Best Fiddle Leaf Fig branching secret! 100% success growing multiple branches on 3 plants! Pruning, notching vs pinching methods compared.
People often ask: “How do you get multiple branches on a Fiddle Leaf Fig?” The most common suggestions you find are pinching off the tips, or notching.
After a few failed attempts, we accidentally discovered a secret to make our Fiddle Leaf Fig grow branches! And it has worked 100% successfully on all 3 trees we have tried so far. Look, one of our Fiddle Leaf Fig trees even grew 6 branches, wow! 🙂
Over the last few years, we have propagated and grow many Fiddle Leaf Fig trees in our home and to share as gifts. If you are new here, you might be interested in our other Fiddle Leaf Fig tutorials: how to propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig cuttings in water or soil easily, and 5 best tips on how to care for and grow healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig trees.
Now let’s talk about the secret of Fiddle Leaf Fig branching! 🙂
Why pinching off the top of Fiddle Leaf Fig doesn’t work.
When we first started growing Fiddle Leaf Fig, all our trees were growing taller and taller every year. Each of them has just a single stem. We tried pinching off the top of a couple of them to encourage branching, only to have one side branch growing out of each tree, lol!
Here is why it doesn’t work most of the time. The top green and tender part of the stem has faster growth rate. When we cut off the tip, the tree will try to put out new grow through a side bud. As soon as one side bud forms, all the energy will go to this ONE bud so it can quickly grow into a branch. So we cut off the main branch only to gain one side branch!
The accident that taught me the best Fiddle Leaf Fig branching secret.
I have received questions here about how to make Fiddle Leaf Fig grow branches, and I just couldn’t give a good answer, until one lucky day, the secret was revealed to me.
During our kitchen and living room remodel in 2019, a lot of our indoor plants ended up spending a few months outside.
One of the Fiddle Leaf Fig trees got really bad sunburn on its upper leaves, because I didn’t put it in a good shaded spot. So I cut the entire top 1/3 of the tree off from its single stem, something I would have NEVER dared to do otherwise. A few weeks later, I noticed 2 branches growing from the cut tree. OMG it worked! (Sorry I did not take a photo of cutting the tree because I had no idea what came next!)
How to prune Fiddle Leaf Fig to grow multiple branches successfully.
This tree you see here is our first success. After the branches grew, we pruned the lower leaves to show the main trunk. Since then, we have been able to get multiple branches growing on 3 more trees we cut this way, which is a 100% success rate.
The most important secret is to prune a Fiddle Leaf Fig stem lower to where the really woody part is. To do this, your Fiddle Leaf Fig main stem / trunk should be at least 3′ tall.
Most of us just pinch off the very top tips, or cut a tiny piece of branch off at the top, which is perfectly understandable since we don’t want to hack our beautiful plants in half. But in order for the Fiddle Leaf Fig to grow multiple branches, we need to prune at about 18″ or more from the top of the stem to get to the woody part.
When we cut a stem at a lower woody point, buds form much slower than they do at the top green part of the plant. This allows the opportunity for more than one bud to form at the same time, instead of a super fast growing bud taking over.
As you can see when we pruned our really tall Fiddle Leaf Fig almost in half at a really woody part (yes it’s nerve racking) , this tree ended up growing 6 new branches after a few weeks!
Now that is a successful experiment on Fiddle Leaf Fig branching. 🙂
Notching Fiddle Leaf Fig to encourage branching
Some people have had success notching Fiddle Leaf Fig to encourage branching, some said notching doesn’t work. We have not tried this method, but here’s a video tutorial on YouTube if you want to give it a try.
Additional tips and resources
When you cut a big piece of branch, propagate it into more Fiddle Leaf Fig trees and share them as gifts! You can divide a long cutting into multiple shorter ones. Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig easily.
Fiddle Leaf Figs are really easy to grow. Here are 5 best Fiddle Leaf Fig care tips, coming from our little indoor forest ! 🙂
Love indoor plants? Check out our 18 favorite fool proof indoor plants here!
Happy branching! See you soon!