Ficus trees are among the most common with gardeners both new and experienced. They are stunning plants with glossy green leaves and are all in all, rather undemanding. They are easy to raise and even easier to shape. With a little guidance and the right tips, anybody can handle both indoor and outdoor Ficus trees with care!
But before we get into Ficus tree maintenance, or trimming Ficus tree bonsai style, let’s establish how to plant and establish one first:
Again, the wonderful thing about Ficus is just how undemanding they are. With a little indirect sunlight, a warm temperature, and regular watering, you can’t go wrong. Here are some general tips for establishing your Ficus:
- Use fresh, soft water
- Ficus thrive in indirect sunlight (direct sunlight can damage the foliage)
- Repot your Ficus every other spring (Ficus have large root systems)
- Regularly fertilise and compost your Ficus. Half the recommended amount tends to be sufficient, with twice less during dormancy
Pruning Ficus trees in pots
This section is focused on pruning indoor Ficus tree. This includes: Ficus Lyrata pruning (fiddle-leaf fig), Ficus Benjamina pruning (weeping fig), and Ficus Ginseng pruning (banyan fig). Ginseng Ficus bonsai pruning can also apply in this section if you are looking after potted Ficus.
When trimming a potted Ficus tree you need to bring up the bottom of the canopy. You can do this by trimming the ends of the limbs back to an upward-growing branch (node). Be mindful as removing an entire limb could leave an empty space in the canopy.
- Only prune branches back to the main stem or trunk
- After trimming Ficus, water your Ficus, apply a diluted fertiliser, and add more fresh potting soil to the mix if needed
Pruning large Ficus trees
Pruning large Ficus trees should be approached with the same principles as regular potted. The only difference is in order to get a larger Ficus tree, you need to repot it regularly in order to allow it to grow faster and to its full potential. Keep the pruning to a healthy amount and be certain not to trim more than a third of the tree as it will stunt the growth, rather than encourage it. Seeking out professional Tree pruning services is always a viable option if you are not too sure and don’t feel confident with pruning the tree by yourself.
Pruning Ficus is simple enough when you know how. Whether you are simply performing routine Ficus pruning, or if your shrub is recovering from a disease and needs to be cleared of any dead or diseased branches, following these steps will make it nice and easy:
Prune your Ficus during the winter while it is dormant. If you need to trim your Ficus in an emergency, you can do so at any time.
Get a decent pair of gloves and sharp pruners for trimming. You will also need some sort of plan to decide on which shape you would like. This will vary whether you are doing Ficus Lyrata pruning, Ficus Benjamina pruning, or Ficus Ginseng pruning.
Cut away any dead or broken branches. This helps when seeing a clearer picture for what shape the Ficus will grow into.
When pruning, cut at an angle away from the growth node. This allows the new foliage to cover the cuts.
When pruning, as is the case with any plant whether Ficus or not, never cut more than a third of the plant away.
As for the shape, there are two standard shapes that are recommended for newbies: Single trunk tree, or bush. The Ficus has soft branches which allows you to easily shape the form you want. Over time you may wish to explore Ginseng Ficus bonsai pruning but it might be worth getting a feel for Ficus trees before going ahead with something more complicated.
Ficus tree maintenance
Whilst pruning your Ficus is incredibly important, there are other vital Ficus tree maintenance guidelines that you will need to follow in order to get the most out of your plant. Here are some other amazing tips to keep your Ficus happy and healthy:
You should never put your Ficus in direct sunlight, at least, not for longer than an hour. Ficus do love bright indirect sun light, however. You should also try and keep your Ficus away from any cold drafts, particularly in the winter months.
Watering Your Ficus
Ficus needs to be kept watered moderately (but consistently) throughout its growing season. You can ease off in the winter, but make sure that the soil is moist (neither dry nor drenched). Well-draining soil is ideal for keeping a Ficus tree happy and healthy. If you are concerned with the leaves dropping off in the winter, don’t be. You can always mist the leaves for additional moisture.
Repotting a Ficus
Unless you are practicing bonsai, Ficus trees grow quickly and can all too easily become too big for your home if you re-pot the plant frequently. You can do this if you want a large Ficus tree, otherwise, keep re-potting to a bi-annual basis to keep its growth at a reasonable rate.
Ficus are vulnerable to pests such as aphids and mites. They also tend to drop leaves if not watered consistently. Thus, you’ll need to remain consistent with upkeep, trim the Ficus regularly, and keep an eye on the soil and leaves for any pests.
As mentioned above, the Ficus tree comes in many varieties, hundreds in fact. Only a few of them, however, are used as house plants. The most common are the Ficus Lyrata, Ficus Benjamina, and Ficus Ginseng.
The Ficus tree is an amazing house plant because again, they are not too much trouble to look after. From this article you might feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of information provided, but it should be easy enough to put the essentials into a little Ficus maintenance schedule which you can then follow throughout the year. If you get stuck, you can always reach out to an expert arborist such as Lakeside Trees & Stumps, and they can offer further assistance with the proper care and maintenance of your beloved Ficus.