Plant care

How to Prune a Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. October 26, 2021
How to Prune a Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Within the ficus genus of trees, there are many individual species. While they bear various similarities, it doesn't mean they all require the same care. One of the most widely appreciated is Ficus benjamina, commonly known as the weeping fig. This is a very forgiving plant and can be ideal for a small garden. However, this ficus can also be potted and easily kept indoors. Unlike some other ficus species, it doesn't have very large leaves. They are medium sized, spear shaped and have dark green to yellowish hues.

Whether you keep your Ficus benjamina indoors or outside, oneHOWTO explains how to prune a weeping fig. We also provide some general tips on how to care for a weeping fig so it can last as long as possible.

You may also be interested in: How To Prune Devil's Ivy
  1. When to prune a weeping fig
  2. What do you need to prune a weeping ficus?
  3. How to prune a weeping fig (step-by-step)

When to prune a weeping fig

It is important to know when is the best time to prune a weeping fig. Several factors should be taken into account when making the decision of when to prune it.

Pruning this ficus should be carried out at least once a year to ensure the plant grows healthy and strong. In doing so, we can best ensure its future flowering. This plant needs moderate watering, so we need to avoid waterlogging its substrate. We will also need to provide periodic fertilizer and place it somewhere with sufficient light for its development.

Generally, the weeping fig should be pruned either in the autumn or at the end of winter, just before spring. The decision when to prune a weeping fig will depend on the weather conditions to which your ficus is subjected. If you keep it as a type of indoor plant, it is best to prune it in the fall. Autumn is also the best time if you keep the ficus outdoors, but live in a mild climate with no frost.

If you have an outdoor weeping fig which is kept in temperatures which sometimes go below freezing, then it is best to wait until the end of winter to prune it. Of course, if your ficus has dead or diseased leaves, do not wait to remove the affected parts. Diseased leaves will look too dry, moldy or have brown or yellowish spots.

What do you need to prune a weeping ficus?

Pruning the ficus is simple and you need very little to do it. Good sharp pruning shears are basically the only thing you need to prune a small or medium sized weeping fig. Keep in mind that some ficus can grow more than you expect, reaching more than 10 or 15 meters if it is planted in the ground and given enough space. For this reason, you may need a hand saw if you need to cut thicker branches.

Remember that it is important to properly disinfect any garden tool before and after use. This is to prevent a parasite, fungus or bacteria that has infected a plant from passing from part of the plant to another. If this happens, it can unleash an infestation in the healthy parts of the plant. Likewise, if your shears have rust, it is very important that you clean it beforehand to avoid certain damage to the plant. Here is some advice on how to remove rust from tools.

How to Prune a Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) - What do you need to prune a weeping ficus?

How to prune a weeping fig (step-by-step)

You can prune your weeping fig either because it is the best time for pruning or because you want to give the plant a certain shape. This is the case if you want it to grow tall and not wide. In any case, so that the pruned ficus does not suffer, the best method of pruning a weeping fig is to:

  1. Plan your pruning: examine the plant, paying attention to details such as the presence of dry leaves, branches that are more inclined towards the ground than the rest or ones that protrude excessively from the trunk. Don't start pruning willy-nilly, but think carefully about what you need to prune.
  2. Have a system: having planned the work, always cut the branches one by one and following a certain order (from top to bottom, clockwise, etc). This will make it easier for you and you will have a more harmonious and homogeneous result. Gently separate the branch you are going to cut from the rest, tilting it slightly towards the ground.
  3. Cut obliquely: when making the cut, do it at an angle, never keeping the scissors completely straight.
  4. Maintain distance: the distance from the trunk or main branch to the cutting point should range between 2 and 5 centimeters. Everything will depend on the size of your weeping fig and the shape you want to give it. If you want the pruned branch to grow back, always cut it a few centimeters away from the stem, thus respecting the node or bud that will give rise to a new branch. If you want to remove it completely, make the cut as close to the trunk as possible.
  5. Transplanting: if, in addition to pruning your ficus, you are going to transplant it take the opportunity to also trim the tips of its roots. Once planted again, the ficus will better take root and grow stronger.
  6. Disease: If your plant has a disease or infestation and you need to do a drastic pruning of the weeping fig, you can do it by cutting all the affected branches at the height of the stem. Respect any knot that joins them. Next spring, these branches are better able to sprout again.

Now that you know how to prune a weeping fig, you may have other plants in the home which need a little TLC. See you to do this with our guides on how to care for a ponytail palm plant and how to care for a living stone plant.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Prune a Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina), we recommend you visit our Gardening & plants category.

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How to Prune a Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)