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How To Get Fiddle Leaf Fig To Branch? 4 Easy Steps

Do you know how to get a fiddle leaf fig to branch? Instead of trimming the top area, notch to make an incision above the tree’s node. This technique is quite complicated for newbies. Besides, notching stimulates the flow of auxin, a growth-regulating hormone.

This article will give you the answer and show you how to make a fiddle-leaf fig branch into a lovely branching plant.

What Tools Do You Need For Branching?

The first step that you need to make sure of is having the tools ready to perform the pruning process. The important tool you need to prepare is a sharp knife or pair of pruning shears. Be sure to disinfect metal tools with diluted soapy water and alcohol before use. So, you can eliminate the risk of spreading bacteria and fungi to your plants.

Another recommendation for you before operating is to wear gloves. During pruning, the trunk can ooze sap, irritating the skin. When falling and clinging to the floor, tree sap is also very difficult to clean. It will help if you put up a tarp before the liquid runs down the floor.

How To Branch The Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Here are the four steps to getting your fiddle leaf fig branch:

Step 1: Identify The Nodes

Use a sharp, clean blade to make an incision above the button. Use the sharp end of the removable blades instead. Often, quality pruning tools will make you feel more comfortable and easier to manipulate.

You also need to practice identifying the nodes on the trunk, which are the areas on the stem that have soft leaf buds.

You can find them in the middle of the slightly thicker area between leaves or branches, or on the trunk. Sometimes, they look like a line running around the trunk of a tree. Start by moving the blade from side to side to cut. Besides, use the sharp edge of scissors or a knife to push into the trunk.

Step 2: Make The Cut

An important note is that you need to cut right above the nodes. Please do not make an incision underneath, as it will disrupt the growth of the growth-regulating hormone auxin. Cutting just below this area shifts the flow of carbohydrates from vegetative to reproductive growth. Thanks to this, it promotes the flowering and fruiting of green plants.

A typical width you should cut is about ⅓ of the way around the trunk and has a depth of about ⅓ inch into the trunk. The cutting angle should be perpendicular to the trunk for the single-cut method. You’ll need to add a 45-degree cut at the opposite angle for the double-cut notching. The cut should be deep enough for the white sap to ooze out. You must clean it as soon as you see it because children or pets may mistake it for milk and lick it.

Step 3: Let Your Ficus Lyrata Heal

Once they’re cut, leave them alone so they can heal independently. Over the next few weeks, branches will grow from the shoots. Your success chances are higher when you prune the branches during prime growth times. Early spring and early summer are the most favorable times.

Step 4: Don’t Strip The Leaves

The last tip you should remember is not to strip the leaves off the stem. It’s important to leave the leaves on the stem to help the shoot grow faster. Thanks to that, the fig tree will also grow healthier and lusher.

When To Do?

As for the dead or diseased leaves, you can remove them. Removing or pruning these signs of an infestation should be done as soon as possible. One of the most recognizable signs of pests is when leaves turn yellow or brown. If they are found, remove them quickly with sharp, sterilized pruning shears.

Pruning Ficus Lyrata should be done in the early spring. This will only put your Ficus Lyrata under stress and shock during this time. This condition leads to several diseases and can even kill the plant. The lack of light makes it harder for the wound to heal than usual. This plant needs at least six hours of sunlight per day with an East- or South-facing window.

How Long Should You Notch?

Notching can stimulate branching, but the success rate may vary depending on various factors. Yet, you should see results within six to eight weeks if the plant grows well. After two months, if you still don’t notice any signs of growth, try again.

What Is Notching?

Notching involves making small cuts or lesions above the nodes on the trunk to encourage branching. In these areas on the trunk, the sap will not continue to flow. The main component inside the sap is a hormone that can inhibit or promote growth.

So, notching will help leaf buds grow faster and encourage branching.

Notching, Pinching, And Pruning: What Are The Differences?

You can use many methods to cut and shape the trunk to your liking and control its growth. However, let’s distinguish between these techniques.


The notching method will create cuts or lesions on the trunk. This branching will be stimulated to grow faster.


Pruning involves cutting back branches or leaves on fiddle-leaf fig trees. This action has an excellent effect on improving the health of the plant. Pruning helps to remove damaged and dead growth areas, improve air circulation, and shape the tree. In addition, trim leaves and branches in cramped spaces can promote air circulation, which is an important benefit of fiddle leaf fig.

As a result, you can prevent some plant diseases, such as powdery mildew. Besides, you can also learn about another common condition of the Ficus Lyrata plant, root rot, for better protection. Fiddle-leaf fig branching also allows beauty lovers to shape trees according to their wishes by pruning branches in certain positions.


Pinching involves removing the growing tip of a branch to encourage branching and promote bushier growth. In some cases, branching a fiddle leaf fig affects only pruning; this action means removing a main top from the branch.

Why Should You Trim Your Fiddle-Leaf Fig?

Pruning will help the fig tree grow healthy and lush, like most trees. This plant is known for its fastidiousness and high care requirements. However, you can solve this problem by diligently removing dead branches and diseased leaves or by pruning to create a ventilated area.

Any plant requires a certain amount of care. For fiddle-leaf figs, the effort will likely be a lot higher. Another benefit of pruning is to limit the overgrowth of Ficus Lyrata in outdoor environments. In an outdoor environment with ideal conditions, this tree can reach a maximum length of 12 feet. Don’t be too surprised because this number can reach 50 feet if they breed in the lowland rainforests of western Africa.

The average growth rate of Ficus Lyrata indoors ranges from six to twelve inches per year. You will probably have to consider repotting them or pruning them to keep the size under control. The final benefit concerns the aesthetics and shape of the fig tree. Typically, you will find small leafy figs that are bushy, small trees, or columnar with a single trunk in the center.

Important Tips For A Successful Notching

Notching is not a sure-fire action. To increase that rate, you must follow some tips and avoid making the mistakes below.


The most important tip is undoubtedly the proper care of the tree. The basics of Ficus Lyrata care can save you time and effort later on.

Watering And Drainage

No plant can live and thrive without water. So, ensure you water the Ficus Lyrata enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy. You also need to pay attention to the soil system and potted plants to ensure good drainage. This plant does not like soggy or too-wet soil.

The soil structure suitable for drainage should be light and capable of efficient aeration. It’s important to use a well-draining soil mix for Ficus Lyrata. Another notable alternative is cactus mixed with vermiculite or perlite. As for watering, ensure the top two to three inches of soil feel dry to the touch. If you want to know exactly when to water, use a hygrometer. When the level is 3 or 4, it’s time to add water to the plant.


Ficus Lyrata needs bright, indirect sunlight to grow new branches. So, ensure you’ve placed the plant in a bright spot where it can get plenty of indirect sunlight. You can even expose the Ficus Lyrata to direct sunlight if they are used to such an environment.

A perfect location for a fig tree is an east-facing window. Window placement near the West or South is also acceptable, but too much direct sunlight can burn leaves. If you place the tree in the north-facing window area, the tree will not receive enough natural sunlight. You will probably have to add an artificial light source for the Ficus Lyrata to grow. Full-spectrum bulbs that you can fit into your lighting fixtures are the best alternative.

Nutrient-Rich Soil

The growth of new branches requires adequate and consistent nutrients. Make sure you have provided enough fertilizer and good soil for your plants.

A potted plant can only access a limited amount of nutrients in the soil. They will quickly use the nutrients in it in just a few months. Once the plant is one to two months old, add nutrients by fertilizing.

Protect The Trunk

One of the recommendations when notching is not to touch stems that are too thin or weak. If you can’t control the strength of your hand, you can remove its branches. Look for trunks of a certain thickness and stiffness. It also makes the fiddle leaf fig notching process easier.


Another critical factor in Ficus Lyrata care that people ignore is ensuring the roots can breathe and the air circulates. Every year, you should repot the plant or watch for some signs. If the soil or roots start to harden, consider repotting.

When making a change, choose pots two to three inches larger than the root ball. It helps create space for the roots to grow without draining much water.


Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how to get a fiddle leaf fig to branch. The sequence of steps is quite simple. However, you will need a lot of practice to master this technique. The most critical key is patience. You will need a lot of time to observe the tree’s growth and make appropriate decisions after pruning or notching.

Janet Rory-Narcissus

Janet Rory-Narcissus

Janet Rory Narcissus is the Gardening Expert of Swipe Garden. She has over 15 years of experience in sustainable and urban farming. Her promotion of eco-friendly practices has made her a respected figure in the gardening community.