east-facing window, where it will receive consistent light without burning or drying out. You might need to move your fiddle leaf fig if you notice pale leaves or brown spots on it.

Avoid south- and west-facing windows. They will provide your plant with too much direct sunlight.

Step 5: Water your fig every week

It is important to check the top layer of soil for moisture. It is ideal if the soil in the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) is soaked. Well-soaked soil will allow the plant to grow strong and healthy.

You can check the soil by inserting your fingers into the pot and seeing if any dirt sticks to them. However, you don’t need to water your plant if the soil looks dark and sticks.

Don’t Ditch The Top…Propagate It!

Wait, wait, did you know that instead of throwing the top part of your fiddle leaf plant away after pruning, you can just propagate it?

Few common questions on pruning fiddle leaf fig

Q1. Is it okay to cut off the top of my fiddle leaf fig?

Ans. Yes. Just above the top of your node, cut it. Instead of cutting into the node, cut just above it. Also, your fiddle leaf fig or any member of the fig family will produce oozing, milky, white sap when chopped.

Q2. What month do you prune fiddle leaf figs?

Ans. In spring or early summer, when fiddle leaf figs are actively growing, is the best time for pruning.

Q3. Should I remove the bottom leaves of my fiddle leaf fig?

Ans. No, by removing them, you are disabling one of the plant’s early warning systems. It is important to remember that those lower leaves help shape that tree and should be left until the very last step.


If you have never cut your plants before, it may seem frightening. However, pruning your fiddle leaf fig is easy and worth it. To prune your plant, follow this step-by-step guide. As long as you follow instructions and use clean shears, nothing will go wrong.

Also, prune fiddle leaf figs during their active growing season. The most appropriate time for them to heal their wounds is in the spring. While trimming your fiddle leaf fig, take care not to remove more than 10 leaves. If you remove too many leaves at once, your fig plant may be shocked or damaged. 

Share the stories of pruning your beloved fig plant in the comment section if you have done so. I look forward to hearing from you. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!

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  • Prachi Parate

    Prachi Parate is an enthusiast writer. She is a native of a science background, where botanical science was one of her favorite subjects. It was always Prachi's dream to combine her passion with a career. Hence, her fascination with plants led to a career as a writer. Also, she believes that taking good care of yourself is key to happiness. Time spent in nature is one of her favorite self-care practices. It is her goal to transform her learning into content that helps readers.

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