Best Fiddle Leaf Fig Branching Secret: How to Grow Multiple Branches!

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.

 Best Fiddle Leaf Fig branching secret! 100% success growing multiple branches on 3 plants! Pruning, notching vs pinching methods compared.

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. 

beautiful tall Fiddle Leaf Fig trees in modern boho living room

*Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

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!

big healthy Fiddle Leaf Fig trees growing taller

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. 

 Fiddle Leaf Fig growing multiple branches

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.

multi-stem Fiddle Leaf Fig in living room

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.

How to prune Fiddle Leaf Fig to grow multiple branches successfully.

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.

Fiddle Leaf Fig branching: pruned stem is growing multiple branches and buds

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.

six new branches growing on the cut fiddle leaf fig plant

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!

how to encourage fiddle leaf fig branching

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.

propagate Fiddle Leaf Fig cutting

Fiddle Leaf Figs are really easy to grow. Here are 5 best Fiddle Leaf Fig care tips, coming from our little indoor forest ! 🙂

Check out our gorgeous indoor garden with 18 best indoor plants! Plus 5 essential tips on how to grow healthy house plants! Make your home more beautiful with these showy foliage and flowering plants that thrive in low light conditions, and are so easy to grow! - A Piece of Rainbow

Love indoor plants? Check out our 18 favorite fool proof indoor plants here!

Happy branching! See you soon!


  1. Hi Amanda, my Figgie is very tall but the trunk is short and has three branches out at the same level/junction. Each branch is growing and growing over. I do t know if I should cut 2 of these long branches off so it’s truly a single stem or what I should do. Please help thank you

    • hi Jeri! if you want the single trunk look then yes you can cut the 2 branches off. or you can cut 1 off and have a 2-branch look 🙂

  2. I bought myself a fiddle leaf fig – something new to me. I am in Krugersdorp SA. and put my plant outside, ver protective, in a corner, bright light, 2 minutes light sunshine but a little windy. Weather wise what will harm him?

  3. My Fiddle Leaf looks pretty healthy, but is growing oddly. I has a thin trunk then splits in two. It’s growing wide instead of up. It’s starting to lean to one side. Should I cut it down to the one branch and let it grow anew or prune it in some way? I could also cut one off, but I don’t know if it would grow back. I know next to nothing about plants, but I’ve owned this for 3 years and it’s still alive. Any advice?

  4. Hi!

    How do you know the new leaves that are growing will actually create branches and not just more leaves? I accidentally notched too deep and cut 2/3 of two long single stema. They are growing wildly after a couple months… but it just looks like little leaves. They’ll turn into actual woody bifurcated branches?

  5. I have a brown thumb but I do love plants, my fiddle fig was a gift and after 8 years with minimal knowledge and care it is still alive (big win for me). I would like to have some leaves on the lower part of the plant, I only have leaves at the very top. I can’t cut a branch to encourage growth without cutting off the whole top. Is there anything I can do to encourage growth on the trunk? It is quite hard and solid. Thanks for any advice

    • hi Caroline! the only workaround i can think of is to plant a couple of smaller fiddle leaf figs at the base in the same pot. cutting is the only way i found to force the tree to grow side branches 🙂

  6. Do the same hints for propagation and growing multiple branches apply to the Bambino size dwarf fiddle leaf figs?

    • hi Frank, i have not tried it on the dwarf variety, but i think it should be very similar. will update here when i get more info from people who tried it!

  7. Hello!
    I was so nervous when I cut the top off that I forgot to cut it at an angle. 🤦‍♀️ So I just cut it straight across. This was a couple of weeks ago. Will it still branch? Or should I cut it again a little bit to get the cut at an angle?

  8. Two questions- 1. Can you propagate the cut off part? 2. Does cutting the top mean it won’t get taller? Thank yoooou

  9. Hi do you have a pictures of the fiddle leaf fig now after the 5 branches had sprung. I would love to see how its developing!

  10. Hi! Is there an ideal time of year to try branching a fiddle fig? I’m in Southern California and it’s fall here which means days are getting shorter but it rarely gets colder than 60f for at least another 2-3 months.


    • hi Kessia, ours plant broke in early spring in SoCal! i think anytime should work here, but around February should be the start of active growing season for a lot of plants, and prime time for branching. 🙂

  11. I think I notched too deep and the new side branch I wanted to encourage to grow is now taller and thicker than the lead branch above it! Do I keep cut it down until the rest of the plant catches up? Or will that just encourage more growth on the cut branch?

    • hi Tabitha! if you are happy with just 2 branches, maybe rotate the plant so the smaller branch gets more light and it should grow faster and catch up. 🙂 otherwise, you can cut the tip off the bigger one to slow it down a bit.

  12. Hi, do I need to wait for the top bud to be actively growing before doing a big chop to have the most success?

    I am hoping to get at least 3 branches, and I have been air layering at the woody part of the trunk about 18” down.

    We are in early spring in the Southern Hemisphere so the plant is still dormant from winter, but growing lots of roots from the air layering.


    • hi gemma! you don’t need to wait. early spring is a great time to do this, especially since you already have a cutting rooted from air layering 🙂

  13. Hi! When you cut the FF from the woody part were there any FF leaves below the cut point? When I bought my FF it was two stem combined and very lollipop shaped already and I would love some more branching. Thank you for your feedback!

    • hi sarah! i think it’s best to have at least 1 leaf below the cut point, more is totally ok. because leaves keep the plant healthy. you can cut off the older leaves once new branches leaf out. 🙂

  14. Do you have any suggestion of how to divide a root bound pot with three large individual stems? The roots for each are entwined.

    • hi Ann, you may not get all 3 plants to survive, but the best way to do this is to first try to loosen all the roots as much as possible. you might need to cut the root ball into sections. Make sure each section has a healthy portion of roots from each plant. 🙂

      • I was wondering if I should remove damaged leafs first then cut the top of the tree off or vice versus? Also no matter how big or small the damage to the leaf you suggest always removing damaged leafs right?

        • hi! i would definitely wait to cut off the damaged leaves on the tree’s lower part that you want to grow branches, until the new leaves start to grow! 🙂

  15. Thanks to Ananda for sharing this helpful post its very informative. All details you describe in your blog post about How to Grow Multiple Branches!r are very informative for me.

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