How to Trim a Ficus Tree

Ficus benjamina tree. image by J.M.


Whether you are growing a ficus tree indoors or outside in the garden they are simple and easy to trim and maintain. Ficus trees have a naturally attractive upright shape with elegantly arching branches and leaves. They can be maintained in their natural form, controlled for size or manicured with shears for a topiary or hedge effect. Household garden tools can quickly help you to execute any of these pruning styles on your ficus.

Step 1

Maintenance trim your ficus as needed to control its shape, height and spread as needed. Inspect for and trim away any damaged, diseased or dead branches and foliage with your secateurs when you spot them. Make your cuts outside of the branch collar when cutting a main branch to inhibit the introduction of disease.

Step 2

Shape your ficus tree by trimming off the tips of individual branches with long blade loppers or shears. Determine a shape and size for your ficus and then work around the tree as you make your cuts to preserve its symmetry and achieve a polished finished look. Between each few cuts pause and step back from the tree to ensure that you like the look you are creating.

Step 3

Shear off the ficus leaves and branch tips with scissor-style shears or an electric hedge trimmer that works somewhat like a chain saw. When creating angular hedging and topiary from ficus long bladed tools are what you need to create flat precise planes of greenery. Work around the ficus tree evenly to maintain a balanced look and again step away periodically to see your progress in the larger context to avoid errors.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs or scissors
  • Long handled manual shears
  • Electric shears


  • University of Florida
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension
Keywords: ficus, tree, trim prune shape

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Photo by: J.M.