How to Prune a Ficus Benjamina

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Ficus benjamina trees are grown as indoor specimens in both private homes and public buildings. Because they grow so well, they eventually outgrow their space and must be pruned. They're resilient trees and easily bounce back from pruning, even if severely cut back. Prune ficus benjamina so it forms a vase shape, the natural shape of the tree.

  • Choose two or three of the largest branches to be the main branches of the tree's canopy. Remove any that are weak or growing in a way that is not in the natural vase shape you are aiming for.

  • Remove any dead or diseased branches, cutting back to the slight ridge where they connect to the larger branch.

  • Remove any branches that grow straight up from the center of the tree as they eventually will unfavorably affect the shape.

  • Remove any branches that are crossing another branch.

  • To prune a ficus benjamina that has outgrown its indoor space, cut the main branches back by about one third. The tree will send out new growth, and soon you won't be able to tell it has been pruned.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use sharp pruning tools so you don't rip or tear the bark, which can invite pests and diseases. Prune in spring when the trees begin to put out vigorous leafy growth.

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