How to Prune a Ficus Tree (Step-by-Step Details)

Last Modified

March 13, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

It is easy to care for Ficus trees whether they are planted indoors or outside. In order to keep its healthy and attractive appearance, the Ficus will need to be pruned periodically. It is important to prune your trees regularly to maintain their robust appearance. Pruning or trimming a plant can help it grow lusher and healthier by cutting back diseased or damaged branches and encouraging growth. By pruning your Ficus tree with the right techniques, you will be able to give its foliage an appealing appearance.

There are a lot of house plants you can buy but one of the most popular is the Ficus tree. Plants of the weeping fig and the willow leaf fig, which are commonly seen as potted plants, are best grown in zones 10 to 11 of the USDA.

However, they are grown as houseplants worldwide. Its dark foliage and ability to adapt to the limitations of indoor gardening are what make Ficus a popular plant in offices, malls, and homes. We have compiled this guide to help you trim Ficus trees, no matter if you’ve always had an interest in growing them or if you’d like to try something new!

How to Prune a Fiscus Tree ( Tips and Season)

The following are a few simple steps to help you trim your Ficus tree.

1. Wear Gloves

You need to work carefully when pruning a Ficus tree, or else you could hurt it. When pruning, choose a pair of pruners that are clean and sharp. Bypass pruners are the most effective. Additionally, wear gloves to prevent injury when you prune. Ficus plant sap can irritate the skin because it contains latex. Sap from the tree can cause a reaction in many people, especially those who have a latex allergy. Gloves are essential in situations like this.

2. Cut External Branches

Ensure the overhang’s final appearance is bushier by cutting back the openings of the external parts. Branches should be cut back several times until they reach a hub – the point where leaves and additional modest branches emerge. Ensure the underlying development is adjusted by cutting all external branches uniformly. Roots can spread irregularly when a tree is pruned on just one side.

How to prune a ficus tree

3. Pruning cuts at 45 degrees

 If you are pruning a leaf, always cut 45 degrees away from the leaf node, above the leaf node. Nodes like that will grow outward from the cut stem, covering it with new growth. Pruning the tree in a balanced and compact manner will ultimately create a balanced and more attractive tree. Remember that less is more when it comes to all Ficus trees. At a time, only cut 30 percent of the foliage.

4. Pruning leaves above scarring. 

Look for scars where leaves used to be on your Ficus tree if it has thinned out more than normal. If you want your plant to grow thicker foliage, clip directly above leaf scars. The leaves on your plant originally formed small, round scars. Their color is usually lighter than that of the surrounding branches. Spring is the ideal time to prune away the leaves’ scars above.

5. Removing vertical branches is necessary. 

A tree with vertical branches will have an awkward, bulky appearance. Use loppers or shears to cut back any upward-growing branches on your tree.

7. Remove dead branches

You might want to prune away diseased, damaged, or dead branches with your loppers or shears at a downward angle. Discover the dead branches that have been concealed by the external foliage. If branches join the tree’s trunk they should be cut to the point where they meet considerable branches.

To remove the branches, they should be taken out with a slight bend in the rear. You can help your tree heal by removing damaged branches so it can concentrate its energy on healthy ones. Dead branches are usually hollow or have decayed wood and lose their bark. 

Tips For Pruning Ficus Trees

Spread the cut paste on the heavily pruned areas.

 If you are pruning back branches or cutting lots of branches, apply the cut paste to the area you are cutting. When a tree is pruned, it makes many small wounds across its surface, which is why cut paste helps it heal faster and protects it from diseases and pests while it heals. Most nurseries or online retailers sell cut paste.

Cut the branches that destroy the tree’s state.

If a branch disintegrates the tree’s state, cut it back. Branches of this kind appear at strange points or are not integrated with the rest of the shelter’s structure. This is where the fundamental roots are located. This procedure creates more space for the healthier branches to receive more light, improving the tree’s general health.

Never prune your Ficus more than 30% at one time.

Your tree may go into shock if you prune it too much, leaving it vulnerable to disease. Restrict the amount of foliage and branches you remove per time to less than 30%. A professional landscaper should address any tree damage that extends over 30% of the tree.

Throw away Ficus clippings.

Plant clippings from Ficus plants can neither be used as mulch nor compost because they are toxic. After you have pruned, throw away all pruning clippings. Consider recycling your Ficus clippings at local recycling centers for an environmentally friendly alternative.

Leave lower branches alone.

 The Ficus’s foliage needs to be able to contain nutrients in its lower leaves and branches. You can keep your tree strong by lightly shaping the lower branches. Fiddle leaf figs and rubber trees are in particular prone to this problem.

Equipment’s Needed

  • Pruning Shears
  • Gloves
  • Pruning scissor
  • Pruning saw

Ficus Tree Pruning Reasons

Pruning Ficus plants at the right time is essential. Winter conditions are too harsh for Ficus trees, and they cannot survive in harsh cold weather. Because of this, they are much more common in the United States as indoor plants.  

Tropical and subtropical climate zones are the only zones where these plants can be successfully grown outdoors. You will likely grow your Ficus indoors in case you do not live in a tropical or subtropical area. When it comes to indoor Ficus trees, there is one thing you need to remember: they have a slow, steady growth rate.

 Because of this, your Ficus tree may seem like it’s spreading rapidly. There may be times when it is so vigorous that the ends of the plant become extremely heavy. In addition, the Ficus loses its arching shape when the mulch is applied. The main reason to prune is for this reason.

In other words, it is called “renewal pruning” because it will improve the proper branching of your Ficus tree and make it more visually appealing.

Pruning Ficus trees at the right time

Trim your Ficus tree when they start touching your households. Whenever your Ficus grows into other objects, you should trim it. This is one of the most common reasons for trimming a tree.

Pruning of a more substantial nature would need to be timed appropriately, though. Plants need to be trimmed if they are not actively growing. Otherwise, trimming is not necessary. Remember that your Ficus is a vigorous plant in spring and summer, just like most other plants.

Its growth slows as autumn approaches, and then it goes into dormancy for the winter. The skin is at its most vulnerable during this time. Therefore, pruning your Ficus tree in the winter is recommended. Remember, though, that you can remove dead material at any time during the year. Winter isn’t necessary for this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make my Ficus tree grow more leaves?

The growing season is the right time to water your Ficus trees. If you need to rehydrate the compost, allow it to dry completely before doing so. During the summer months, you will need to apply a very dilute houseplant feed every three weeks. It will boost the development of new leaves and shoots.

Do Ficus trees lose leaves naturally?

Be aware that losing some leaves on a Ficus tree is normal. Foliage on Ficus trees usually drops as the seasons change. This is also a time when your house’s humidity and temperature change, which can also cause leaf loss on Ficus trees.


The Ficus tree is very beautiful and requires little maintenance. This species of indoor plant is excellent for use in offices and homes. It is also quite straightforward to trim and prune Ficus trees. You can easily maintain the pruning routine of your Ficus tree. As long as you follow the steps above, you are good to go.

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