How to prune a ficus robusta

It is one of the most common indoor plants in houses, both for its beauty and because having it we can avail ourselves of the benefits of purifying plants. But, curiously and despite its popularity, everything that concerns pruning a robust ficus is usually a reason for consultation. And it is logical. We’re talking about the least regular task on the elastic or robust ficus care list. But that we only have to fulfill it from time to time does not mean that we forget about it. And, precisely for this reason, it is so important to know how to carry it out and when is the right time.

As with many other indoor plants, we are talking about a plant that is actually a tree. But let no one be scared discovering this for what it means. Growing it indoors, it will never reach the magnitude that it does in its natural habitat. However, make no mistake: with proper care, the ficus robusta can grow to a size that is more than considerable. And it is precisely when that happens when we have to take scissors in the matter.

For this reason and to prevent our beloved plant from giving us a headache, it is important to know how to prune a ficus robusta. A task that does not entail a great difficulty in itself, but that has crucial details so that it results in the well-being of the plant.


An important aspect when we talk about pruning a robust ficus is to know a couple of particularities. Some fundamental, both for our health and for that of the plant.

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To begin with, it is crucial to know that it is an extremely toxic plant, and we are not only referring to when it is ingested. And what does this have to do with pruning the ficus robusta? Simple: its toxicity can give us a good irritation if we are not careful when doing it. The interior of its stems contains a latex that, in contact with the skin or the eyes, can force us to visit the doctor. For this reason, it is important that whenever we consider pruning the ficus robusta, we do it with gloves.

In addition to this, there is another important detail to contemplate. As a good tree that it is, the robust ficus tends to transform its elastic stems into woody ones as it grows. Something that we have to contemplate, above all, when choosing pruning tools. If our plant is young or has a medium size, a bypass hand scissors will suffice. In case our plant already has stronger stems, the ideal is to opt for pruning shears. As it is a tool prepared for harder branches, it will not be difficult for us to make a clean cut.

After pruning a ficus robusta, it is essential to seal its wounds. Buy this healing paste here

Finally, one more detail. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that pruning is inflicting a wound on our plant, so we will have to make the cuts as cleanly as possible. And not only that: in the case of ficus robusta, the ideal is to apply healing paste afterwards. Thanks to it, we will prevent any pest or disease from penetrating our plant through the cuts.

Taking these aspects into account, let’s see how to prune a robust ficus from two prisms.

1. How to prune the branches of a robust ficus

Our ficus is happy and comfortable in the place we have assigned it. However, its growth may have gotten out of control in both height and volume. Or, even, that we detect that there are diseased or old branches that disfigure the whole plant. If this is the case, the ideal is to start with the latter. Eliminating them will allow our plant to stop investing energy in brittle branches or branches that no longer have life. The same happens with the lower part of our plant. If it has branches but no leaves, it is best to prune them.

Once these branches have been removed, it is time to shape our robust ficus. And, for this, the first thing is to do a little planning exercise to cut only what we need. If we want to eliminate a certain branch for any reason, we will always have to prune as close as possible to the main stem or branch. If what we want to grow back, we will always cut after a knot. And, if the lower part of our ficus has branches but no leaves, it is also advisable to prune them.

And how to prune a robust ficus so that the cut is beneficial? Easy. The ideal is to make the cut downwards.

2. How to prune its roots

It is a less well-known task than pruning branches, but equally necessary. The robust ficus has a tendency to generate aerial roots that, on many occasions, end up rooting in the substrate. When they do, our plant gains new stems and increases its volume.

However, we are not referring to those roots but to those that are hidden under the substrate. And it is that, when we decide to transplant our ficus, it is essential that we carry out a thorough cleaning. A way to help our plant to prosper in a healthy way. Therefore, when we go to transplant in the spring, it is crucial to remove the old or dry roots of our plant.

Eliminating these roots is as important as using a substrate for green plants or ensuring good drainage.


And we come to the last relevant detail when it comes to pruning one of the green and tropical plants that tolerate pruning well. Taking into account that the time of development of this plant is during spring and summer, the ideal is to prune before its growth stage begins. Or, put another way, when winter begins to give way to spring. Added and since the sap circulates again, it is a perfect time for our plant to heal properly.

If we live in a climate where the winters are moderate, our robust ficus could also accept pruning in the fall. Something that we will have to do, especially, if during the hot months we have had it outdoors.

And finally, one more detail. If we detect dead branches outside the beginning of spring or the beginning of autumn, it is better to remove them. Our plant will not suffer from the cut as long as we follow the aforementioned instructions.

Because that is another of the virtues of the ficus robusta. That, despite its origin, makes it very easy for us to enjoy it.

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