New Fiddle Leaf Fig, should I repot/root prune???

Shostakovich33February 11, 2014

I'm new to the world of Fiddle Leaf Figs, and after reading as much as possible, I would like a clear answer about my personal fig. I found this 6-7ft fig on sale, but I was immediately concerned about the roots before purchase. The lady helping me shop assured me that they like having their roots compact. I'm here for a second opinion, and asking if I should root prune/repot the fig.

I purchased my fig two days ago and would ultimately like to repot/limit substantial growth, if possible. The health of the tree is my number one concern, so I would like to resolve the issue and confirm I am doing everything correctly ASAP, even if it grows larger than I want.

Right now the fig is sitting about 4ft from a second floor / West facing window which gets pretty good light throughout the day. I plan on misting the leaves moderately since my apt is covered in carpet, and the air can get pretty dry during the winter with the heat on. I've also read to water sparingly and never before the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Attached are pictures of the roots which are coming out of the top of the pot. I wanted to root prune and move the fig to a planter which is an inch smaller in diameter around the top. If this is a no go, I still wanted to ask if I should consider root pruning since I have not seen other examples with roots like mine? I could also move it to a slightly larger pot if necessary.

Thanks a ton in advance for any and all help. I'm already a little obsessed with my tree and want to make sure things go smoothly throughout ownership.

This post was edited by Shostakovich33 on Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 21:44

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Pic 2

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Pic 3

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 8:46PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

NO plant likes root congestion. There are times when root congestion might serve the grower because it has an effect on the plant the grower likes, but that isn't a clear indicator the plant will like it. Tight roots cause stress and all sorts of physiological problems for all plants. It reduces growth, branch extension, and leaf size. It limits vitality and caused the shedding of older leaves proximal (closer to the trunk) to growing branch tips (apices). If anyone tells you that a particular plant prefers to be root bound w/o explaining what they really mean is some growers like to maintain a particular plant in root bound conditions, they're wrong. If "some plants" really did prefer root bound conditions, Mother Nature would surely have arranged the plant's genetics so it grew tight little masses of roots right under the stem ..... but we know there are no plants that naturally occur that way.

That said, your plant probably isn't in any immediate danger that pertains to root congestion. You're better to suffer the limitations the plant is now growing under for a while in exchange for a more opportune time to repot, which for you would be next June. Plants have natural rhythms, during which their energy levels wax and wane. For major work, like repotting (which includes root pruning), it's best to ask the plant to endure the added stress of repotting or rejuvenation pruning when its energy levels are at peak - not now when they are at or approaching their lowest levels of the entire growth cycle.

If you haven't read it, the link below should be very helpful. If you are wondering about repotting and how to maintain trees in containers for the long haul, this link offers lots of guidance.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lots more info

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 9:42PM
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Thank you for the quick response! While researching root pruning, I found similar information regarding waiting a few weeks before the plants most active period. The example was a Japanese Maple so I was unsure if the same rules applied.

I will make sure to throughly go through the links provided :-).

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:00PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Temperate trees and tropicals get different treatment. Maples get repotted just as they start to show bud movement in early spring. Tropicals should be repotted in the month prior to their most robust growth - so late Jun - early Jul is best.

Good luck. Be sure to ask if you have ?s.

Good night.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:11PM
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