Pruning a Ficus Tree That Has Lost All of Its Leaves


The weeping fig, often known as the ficus tree (Ficus benjamina), is a lovely houseplant that does not need a lot of care. The one disadvantage of having a ficus tree is that, if there is a sudden shift in the temperature, humidity, or wind speed, your magnificent weeping fig may act as though it is dead and shed all of its leaves. Do not get rid of that unreliable ficus unless you have first given it a trim to see whether or not it is just playing possum.

Ficus Facts

There are hundreds of different kinds of figs, some of which may become quite big trees that give fruit in regions that have a mild temperature similar to that of the Mediterranean. Ficus benjamina is one of these species. The tree is able to flourish in USDA plant hardiness zones 10b and 11, which indicates that it is quite resilient. When they are young, ficus trees are shrubby plants that are flexible. Crafty gardeners who desire a compact tree rather than a shrub typically braid the shrubby trunks in order to achieve their goal. If the temperature in your yard never drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night, your ficus tree could be able to spend the whole year outside in the shade and be healthy and happy. If that isn’t an option, a Ficus that spends the summer soaking in the brilliant light of a partially shaded porch and is then brought inside for the winter where it receives a little yearly trimming will become bushier with each passing year. The plant is sensitive, however, and will change its behaviour to that of a deciduous plant if the conditions change too suddenly. One example of this is when the plant is moved from a cool, foggy screened porch to the warm indoors, where the relative humidity drops to 30 percent due to the central heating.

First Aid

The beginning of dormancy may be identified by the falling of the leaves. Your first order of business is to persuade Ficus that the Earth has not yet entered the next cold age. It is recommended that any nearby floor registers be covered, and the plant should be relocated away from any doors or windows that may experience unexpected draughts, which may cause its shedding to become more severe. The humidity all around the plant may be increased by placing the plant’s pot on top of a gravel-filled tray that also contains some water. On the other hand, consuming an excessive amount of water might be harmful. If you want to keep the soil wet without making it soggy, water it just a little bit whenever the top inch or so of the soil begins to dry up.

Renewal Pruning

Late winter is the best time to trim ficus trees, but if yours has lost all of its leaves, immediate action may be required. The best time to prune a ficus tree is in late January. When the factors that led to the loss of leaves have been identified and remedied, you may next trim the branches so that they are shorter by one-quarter to one-third of their original length. Do not touch the leader, which is the solitary growing point located in the centre of the tree. This so-called “renewal pruning” will make it much simpler for your ficus to start growing again. It will have less tissue to support and will put more of its energy into branching out in order to cover the core branches that are leafless.

Pruning for Shape

The tree may be finished being shaped in the latter part of winter, which is traditionally the time of year when a ficus tree should have its yearly trimming done. At this point, there ought to be a number of branches that have sprung new growth and extended beyond the shrub’s original contours. There is room for improvement here. It is recommended that any branches on the tree that have not produced new leaves be pruned down to the point where their interiors are lush and green. These branches may have died back without anybody noticing the previous year or when the leaves were falling. Regular fertilising may continue in April.