How to Prune a Leggy Ficus Lyrata

Hi judy, my ficus lyrata is touching my 9 foot high living room ceiling, but leaves, are only on the top foot or so. Can these plants be cut down and re planted, thanks, keith.

Hi Keith,

You can prune your Ficus Lyrata in two ways.

1. Air Layering: Propagating houseplants by Air Layering is used primarily for large plants with thick strong stems that are not easily propagated by other methods. The new plant is propagated while still attached to the parent plant.

1. Use a sharp clean knife make an upward 1” slit just below a node on the stem of the “mother” plant. A node is where a leaf attaches to the stem. The slit should go 1/2 way through the stem. Place a piece toothpick in the slit to keep it open. If the slit heals shut, the new roots won’t grow.

2. Remove any bark or leaves a few inches above and below the slit in the plant stem. Dust the area with Rooting Hormone that contains a Fungicide.

3. Pack a large handful of moist sphagnum moss around the slit. Cover the moss with clear plastic, and tie the plastic securely to the stem. Check the moss weekly to be sure it stays moist but not soggy.

4. When roots have filled the moss, cut the stem below the new root ball and plant it. Air layering may take months, so try to be patient.

STEM CUTTINGS is the most common technique (and easiest). Use a sharp clean scissors or razor blade to cut a 3”-5” piece from the end of a healthy stem just below a leaf node. A node is where a leaf joins the stem. Remove leaves from the bottom 1/3 of the stem. Dip the cut end of the stem in Rooting Hormone that contains a Fungicide. Plant the stem section in a small pot of moist potting soil or right back into your existing pot. Check the plant every few days to be sure the soil stays moist.

New growth occurs right below where you cut the stem off. So if you want a 5ft. tree cut at that level.