Gardening Tips

How to prune a ficus

How to prune a ficus

Ficuses are a whole genus of trees that are very popular among gardeners due to their great beauty and the little care they need. These are plants that can be kept both indoors and outdoors, depending on the specific species and the local climate. There are a large number of types of ficus, counting more than 800 species among them, the most common being some such as the ficus benjamina, the elastic ficus, the ficus lyrata or the ficus pumila.

However, although they are plants that are very undemanding with their care, one of the most important in their case is pruning, since they are very fast-growing trees. if you want to learn how to prune a ficus step by stepjoin us in this EcologíaVerde article.

When to prune a ficus

The best time to prune a ficus is almost always to late winterwhich is when the plant is in vegetative rest, with much less activity, and, therefore, when less sap will be lost and less damage will be done by pruning.

However, if you live in an area with a mild enough climate or without very cold winters, you can also prune your ficus in the fall, as the cold will not be as much of a concern. You can prune the excess branches that are still green, that have not yet been lignified, at any time you deem convenient.

ficus pruning tools

The tools needed for pruning a ficus they are not different from that of most species of their size. Nail pruning shears well sharpened and properly disinfected before and after each use will be more than enough for branches less than 1 cm thick, while larger branches, already lignified (looking like wood), may require the use of a sharpener. hand sawalso properly disinfected.

Sterilize the tools It is always very important, even between different plants, so as not to spread diseases between them.

How to prune a ficus - Tools to prune ficus

How to prune a ficus benjamina

The ficus benjamina is characterized by its smaller leaves and its smaller growth, although it can reach heights of up to 15 meters. Thus, in small gardens or as an indoor plant, grown in a pot, it will be necessary to carry out gentle and constant pruning between one and two times a year, avoiding drastic or very aggressive pruning. For prune ficus benjamina Follow these tips and steps:

  • cut out all the branches between 2 and 5 cm with scissors or pliers, depending on the size of your ficus. This pruning can be done around the beginning of springor a little earlier, and will help control the plant’s growth and give it a denser, bushier canopy.
  • The use of ficus benjamina with the bonsai technique is also common. Obviously, caring for a ficus benjamina bonsai It requires a lot more care and pruning, although it is still a fairly easy bonsai to care for. In this case, pruning is done at the beginning of spring and during spring and summer it is constantly clamped. In autumn the branches are wired to give them the desired shape.

We recommend reading these guides on Ficus benjamina care and Ficus benjamina bonsai care.

How to prune a ficus - How to prune a ficus benjamina

How to prune a robust or elastic ficus

To the prune the ficus robusta or elastic care must be taken not to stain the skin with the latex from its stems, which is irritating to the skin and eyes. As in the ficus benjamina, it will be necessary to use a pruning shears or a handsaw depending on the thickness of the branch and follow these tips:

  1. Prune all old or bad branchesincluding those that do not have leaves, as well as those that are oriented in an undesirable way for the plant.
  2. If you’re looking to delete a branch permanently, prune at its base of growth, while if you want it to keep growing, do it after a knot.
  3. Remember to always make a oblique cut and not straight.
  4. When the ficus robusta is transplanted, it is usual to also carry out a root pruningwhich helps the plant to continue developing in a healthy way.
How to prune a ficus - How to prune a robust or elastic ficus

How to prune a ficus so that it grows upwards

If your ficus is growing too horizontally and not straight up, you will need to do a formation pruning, as we would with most bushes or trees. follow these tips and steps to prune a ficus so that it grows upwards straight and does not extend so horizontally:

  1. Find the main branches that you want to develop upwards and practice a severe pruning after a knotso as to stimulate their growth.
  2. You will see how the pruned branches give rise to new stronger shoots, which you must also prune to control the growth plane of your plant.
  3. It is also vital to eliminate the branches that you do not want and remove the suckers and diseased branches from the plant, which will steal nutrients from the others.

How to drastically prune a ficus

It is usually better avoid drastic pruning with these trees, but an old or abused ficus may need rejuvenation pruning to get back to good condition. In this case there are two options:

  • If the plant is old but strong, we can cut its entire aerial part at ground level, making sure to take care of the cut and providing adequate irrigation and fertilizers.
  • If the ficus does not have a trunk in a minimum good condition that indicates that it does not have enough strength to withstand such a drastic pruning, we will cut half of its branches at the level of its insertion, keeping the others only at half or a third of its length at its strongest shoot.

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