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How to Prune a Ficus

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How to Prune a Ficus

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Overview

Known as the "weeping fig" due to the tendency of the branches to bend downward, the ficus is a popular indoor houseplant. Somewhat of a challenge to care for, the ficus sheds a lot of leaves when first brought into a new environment as it is adjusting to its new habitat. With proper care though, the ficus can have a long and healthy life inside. Proper pruning can help maintain the ficus and keep it in optimal health.

Step 1

Prune to control the size of the ficus. Without pruning, the ficus may grow to several feet, which is often too large for an indoor plant. Use shears to trim back the length of the branches one at a time.

Step 2

Remove dead or dry wood and limbs that have shown weak growth from the ficus to promote fresh growth. Trim the limbs right at the branch collar, the ring at the base of each branch that appears slightly larger than the width of the branch. When left in place, the collar will automatically shut down sap flow, preventing the spread of disease through the plant.

Step 3

Pick off yellow leaves that haven't fallen off on their own. These leaves are already dead and removing them will prompt the growth of new foliage.

Step 4

Cut long branches that veer off toward the light all the way back to the central branch. This will maintain one central branch and help the tree keep its vertical shape.

Step 5

Cut off a third of the ficus canopy, distributing the cuts evenly all the way around the plant to keep it even and allow light and air in on all sides. Ficus plants thrive with a lot of light and, if the leaves are too dense, the inner branches will die off.

Tips and Warnings

  • While it may be tempting to use hedge trimmers to clip ficus trees back to an even level in just a few snips, using this method increases the chance of the ficus contracting Phomopsis,a plant disease that results in twig death and can eventually lead to the death of the entire plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears

References

  • Ficus Trees
  • Ficus Tree Trimming
  • Brian's Garden Pruning Ficus
Keywords: prune ficus, trim ficus plant, maintaining a ficus

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.