Cutting back Fiddle Leaf Figs

INSIDE : Learn the important steps to Cutting back Fiddle Leaf Figs. Whether you are wanting to trim back your plant’s size, try to get your Fig to branch or looking to balance out it’s overall look, pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig is completely doable!

Zoomed in Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves
Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig plants

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This is a post that I will continue to update as time goes along. I love Fiddle Leaf Figs and got my first one back in 2014-2015 or so. I shared all my best practices for keeping your FLF healthy and growing strong in this post, Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Tips.

And over the course of the following the next few years, I got 3 more Fiddle Leaf Figs – totaling four. Four very picky large growing Fiddles. And my collection of other plants also grew considerably. They were beautiful for years.

Full Fiddle Leaf Fig plants
Fiddle Leaf Fig Care tips

I decided to take some of them outside to my backyard, but I think that was maybe the beginning of the end for them. My over 6′ Fiddle Leaf was really happy for a while, but we had a few days of wild wind and I think it was too intense of a change to go from being a nice indoor plant to a wild outdoor lots of wind plant.

Slowly, he started losing leaves and I did my best to create a shady comfortable environment for him… but he just wasn’t happy. Eventually, I decided either I was going to toss him OR see what happened when I just started chopping off branches and leaves.

And once I made the mental decision to cut one of my most prized plants… I decided all my Fiddle Leaf Figs were in need of some trimming. So EVERYONE got a chop and that leads us to today’s post… about a year later.

Cutting Fiddle Leaf Figs

There are a few different reasons why you might want to cut your Fiddle leaf fig.

  • One reason may be your FLF has lost numerous leaves and now there are just a few leaves here and there with ample bare branches.
  • Your Fig might be getting too tall to fit in your space and you are looking to shorten him a little bit.
  • Maybe your Fiddle Leaf has grown lopsided and you want to balance out it’s overall shape.
  • Another reason may be you are interested in getting your Fiddle Leaf Fig to branch.
  • Lastly, maybe you are a little tired of your Fig (like me) and feel like experimenting!

Tools for cutting your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Before cutting your FLF, you will need to collect all the tools necessary. I love my Fiskar hand pruners for these types of jobs. They make clean easy cuts in just about all sized branches and trunks. Make sure they are clean and sharp before making your cut.

A quick wipe down with rubbing alcohol will help clean your blades so as to not spread disease.

Where to cut Fiddle Leaf Fig plants

When determining where to cut your Fiddle Leaf Fig plants, first inspect your branch or the trunk where you are planning to cut. The buds that create new branches are located right at the leaf nodes along the length of the stem. 

These nodes are typically located just above where a leaf meets the stem.

When you make a cut, you want to keep these nodes in tack, so cut right between nodes. You can see in the images I shared below, exactly where I would recommend cutting on my plants.

Fiddle Leaf Fig plant nodes

The nodes look like little rings around the stem and the space between nodes are called inter-nodes. The internode is the area you should be aiming to make your cuts at.

Fiddle Leaf Fig inter-nodes

How much of your Fiddle Leaf Fig to cut

If your Fig is in good health, you can cut quite a bit off your plant. However, if your plant is suffering from disease or pests, you should be more careful with how much you remove at once. It’s always important to leave at least 1/3 of the leaves so that the Fig still has a way to generate photosynthesis and start regrowing.


You can see below how I DRAMATICALLY cut one of my smaller Figs. I took it down to only 12″ – 16″ of trunk. This was a sickly fig and I was curious to see what it would do with a complete start over.

I could hardly believe it, but new leaves started growing from the base of the trunk upward!

I do not recommend cutting this much to most of your plants, unless you really have nothing to lose.

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig stems

You can see on this Fig that I did some dramatic cuts, but I also was careful to keep quite a bit of the leaves down towards the base of the plant.

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig plant in pot

A closer look to see the leaves that were kept.

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves

When should I cut my Fiddle Leaf Fig?

It’s best to do major pruning during a plants biggest growing season which is Spring and Summer. To generate new growth, plants need to have energy stored up and energy is stored up through sunlight.

If your plant doesn’t have much sunlight stored, then you may not see much new growth come from cutting back branches.

Fiddle Leaf Fig leaves

The exception to this is if your plant has any old leaves or has suffered from physical damage. Regardless of the time of year, it is best to remove dead or dying leaves or any broken branches as soon as you notice them, so your Fig doesn’t waste too much energy trying to preserve them. It is easier for the plant to heal a clean cut rather than a jagged wound.

Fiddle Leaf Fig branching

A few months after I made my Fiddle Leaf cuts, you can see there are small baby buds beginning to sprout all over the stem.

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig new growth

And a closer look down along the trunk, shows so many new small leaves growing in!

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig new leaves

How long does it take your Fiddle Leaf Fig to branch?

This can really depend on quite a few factors. If it’s during the plant’s big grow season (Spring and Summer) AND you are starting off with a heathy Fiddle Leaf Fig plant then you might start seeing new growth within 6-8 weeks.

This below image is a year’s growth.

New Fiddle Leaf Fig growth

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig Growth at Year

It has now been almost a year since I pruned back large amounts from my Fiddle Leaf Fig trees and there has been significant new growth in that time.

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig leaf growth

You can see where I cut the branches, below. The tree doesn’t regrow from those exact spots, but as I mentioned above, it generates new growth at the nodes. There are about 5-10 new leaves that have sprouted at each cut area.

And with time, I am hopeful that some of those areas will branch and grow new stems giving my plant a more full look.

Cut Fiddle Leaf Fig branch

Having troubles keeping your plants alive? 

If you are looking to gain tips and methods for not only keeping your plants alive, but to have them thrive – then let me help you become a green enthusiast with my Happy Houseplant eBook.
Happy Houseplants eBook covers
– A helpful checklist for the 6 steps to keep your plants alive + thriving.
– A deep dive on 7 trending “it” plants (like those tricky Fiddle Leaf Figs).
– 5 Plant Printables to hang in your home.

Combining Fiddle Leaf Fig plants

One of the issues I had with my Fiddles was how big they all were. Were they lovely and full and incredible at one point? YES. But were they also taking over my house? YES.

I decided once my FLF plants had about 6 month of recovery time from their trims, to combine them ALL in one big pot.

Now that they all were smaller in size, this was a doable task. And I love that they are continuing to get stronger and fuller with each day. Plus, I can tend to them all in one fell swoop instead of them spread out throughout the house. Win win!

Fiddle Leaf Fig tree
Also shown is my Chinese Money Plant, Pilea Peperomoides

And if you are looking for general Fiddle Leaf Fig plant care, check out this post.

Fiddle Leaf Fig plant


  1. I’ve had mine for 2 yrs now and it’s about 8 inches from hitting my cieling all on one stock.. first time having one and surviving this long I want to cut it down and make the original one fuller with other branches. How far down should I cut it?? And the cut part from what I’m reading can go into water to form roots… right ? I want to keep this Alive and health as it’s been

  2. I was successful in cutting my FLF, getting good roots and have now planted in soil. The leaves that were left are healthy but I question if I should cut them off to supply more energy to the stalk???

    1. Oh that’s a great question! I think it’s important, especially with FLF to let them be before doing much. They are such finicky plants. I think after it’s been planted for a month or so, you could probably safely remove a few lower leaves, but while it’s getting adjusted to it’s new home – I think it’s smart to leave it as is. Good luck!

  3. My FLF had major leaf drop and damage when i saved it from a flower shop. it was basically 3 tall sticks. i repotted, feed regularly, and put it a good indirect light spot. I have new growth but the new leaves are staying small. What else does it need to thrive?

    1. It sounds like you are doing all the right things! Spring and moving into summer are when you are expect your FLF to really do some good growing. I would recommend just letting it be for a bit… they get so picky when you do much to them. I have loved this fertilizer, maybe it would help the leaf size –

  4. Can you cut the top off a fiddle leaf and use it for a new plant. Will
    it root in water? Thanks

  5. My plant is about 3 years since I brought it home. It’s grown so much I have it in the original pot. This coming spring I plan to repot it. My dread is cutting it back. But I will when the time comes it’s so beautiful and full actually it’s my first Fiddle so it’s my baby watering it sparingly is my best advice every 3 weeks but get a moisture meter online a must.
    I thought it would need water happily I tested first it didn’t so it has saved me.

    1. Good job for having such a healthy and happy FLF! Spring is a great time to trim it back if you need to, although I didn’t cut mine back at all until they were 4′ tall… so don’t feel like you have to do any trimming until it gets too big for your room.

  6. Kathleen Witkowiak says:

    I enjoyed the article and learned from it. However, how did you plant the cuttings-water or soil?

  7. I really appreciate your detailed instructions and diagram for pruning the flf plants. I hate to lose any plant & pruning is my least favorite chore but know it’s necessary at times. Your demo gives me courage & confidence to do that task.

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