How To Prune A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree [6 Steps]

You love your fiddle leaf fig tree, but what is the best way to prune it? There are correct ways to prune this tree. We've gathered the answers from experts and have them for you here.

The steps to pruning your fiddle leaf fig tree are as follows:

  • Decide on the shape you want your tree to be
  • Clean your pruning tools and wear gloves
  • Remove damaged leaves or branches
  • Remove any crossed branches
  • Create your shape, but only take 10% off the plant
  • Fertilize your fiddle leaf fig tree

Let's look at each of these steps in a bit more detail. Then we'll explore propagating and what to do with discolored leaves. Please keep reading.

Fiddle leaf fig tree in a white curtain placed inside planter baskets, How To Prune A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree [6 Steps]

Steps To Prune Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

These popular house trees are all the rage, but they do occasionally require some care in the form of pruning. Let's take a look at the steps.

How Do You Shape (And Train) A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Fiddle leaf fig trees generally are shaped in one of two ways: like a tree or like a shrub. You'll need to decide how you want your tree to look to determine your pruning method. 

Shrub-Shaped Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees

A fiddle leaf tree planted on a brown clay pot

Most small fiddle leaf fig trees are naturally leaning toward a shrub shape. To keep this shape, you'll want to make sure that whenever you prune, you do it in such a way to encourage growth from the bottom of the plant. Cut away any crossing branches to reduce crowding and keep good airflow around the leaves.

Remember: never prune more than 10% of the plant at any given time and then give it time to heal.

Tree-Shaped Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees

As your tree grows, you may want to encourage its appearance as a tree. You can do this by pruning judiciously on the lower part of the trunk. Remove any lower branches or leaves that hide the trunk. Cut away any branches that cross over one another or crowd each other. You'll also want to remove any unhealthy leaves. Finally, think about the shape you're going for, and cut accordingly.

Clean Your Pruning Tools And Wear Gloves

It's very important to thoroughly wash your pruning tools before using them to cut your fiddle tree fig leaves or branches. You don't want to inadvertently introduce bacteria or spores that may be on your gardening tools to your plant.

You also want to wear a good pair of gardening gloves. Fiddle leaf fig trees will ooze a white milky sap that can cause irritation to your skin. It's also a good idea to lay down a drop cloth to prevent the sap from getting on your floors.

These Fiskar's sheers are a great little pair of pruning shears.

Click here for this product on Amazon.

These gardening gloves have touch technology that allows you to use your cell phone while wearing them. They're also easy to clean under running water to get the fiddle leaf fig tree sap off the gloves. 

Click here for these gloves on Amazon.

Remove Damaged Leaves Or Branches

Before you begin pruning or shaping your fiddle leaf fig, you want to remove any diseased, dried out, or damaged leaves or branches. This includes leaves that have gone brown or have brown edges, broken leaves, and broken branches. Yellowing leaves may recover and drooping leaves are fine to leave.

Remove Any Crossed Branches

If you have branches that cross one another on your fig tree, you may want to judiciously prune them. Crossed branches can lead to decreased air circulation and crowding for the plant. Just be sure you're not cutting away too much at one time.

Create Your Shape Slowly

When you begin pruning, you want to make sure you're pruning carefully. It's easy to take more than it is to put back what you've cut off. Be sure to rotate the plant as you prune to make sure the shape you're striving for emerges evenly on all sides. Never take more than 10% of the fiddle leaf fig tree at any pruning session, or you may send your tree into shock.

Fertilize Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Once you finish pruning your tree, it's time to feed it. Fiddle leaf fig trees handle pruning without too much issue, but you'll encourage faster regrowth if you fertilize it. There are fertilizers on the market made specifically for fiddle leaf fig trees and that is what you'll want to give your tree.

For healthy roots, leaves, and stems, feed your fiddle leaf fig tree a fertilizer like this one.

Click here for this fertilizer on Amazon.

When Do You Prune A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree?

The best time of year to prune a fiddle leaf fig tree is in the spring or early summer. This way the plant has plenty of energy to put into healing and growing new growth. If you prune it in the fall or winter, it won't be getting the true growing sunlight even if it still gets enough light during the day to survive.

What Happens If You Cut The Top Off A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Fiddle leaf fig trees do not naturally branch as they grow. Some people will plant 2 or 3 single stalk fiddle leaf figs in one pot to create a branching tree effect. But others will use a pruning technique to achieve a branching effect on their fiddle leaf fig tree. Cutting from the top of your fiddle leaf fig tree will inspire growth.

You cut above the node to spur new growth. Which node you choose determines what happens. If you only cut the new growth from the top, then you'll encourage your tree to grow a bushy top. If you want it to branch, cut down as much as 12" to encourage more shoots and branching growth.

Should You Remove Brown Leaves From A Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Brown leaves can be an indicator of a couple of things. The simplest of the two is a dry plant. Fiddle leaf fig tree leaves brown at the edges when they are too dry. Eventually, these dry leaves will fall off on their own. If you can't stand the way they look, then it's okay to cut off the leaf at the base near the stalk of the tree. You do risk a little bit of shock to the tree, so know that going in.

If your tree is suffering from a bacterial infection, then you should definitely prune the infected leaves. This will keep the rest of the tree healthy and prevent the infection from spreading.

Do Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Leaves Grow Back?

If you're doing all the things to keep your fiddle leaf fig tree healthy and happy, your leaves will grow back. Well, not exactly grow back, but rather new leaves will grow in to replace the ones you've pruned. If you want to encourage faster growth from your fiddle leaf fig tree and it's receiving proper light, temperature, and water, then you might consider feeding it.

Fiddle leaf fig trees do well with fertilizer to encourage their growth. You can add some at every watering.

Click here for this fertilizer on Amazon.

Can You Propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig From A Cutting?

One of the great things about these house plants is that once you have one, you can make more through propagation. There are a couple of ways to do this: in soil or in water.

Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees In Soil

To propagate your fiddle leaf fig tree in the soil, cut off a section with a couple of leaves and a couple of nodes on the stalk. The plant will ooze a milky white sap that can be irritating so you probably want to wear gloves. Dip the cutting in some rooting hormone to encourage growth.

Click here for this product on Amazon.

Then place the cutting into your prepared pot filled with pre-watered propagation mix soil. Make sure the cutting is inserted deeply into the soil, then mound the soil around it to keep it standing upright. 

Cut your leaves in half to conserve energy in the plant. Then mist the leaves daily, cover loosely with plastic (maybe even use dowels to hold the plastic off the plant, place in bright indirect sunlight, and let it start rooting. 

Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees In Water

If you want to propagate your fiddle leaf fig tree in water, there's one main thing to remember. Make sure you have several nodes on the stalk as well as a leaf. The plant grows new leaves from nodes and with only one, even if your cutting grows roots, it will never grow as a plant.  Be sure to change the water every couple of days to replenish the oxygen supply for your cutting. Once you have good roots, plant as described in the soil method.

How Long Do Fig Cuttings Take To Root?

When placing your cuttings into the soil, they should take between 4-6 weeks to root and begin to grow as their own new plant. You can gently tug on the plant to see if it's rooted. For water propagation, you will see roots in about 6 weeks and can then transfer into a pot with soil.

In Closing

Now that you have the keys to shaping, pruning, and propagating your fiddle leaf fig trees, you're on your way to amazing indoor plants. If you enjoyed this post here at, please be sure to check out a few of our other posts on fiddle leaf figs below:

How Big Does A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree Get? [Here’s the answer]

Can I Move My Fiddle Leaf Fig Outside?

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