How to Trim a Ficus Plant


A popular container plant for offices and households, the ficus tree (Ficus benjamina) needs little care and should not require annual pruning. When your tree appears scraggly or bushy, you can trim back branches to shape the ficus. When pruning, move an indoor ficus in front of a window or turn on a light so you have enough light to evaluate the quality of the wood before you cut.

Step 1

Check for broken, damaged or unhealthy branches on the ficus tree. If the plant's in a container and has been moved, you may notice broken growth with jagged edges. Removing this wood prevents the tree from getting diseased.

Step 2

Trim off any broken or damaged wood with anvil pruners by cutting it off at the base or cutting back to a lateral branch.

Step 3

Head back the tips of long branches to your desired length using anvil pruners. Always cut back to a lateral branch or swollen node of tissue.

Step 4

Prune away any limbs that don't produce foliage or produce little foliage.

Step 5

Cut off up to 1/3 of the old limbs to rejuvenate an old ficus tree. As a general rule, thicker limbs are older, but you can also remove poor, weak growth from the ficus tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Anvil pruners


  • New Mexico State University: Pruning Ficus benjamina
Keywords: pruning ficus, ficus tree care, pruning houseplants

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.