How to prune a Ficus?

Ficus are fast-growing trees native to warmer regions of the world. They are so ornamental, that there are many who have chosen and choose to get a copy. But, being large plants, pruning is a task that has to be done every year in order to have a more compact crown.

If you don’t know how to prune a Ficus, grab a handsaw for branches that are 1 centimeter or more thick, and bypass pruning shears for thinner ones, and follow our tips on how to prune a Ficus.

When are Ficus pruned?

Ficus are trees that grow especially in spring and summer. To avoid losing too much sap, it is highly advisable to prune it in late winter, just before it resumes growth, or in autumn if we live in an area with a mild climate and/ or without frost. It is also possible just before or after the flower season has started, since being tropical and subtropical plants, they resume their growth somewhat later than trees in temperate climates.

If you have “green” branches (which have not lignified) that are overdeveloped, we can trim them at any time of the year.

How to prune a ficus step by step?

For pruning to be successful, you must follow these steps:

  1. Observe the tree from different angles: this way you will know which branches to trim and which ones to remove so that it continues to look natural.
  2. Cut the branch at a slight downward slope just before a knot. The knot is a protrusion from where a leaf or branch joins the stem. Leave at least one on each branch if you want to keep this one.
  3. If you want to eliminate the branch forever, cut it as close to the trunk or main branch as possible, making sure that the cut is rather oblique and not straight.
  4. Remove dead, diseased, and weak branches to give your Ficus tree a more youthful appearance.

What should you take into account when pruning a Ficus benjamina ?

Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

The Ficus benjamina is, by far, one of the most popular species, especially to decorate the interior of the houses. Its leaves are smaller than in the rest of ficus, and its growth is lower (but do not be fooled by its surname, since it can reach a height of up to 15 meters without problems).

For this reason, and especially if you use it as an indoor plant or have it in a medium or even small garden, you will have to prune it more often. In this way, you can grow it as a tree or shrub, and it would even be relatively easy for you to grow it in a pot (in fact, it can even be worked as a bonsai, as we explain in this article ).

Now, how should these prunings be? Well, it is very important to avoid drastic pruning; that is, what you have to do once or twice a year -depending on its growth rate- is to cut back about 2-5 centimeters (the larger the specimen, the more you can cut) each time all the branches shortly before or shortly after the onset of spring with the help of pruning shears ; In the case that they are very young and thin branches, you will use some sewing scissors or even some crafts. Do not forget to clean them with a disinfectant before use.

Easy right? So you know, if you have to prune your tree, do it without fear . With these jobs done, you will be able to have a Ficus with the right size, for sure.

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