Pruning a Ficus

e-w-031November 15, 2013

Thanks especially to Al for all of your time and energy spent explaining things to us all!!!

I have just purchased a 10 gallon fiddle leaf fig that actually has two plants in it (may be one plant, I'm not very knowledgeable). They are currently about two feet tall--from soil level to top of plants. I have read and think I understand how to root prune. I would like to separate these two plants into two different pots and grow them both up tall and bushy on top (like in the attached photo). I would greatly appreciate your expert advice on how to achieve this in terms of pruning the canopy.

Are there any roots I SHOULD NOT prune if I want these plants to grow tall?

Also, do I understand correctly that the appropriate time to repot and root prune this particular plant is in the spring before it becomes active?

Thanks for your time!!!

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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Al provided a lot of good information about growing Ficus trees in containers that you might find helpful. Follow the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ficus Trees in Containers IV

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 8:48PM
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Thanks for the link!

Wow, there is an amazing amount job info in this forum! I think most of my questions were answered on that thread. Now I'm just so excited to try root pruning and get my new plants on their way. But I have to wait until next June. :(

Would it be beneficial to the fig's to separate them into two separate containers now? Not doing any root pruning, just separating them.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

You haven't shown us a photo of the base of your plant, so it's impossible to tell if you actually have two plants or one with main stems starting below the soil line. Unless the potting mix it is (or they are) in looks very bad, I would wait until spring to repot. If there are clearly two root systems you could separate them then. I have a 25-year-old fiddle leaf fig that has several stems at the soil line. Some are from cuttings I planted in the same pot, but others arose spontaneously from roots of the original plant. I could separate them, but I prefer the bushy look.

By the way, I saw your other question about marks and blemishes on your plant. My experience with ficus lyratas and elasticas is that they are very sensitive to such damage from the environment and even show damage from rough handling. The white stuff is usually sap that leaks from tiny wounds. The less you handle new growth, the better. This is especially true when they are inside in a semi dormant state. Another reason to wait until early summer to transplant or root prune.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Thanks very much for the info Ohiofem!

Congratulations on your 25 year old lyrata! I think I read in one of Al's posts that the average tree houseplant doesn't make it past five years.

I should have taken pics of the base but just didn't think of it. The plant was shipped to me, so what you said about rough handling could really apply. It seemed very well packaged, but still... Also when it arrived a lot of the soil at the top had been displaced. I real think its probably two plants but I'll see. I will be patient and wait until the spring to repot. This is exciting for me because I've always wanted to try a lyrata but until recently my living conditions have not been conducive.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 2:13PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Last year I was given a fiddle leaved ficus from a commercial site that had outgrown its location, and had been in the same soil for probably 6 or 7 years. It had a small amount of foliage on about 8 foot stalks, there were two. I cut the stalks down to about 2 feet. When I removed them from the 18 inch container, they were 2 separate plants. I removed all the old soil and trimmed the roots as needed. I repotted in separate containers and put them in the back of my unheated greenhouse. It took several months for new growth to breakout of the old stalks. They are doing well now with lots of new foliage. I will probably donate them to a local plant sale in the spring. I just liked the challenge. Al

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 1:02PM
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