fiddle leaf fig growth

aelfbNovember 28, 2012

I just bought a plant with two stalks in it. They are about two-three feet high. I separated them because I really am going for a tree-look (eventually!)...

If I want to grow the little houseplant into a tree, do I just pluck off the leaves on the bottom of it? How do I get branches veering off rather than leaves just coming off of the thin little trunk? Also, was it foolish for me to separate them? My friend mentioned I perhaps could have tied the two stalks together to get more of the branching out effect I'm going for in the long term. I have no idea how I'd do this.

Help!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Esthetically, there should be little difference between the appearance of a twin-trunk and single trunk compositions. If the grower has the skills to pull it off, well-grown trees of either type will look very much the same, except for the fact one will have 2 trunks.

Leave all the foliage on the tree for now. The small branches & leaves that grow from the lower trunk are fattening/strengthening the trunk and can be removed any time. They help to add a graceful taper to the trunk thickness, which is very pleasing to the eye and helps give the illusion of greater age. When the tree is about 2/3 - 3/4 the height at which you would like to maintain it, is when you might start removing lower branches and begin to work on the ramification (branch and leaf density) of the canopy. So, until the tree is getting close to the ht at which you'd like it to remain, your primary focus is best directed at just growing the tree well, and perhaps some gentle guidance in keeping the trunk straight or developing some gentle movement in it if you prefer.

Branches will begin to form on their own in due time, but they can be forced to grow by pruning the growing ends of branches. Keep in mind that once you cut off the growing tip of your stem, it will never elongate further - you'll need to train another branch to vertical, or wait for the tree to develop its own leader. The later, waiting for the tree to develop a new leader, isn't recommended as the tree will seldom produce a new form pleasing to the eye once you terminate the leader, w/o some intervention on your part, that is.

Al

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 7:50AM
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aelfb

Thanks so much. Under good conditions, how much height do these plants tend to grow each year?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:53PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I wouldn't be surprised to see 3'+ in TX if you site the plant outdoors as temps allow and give the roots room to run in the pot.

Al

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 4:03PM
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