Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees (and bushes) are still all the rage in home decor. Their large green leaves add a lot of life to indoor spaces, and they tend to do well with minimal care. Find a groove that works for your fiddle leaf, and you’re sure to raise a healthy plant. Do you know what healthy plants do? They grow, and they grow, and they grow. Eventually, they need pruning.
Pruning an expensive plant is nerve racking. I got my fiddle leaf (FLF) for my birthday last year, so the thought of cutting off its long beautiful limbs made me almost sick to my stomach. Eventually, my husband pretty much demanded I do something about the limb that was leaning over his favorite whisky drinking chair and I gave in.
Pruning Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree or Bush
In my mind, I prepared for the worst. I knew that there was a chance I’d cut off the branch and majorly regret it. I also knew that if I left the brand intact, my entire tree was in danger. This branch had gotten so long and full of healthy leaves that it was putting a real strain on the main stem.
I decided I would cut the branch off at the fork and do my best to propagate as many cuttings as I could from it. I took a sharp pair of gardening shears and I cut just above a node close to the base of the branch.
Time stood still for a minute and I mourned the loss of my Fiddle Leaf Fig as I knew it. Then, I went to town on propagation.
Propagating Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree or Bush
I took the large branch and sectioned it into smaller cuttings for propagating, making sure there was stem and a leaf on each cutting. When I cut, I made sure to cut right around a node. In the end, I think I had 7 or 8 cuttings. I wanted to see which method worked better for me: water propagation or soil propagation. Unfortunately, my experiment didn’t quite yield and answer, but more on that in a bit.
Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees in Water
The number one requested way of propagating fiddle leaves on the internet was by water. Find a vase, stick in the leaf or stem and – viola! – roots. I read that water propagation was supposedly easiest, so I decided to put most of my cuttings in water.
I placed cuttings in several different vases and left them there to do their thing for about 6 weeks, checking water levels and refilling the vases with water when the ends of the cuttings were no longer submerged.
During the second week, I noticed that several of the water cuttings were turning brown and rotting. The stems in water were also starting to grow white fuzz (mold?). I read that this can happen, so I just stuck with it.
Unfortunately, only one cutting survived and I have some theories as to why. The cutting that survived and sprouted several BEAUTIFUL roots in water had a wide mouth vase all to itself. I think this allowed air to have contact with the surface of the water and the cutting never felt crowded.
My other water cuttings were in narrow vases with at least one other cutting to share the space. These cuttings grew the fuzz and the leaves turned brown first.
Propagating Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees in Soil
I stuck one cutting directly in damp soil. First, I took a small pot with some soil in it and literally stuck the stem in. I kept watering the soil as it dried out. Eventually, the large leaf on the soil cutting dried up and fell off. Not knowing what was happening underneath, I kept watering the bare stem. I wish I could give you more information, but I’m still testing this to see if anything will come of it. 10+ weeks and I’m STILL waiting.
Transferring Propagated Cuttings from Water to Soil
But alas, 6 weeks in and I knew I had one cutting with really gorgeous roots. I added soil to a 6″ pot and dug a hole about 3 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Then, I placed the cutting into the hole and carefully brushed soil into the hole, securing the cutting in place. I drenched the soil with water and crossed my fingers.
It’s been about 4 weeks since I transferred the cutting from water to soil and so far, so good. The leaf is still healthy and green and I’ve done well to keep the soil moist. Around the beginning of the 4th week, I noticed a very small sprout and a white root on the surface at the edge of the pot. I carefully raked some soil over to cover the root and I left the little sprout alone to do its thing. If it turns out that it’s a weed, I’ll know and pluck it soon, but I didn’t want to pluck a tiny fiddle leaf fig from the soil!
About 10 weeks after I pruned my fiddle leaf, I saw the beginnings of a leaf at the pruning site – then another, and another, and another! There are 4 leaves sprouting right there where I made the cut several months ago. I couldn’t be more proud and I know that cutting the branch back made my fiddle leaf fig tree much more stable and able to carry the weight of new growth.
If you have questions about typical fiddle leaf fig tree care, see my Fiddle Leaf Fig Guide.
You might also be interested in my beginner houseplant series:
Houseplants not only add beautiful texture to your home, they also improve the quality of the air you breathe! Never pass up the opportunity to better your home with a plant… and if you have questions, I’m always here!