The Best Way to Prune a Ficus


The ficus, or weeping fig, is a popular houseplant known for its downward branches. It can reach heights of 6 feet and have spreads of 3 feet. The ficus is somewhat challenging to grow as it sheds leaves easily when adjusting to new environments or when it is undergoing stress and trauma. Pruning is one of the best ways to keep a ficus healthy and to control its growth. Without proper pruning the plant can become too large and quickly deplete its growing soil of nutrients.

Step 1

Pick off yellowing leaves by hand.

Step 2

Locate any dead, dried-out or weak limbs on your ficus. Use pruning scissors and cut them off at the branch collar. This is the ring on the branch that is wider than the branch itself. Make your cut so the branch collar remains. It will naturally seal up, stop sap flow and heal itself.

Step 3

Cut and remove any branches from the main branch that do not grow vertically, as these branches will change the shape of your ficus.

Step 4

Cut and remove the outer third of the plant's canopy. Prune evenly all the way around the plant. This will promote air circulation and light penetration to the inner branches.

Step 5

Encourage a branch that is growing in the wrong direction to grow correctly by cutting the branch off at one of its leaves that is growing/pointing in the correct direction.

Step 6

Water the plant and apply a diluted plant fertilizer to the growing soil after pruning.

Step 7

Plan to prune every four to six months, if needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning scissors
  • Plant fertilizer


  • University of Minnesota: Rubber Trees, Weeping Figs and Other Friendly Ficus
  • University of Arkansas: Houseplants Ficus

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Florida Plant Disease Management Guide, Fig
Keywords: pruning ficus tree, trim ficus plant, pruning ficus houseplant, prune ficus

About this Author

Leigh Walker has been working as a writer since 1995. She serves as a ghostwriter for many online clients creating website content, e-books and newsletters. She works as a title flagger and writer for Demand Studios, primarily writing home and garden pieces for and Walker pursued an English major/psychology minor at Pellissippi State.