Instructions on Pruning a Ficus Tree Houseplant


Ficus are a family of trees that include figs, weeping figs and rubber trees. All of these trees are tropical in origins and weep a thick, white sap when they are cut or pruned. This sap is nothing to worry about. In fact, it helps to seal pruning and other wounds. Although they look woody, smaller ficus branches are easy to pinch prune. However, thicker branches will require sharp pruning shears.

Step 1

Move your tree to a location where you can view the tree from all sides. As you prune, look at your tree from various angles to maintain a well-balanced tree.

Step 2

Prune your tree from the bottom up and from the inside out to ensure balance to the tree. If your tree is very dense, thin the outer leaves and branches to allow sunlight to penetrate deeper inside your tree.

Step 3

Cut long branches just above the leaf node, or the place where a leaf grows from a branch. You can also trim just above a leaf scar, if the leaf is no longer attached to the tree. If you are removing an entire branch, remove it at the point where it splits from the larger branch.

Step 4

Remove any dead branches and try to minimize branches that cross.

Step 5

Wire any thicker branches that cross other branches using stout bonsai wire. Many people do not consider bonsai wire as a way to train a ficus, but it works well to redirect branches in a more aesthetic direction.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Minnesota: Ficus FAQ
  • University of Minnesota: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs, and Other Friendly Ficus
  • University of Florida: Weeping Figs
Keywords: ficus tree houseplants, ficus tree care, ficus tree pruning

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.