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Ficus Benjamini

The Ficus Benjamini does not have to be pruned every year, but maintenance is still advisable. Because if you cut it regularly, the tree will sprout particularly vigorously and can be kept in perfect shape. Below you will find helpful tips for pruning the birch fig.

Pruning Ficus Benjamini

If you want to give your birch fig new shape and strength, you should cut the green plant. In the following sections you will find out how to proceed and what needs to be taken into account.


The Ficus Benjamini is generally cut as needed, although scissors can be used at any time of the year. However, if you want the gentlest pruning possible, you should use the birch fig in transition from late winter to spring to cut. Because at this time the stress load due to the juice rest is at its lowest. However, if you want to grab the scissors sooner or later, you should note the following:

  • Summer: remove only a few shoots to shape
  • Autumn: topiary possible

notice: If the Ficus Benjamini sheds its leaves, this is no reason for pruning! Because the dropping of leaves can often be traced back to a wrong location and/or care errors. Instead of cutting back the tree directly, the cause should first be found and eliminated.

Weeping fig slightly poisonous

Although the birch fig is extremely tolerant of pruning, certain precautions should always be taken before pruning. Because the tree is permeated by milky sap, a sticky secretion that experts classify as slightly toxic. Direct contact and consumption pose health risks, especially for children and pets:

  • rash
  • eczema
  • allergic reaction
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • circulatory problems

notice: Small pets can suffer from respiratory paralysis and die from eating even small amounts of leaves! It is therefore advisable to always keep pets away from birch figs and always dispose of clippings directly.


The sticky milky sap is not only a health hazard, but is also difficult to remove from parquet, laminate and carpet floors. In addition, the secretion can also stick the leaves together. It is therefore advisable to stop the juice escaping as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to press handkerchiefs or absorbent fleece onto the wound. In addition, the following precautions should be taken:

  • always wear gloves and long-sleeved clothing
  • cover the ground, e.g. B. with old newspapers
  • pruning birch figs outdoors in spring/summer
  • Place sapling on soil or grass
  • always use sharp cutting tools

notice: The best way to cut is with bypass pruning shears, which have two sharp blades and leave clean cuts.

Pruning Ficus Benjamini: instructions

Shape and maintenance cut

With the shape and maintenance pruning, it is possible to regulate the growth height and width, so that the little tree sprout bushy and compact. However, before using the scissors, the shoots should be subjected to a vitality test. Stand the sapling at eye level and scrape off some of the bark on the shoots so you can inspect the exposed tissue. If this is fresh and green, the shoot is vital. However, if the tissue is brownish-dry, the shoot has died and can be cut off completely. The shape and maintenance cut is then as follows:

  • Cut off all dead shoots at the base
  • Cut back branches that are too long
  • about 2-4 mm from leaf base or eye
  • remove shoots that are too close together
  • remove weak shoots

notice: The shorter the distance between the interface and the leaf or node, the more vigorous the budding!

taper cut

A radical pruning can be necessary for various reasons: A rejuvenation pruning is most often necessary if the birch fig takes up too much space and has to be trimmed accordingly. But neglected care and the resulting balding can also require a radical pruning. To rejuvenate old, oversized birch figs, it is best to grab the scissors from late winter in March and proceed as follows:

  • cut all leafless, dead branches
  • remove diseased and dried shoots
  • cut them off completely and without a stub
  • Cut narrow and cross-growing shoots
  • Cut back the remaining branches vigorously
  • about a hand's width or up to 30 cm
  • always cut above a healthy pair of leaves

It is best to repot the Ficus Benjamini in a fresh substrate at the same time, because this care measure mobilizes the tree's floral powers. Repotting also allows root control, cutting off any stunted, rotten brown, and dried out roots.

thinning cut

Even if the Ficus Benjamini is free to develop and grow as it pleases, it should be pruned every two to three years. This care measure is particularly recommended from the age of five, since deadwood often mixes with the dense branches. This would mean that the birch fig would bare from the inside out. Because the buds are shaded by the dense branches, which means they cannot sprout again. In order to thin out the tree, it should first be placed where it is easily visible and accessible. The birch fig can then be thinned out as follows:

  • remove dead branches
  • Cut off shoots up to 3 cm in diameter
  • Saw off thicker shoots with a folding saw
  • pay attention to astring when cutting
  • this is bulging compression from branch to trunk
  • Cut deadwood a short distance from the knot ring

notice: If there is no astring, it should always be cut just before the trunk bark.

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